Connecting the disconnected

 

 

The phrases “WFH” and “Self-Isolation” have never been more part of our daily vernacular. Despite the doom and gloom, with cancellations, postponements and many closures, all is not lost. Whilst media are going into Corona overdrive, brands and agencies are now having to think differently, and creatively in order to ensure they remain visible without going quiet.

 

In this new environment the good news is that we are seeing brands being quick to adapt to change. Purely from an internal comms front, remote working has now become the norm not the exception, so the usual means of communication modes have had to change in lieu of face to face interactions. So how do you connect the seemingly disconnected?

 

Well, for one, we are seeing a huge rise in the demand for live streaming. And this can take on various forms. Whether it’s simply a daily Skype chat with the team working remotely, a Town Hall meeting or a more ambitious webcasting panel debate, and live event capture, the ability to broadcast to audiences is providing the opportunity to create a direct and transparent dialogue with the authenticity and trust that comes with live. Technology is also increasing the viewer’s experience through increasing engagement and connections. When we live stream, our platform brings audiences together in a single viewing experience interface, with live, yet fully moderated Q&A options so that brands can speak directly to their staff through a single or multi-camera set up.

 

The power of live during this time is also providing benefits from an external comms perspective as well. Although physical events are being cancelled, audiences can still be reached digitally. This can take on many forms, for example, for a car launch, the reveal can still take place, perhaps aided by an experienced presenter who takes screened questions from an online audience to put to an automotive expert or CEO. Announcements and discussions can also take place, again with live Q&A’s providing direct access for audiences to speak to media. For those who miss the live version, on demand versions are available a few hours after, with all content being optimised for mobile. To engage and reach audiences, this live content is then embedded into a brand’s site, or simulcast to social and internal channels, and through third party media sites – with all of the major online news channels in the region being receptive to hosting live streams editorially.

 

Ultimately, you go to where your audience is, working the content hard to note that audiences sit and consume content in different ways. The ability to promote live streams to niche audiences as well through the likes of LinkedIn, where you can distil and reach core audience groups, means that there is the opportunity – if done correctly – to deliver an extremely targeted campaign with minimal audience wastage.

 

And whilst we should not underestimate the power of live, there then is of course the rise of podcasts. They’re not live, and typically don’t use as much ‘fancy tech’ but their power to reach audiences as a mobile first platform is absolute. And niche, targeted audiences at that.

 

During a time when many are ‘self isolating’ the ability of a podcast to provide escapism or to connect with us when we are perhaps feeling disconnected presents a powerful opportunity for brands.

 

Our research shows that in the UAE alone, there are 1.6 million regular podcast listeners, and with a solid podcasting strategy in place, the ability for brand’s to engage listeners and build a community through longer form content provides an opportunity to reach an engaged audience who are invested in that subject matter.

 

Podcast listeners themselves are not ‘accidental listeners’; you don’t just stumble upon a podcast, you actively have to seek this out based on your interest. And as you have a vested interest in the subject matter, as a brand with the right promotion and distribution strategy there is a lot that can be communicated in 43 minutes – the typical length of a podcast in the UAE. So whilst podcast themselves are not ‘new’, they should be seen as a disruptor to the market, as they defy the trend for shorter, ‘snackable’ content – and during this time especially they represent an effective way to reach audiences both internally and externally.

 

So, with all of the daily updates and our social and news feeds being dominated by coverage on the global pandemic, there are, as always opportunities to be had. And as brands continue to think creatively and innovatively during this time, looking at different forms of communication may just be the ticket to win.

It’s no secret that the podcast scene in the Middle East is booming! Aptly enough – given the Middle East’s rich history that is steeped in oral tradition. Have you ever met an Arab who doesn’t love a good story?

Talkwalker Quick Search: 186K mentions of podcasts in the MENA region since the beginning of 2019

According to new statistics released by markettiers MENA in July 2019, there are 1.3 million
regular podcast listeners in the UAE alone who, interestingly, rank miles ahead of non-MENA listeners when it comes to trust in podcasts (versus radio & TV, for example). The medium has proven to excel in engagement, positive recall, and positive brand sentiment. A real opportunity for brands!

And, indeed, brands are starting to harness the power of podcast marketing whether it’s through making their own podcasts or collaborating with existing ones as guests or through ad sponsorship.

 

Why should you – or your client – invest in podcasts?

  • To tell interesting stories about your brand to the public
  • To communicate internally with your teams in the age of remote/flex working
  • To build trust using a medium that naturally lends itself to a level of intimacy and loyalty that is hard to achieve with other forms of advertising
  • To engage niche communities who are true fans or aficionados in your brand’s industry
  • To share expert opinions or advice
  • To create a safe and inclusive space for your community
  • To spark new, honest conversations in a region that’s burgeoning with potential & opportunity
  • To stay ahead of the curve and ensure your brand is digital-forward
  • To support a local industry and contribute to the digital revival of the rich Middle Eastern history of oral tradition

Download the full list of MENA podcasts!

Key figures about the state of podcasts in the Middle East

  • There has been over 186.8K online mentions of podcasts in the Middle East since Jan 2019
  • These mentions have generated 373.8K engagement
  • The total estimated reach of the online mentions of podcasts in the Middle East this year is 4.7B
  • The majority of online conversation around podcasts in the Middle East originates in the following countries: Saudi Arabia (103,755), United Arab Emirates (27,454), Egypt (13,872), Jordan (9,689)
  • The demographic engaging in online conversations about podcasts in the Middle East is 66% male, 34% female
  • 60% of the conversation around podcasts in the Middle East is in Arabic and 35% is in English
  • 91% of regular podcast listeners in the UAE trust podcasts more than other traditional forms of media

To help you keep up with the booming podcast industry, Talkwalker put together a comprehensive directory of 50+ active podcasts based out of the Middle East and as well as one covering the Middle East remotely. Download the full list or browse through some of their top picks here.

As content creation specialists, we regularly write thought leadership articles and opinion editorials on behalf of our clients, which we pitch to relevant magazines. Usually, these articles are developed exclusively for a particular channel or title, and the likelihood of publication agreed with the editor prior to us creating them.

Assuming this pitch process has been successful, we proceed to develop the content with two customers in mind; our client, in order to communicate key messages, and the editor, to ensure we are giving them content that is fresh, relevant to their readers, and most crucially, ready to publish.

Here are five of the top tips we follow:

  1. Study the title you are writing for and adapt the style of your article to suit the publication’s tone of voice.
  2. Research your topic and pull in interesting stats or anecdotes to support your angle, just as any good journalist would do as they craft a story.
  3. Be insightful, inspiring and thought-provoking. Have a strong angle and develop the article around this, rather than weaving in client messages that are not relevant.
  4. Make the editor’s life easy. Supply your article on time, or ideally, ahead of deadline; write to an agreed word count; and triple-check your grammar and spelling. Present your copy with standfirsts, sub-heads, and box-outs, so that the editor can send it straight to their designer.
  5. Supply a choice of high-resolution photos to accompany your article. Often, the space your content is allocated in a magazine is determined by the quality of the images supplied. Maximise this opportunity!

By Louise Charlesworth – Head of Content, In2 Consulting

Where you’re the new kid on the marketing block or a veteran on the lookout for new tips and tricks to up your game, attending events is a surefire way to keep up.

Talkwalker compiled a comprehensive calendar of digital marketing events happening in the region in 2019 and 2020.

Why attend digital marketing events?

  • Get inspired by the latest digital marketing industry trends, insights and campaigns
  • Meet like-minded individuals and exchange digital marketing best practices (and contacts!)
  • Showcase your company’s unique offering through sponsorship/exhibiting
  • Share niche digital marketing expertise through a keynote or panel discussion
  • Discover new tools and solutionsthat can help you optimise your marketing performance
  • Expand your digital marketing industry knowledge by learning from experts about skills that don’t necessarily sit in your wheelhouse
  • Spend face-to-face time with prospects if you’re on the lead generation side of a business
  • Build your own brand name by giving a talk or simply putting yourself out there during networking or break-out sessions
  • Assess whether the digital marketing industry is for you – does it pique your interest? Does it excite you? These are the crucial moments that can help you make a judgement as you’ll get to see all the industry has to offer across various sectors. It can be hard to judge that at a desk (where you will inevitably find yourself in your career journey)

Nothing like a handy calendar to help you with quarterly and yearly planning!

Talkwalker is a media monitoring and social analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide. Get a free demo now.

In a world that is digitally connected 24/7, it is essential to be ready to react and respond immediately to a crisis. News of a serious crisis or incident can spread in a matter of minutes in today’s online landscape, so acting quickly is imperative.

When a crisis arises, there is a small window of opportunity to not only protect the reputation of your brand but also demonstrate your professionalism, competence, empathy and your ability to problem solve. Incidents and accidents happen, but it is how we react to them that is crucial to maintaining trust.

Today’s digital landscape of social media platforms and instant user-generated content has made reputation management a delicate art. Gone are the days where people waited for the CEO’s press conference to learn what was going on. Now, companies need to be able to respond to a crisis within the first 15 minutes it hits, with the right message and holding statement, even when all facts are not yet available.

Here are few tips to ensure you and your team are prepared to address a crisis during the first minutes you hear about it.

  1. Are your social-centric protocols in place?

It is not uncommon to find out that some companies’ manuals have not been updated and adapted with social media guidelines and protocols. Today’s crisis plans must include policies and practices to clearly help to navigate an incident online.

Think about the most recent crises hitting companies; where did you hear about them first? Most probably through social media. Traditional media plays an important role, but during the first hours of the incident, companies would need to manage the crisis online, and social-centric protocols must be in place. Your team must use your company’s social channels to define and drive your crisis narrative and communicate early and often.

Take a look at your crisis plan, is it time to revamp your protocols and guidelines?

  1. Twitter doesn’t wait… prepare holding statements in advance.

What are the most frequent or possible incidents taking place in your organisation? What are the worst potential crises? As speed is essential, it is important to include in your manual a series of first response or holding statements ready to go, based on the nature of your business. Anticipate every possible scenario! Social media statements must be ready as well, including the assets or visuals you may use while posting the information on social media.

All the first response statements must be already pre-approved by your CEO and endorsed by your legal team.

Old printed manuals are redundant. Digital versions must be accessible to all members of the crisis team 24/7, from anywhere. They say “crisis happens in the most unexpected moments”, and you must be prepared for them happening during the weekend, while you are on a plane or enjoying a family vacation.

Another critical aspect is your website. Is there a proper process in place in case of a major crisis? In which section will you post press statements? Is a dark site required? What visuals and logos should be used.

  1. Plan. Prepare. Practice. Repeat.

Your crisis plan is ready, but has it been tested? Is every member of your executive and crisis team aware of what is required from them and by when? Is everyone aware of their respective roles and responsibilities? Do you have contingency plans, for example, who will step in if the CEO is unreachable or the social media manager is travelling? Is your CEO trained to provide video statements?

Practice makes perfect, and it’s worth investing time in role play scenarios and testing situations. Planning ahead and anticipating potential crises is key to ensure everyone feels more comfortable in their roles.

Empathy and genuine concern

Digital tools may have changed the way crisis communications is handled, but I believe the principles stay the same.

Honest, genuine and authentic communication remains the best policy. Empathy, concern, care, compassion and putting people first should always be at the core of any crisis.

At In2, we developed tried and tested crisis communications solutions to ensure you are ready to navigate a crisis. From developing or enhancing crisis plans and processes, to providing media training and organising tabletop crisis simulation exercises that put your protocols to test, we have a complete set of tools to support you.

By Laura Perez, General Manager PR, In2 Consulting.

YouGov MENA research deeps dives into how people feel about technology and the concerns they have about data privacy

Half of the people in the UAE think that their smart devices are spying on their lives. A majority (55%) of residents believe that their devices record personal information without their knowledge. The results show that men are more likely than women to think like that (58% vs 50%).

YouGov’s data finds that the most commonly owned devices are also the ones people are most likely to think are monitoring them. While 85% of people own a smartphone, 55% believe the technology is spying on them. Similarly, when it comes to a computer/laptop with a webcam, the figures are 57% (who use) and 36% (who think it is spying on them), respectively.

The research also, shows that many UAE residents have concerns about their online privacy. Around half find their personal documents or images being automatically uploaded on to the cloud very concerning (49%), and almost as many (48%) consider their personal details getting auto filled during a transaction quite troubling.

Read the full report here.

The data used for the survey was collected from YouGov Omnibus, which is a fast and cost-effective service to find out about people’s opinions, attitudes and behaviours. To know more about YouGov Omnibus, click here.

The PRCA MENA Awards 2019 celebrated the very best individuals, teams, and campaigns from the PR and communications industry from across the Middle East and North Africa.

Leading practitioners attended the awards at the Renaissance Downtown in Dubai on the evening of Wednesday, 13th February.

The full list of winners can be seen below.

Best PR Campaign: B2B M&C Saatchi Public Relations and Discovery -The Spirit of Discovery

Best PR Campaign: B2C Weber Shandwick – McDonalds World Cup Drive-Thru Experience

Best PR Campaign: B2C Golin MENA – The CHANGE Workshops – WaterWipes

Best Integrated Campaign DMCC – Future of Trade

Best PR Campaign: Influencer Relations Maven Marketing and Events – Olivia and Beauty Pop to Olivia Culpo “Miss Universe” Announces Beauty Pop

Best PR Campaign: Digital Hill+Knowlton Strategies – Keep it Pumping MENA

Best PR Campaign: Crisis Communications TBWA\ DJAZ – Celia Algeria Milk Crisis

Best PR Campaign: Game Changer Hill+Knowlton Strategies – GOSHxSuperhope

Results on a Budget Q Communications – Tourism Ireland

Best Regional Campaign Seven Media – Special Olympics

Social Impact Hill+Knowlton Strategies – GOSHxSuperhope

Large Consultancy of the Year- Weber Shandwick MENA

Rising Star of the Year Grayling – Lauren Ramey

PR Leader Weber Shandwick – Ghaleb Zeidan

Best PR Campaign: Media Relations Seven Media – Laguna Waterpark

Strategic Communications Campaign BPG ORANGE – Sony Middle East & Africa

Small Consultancy of the Year Brazen

In-House Team of the Year Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)

Large Consultancy of the Year Weber Shandwick MENA

-ENDS-

For further information contact:

 

Francis Ingham MPRCA

Director General, PRCA,

francis.ingham@prca.org.uk

 

Barry Leggetter FPRCA

barryleggetter@outlook.com 

07748 677 504

 

Matt Cartmell MPRCA

Deputy Director General

matt.cartmell@prca.org.uk

07930 485 333

 

About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 66 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 30,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has appointed Barry Leggetter FPRCA as its first International President, as part of its plans to build on its position as the world’s largest PR professional body, and to move into new regions of the world.

Leggetter has spent more than 25 years in international public relations consultancy during which he was UK CEO for three global firms (Porter Novelli, FleishmanHillard, and GolinHarris), and was also International Chairman of Bite.  He also held the role of CEO of AMEC, which he left after 11 years in December 2018. Leggetter was the winner of the 2018 PRCA Mark Mellor Award for Outstanding Contribution to the PR industry, and the AMEC Don Bartholomew Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Communications Measurement and Evaluation industry. He is a Fellow of the PRCA and the CIPR.

Leggetter will begin his role at the PRCA on 25th February, 2019. In the new role, he will focus on international membership development, and will work with Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, to grow existing PRCA regional offices in South East Asia and Middle East & North Africa; and to create new associations in other regions of the world. Leggetter will also focus on improving the commercial value of PRCA’s work, including its responsibility for delivering the ICCO Global Summit and the ICCO Global Awards.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, and Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “Barry Leggetter will be a fundamental part of the PRCA’s drive to build on our status as the world’s largest PR association, and to expand our offering to other parts of the world. He will transform us from an international organisation to a truly global one.

“Barry is a proven leader with a global perspective for driving engagement and real change and I am personally delighted he has joined us – the clearest possible sign of our intent to continue to grow globally.”

Barry Leggetter FPRCA, International President, PRCA, said: “I’m very excited to be a part of this new challenge to help grow the PRCA and ICCO’s already impressive global reach. The PR and communications industry is increasingly international in its outlook, so it’s only right that the PRCA should be working hard to position the UK at its heart. I am delighted to be joining Francis and the team.”

ENDS

 

For further information contact:

 

Francis Ingham MPRCA

Director General, PRCA,

francis.ingham@prca.org.uk

 

Barry Leggetter FPRCA

barryleggetter@outlook.com

07748 677 504

 

Matt Cartmell MPRCA

Deputy Director General

matt.cartmell@prca.org.uk

07930 485 333

 

About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 66 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 30,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

Dubai, UAE, 27th November 2018: Leading international business communications consultancy Instinctif Partners has confirmed a series of key promotions at its MENA business, headquartered in Dubai. The promotion of team members follows a period of revenue and headcount growth for the regional operation.

George Allen has been promoted to Associate Partner and will continue his leadership of the Capital Markets & Financial Services practice, with responsibility for clients in the GCC and MENA. George leads a team whose focus is on financial communications and Investor Relations, as well as on transaction work including IPOs and M&A across Gulf markets.

Shali Grote has been promoted to Operations Director, having worked at the company for five years. She has over 15 years’ experience in communications and marketing, having worked in a range of industries from FMCG to corporate banking, sustainability, waste management, property development, international real estate, and the luxury hotel and art markets.

Chloe Pearce has commenced a six-month secondment with the MENA team from Instinctif’s London office, where she is Marketing & Business Development Manager. She has experience in both B2B and B2C marcomms roles and has worked with businesses in all stages of growth, predominantly in the technology and real estate sectors.

Samantha Bartel, Managing Partner, Instinctif Partners MENA, commented:

“These promotions are an important part of positioning our business for a future as one of Instinctif Partners’ fastest growing regions. We are very pleased to be able to reward the dedication and hard work of our team members, while at the same time growing our team and our client portfolio. Shali and George’s new positions demonstrate the maturity of the firm as we emerge as a key player in the regional marketplace, while Chloe brings additional fire power from the London office.”

– Ends –

Notes for Editors

About Instinctif Partners:

Instinctif Partners is a leading international business communications consultancy with six practice areas: capital markets, corporate, public policy, content & creative, engagement and insight & research.

It is a specialist in reputation, influence and engagement. It works with clients across multiple and complex audiences combining deep insights, expert storytelling and creative delivery to change behaviours, emotions and perceptions.

Instinctif Partners currently employs 400 people in 15 offices across eight countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and North America.

The company is one of the fastest growing consultancies in its industry, and in the past year alone has won or been shortlisted for over 30 awards, recognising both client work and the growth of the business as a whole. Accolades include International Agency of the Year 2018 & 2017 at the PR Week Global Awards, Outstanding Large Consultancy of the Year 2018 at the CIPR Excellence Awards, Corporate Consultancy of the Year 2017 at the EMEA SABRE Awards, and City Agency of the Year at the PRCA City and Financial Awards 2016 & 2017. Instinctif Partners also won Gold at the PR Week Best Places to Work 2018 for Large Agency and was named by the London Stock Exchange as one of 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

 

Website: https://instinctif.com/mena/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/instinctif-partners-mena/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Instinctif_MENA

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/instinctif_mena/

 

About the Team

George Allen

+971 4 369 9353

George.allen@instinctif.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-allen-aa04131a/

 

Diana Estupinan

+971 55 533 9553

Diana.estupinan@instinctif.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianaestupinan/

 

Chloe Pearce

+971 55 511 0550

Chloe.pearce@instinctif.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloeapearce/

U.A.E., 16th October 2018 – M&C Saatchi PR today announced that it has rebranded as M&C Saatchi Public Relations. The change of name is part of an overall global brand refresh that has been carried out to more clearly define the agency’s vision, proposition and purpose.

 

Global CEO Molly Aldridge commented: “In a confused and converging communications industry, we wanted to provide clarity and simplicity on who we are and what we do.  We are passionately embracing our public relations heritage and how we apply the principles of our discipline in the modern age to clearly define our expertise across social, editorial and experiential for both our people and our clients.  That’s why we’ve changed our name to M&C Saatchi Public Relations – a small but important differentiation.”

 

Global Managing Director Chris Hides added: “We believe that the principles of our discipline, Public Relations, are more relevant and more in demand now than ever before. With greater transparency and accountability and the disintermediation of media channels, expertise at helping brands and their audiences communicate and make sense of one another is critical. That’s what public relations has always been best at. But the abbreviation of the discipline to PR has caused it to lose its original meaning. We want to return to that and we want to expand it, not reduce or remove it as others have.”

 

The company’s new offer is built around the application of ‘Brutal Simplicity of Thought’, a founding principle of the parent M&C Saatchi, across a four-stage process of Plan, Create, Activate, Measure. A new bespoke targeting and measurement methodology is being introduced alongside existing innovations that include the Global Influencer Squad and the Create team which includes content producers, designers and creatives.

 

In the 8 years since its launch, the agency has grown from a London start up to an international network operating across EMEA and the US. Last year they won the CIPR Large Agency of the Year and PR Week Mid-Sized Agency of the Year awards. Clients in the UAE have included Discovery Channel, Abu Dhabi Motors and Benefit Cosmetics.

 

Moray MacLennan, M&C Saatchi Worldwide CEO, commented: “With other PR companies dashing to the heart of the periphery, we applied Brutal Simplicity of Thought to the task and will be refocusing on Public Relations.

 

After all, company’s relations with their public have never been so close and personal.”

– ends-

 

For more information, please contact:

Imogen Turner on 07709436555  / Imogen.Turner@mcsaatchi.com

 

Notes to Editors:

M&C Saatchi Public Relations is a modern public relations company that has been operating for 8 years, servicing in 10 offices globally (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, USA, UAE and Asia). The company is part of the creative marketing group M&C Saatchi and M&C Saatchi Public Relations combines the best of both worlds – big agency infrastructure with the nimbleness of small agency culture providing clients with measurable impact, tailored expertise and experience.

 

Website: www.mcsaatchipublicrelations.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mcsaatchipublicrelations

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mcsaatchipublicrelations

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/m&c-saatchi-public-relations/