Key promotions at Instinctif Partners MENA

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.”

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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/

M&C SAATCHI PR RENAMES AS PART OF BRAND REFRESH

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.”

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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/

Top Tips For SEO To Increase Your Website Visitors And Sales

Something I hear on a regular basis is “A lot has changed in the world of SEO” and it is very true. Winning techniques and steps to increase website visitors is ever evolving on a regular basis, so it is vital to keep up to date to stay ahead of the game.

Here are some practical tips that I currently use as I know the Google Spiders will be monitoring them all every month.

1.Website Speed

Your website page speed is a critical factor for your SEO rankings. Remember that 40% of people abandon a website if it is not loaded in 3 seconds! Google want your customers to have a streamlined, customer friendly journey’s. Essentially remove anything from your website that is slowing down the speed which could be hidden pages, large images or videos. Alternatively, you can look at your hosting and upgrade your package.

2.Link Building

Link building is still a strong factor for SEO ranking. Quality links to web pages which have relevant content will be more beneficial than many links to unrelated ones. Digital PR plays a big part here with potential to link with quality magazines and blogs.

3.Write For Humans First

A few years ago it was best practice to write for SEO – ensuring keywords are exact and focused. However, these days Google likes to see a mix of long-tale keywords embedded in helpful content around your product and service

4.Use Web Analytics From The Start

Connect web analytics or Google Analytics to your website from the start. You will gain changing insights to understand what has / has not worked and how you can improve. You will also be able to track which website are giving the most visitors so some extra investment may be valuable here.

5.META Data

Write short and relevant meta descriptions for every page, each being unique. Include helpful descriptions and include your keywords here. It is also worth testing which phrases and sentences help achieve higher clicks too.

Dawn Kubricek MPRCA

www.leaders-in-digital.com

Arab Youth Survey

The 8th May  2018 marked the 10th Annual Arab Youth Survey, presenting the evidence, insights and opinions of the Arab youth in the MENA region. With youth unemployment in the region now above 25%, the need for this research is central to find out the issues being faced. A comprehensive interview process, conducting 3,500 face to face interviews with Country Nationals established some fascinating results.

Point 9 of the findings discussed in the session found that “while young Arabs increasingly turn to social media for their news, they see CNN as the most trusted news network, with Al Jazeera coming in the least most trusted news outlook.” Newspapers continue to face the challenge of engaging young Arabs as their popularity declined, from 22% to just 18%. When asked “compared with a year ago, would you say you use Facebook more, less, or about the same” 61% of young Arabs answered more with only 5% quoting less, showing online platforms are the way to reach this audience. Facebook’s influence among Arab youth continues to grow, with half now saying they get their news on Facebook daily.

This key section of research highlighted the increasing use of social media as the main platform of news for today’s youth. For the first time, more young Arabs cited they are getting their news on social media, not TV, marking a major shift since 2015. This dramatic change in the way media is consumed by this age group is a key finding for the sector. Brands looking to target this age group need to have an approach focused on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram to influence and target this market effectively.

The Rise of Specialist Collaborators

“Coming together is a beginning;

keeping together is progress;

working together is success.”

Henry Ford

Whether you call it a collaborative model, or call it a collective, one thing is certain and that’s that the rise of highly specialised freelancers and boutique agencies, working together on a common project, is becoming increasingly common.

In years gone by, freelancers have shied away from collaborating with other freelancers – for many reasons, but primarily because of the complexities of sharing intellectual property, account management and client servicing.  But times are a changing.

And because communications and public relations is an ever-changing landscape, the most successful practitioners in the field are now embracing the multitude of benefits to be gained from working together with other specialists.

A collective lends itself to pitching for bigger clients and more complex projects.  So, when the collaboration takes place and senior and experienced specialists come together, agility and adaptability are key to success.

Each player in the team brings their own niche set of skills to the table.  As experts in their respective fields, their experience speaks magnitudes for their capabilities and what they each offer other members of the collective.

From a client’s perspective, while the collaborative or boutique agency model presents inherent risks, there is so much more to be gained.

In particular, collectives are typically established by senior professionals who have, over the years, built a strong network of peers and acquaintances in the industry – people who they have worked with, worked alongside, or have come across through mutual contacts.  There is, therefore, a degree of comfort and confidence in their ability to jointly develop and deliver consultancy services and offer agile solutions to clients.

With the rise of communications specialists, an upsurge in social media usage, and prevalence of immediate online coverage, the way in which communicators communicate for their clients has also changed.  Take the examples of immediate online coverage and 24-hour news cycles.  These changes mean that practitioners need to be more proactive than ever before – providing updates for print news and online services.

Furthermore, the trend of style over substance has reversed, with experienced practitioners helping clients to understand the importance of keeping business strategy at the heart of any communications planning.

Above all else, the collective model is a great platform for the incubation of creativity and innovation, while maintaining the fundamentals of public relations and communications, and demonstrating a strong return on investment.

This style of working is more than a mental shift towards collaboration, it’s behavioural and relies on practitioners treating each other as colleagues, rather than competitors. The model itself is not new however, with professional service providers, such as medical and legal professionals, collaborating on cases.

It’s a model that relies on solid and transparent communications to ensure that all members of the team continue to work towards common goals, and that deliverables are understood, assigned and measurable – with an understanding that although they may have independent responsibilities, the outcome will be collectively achieved.

As the realm of communications and public relations morphs and changes, it comes as no surprise that the role of and interaction between practitioners will also change.  But, the rise of specialist collaborators is here to stay, and it’s a change that needs to be embraced and leveraged.

By In2 Consulting

 

Creativity goes hand in hand with a ‘future’ ready business

We are frequently asked to be creative or apply creative thinking in the work we do or even the lives we lead. A common mistake made by many, is understanding what creativity is and how to go about delivering it, it’s definitely not something you turn off or on, or learn, rather its instinctive, a way of looking at things, a way of thinking and therefore hard to measure or quantify.

The more you use your creative instinct in your everyday life, the more naturally it seeps into everything you think and do and turns what was previously grey into a rich colourful canvas.

Creativity is not just the domain of marketing and advertising departments, rather it applies across the business. Examples include Apple re-inventing or creating a new look home computer to the iPhones and iPads of today that have changed our lives and the way we communicate and do business to Elon Musk and the way that he takes a creative approach to car manufacturing, to space travel and even energy. A business that fosters a creative environment is one that isn’t afraid of challenges, obstacles, on the contrary it thrives and succeeds and leads….

For a marketing team or a communications Agency as well as approaching strategy and process, nurturing and encouraging a natural creative DNA is equally as important. Any communications team worth their salt must understand, embody, illustrate and/or vocalize what you have to offer in a way that makes it relevant and emotive to the target audiences its designed to engage. This is what will differentiate you from the competition. If you can achieve this, your communication will be empowered, be more confident, authentic and ultimately more effective – why? Because you will always have something great to say and – as importantly – stay relevant and consistent.

Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein

You may ask why is creativity so important for any organization? I will do my best to summarise as much as possible..

It’s engaging in the sense that creative thought and application helps an organization achieve stand out and hence be memorable, relevant, engaging and campaignable. Success is achieved as your brand, service, solution or product stands out and relates to its key stakeholders

Most critical skill for an organization to possess to realise utopia – a creative team that thrives on upholding a creative approach and work environment, will be regarded as more interesting, credible and authoritative. Your audience will be able to relate to you and your offering naturally and buy into them

Creativity is invaluable for internal growth and brings a dynamic element to any organization large or small. It tells people – employees and customers alike that the organization is open to new ideas, disruptive thinking and planning and the energy and desire to make things happen

Creativity is a big pull for talented people to join your team as it makes your business desirable, who doesn’t want to be part of a passionate and driven team who are great at what they say and do and how they say and do things. One of the most powerful USPs for any brand, business, is to be distinctive and inspire people to want to buy in/belong. Who doesn’t want to work for Apple or Google or Tesla?

Ultimately how creative you are, is an indicator of your passion, conviction, confidence, knowledge and success. It’s directly linked to the type of experience you will provide and the qualities you will pass on. Your goal is to inspire greatness in those you talk to and interact with, and the most impactful way to leave your mark, is by leading the way.

When you use or have a creative idea, you feel more emotionally inspired. These emotions influence what we buy into, who to connect with, where to go and workout, who to work for, where to travel to and the decisions we make to drive business success.

 

Author: Sawsan Ghanem, Joint Managing Director at Active DMC

For the original article, click here.

Overview of Algeria’s PR market

The corporate communications and public relations market in Algeria is still relatively underdeveloped. Therein lies a paradox, because Algeria has probably one of the highest level of press freedom in the whole MEA region, but at the same time a majority of institutional and corporate leaders are stuck in a “stay under the radar at all cost” attitude towards communications. Historically, two trends are at play: the private sector has grown tremendously for the past 15 years, but often thanks to public spending, and its leaders are thus loth to draw attention to themselves lest somebody might take notice (or offence). The other trend has to do with the top-down nature of political governance, which means communications gets centralized and very few officials would dare speak publicly on any issue for fear of being “off message”.

That said, there are indications that this state of things is changing, albeit slowly, mainly thanks to the role of social media. Officials and decision makers are realizing, sometimes quite brutally, that it’s nowadays nigh impossible to hide, and that you need to make sure you are ready to get your message across. Similarly, they come to the conclusion that it is better to reach out and develop a relationship with your stakeholders before a crisis strikes. There is a great need for counselling and expert advice, from media relations to crisis preparedness, into adapting to the social media environment that is disrupting old habits and paradigms.

There are few “pure player” PR agencies in Algeria due to the limited size of the market, but there are quite a number of integrated communications agencies offering various types of corporate communications and PR services. This “native” integration of Algerian agencies is in my mind an advantage, given that this is a hot trend amongst international agencies and networks. For instance, we at TBWA\ DJAZ have always been deeply integrated, with our PR teams working hand-in-hand with the Creative and Events team, amongst others such as Digital and Direct Marketing. Clients appreciate this holistic approach to communications.

Algeria boasts a population of some 40 million, most of them under 30 years old. Mobile and social media penetration are at 50% and growing fast. Attitudes and behaviours towards communications are also evolving rapidly, which makes for a great deal of opportunities for agencies and PR practitioners alike in the coming 5 to 10 years.

 

Author: Alexandre Beaulieu, Founder & CEO, TBWA/ DJAZ

TV & Content Trends

It’s a common misconception that TV is a ‘dying’ media form.   In fact, recent studies have shown that more and more video content is being consumed than ever before, increasing 13% year on year to just over 10.5 hours of media content per day among US adults alone, according to Nielsen’s most recent “Total Audience Report”. What is true, is that television as we traditionally know it is rapidly evolving, beyond the traditional linear landscape and into the realms of online digital content via OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, iflix, OSN Wavo and beIN Connect.

Due to the rise and diversification of OTT platforms available, viewers are now in control, consuming video content on their terms, exactly where and when they want it. This is a trend that is expected to grow, as new OTT products launch, whether targeting mass, niche, local or international audiences.

Together with the rise of OTT platforms, with over 2.5 billion smartphones in use in the world, mobile has become the key platform for online visual content consumption, with the Middle East leading the way as the world’s second-largest and fastest growing mobile phone market.  Emphasis is therefore being placed on the development of short-form mobile content, with mobile-first content predicted to become more commonplace over the next few years.

So, what does this digital revolution mean for the future of TV, and how are broadcasters responding to this shift? At Discovery, we have evolved our traditional linear business through various strategic partnerships and digital investments, both globally and locally in MENA, to ensure we continue to serve the needs of our consumers.

With over 6 million followers across social media, Fatafeat, our flagship Arabic food network, has an incredibly loyal and engaged fanbase. This year, our strategy has been to harness the channel’s brand power, to reach new audiences in the digital space, while continuing to serve its existing community of super-fans. The success of Fatafeat’s digital-first content was perhaps best demonstrated during our Ramadan campaign, which not only saw us launch our new Fatafeat App for Android and iOS, but also saw Fatafeat rank as the #1 food website during Ramadan and the Top 3 websites in the food category for the majority of the year, proving that quality food content can cut through despite the fragmented marketplace. This year has also seen us introduce livestreamed content from consumer events onto our social platforms, allowing fans to enjoy the Fatafeat experience wherever they may be.  Complementing this, our Fatafeat Play AVOD platform has continued to expand, with over 1 million monthly views plus the addition of new branded content through collaborations with clients such as Nutella and Maggi.

So, with this market fragmentation in mind, it’s more crucial than ever for TV networks to focus on content that is truly must-have. Discovery’s strategy has been to utilise our 2.5 billion investment in content to really move the dial. This includes strengthening our global franchises; creating annual noisy programming stunts such as Shark Week; while still focusing on content that works for local audiences – a goal we were proud to meet earlier this year, by welcoming celebrity Chef Manal to the Fatafeat family.  Ultimately, our aim is to continue to provide value for our fans with premium video content, and to utilise our global and local digital investments to ensure we are engaging millennial audiences at any time on every platform.

 

Author: Amanda Turnbull, Vice President and  Country Manager Middle East & Africa, Discovery Communications

Three top trend predictions for 2018

Reputation is important as ever, new technologies are evolving at an unprecedented rate, and there’s an undeniable shift in the way communication works in the business world. Here are three of the top trends we predict to see developing in the coming year:

  1. Increasing focus on influencer marketing. According to a study by Tomoson, it is the “fastest growing customer acquisition channel, outpacing organic search and email marketing”. While the idea is not new, the execution is becoming more sophisticated.
  2. Evolution of artificial intelligence. There is a lot of room for growth when it comes to artificial intelligence in the PR community. The term is exciting to many (and scary to some), particularly in an industry which has foundationally relied on human interaction and relationships. However, we see exciting new technologies improving such as predictive analytics and image recognition which will help us make smarter decisions about how we communicate.
  3. Breaking the silos between PR and Marketing. This trend has already started in some organisations, and we expect to see it continue to grow. As the digital landscape evolves, traditional media and social media become much more intertwined – as do the teams who work with them. Check out our recent ebook on the evolving skillset of a modern PR pro, and stay tuned for some upcoming research we’re doing about the trend which will be released in the new year.

Author: Jeremy Shayler, Business Development Director, Middle East at LexisNexis BIS

Un-Box Your Agency and Set It Free

We all know that the marketing landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years and continues to evolve at rapid pace. Agencies have had to evolve too but many brands still keep them in their old silos and have not updated their perception of the skills on offer. For example, what is PR? To many CMOs, public relations would be defined either as corporate communications or media relations. Some would not even see it as a marketing discipline. They are wrong. Times have changed.

Whilst comms skills and services are still offered by every PR agency, most of the medium to large firms offer so much more and have a different core marketing skill at their heart. PR agencies know how to get things written about, talked about and shared. They know what ingredients are needed for a story. They are earned centric. But they don’t just amplify, they create and produce too.  Many are hiring planners, creatives and producers from adland and then reprograming them to be earned thinkers – Edelman has over 600 globally. Some PR agencies have in-house experiential events and film production departments. Some offer social media, community management, influencer management, social customer relations, social crisis and all manner of online reputation services. Add in strategic earned-brand consultancy and a PR agency starts to look a lot different to the days when we were called PROs.

So why are CMOs still sticking to the old ways? Why are they not challenging a big PR agency to tackle their integrated briefs, head to head with their ad agency? Well, some are. Edelman Deportivo in Stockholm has been voted the ‘best and bravest creative agency on the planet 2017’ by Contagious Magazine above advertising stalwarts such as BBDO, 72andSunny and Leo Burnett. That is thanks to some equally brave brands who embraced the earned future and broke their mental PR box. My agency, Edelman UAE, recently created and built a haunted house in Dubai for the Syfy Channel. We listed it as a “very cheap house to rent” and filmed unsuspecting visitor being scared silly by the crazy experiences we had hidden inside. The Facebook and Youtube content was seen by 1.7m people over 2 days and we also generated a heap of media coverage by using the same experience with journalists and bloggers. Is this PR? We think so.

We know the same blurring of lines is also happening to advertising agencies as they try to poach our staff and also offer an integrated solution. Digital agencies are doing it too and now even the Management Consultancies are getting in on the act by buying in creative talent. So, every type of agency can offer everything?  Are they still specialists or now Jacks of all trades? The answer is both yes and no. They all specialize in a core skill and they all have a core way of thinking: Earned or Paid. So, it’s no longer neat and tidy. It’s no longer the case that channel planning equals a box and budget for the corresponding type of agency. In the short term, this may cause a headache for a procurement department but a brave CMO should embrace the chaos. Mix it up and see what happens. Brief them all as integrated, regardless of their box.

Author: Jason Gallucci, Managing Director, Brand, Edelman