PR 101 Training Session

After spending four hours in this 101 session I must say I felt pretty tired toward the end, but for the better as it had been such an intense crash course in the basics of PR, which I personally had very little prior experience in. Once the group had introduced themselves a brief introduction was made and key figures in the history of PR were touched upon, inspiring quotes were discussed including one of my favorites from Bill Gates, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR…”

The first part of the session allowed the speaker to give us all a basic understanding of PR and we were asked to summarize the field into one word. What seemed like quite a trivial task actually ended up being very beneficial as cleverly the speaker returned to these words at the end of the session. We were again asked how to summarize PR in one word and all of us highlighted different factors, proving the session had somehow impacted us all.

What was also very interesting was the use of local case studies that were included in the session. We were able to see how PR affects the majority of companies today and especially those more localized ones in this particular region. Another effective strategy used to explain the basics of PR was to use the comparison of advertising. By discussing PR via an advertising vs. PR perspective allowed us to make direct comparisons and see the major points in a more concise way.

Once the basics were acquired we then moved on to move interactive tasks which allowed the delegates to apply the previously acquired knowledge. We conversed on what key tools are vital for PR professionals and finally ended the session with different groups developing different PR strategies for certain scenarios. I found this the most valuable part of the session as all the previous knowledge acquired could be put into practice and ideas could be bounced off team members with different backgrounds and expertise. Overall a very constructive, practical session which I would highly recommend for those, who like me know the basics and would like to become more informed and gain further skills in the field.

PRCA announces expulsion of Bell Pottinger

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) announced today that it has imposed its most serious sanctions on Bell Pottinger, following the industry regulator’s investigation into Bell Pottinger’s work for Oakbay Capital in South Africa. The investigation followed a complaint from the Democratic Alliance.

Bell Pottinger’s membership has been terminated with immediate effect. Bell Pottinger will not be eligible to reapply for corporate membership of the PRCA for a minimum period of five years.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “Bell Pottinger has brought the PR and communications industry into disrepute with its actions, and it has received the harshest possible sanctions. The PRCA has never before passed down such a damning indictment of an agency’s behaviour.

“This outcome reflects the huge importance that the PRCA places on the protection of ethical standards in the business of PR and communications.”

Bell Pottinger has been found to have breached the PRCA Professional Charter and Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct, in the following respects:

  • PRCA Professional Charter clause 1.1;
  • PRCA Professional Charter clause 4;
  • PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct clause 12;
  • PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct clause 13.

The PRCA launched its investigation on 5th July, following a complaint from the Democratic Alliance. Bell Pottinger and Democratic Alliance were able to present written and oral evidence at a hearing of the PRCA Professional Practices Committee on 18th August.

The Professional Practices Committee was unanimous in its view that the Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct had been breached, and recommended to the PRCA Board of Management that Bell Pottinger’s membership be terminated. The Board approved that recommendation unanimously.

Bell Pottinger was given five days in which to appeal the Board’s decision, and submitted an appeal to the PRCA. The PRCA Board of Management met again on Monday, 4th September to make its final ruling.

Clauses

PRCA Professional Charter clause 1.1:

Have a positive duty to observe the highest standards in the practice of Public Relations and Communications. Furthermore a member has the responsibility at all times to deal fairly and honestly with fellow members and professionals, the Public Relations and Communications profession, other professions, suppliers, intermediaries, the media of communication, colleagues, and above all else the public.

  • The Democratic Alliance alleged during the hearing that Bell Pottinger had ‘exploited racial divisions on behalf of the Gupta family’.
  • The Committee understood the burden of Bell Pottinger’s response to be that the offending element was just one component of a single workstream in a large and complex programme. Further, that the programme was essentially corporate and financial by nature. The Committee tried unsuccessfully to reconcile these assertions with what actually happened in terms of the reaction to the campaign and the level of criticism which it provoked.
  • The Committee acknowledged Bell Pottinger’s eventual response to the problems but felt that a programme designed and managed in accordance with the highest standards of practice in PR and communications could not, and should not, have caused such problems in the first place.
  • The Committee, therefore, found that Bell Pottinger had breached PRCA Professional Charter clause 1.1.

PRCA Professional Charter clause 4

A member is required to take all reasonable care that professional duties are conducted without causing offence on the grounds of gender, race, religion, disability or any other form of discrimination or unacceptable reference.

  • The Committee found that the nature of the programme depicted in the documents submitted to Oakbay Capital by Bell Pottinger, and as conducted by Bell Pottinger on Oakbay Capital’s behalf, was by any reasonable standard of judgement likely to inflame racial discord in South Africa and appears to have done exactly that. The Committee did not find the suggestion that this theme of the campaign and its consequences were unintentional to be plausible. The targeting of white corporate South Africa is a material consideration here.
  • The Committee, therefore, found that Bell Pottinger had breached PRCA Professional Charter clause 4.

PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct clause 12

PRCA members conducting Public Affairs and Lobbying services must be at all times aware of the importance of their observance of the principles and duties set out in this Code for the protection and maintenance of their own reputation, the good name and success of their organisation, and the standing of the profession as a whole.

  • Certain aspects of the manner in which the Bell Pottinger campaign was conducted on behalf of Oakbay Capital fell so far short of expected standards that an apology was issued by James Henderson, CEO, in which he described the social media campaign highlighting economic emancipation to be ‘inappropriate and offensive’: ‘these activities should never have been undertaken’. The partner in charge of the campaign was dismissed and two employees were suspended.
  • Asked by the Committee if Bell Pottinger acknowledged that work undertaken by the account team fell short of Bell Pottinger’s own standards, Henderson answered in the affirmative. Henderson agreed that the PRCA’s standards, as set out in the PRCA Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct, could not be described as lower than those of Bell Pottinger itself. Bell Pottinger failed to maintain and protect its own reputation and the standing of the profession as a whole.
  • The Committee, therefore, found that Bell Pottinger had breached PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct clause 12.

PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct clause 13

A member shall not act or engage in any practice or conduct in any manner detrimental to the reputation of the Association or the profession of Public Affairs and Lobbying in general.

  • The Committee formed the unanimous view that the manner in which the Oakbay Capital programme was conceived and delivered indicated a failure on the part of Bell Pottinger’s senior management to oversee and control a campaign which, in the Committee’s view, required the highest level of scrutiny and supervision, given the sensitive political and social environment in which it was activated.
  • In probing this question the Committee was not satisfied that Bell Pottinger’s explanations were fully convincing. This was not in accordance with its members’ own experience as senior managers of large consultancies implementing opinion-forming programmes in sensitive or volatile climates.
  • One outcome was a large volume of highly-critical media coverage of Bell Pottinger’s work on behalf of Oakbay Capital, both in South Africa and internationally, which – in the Committee’s view – has caused damage to the reputations of both Bell Pottinger and the profession of public affairs and lobbying.
  • The Committee, therefore, found that Bell Pottinger had breached PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct clause 13.

ENDS

About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK and MENA-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 55 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 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.

 

Over-servicing – five ways to turn losses into profit

By Victoria Tomlinson

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Earlier this month I delivered two courses for Dubai PR agencies through PRCA Mena – the first was on over-servicing, particularly around how to turn a loss into profit (the second was on business development techniques).  While both were tailored to the issues of PR companies, the points are relevant to any service business – lawyers, accountants, architects, bankers, marketing agencies and more.

What was interesting about this session was how everyone looked at the issue of over-servicing as being about confrontation. I hope the biggest achievement from the training was to turn around mindsets.

Managing over-servicing is about delivering the best to clients – of course, within budget – and is about finding the win:win. If one side is losing out in the deal, actually no-one is a winner.

So where are the real dangers in over-servicing and how do you tackle them?

What is over-servicing?

First, what is over-servicing?

Before the course, I had posted on LinkedIn asking for tips and stories to share on over-servicing.  Thanks to Mike Moran ceo of best&final who came back with his definition of over-servicing, “Mission creep. A failure to control the ‘Yes Gene’ that seems to be built into all service industry staff. It all amounts to the same thing. An erosion of your profits, which comes about because you are doing more for your client than they are paying you for.”

Essentially, over-servicing is delivering more than agreed for the initial fee, without agreeing an increase. I defined it as

  • Giving away your profits
  • Creating unrealistic client expectations
  • And a stressed team

How does over-servicing happen?

The typical ways for over-servicing to happen are: poor initial brief – so no-one is very clear about what was actually agreed; poor project management – lack of managing (or knowing) how many hours have been spent and managing time against the brief; or the client requesting additional bits of work and no-one saying ‘no’ or agreeing additional fees.

The first two are basic business and project management issues, so I am not covering in detail here.  I am focusing on the trickiest bit – how do you either say no to extra work or ask for more fees to cover extra work that you have done or will need to do?

Saying no – how hard is it?

There are particular cultural challenges to consider in the Middle East, especially ensuring there is no loss of face and that you are not asking a client to say ‘no’.  But to be honest, you want to avoid these in any culture.

Tip #1    Be clear about the issues and successes

Don’t go into a meeting thinking about it as tackling a problem and the client will be seriously unhappy. Start out with a mindset that you have done a great job (jot down your key successes – we often need to remind ourselves of these, let alone the client) and think through how the contract should be run in the future to deliver more great work.  What should you focus on?  What do you need to drop? You need to get your mind into a positive frame.

Tip #2    What’s in it for them?

Too often people go into sales and client management meetings without stopping to think about the client.  What are their pressures, what do they need to be successful in their job, what will be worrying them about your work/agency?  Taking time to think about ‘them’ will help you anticipate how to focus the future.

Tip #3    Prepare, prepare, prepare

Preparation will take a great deal of angst out of the meeting.  You need to look honestly at what has been delivered and if you feel, actually, we haven’t really delivered value (it happens in the best of agencies for the best of reasons) then be prepared to pre-empt this and write some or all of it off.  You need to clear this internally so you can go into the meeting with a strong negotiating position.

Think through options as to what you can offer for the next stage – refocusing the work, amortising what has been billed across the year, dropping activities that achieve little value and so on.

Tip #4    Ask questions

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I was interested that in the training, everyone tackled the various scenarios and role plays in the same way.  They all started talking – how good they were, we’ve done this, this is what we propose. No-one started by asking ‘how are you and how are things going?  They didn’t try and tease out how the client was feeling, how they were seeing the problems or the future. So they didn’t know if their chat was hitting home or not.

Questions are one of the most valuable commodities in any client relationship.  Only by listening can you adapt and present your solutions to fit around their perspective and issues.  If you have prepared and have options up your sleeve, you can flex all of this in the meeting.

Tip #5    Smile and be confident

If you go into a meeting thinking of it as a confrontation, you will create the wrong atmosphere from the start, feel sick and lack confidence and nothing will feel like a solution.

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However, if you walk in with a big smile and own the meeting – how are you, how’s it going, we’ve loved working with you and so pleased at what’s been achieved, but we need to rethink how we deliver what you really value and need for the next half of this contract’ then you set an upbeat tone to the meeting.  Ask about their priorities, what really matters, drop in your successes, check what is adding least value and then sum it all up.  “So, what we need to do for you in the next six months is get you into these three key media and do an absolutely fantastic launch event, with xyz attending.  We’ll drop this and we are going to put more effort into that.”

No confrontation in here. You are focusing on client service – delivering what really matters to the client.  And if they really want all the extras, then you have to package those for additional fees.  But in a helpful, understanding way.

Of all these tips, what everyone on the course found most helpful was to put themselves in the head of their client, ask questions and to prepare ahead and clear the negotiation internally.  All of them said it felt far more manageable and achievable to get good results.  They promised to let me know when they have successes with this approach!

Training terms and conditions

Cancellation Terms

PRCA does not offer any refunds on training courses booked, only a transfer (of the same cost value) is eligible. Should a PRCA Member book and pay Non Member rate, a credit note for the cost difference will be issued. We cannot issue a refund for the cost difference.

Transfer Policy

If you are unable to attend the training session you are booked onto, you are welcome to transfer to the next convenient date or an alternative course of the same cost. One transfer to another course is permitted per place booked and transfer requests must be made before 3 working days of the course date.

Transfer requests made less than 3 working days of the course date, will carry a charge. The transfer fee is 250 AED per person, per course.

All transfer requests should be made in writing to training@prca.mena.global during office hours (09:00 – 18:00)

Non Attendance

A ‘no show fee’ of 250 AED will be charged to delegates who fail to attend their training sessions.

The ‘no show fee’ applies to all PRCA members and non-members.

Bespoke Training Cancellation Policy

Due to the care and extra work that trainers devote to tailoring courses there is a fee incurred for any last minute cancellations or date changes.

PRCA must be notified within 14 working days before the session is due to commence.

For any cancellation or date change request made less than 14 working days of the bespoke date, a charge of 2000  AED (per bespoke course) will be incurred.

All transfer requests should be made in writing to training@prca.mena.global during office hours (09:00 – 18:00)

In the meantime, if you have any queries please email training@prca.mena.global

Payment Terms and Conditions

Payment must be made and received by PRCA before delegates attend a training course. As a result of invoice 30 day payment terms, we are unable to raise an invoice for a course taking place less than 30 days of the booking.

Delegates will not be admitted to the training room unless payment has been received in full by PRCA before the date of the training.

PRCA MENA launches Matchmaker Service to help match clients with agencies

PRCA MENA launches Matchmaker Service to help match clients with agencies

PRCA MENA is launching a service to help clients find PR and communications support across the region, and to guide them through the pitch process.

The Matchmaker service is available for use by client organisations, procurement professionals, business owners and in-house teams whether they are reviewing their agency arrangements, tendering contracts or are seeking an agency for a project.

The Matchmaker service is confidential and follows industry best practice, dovetailing nicely with any internal procurement processes by adopting formal expressions of interest and pre-qualification criteria.

Matchmaker is  free to clients because PRCA MENA levies a 5% commission on the winning consultancy’s first year fee or project fee. Matchmaker is a successful service in the UK which attract briefs of all shapes and sizes and from all sectors.

Each selection starts with your requirement brief to us highlighting factors such as sector experience, skillset, conflicting brands, location, size, your budget and timing.

Based on each brief, an initial search of relevant consultancies is completed via a database search to create a long list of consultancies. Using the PRCA’s knowledge of PR and communications agencies, a shortlist of relevant agencies is drawn up which is then presented back to the client company. The PRCA will oversee any potential conflict issues.

The client may enable agencies to send credentials and case studies to them directly, or alternatively the PRCA may act as a go-between.

Matchmaker may also offer the opportunity to appoint PR and communications agencies in other parts of the world, if clients are seeking agencies or affiliates in other regions. Those agencies that have achieved CMS will be prioritised to receive these referrals through our matchmaking service.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “I’m very pleased to be launching the Matchmaker service in MENA, a service which we have developed to enable in-house teams and consultancies to forge strong and creative partnerships.”

PRCA MENA Launches Digital PR and Communications Report 2017

The Public Relations and Communications Association in the Middle East and North Africa (PRCA MENA) has revealed the findings of its first Digital PR and Communications Report, with insights across the following key areas:

  • In-house budgeting for paid media continues to rise
  • Web design and build is a huge growth area for PR and communications agencies as service is increasingly combined with PR
  • Huge expectation that digital budgets will grow over the next 12 months
  • In-house and agency staff alike do not feel they get enough training around digital

The first PRCA MENA Digital PR and Communications Report, produced in partnership with YouGov, provides a benchmark of how the PR industry is performing with digital communications.

To receive a copy of the report, contact enquiries@prca.mena.global

Attitudes and responsibilities

When asked why their brands are on social media, in-house leaders surveyed are now less likely than ever to point to negative reasons such as to address a lack of control to online reputation (17%) and to be able to respond to a crisis quickly (19%) while the biggest reasons are to increase brand awareness (52%), and to drive sales (48%).

Now more than ever, in-house teams surveyed see themselves as the owners of digital/social media strategy and execution, with agencies providing supporting roles. This raises some important questions about the role of the PR agency in digital, going forward.

In-house budgets

The mean percentage of marketing budgets spend is 51% on paid social media, closely followed by 43% on web design and build. Just under half (44%) expect their digital budget to grow in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, investment in Image based content is only 20% in comparison to 51% of budget spent on image based content in the UK.

Agencies and how they’re being used

In the past year in particular, we have seen huge growth in in-house PR departments expecting PR agencies to be able to deliver many digital service areas. The highest expectation is agencies delivering creative ideas (54%) and online media (48%)

On the PR agency side, 49% are now offering social media marketing, 41% digital media marketing, and 36% influencer outreach.

Platforms

Over the last year, in-house teams surveyed have seen the biggest growth in use of Facebook (60%) and Youtube (58%).

The biggest in-house platform losers are Pinterest and Linkedin, with a drop of 7% and 6% in usage respectively over the past year.

For agencies, the leading campaign platforms over the past year are Facebook (78%); Instagram (41%) and Youtube (45%), while it is interesting to note that Twitter use is somewhat lower at 28% compared to 95% in the UK.

Training

When asked to rate their top three, the majority of in-house comms people gain most of their social media education and insight from external training courses (26%). When asked which three things they need more education in, the biggest percentage of in-house comms people need more education/insight around digital media coverage (49%) and digital strategy (43%)

Methodology

YouGov partnered with PRCA to survey over 2,000 agency and in-house PR professionals across business services, finance and banking, technology and telecoms, charities and NGOs, Government and other sectors. In-house respondents include Directors of Marketing/Communications, Heads of Marketing/Communications, and Heads of Press/PR. Agency respondents include CEOs, MDs, Partners, and Directors.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size in 2017 was 2027 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken during April 2017. The surveys were carried out online.

PRCA MENA launches face-to-face training in Dubai

PRCA MENA has partnered with the Media Network, the news, networking and data centre for the Middle East media community, to provide half day face-to-face training courses in Dubai.

The face-to-face training is in addition to over 40 online training webinars that PRCA MENA currently offers.

All trainers have completed a rigorous assessment process and are all accredited and certified PRCA trainers.

The PRCA will be launching an initial four courses:

Developing a Social Media Strategy , with Samantha Dancy MPRCA. This course will equip you with the tools and tips to develop a communications strategy that integrates social media and traditional media effectively.

Business Development Techniques with Victoria Tomlinson MPRCA, CEO Northern Lights. This training course will teach delegates how to identify prospects, convert these to business opportunities and close the deal.

Over-servicing Clients – How to Turn Around and Make Profit with Victoria Tomlinson MPRCA, CEO Northern Lights. This half day training session will look at why over-servicing happens, setting expectations, ownership, and agreeing deliverables.

Beyond the Press Release – Writing Skills for PR in a Digital Age with Samantha Dancy MPRCA. Delegates will learn how to develop key messages and news into written content that works across various media platforms.

All training courses are certified and delegates will receive a certificate on completion.

PRCA MENA members can attend the training courses at an introductory discounted rate of 650 AED, non members 1000 AED.

PRCA MENA is preparing to launch a series of face-to-face training sessions in Arabic, which will be available later this year.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “I am very pleased to partner with The Media Network, to broaden further the range of training options available to PR and communications practitioners in Dubai. It is a key priority of the PRCA’s to improve standards within the industry, and this is an important step forward.”

Michelle Kuehn, Managing Partner, The Media Network adds, “We’re so thrilled to launch face-to-face training sessions with PRCA. Our ethos has always been to create a nurturing media community in the region, and through this step, we aim to provide access to quality training for PR professionals in Dubai.”

 

 

 

PRCA MENA is pleased to announce that it is partnering with Action UAE for the launch of its own training academy.

The CPD-accredited programme includes both face-to-face training in the region as well as online training webinars and will be overseen from PRCA MENA’s office in Dubai. PR and communications professionals will be allocated a training budget as well as a bespoke guide and staff will be able to learn new skills, develop best practice, and stay abreast of the latest developments in areas they already operate in.

The academy follows the recent success of the Qcademy by Q Communications, and the training academy at Instincif Partners.

Euan Megson MPRCA, Managing Director, Action UAE said: “We’ve invested in PRCA’s diverse and multi-faceted training programme to ensure our people stay ahead of the curve across the full spectrum of skills required in today’s constantly-evolving communications arena. Whether it’s top-up sessions for our longer-serving resources, or core education for more recent recruits, PRCA’s webinar and face-to-face options provide regular avenues for targeted training. There’s no regional equivalent to the richness and variety PRCA offers across its training modules. With Action UAE having doubled in size over the last 18 months, we’re looking forward to our people optimising these modules across all levels of our business. Learning never stops – for any of us.”

Leanne Foy MPRCA, General Manager, PRCA MENA, said: “I am thrilled that Action UAE have put together a comprehensive training plan and are investing in their staff with both internal and external training, thus developing talented PR and Communications professionals in the region.”

Social Media Photography – Shooting for Brands

Shooting photography for social media can seem a little daunting because your posts are basically going up against those of influencers – who have tens of thousands of followers – and seem to get an unachievable amount of likes on each post. These influencers also have a lot more time on their hands than the typical PR, who might have numerous accounts to manage at the same time. Posting beautiful pictures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc for multiple brands can seem like the impossible task but as we all know, a well curated, on brand, and consistent looking social account can be a fantastic foundation for the wider marketing activities for a company. I work with many brands here in Dubai (Scoopi, Sugarmoo, Wendy’s, Cafe B to name but a few), and over time I have learnt that there are a few things to think about (or not), when getting the perfect shots. Here’s six tips to make life a little easier for you…

1: Keep It Simple

 The product you’re shooting needs to be the hero of the shot, not the pretty wallpaper or the flowers that someone suggested will look nice in the background. Obviously, make sure that the colours match in the frame, but make sure there is nothing in there that will take the attention away from your product. It’s good to use props, but make sure they’re not bigger, more interesting or draw the viewers eye more than the product you are shooting. It’s easier to add things in than take them away, so start simple and then build from there. Most of the time, when you look back at your shots, the earlier ones will be the keepers.

2: Props

As a follow on from the above, and in some ways contradictory, (sorry about that), have a think about props for your shots and what could maybe enhance your images. For a coffee shop I recently shot for, we placed a magazine in the corner of the image and a hint of a computer to show a lifestyle feel, and for food photography, could having some of the raw ingredients of a strawberry cheesecake somewhere in the image help convey the taste? As above, keep it simple and don’t clutter the frame, also, make sure the props you use are relevant.

3: Plan Ahead

Before you start to shoot anything, sit with your team, your brand and ideally the photographer to understand the look and feel of what you’re after before you pick up the camera. Look through Instagram and make a mood board of pictures and accounts that you like and want to mimic. It’s much easier to achieve a consistent look and feel when there is a clear cut palette of colours, angles (top down / 90 degrees), and also an idea of lighting. These may sound like things for a photographer to worry about, but everything will run much smoother with these elements agreed before the shoot. Even if you’re shooting this on your own with an iPhone, planning will save time and help with consistency.

4: Lighting

Lighting is key for all good photography, and this is especially true if you’re shooting with an iPhone on a budget for social. Start paying attention to light wherever you are… how do the shadows look? Are they harsh? Are they soft? Is the space you are shooting in only lit by unnatural light such as you get in a mall? As a really basic rule, natural indirect sunlight works best for food, and for products, you need a but more thought to get that polished look. It’s genuinely amazing what can be shot on a phone with two simple table lamps and a couple of pieces of white card, and obviously this only gets better with the more professional equipment you have access to. Also, if you’re shooting outside, avoid the middle of the day with direct sunlight and aim for the start of the day or the end of the day (the golden hours for photography). All of the above is worth considering, and next time you look at a photograph, try to think about where the light source is, what the shadows are doing, and how you could replicate this. Honestly, the more you think about this and notice the light, the better your images will be.

5: Editing – PUT THOSE FILTERS DOWN!

This section is down to taste, as is all photography, and everyone has a different idea of what is acceptable in regards to filters and editing. Speaking personally, I like to try and keep the images as natural as possible, and not add too much of a filter to an image. It can be very frustrating when you’ve edited an image and when a brand posts the image on Instagram, the colours are completely off because of the filters that have been added. Like I say, this is completely down to taste, and if this is what the brand wants, then sure, go ahead and do it. But just be careful. If you want a consistent look and feel to your feeds, a whole range of filters used on a page can make things feel disjointed. Editing is an art, and a lot of photographers even use external sources to edit their images as they appreciate that taking photographs and editing are two separate skills to have. As a rule, learn how to use a program like Lightroom to colour correct your images, and make sure that things are consistent.

6: Hire a professional

If all of the above seems like too much to get to grips with (let’s face it, you’re probably busy enough right now), seriously think about hiring a professional to take your social images for you. You can shoot these in batches over the year to ensure you have enough content to keep your brands social feeds full, and also schedule ahead of time so it turns into a monthly task rather than a daily one. With proper planning and execution, there is no reason that social photography needs to be a headache. Also, if you can, try to work with the same photographer on a long term basis to help get better rates, and also so the photographer understands your brands, understands you and so that everyone can grow together. 

Mark Field – www.markfieldphotography.com – Ex-PR turned photographer based in the Middle-East.

Weber Shandwick team win MENA Young Lions PR Competition

PRCA MENA is pleased to announce that the Weber Shandwick team of Angelina Hedra and Viviana Villasmil have won the MENA Young Lions PR Competition, and will go on to represent the region at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, sponsored by ICCO.

This is the second year PRCA MENA has run the competition which this year saw over 20 entries from teams of two under the age of 30. Teams responded to a brief from Dubai Cares, which performed as the ‘client’. Each team had 24 hours to create a creative and effective campaign.

The Weber Shandwick team won with their ‘#spareoneminuteforchange’ campaign.

Alex Malouf, Jury Chair, Proctor and Gamble said: “There was so much energy, enthusiasm and creativity on display during this year’s MENA Young Lions PR Competition. We were impressed by many of the entries, and it’s fair to say that the region has a strong pipeline of talent on the agency side. Well done to all the entrants, and especially the finalists. The winners of this round will do us proud in Cannes.”

Andreas Keller, Managing Director, Weber Shandwick MENA, Dubai, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Angelina and Viviana were selected by the PRCA to represent the Middle East PR industry at the Young Lions Competition this summer.

“We’ve had many Weber Shandwick teams take part in this competition over the last two years as it provides an excellent platform for young PR professionals to experience the realities of developing integrated campaigns for clients in a pressured environment. Producing Cannes Lions award winning work is something all agencies aspire to do so this is will undoubtedly be a very memorable and enriching experience for both consultants.”