Indian PR: Looking for balance between Atmanirbharta and global consolidations

India’s booming economy has become a magnet for international players, and the PR industry is no exception, with the entry of established foreign firms through acquisitions altering the landscape, particularly for independent and mid-sized agencies. The first part of this story analyzed the acquisitions by international PR firms in India during the last two decades, and the resultant opportunities and challenges, especially for mid-sized firms.The second part of this feature dives deep into this dynamic shift, exploring how these acquisitions are impacting strategies, operations, and the very future of Indian PR. We will examine the challenges and opportunities presented by this consolidation wave, and what it means for the competitiveness and innovation of the industry as a whole.Also read:The most transitional shifts in Indian PR: One acquisition at a time - Part 1Consolidation and self-relianceUltimately, achieving self-reliance (Atmanirbharta) in the PR industry requires a deep understanding of regional dynamics and market nuances, points out Bhaskar Majumdar, Head – Marketing Communication, CSR and Digital, India and South Asia, Egis.According to him, strategic foresight, innovative service delivery, and effective talent management will be pivotal for mid-sized firms to thrive amidst evolving industry dynamics and global competition.“The entry of international PR firms into the Indian market through acquisitions is significantly reshaping the strategies and operations of independent and mid-sized PR firms across the country. The presence of international firms with global expertise and extensive resources intensifies competition for both clients and talent. Independent and mid-sized PR firms are compelled to enhance their service offerings, innovate more aggressively, and differentiate themselves in specialized niches to remain competitive. International firms bring best practices and advanced technologies to the table, raising the bar for service standards in the Indian PR industry. This pushes local firms to adopt new technologies, improve operational efficiency, and elevate their overall service quality to meet client expectations,” says Majumdar.He further adds that the entry of international PR firms introduces global perspectives and practices into the Indian market. This can lead to a cultural exchange of ideas, methodologies, and strategies, enriching the capabilities of local firms and enabling them to offer more diverse solutions to clients.Majumdar stresses on the importance of fostering ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in PR.“The consolidation wave affects talent dynamics in the industry. While larger firms may attract top talent with global exposure opportunities, mid-sized and independent firms can differentiate themselves by offering more personalized career growth paths, entrepreneurial environments, and specialized training. The challenge lies in comprehending the dynamic nuances of the Indian market, where indigenous firms inherently possess an advantage. In PR, fostering ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is crucial. Larger Indian firms, leveraging their deep-seated understanding of local market intricacies, naturally maintain an edge over competitors. While the consolidation of international PR firms in India brings challenges for smaller players, it also presents opportunities for growth, specialization, and professional advancement. The future of the Indian PR industry looks poised for transformation, driven by global integration, higher standards, and enhanced client outcomes through strategic partnerships and innovative practices,” he concludes.<img src='\4f23af0ae495077f5103e00b1d6d4a86.jpeg' class='content_image'>Rishi Seth, Founder and CEO, Evoc Communications, reckons that many international clients find it easier to work with their international counterparts in PR and advertising due to standardisation of processes and client experience across countries. This, he adds, obviously presents challenges to independent firms, who will inevitably have a unique culture and service delivery standards, leading to a client experience that may be very different from the global network firms (important to note that even international firms are not homogenous, and thus, will have differentiated processes even among themselves).According to Seth, the key for the independent firms is to invest in elevating and differentiating their client experience to compete effectively and meaningfully with international firms. “This calls for world-class systems and processes and a quality-oriented culture. Other possible strategies can include developing competitive advantages through deep local insights and stakeholder relationships, which may not be easily replicable by foreign firms. These strategies definitively work – as is evidenced by the fact that the largest PR firm in India by a huge margin is still an independent Indian firm,” he adds.A word of cautionThere is a word of caution from Akshara Lalwani, Founder and CEO, Communicate India. International firms, she warns, must be cautious about buying past successes, for, the future of PR lies in innovation and adaptability, not in traditional methods.“Despite numerous international firms entering the Indian market, success has been limited. Many have entered through acquisitions only to exit later, as the disparity between the global and Indian models remains significant. This makes it challenging for international companies to scout quality acquisitions and maintain a positive ROI. Until the Indian market matures and globalizes further, this disparity will persist,” she notes.According to Lalwani, the challenges include:Increased competition: The entry of well-established international players intensifies competition. Mid-sized firms must continually innovate and differentiate themselves to maintain and grow their market share.Cultural and operational differences: International firms often face challenges in adapting to the unique cultural and operational nuances of the Indian market. This can create a complex environment for mid-sized firms navigating collaborations or competing with these global entities.Retention and talent acquisition: The competition for top talent becomes fiercer with the presence of international firms. Mid-sized firms need to invest more in retaining their key talent and attracting new ones to stay competitive.The future of the Indian PR industryThe Indian PR industry is at crossroads. Consolidation, fueled by international acquisitions, is reshaping the landscape. But what does this mean for the future? While consolidation will drive professionalism and innovation, there can be increased pressure on independent firms, potentially leading to further consolidation.The Indian PR industry, fueled by entrepreneurial spirit, is not yet in a consolidation phase, remarks Vikram Kharvi, CEO, Bloomingdale PR. According to him, unlike saturated markets where consolidation is more common, the Indian PR landscape remains relatively young and vibrant, with ample room for the emergence of new firms. He reminds us that the notion of a consolidation wave does not accurately capture the current state of the industry.“Instead, what we are witnessing is a phase of dynamic growth and expansion. New players continue to enter the market, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to public relations. This period of growth ensures a competitive and diverse environment, fostering creativity and allowing more firms to thrive. While larger entities may acquire smaller firms to enhance their capabilities, this trend is part of the industry’s evolution rather than a sign of consolidation. The future of the Indian PR industry will likely be characterized by continued diversification and the rise of new entrepreneurial ventures, driving the sector forward,” Kharvi concludes.While the PR industry worldwide is witnessing a wave of consolidation, with established giants merging and acquiring smaller players, India presents a slightly different picture, points out Rishi Seth. Here, he adds, the trend has been more towards outright acquisitions by international firms. However, it is important to note that the Indian PR scene is a breeding ground for new agencies. He thinks that this constant influx of young, dynamic firms, led by both seasoned and emerging communication professionals, suggests a more optimistic outlook. So, unlike the global consolidation trend, the Indian PR landscape might be headed for a future brimming with diverse players, creating a richer and more competitive ecosystem, Seth concludes.Akshara Lalwani is certain that the consolidation wave is likely to drive the Indian PR industry towards greater professionalism and sophistication. While the entry of international firms brings challenges, it also fosters a more competitive and innovative environment.Lalwani stresses that the future success of PR firms in India will depend on their ability to adapt to changing market dynamics, embrace new technologies, and offer value-driven services.As the market continues to globalize, the gap between global and Indian models is expected to narrow, leading to a more integrated and mature PR landscape in India, she concludes.Ashraf Engineer, Head of Strategy, Ideosphere, foresees that the pressure on independent and mid-sized firms to raise their game will increase. This might mean they too would look for investments or outright acquisitions.“Growth is the mantra, in my view, for survival. And you need investment to fuel it. While the industry has been in consolidation mode for a while, there are still attractive targets for the picking. Global groups will have their eyes on them. In my view, we will continue to see consolidation for at least five more years. I believe it is good for the Indian PR industry for the reasons outlined before,” Engineer says.However, he does not believe that all Indian agencies will look to sell. He states that there are major independent players that have resisted the temptation to sell outright or part with a stake. “And they’re doing very well. Once the dust has settled, what we’ll have is a layered industry that comprises agencies of varying sizes, independent and otherwise, each layer catering to different budgets and client needs,” concludes Engineer.

How Ethical Practices Enhance the Effectiveness of Public Relations

Authored By Deepak Jolly, Director & Founder, Consocia AdvisoryThe dilemma many PR specialists face is whether to simply listen to the client or also guide them towards the right actions. Often, they succumb to the pressure of "the client is always right," which can lead to compromised planning and outreach to stakeholders.When defining the goal, vision, and mission of a PR agency, strong values are essential. Through internal deliberations, seven core values were identified to guide interactions with clients and stakeholders.The seven values are Integrity, Accountability, Passion, Co-Creation, Agility, Outside-in Approach, and Leveraging the Network. Let’s highlight the first five values, which are critical and bring out the best in PR.The first value is Integrity. Building relationships on honesty and trust is crucial. As the interface between the client and stakeholders, it is the PR professional's responsibility to convey the client's story accurately. Choosing clients carefully and ensuring a shared language and ethical principles are fundamental aspects of maintaining integrity.The second value is Accountability. Taking pride and ownership in deliverables, committed to achieving tasks with integrity within a given timeframe, is essential. Accountability means being answerable for actions and ensuring efforts align with the client's goals while maintaining ethical standards.Passion is the third and distinguishing value. Loving storytelling and reenergizing oneself daily to enjoy the work drives success and sets one apart from other PR consultants. Enthusiasm ensures a creative and dedicated approach to each project, making a meaningful impact.Co-creation, the fourth value, emphasizes the importance of working together to leverage each other’s strengths and ideas. PR does not exist in isolation, making this value crucial for professionals. Collaborating with clients and stakeholders fosters innovation and ensures that diverse perspectives are considered.Agility, the fifth value, underscores the importance of speed in execution. Honesty and transparency are critical, but so is the ability to act swiftly. In the fast-paced world of PR, being agile allows professionals to respond to changing circumstances and seize opportunities promptly.Most global companies are process-driven and seek PR and Public Policy support that understands ethics and compliance. Having worked in major corporations, the importance of the Code of Conduct (COC) and other policies, such as the Anti-Corruption Policy, is well understood. These guidelines are essential for PR professionals to adhere to, as large listed companies are always under scrutiny. Adhering to these policies ensures the maintenance of the highest standards of ethical conduct in all interactions.In conclusion, PR has become an extremely important function for any organization as it builds reputation. This reputation cannot be established unless the team operates with ethics as a guiding principle. Upholding ethical standards in PR is not just a responsibility but a commitment to fostering trust and credibility in every communication. Core values serve as the foundation for ethical PR practices, ensuring exceptional results while maintaining the highest standards of integrity and accountability.

Shagun Sharma of Teamology PR discusses leadership, and the Future of PR

Shagun Sharma is a key member of Teamology PR, a premier public relations and digital marketing firm. With a keen eye for detail and a strategic mindset, Sharma plays a pivotal role in crafting and executing effective communication strategies that elevate brand presence and drive engagement. Her expertise in media relations, content creation, and digital outreach has significantly contributed to the success of numerous high-profile campaigns.In conversation with Adgully, Shagun Sharma, Branding and Communication Head, Teamology PR, speaks about the evolving landscape of public relations and digital marketing, the importance of strategic communication in building brand reputation, and the impact of digital media in today’s business environment. She shares insights on how businesses can leverage PR to achieve their goals, navigate media relations, and create compelling content that resonates with their target audience.What motivated you to pursue a career in PR, and how did you initially break into the industry?I was always fascinated with the work that PR agencies do in terms of branding and reputation management. I joined Teamology because of their positive work culture, opportunities for growth and learning, and their openness to fresh ideas. This environment gives me the freedom to learn, make mistakes, and grow both personally and professionally.How do you approach leadership and mentorship within your teams, and what qualities do you believe are essential for effective leadership in corporate communications?Leadership is more than just guidance; it’s a way of thinking, learning, and, most importantly, communicating. At Teamology, I approach leadership by fostering an environment of collaboration and open dialogue. I believe that effective leadership in corporate communications requires empathy, transparency, and the ability to inspire and motivate the team. By encouraging team members to share their ideas and take risks, we promote creativity and innovation. Mentorship is about nurturing talent and providing the support needed for growth. I strive to lead by example, demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning and adaptability in an ever-evolving industry.Could you describe a pivotal moment or project in your career that significantly contributed to your growth and success in the field of branding and communication strategy?The fact that we have served more than 5,000 startups and brands to date gives me immense pleasure. Helping these small-scale businesses gain the visibility they deserve has been life-changing. This project not only highlighted the impact of inclusive and innovative strategies, but also reinforced my vision of supporting entrepreneurs and emerging startups. Seeing the tangible results of our work, such as increased brand recognition and business growth for our clients, has been incredibly rewarding and has significantly contributed to my professional development and success in branding and communication strategy.Looking ahead, where do you see yourself and your career in the next five years, and what new goals or aspirations do you have for your professional journey?In the next five years, I see myself continuing to grow within Teamology, taking on more leadership responsibilities and contributing to the digital revolution in PR. I aspire to spearhead initiatives that further democratise access to PR services and enhance our technological capabilities. My goal is to drive significant industry changes and ensure Teamology remains at the forefront of innovation.What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your role, and how have you navigated these complexities to achieve successful outcomes?Challenges in terms of technological shifts are significant, as technology evolves rapidly with new trends emerging daily. To stay ahead of the competition, we have a team of professionals constantly working to achieve desired results. Teamology, being a leading PR tech firm, provides the necessary resources and support, enabling us to navigate these complexities and deliver exceptional services to our clients.How do you stay updated with the latest trends and innovations in branding, content creation, and media planning to ensure your strategies remain relevant and impactful?To stay updated with the latest trends and innovations, I engage in continuous learning and professional development. This includes attending industry conferences, participating in webinars, and conducting research on ongoing trends in the industry. I also actively network with other professionals to exchange insights and ideas. By staying informed, I can provide brands with the best PR guidance they need to build a successful brand and create an impact among audiences. This commitment to staying current ensures that I will keep on learning to ensure seamless communications and positive outcomes for our clients at Teamology.

Fostering creativity in PR: Balancing innovation and client expectations

Authored by Neha Gour, President , PR24x7In the dynamic and fast-paced world of public relations (PR), creativity and innovation are not just advantageous—they are essential. PR professionals are expected to think outside the box, crafting unique strategies that will help their clients’ brands stand out in a crowded marketplace. However, this creative process can be stifled by undue pressure, leading to outcomes that are less than ideal. Striking the right balance between innovation and client expectations is crucial for the success of any PR campaign. This article explores how PR professionals can foster creativity, manage pressure, and build strong partnerships with their clients.The Essence of Creativity in PRThinking Outside the BoxCreativity is the driving force of PR. It is what allows professionals to develop compelling narratives, build unique campaigns, and execute strategies that capture the Audience attention. Whether it’s a viral social media campaign, a informative press release, or an innovative event, creativity is what makes a PR campaign memorable and effective.For instance, consider the "Share a Coke" campaign by Coca-Cola. By replacing the brand's logo with popular names on bottles, Coca-Cola created a personalized experience for consumers, encouraging them to share their own stories and photos. This campaign not only increased sales but also boosted brand engagement and loyalty.The Impact of PressureWhile creativity is crucial, it thrives best in an environment free from excessive pressure. When professionals are overwhelmed with stress, their ability to think fruitful can be significantly hindered. This can lead to uninspired ideas, missed opportunities, and even negative outcomes for clients.Research has shown that high levels of stress can impair cognitive function, making it difficult for individuals to generate creative ideas and solutions. In the PR industry, where the stakes are often high and deadlines are tight, finding ways to manage and mitigate stress is essential.Building Strong Client PartnershipsUnderstanding Client NeedsOne of the most important aspects of successful PR work is understanding the client’s needs and aspirations. This requires more than just listening to what the client says; it involves digging deeper to uncover their true goals, challenges, and opportunities.For example, when PR professionals work with a startup, they need to understand the company's vision, target audience, and competitive landscape. By doing so, they can develop strategies that align with the startup's objectives and help them achieve their growth targets.The Symbiotic RelationshipWhen PR professionals and clients work together collaboratively, they can form a symbiotic relationship that enhances the brand’s image and reputation. This partnership approach allows for a more holistic view of the brand’s journey, enabling the PR team to craft strategies that are both impactful and aligned with the client’s goals.Take the collaboration between Airbnb and its PR team, for example. When the company faced regulatory challenges and public skepticism, the PR team worked closely with Airbnb to develop a strategy that highlighted the positive economic impact of home-sharing on local communities. This not only helped improve public perception but also supported the company's regulatory efforts.Strategies for Balancing Creativity and PressureCreating a Supportive Work EnvironmentTo foster creativity, PR agencies need to create a supportive work environment that encourages innovation and minimizes stress. This can involve providing employees with the resources they need, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and encouraging open communication and collaboration.For instance, Google is known for its supportive work environment that fosters creativity and innovation. The company offers flexible work hours, numerous employee wellness programs, and an open office layout that encourages collaboration. These initiatives have helped Google maintain its reputation as one of the most innovative companies in the world.Setting Realistic ExpectationsManaging client expectations is another crucial aspect of balancing creativity and pressure. PR professionals need to set realistic timelines and deliverables, ensuring that both parties are on the same page from the outset. This can help prevent last-minute rushes and reduce the stress associated with tight deadlines.Encouraging CollaborationCollaboration is key to fostering creativity and managing pressure. When PR professionals work together, they can share ideas, provide feedback, and support each other through challenging tasks. This collaborative approach can lead to more innovative solutions and a more cohesive team dynamic.For example, the PR team behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge worked collaboratively to create a viral campaign that raised awareness and funds for ALS research. By encouraging participants to film themselves dumping ice water over their heads and challenging others to do the same, the team created a movement that spread rapidly across social media, raising millions of dollars for the cause.The Role of TechnologyLeveraging Digital ToolsTechnology can play a significant role in enhancing creativity and managing pressure in PR. Digital tools such as social media analytics, content management systems, and project management software can streamline processes, provide valuable insights, and facilitate communication.Staying Updated with TrendsThe PR industry is constantly evolving, with new trends and technologies emerging regularly. Staying updated with these trends can help PR professionals remain innovative and competitive. This can involve attending industry conferences, participating in webinars, and following relevant publications and thought leaders.For example, the rise of influencer marketing has transformed the PR landscape. By partnering with social media influencers, brands can reach new audiences and build credibility in a way that traditional advertising cannot. PR professionals who stay ahead of this trend can leverage it to create impactful campaigns for their clients.At the end would like to say that balancing creativity and pressure in public relations is essential for delivering successful campaigns and building strong client partnerships. By fostering a supportive work environment, setting realistic expectations, encouraging collaboration, and leveraging technology, PR professionals can enhance their creative output and manage stress effectively.Ultimately, the key to success in PR lies in the partnership approach. When PR professionals and clients work together as partners, they can achieve remarkable results, proving themselves invaluable assets to each other. By fostering a culture of creativity and collaboration, the PR industry can continue to innovate and drive excellence in brand enhancement.

Steering Through the Storm: Can AI assist?

Authored by Shivaram Lakshminarayan, COO, Ruder Finn IndiaIn the age of instant information, crises can erupt and spread like wildfire. While speed will always be a critical denominator, evaluating all possible scenarios, its impact and outcomes cannot be ignored. A single misstep, a misinterpreted tweet, or a product malfunction can trigger a PR nightmare with lasting consequences for the brand and its customers. In this high-stakes environment, effective crisis communication is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity.Traditionally, crisis communications relied on carefully drafted press statements, well-orchestrated conferences, and television interviews to control the narrative and minimize negative publicity. This deliberate and controlled approach allowed organizations to prepare detailed statements and ensure accurate representation through direct outreach to journalists.In today’s data-driven world, AI enabled algorithms enable corporates to predict audience sentiments, their triggers and preempt any possible fallouts, which is particularly useful for identifying gaps before they become full-blown crises. AI has become a very useful tool for navigating crises enabling organizations to craft targeted messages, optimize response strategies, and mitigate damage effectively.The Power of Real-Time Data in Gauging Public SentimentIn any crisis, time is of the essence. Those of us in corporate communications and reputation management must always stay prepared. At all times. For anything. And we must be truthful and authentic in our narrative. Trying to "spin" the story for journalists, industry stakeholders, community leaders, or elected officials in the face of tragedies is futile.The advent of social media has transformed crisis communication. Organizations must now respond quickly and transparently to address issues and engage with stakeholders online. Managing real-time conversations and rapidly spreading information demands proactive and responsive communication efforts.Given the scenario, one of the most significant advantages of analytics in crisis communication lies in its ability to provide real-time insights into public sentiment. Social media platforms have become the primary battleground for crisis narratives.Tools like social media listening platforms allow organizations to monitor conversations, identify emerging trends, and understand how the public perceives the crisis. For instance, during a recent product recall, a company used social media analytics to identify a prominent blogger who was spreading misinformation. By promptly reaching out and providing accurate information, the company was able to prevent the misinformation from gaining traction and minimize potential damage.Crisis Prediction: Moving Beyond Reactive ResponsesCrisis communication has traditionally been reactive, but analytics enables a proactive approach. Predictive analytics analyze historical data to identify patterns signaling potential crises and enhance preparedness by examining past crises, customer sentiment, and weather patterns, allowing organizations to build early warning systems.In addition, analytics aids resource allocation by identifying likely needed resources, ensuring their availability. This proactive approach minimizes delays and streamlines crisis response. It can further help simulate crisis scenarios and test communication strategies, allowing organizations to refine messaging and identify weaknesses before a real crisis occurs.Moreover, a one-size-fits-all approach to crisis communication rarely works. Analytics empowers organizations to tailor their messages to the needs and concerns of specific demographics, transforming data into meaningful insights.Measuring the Impact: Learning from ExperienceAnalyzing past product failures, customer complaints, and market trends can help predict future issues that might lead to a crisis. Regular data analysis on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis reveals patterns and highlights significant coverage.While daily media coverage assessment can spot notable mentions, it can also lead to information overload and hinder PR teams. Stepping back to view long-term data helps identify the most important trends. For example, a social media spike may seem significant, but closer analysis might reveal it originates from a single, insignificant source. This detailed examination helps pinpoint truly important and actionable information.Analytics tools like SONAR are revolutionizing risk management. Now in its fifth iteration, our AI-powered SONAR platform simulates hyper-realistic crisis situations, enabling clients to test their preparedness. With interactive features, it identifies areas of concern for pre-emptive planning and proposes practical solutions. Multi-lingual, SONAR can simulate scenarios for single markets or global teams of up to 100 people, enhancing crisis planning effectiveness. The platform empowers organizations to identify planning gaps and propose practical, workable, real-world solutions and mitigate risks and respond swiftly.??The Way ForwardIn today’s fast-paced world, where crises can escalate in moments, analytics is indispensable. From early detection and real-time monitoring to data-driven decision-making, targeted messaging, and post-crisis evaluation, analytics provides the necessary tools to navigate perceptions and to protect reputation. Organizations leveraging analytics can better manage crises, customer experiences and emerge stronger. As technology evolves, analytics will play an even more integral role, driving innovation and better preparedness for the future.

Beyond referrals: Building your doctor brand in the digital age

In today's digital world, personal branding is no longer a choice for medical professionals; it is a need. The conventional approach of a doctor developing their business primarily through referrals and word-of-mouth is altering. Patients are increasingly using the internet to investigate doctors before scheduling an appointment. As a result, it is critical for doctors to have a robust digital presence. Doctors need to showcase their domain expertise by sharing invaluable information to patients thereby gaining trust as well as building a community. Doctors can build a personal brand through public relations by engaging with the community, sharing expertise in media and journals, and participating in public events. This approach showcases their knowledge and care, creating trust without direct advertising. Here’s how PR can help doctors create a personal brand without advertising themselves.Create a Professional Website:Your website serves as your practice's digital front door. Make sure it matches your professional image, is simple to use, and informative. Please provide details about your training, job history, services offered, and any related certifications. Update information often to demonstrate your commitment to staying current in the business.Optimising online profiles:Fill out and update your entries on review websites, professional networking sites, and healthcare directories on a consistent basis. Provide a professional biography, specific contact information, and details about your practice. This raises awareness and accessibility for prospective patients seeking reliable medical practitioners.Patient testimonials and reviews:Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive feedback on reputable review platforms. React professionally and compassionately to both positive and negative feedback. This improves your online reputation and demonstrates your dedication to patient pleasure and continuous improvement.Engaging Social Media:Choose social media platforms that support your career goals. Provide informative health advice, news, and updates on an ongoing basis. Interact with your audience by responding swiftly to messages and comments. Social media is a great way to personalise your practice and engage with people on a more personal level.Educational content:Distribute instructional and useful information in your field of expertise. These might be quick 3D films, infographics, or blog posts. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your business by providing intelligent comments that are relevant to your target audience.Continuous Monitoring:Set up Google Alerts for your name and regularly monitor your web visibility. Correct any incorrect information immediately, and take aggressive actions to protect your internet reputation by monitoring patient evaluations.Using Telehealth Platforms:If appropriate, consider offering telehealth services and advertising them online. Emphasise the accessibility and convenience of virtual visits, and provide patients with clear instructions on how to schedule them.Online Security and Privacy:Make internet privacy and security a top concern. Instruct your employees on the most secure ways to handle patient data on the internet, and ensure that all applicable data protection and healthcare regulations are followed.Creating a personal brand through a digital presence is a dynamic and continuing endeavour. It's an excellent tool for doctors looking to recruit new patients, build trust, and cultivate a loyal patient base. You can efficiently establish and maintain a strong digital brand by creating a professional website, using social media, publishing high-quality content, optimising for search engines, maintaining your reputation, networking, and remaining up to date. By doing so, you not only improve your profession but also positively contribute to the health and well-being of your community.

Suzy Goulding on what makes an effective sustainability strategy works in APAC

In an exclusive interview with Adgully Asia, Suzy Goulding, Asia Lead at Salterbaxter and Head of Sustainability for APAC & MEA at MSL Group, shares her insights on developing impactful sustainability strategies for diverse sectors. Goulding emphasizes the importance of sector-specific challenges, the client's ambition, and corporate confidence in driving sustainable changes. She also discusses the integration of purpose into sustainability strategies, enhancing employee engagement, managing organisational change, and emerging trends that will shape sustainability strategies in the APAC region. Additionally, Goulding highlights how Publicis Groupe differentiates itself in the sustainability consulting space within the region.Can you describe your approach to developing effective sustainability strategies for clients across diverse sectors?There are lots of elements to take into account when helping a client develop their sustainability strategy. Of course, sector-specific challenges need to be taken into consideration, for example legislative and compliance changes or sector-driven expectations. But also important is assessing a client’s level of ambition (are they just looking to tick legislative boxes or do they want to be sector leaders in sustainability?) and corporate levels of confidence around implementing sustainable changes.How do you integrate purpose into sustainability strategies to ensure they resonate with both internal and external stakeholders?Rather than talk about ‘purpose’ I think it makes more sense to talk about ‘materiality’ i.e. what matters most to both internal and external stakeholders when it comes to what a company produces or offers and what is the potential positive and negative sustainable impact of those products / services? Of course, any sustainability strategy should also be aligned to a company’s purpose in that it should set the tone for how that purpose is implemented and amplified both within and beyond the business.What are some successful methods you've used to enhance employee engagement and internal communications around sustainability initiatives?Key is involving employees in a company’s sustainability journey from the outset. Only then will you ensure you have understanding and crucially buy-in for what will inevitably be change within the business. You must ensure first that there is buy-in and commitment from the leadership and that this is communicated clearly throughout the business, at every level. Employees need to also understand how and when they can play an active role in sustainable change and what it means for their particular job. Meet employees where they are – get to understand and utilise the ways in which they communicate within and across departments and peer groups. And finally, you need to be able to answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question. Most of us are uncomfortable with change so we need to know why we should care about those changes, how they will affect us personally, and how we can get involved in implementing those changes.How do you manage change within organisations to align them with new sustainability goals, and what challenges have you encountered?Change is only possible within organisations when everyone from the top down is invested in that change. So a lot of stakeholdering and advocacy is always needed. Getting buy-in from the leadership is usually the easy part as we tend to be invited in by C-suite to help them drive progress. Common challenges include getting middle managers on board who typically will have KPIs built around efficiencies, sales or productivity. And they are crucial to have on-side because it is usually through this layer of management that you can connect and engage with other employees. So you need to meet them where they are and talk about sustainable change in a way that resonates with them. How will it make their jobs easier? How can it help drive efficiencies? How will it make them stand out from competitors?Can you share an example of a successful stakeholder management or consultation process that significantly impacted a client’s sustainability efforts?We worked with a large electronics company on developing their regional sustainability strategy across Southeast Asia. The challenge was a lack of understanding and confidence around what sustainable changes they should be making and how to get started. Our strategy was to get under the skin of the business by spending a lot of time with business units and interviewing teams and individuals so we understood their challenges and could help identify possible opportunities for addressing those challenges in a sustainable way; we then involved as many employees as possible in the development of the sustainability strategy – brainstorming ideas, encouraging them to collaborate across business units and challenge each other. This approach meant that when we launched the strategy we had immediate buy-in – crucial to ensure that strategy turned into action – and actions that felt achievable, thus helping to build that much-needed corporate confidence to set them up for success and more ambitious actions in the future.What emerging trends in sustainability do you believe will shape the strategies of companies in the APAC region over the next few years?The APAC region is seeing sustainable change within companies at a slower pace than Europe or the US, as the legislation is not there yet in a lot of countries to help drive change. This will evolve over time. Many APAC countries are already witnessing the impact of climate change and the havoc that severe heat or rainfall can cause; so I am hopeful that in the absence of legislation that this exposure will convince more companies to take sustainability seriously.We are an innovative region and the solutions to many sustainability challenges will be found via the way we innovate in products and services. Companies in APAC need to recognise the commercial and reputational benefits to be had by investing in innovative solutions to these challenges.AI is already transforming the way many of us do business, and I see great opportunities for deployment within sustainability, not least because the biggest headache for most companies who are looking to comply with sustainability legislations or simply want to become more sustainable businesses is data collection and analysis on energy use, utilities use, etc. AI has the potential to make this process faster and more accurate.How does Publicis Groupe, particularly MSL and Salterbaxter, differentiate itself in the sustainability consulting space within the APAC region?Publicis Groupe is serious about both its own sustainability commitments and how it can help its clients on their sustainability journey. If we look at advertising first, the Groupe has developed proprietary tools and processes designed to help companies take a more sustainable approach to developing and executing campaigns which reduce emissions without negatively impacting consumer reach and engagement. For example, our emissions tool A.L.I.C.E. (Advertising Limiting Impacts & Carbon Emissions) can measure carbon footprint of campaigns from the shoot through to deployment. The data can then be used by Groupe agencies and clients to make informed decisions on where more sustainable approaches can be adopted for future campaigns.The combination of Salterbaxter (our sustainability consultancy network) and MSL (our reputation and comms consultancy network) means we can offer clients end-to-end sustainability support and advisory, from strategic development, material assessment and ambition-setting through to narrative and messaging development and campaign development to amplify sustainability achievements. We are the only holding company who can offer credible sustainability expertise coupled with a creative approach to communicating sustainability to maximise competitive and reputational advantage. We believe that’s a pretty compelling and powerful proposition.

Sanjeev Anand charts out the road ahead for Dentsu Creative PR

In a strategic move to align more closely with the evolving needs of its clients, Dentsu Creative India has restructured its creative business. The new formation comprises three distinct portfolio brands: Dentsu Creative Webchutney, Dentsu Creative Isobar, and Dentsu Creative PR. This reorganization aims to leverage the unique strengths of each brand to provide comprehensive, tailored solutions in the realms of creative media, digital experiences, and public relations.Dentsu Creative Webchutney, renowned for its groundbreaking campaigns, continues to push the boundaries of advertising and media engagement.Dentsu Creative Isobar, a leader in digital transformation, focuses on creating immersive, user-centric digital experiences.Completing the trio, Dentsu Creative PR specializes in public relations, offering strategic communication solutions to build and maintain a positive brand image. With a keen understanding of the media landscape and consumer behavior, Dentsu Creative PR crafts compelling narratives that resonate with target audiences and bolster client reputations.Also read:Webchutney and Isobar are complementary pillars of Dentsu Creative: Amit WadhwaDentsu Creative Promotes Surjo Dutt To CCO - Dentsu Creative WebchutneyTo understand the reimagining and strategic communication, and the impact of Dentsu Creative PR on Dentsu Creative, Adgully spoke to Sanjeev Anand, President, Dentsu Creative PR, to know what Dentsu PR brings to the table in terms of clients and brands and more.Talking about Dentsu Creative PR reimagining and reintroducing the creative business within the PR landscape, Sanjeev Anand, elaborated, “At Dentsu Creative PR, we are at the vanguard of reshaping the creative business within the PR landscape through the seamless integration of innovative storytelling, data-driven insights, and cutting-edge technology. Our approach is centered on providing holistic and impactful communication solutions that connect with diverse audiences across a variety of media. By leveraging our vast network and the promotion of collaborative and innovative culture, we ensure that our clients’ communications reach and deeply engage their intended audiences, resulting in significant outcomes and enduring relationships.”Dentsu Creative PR’s operations integrate with the broader Dentsu Creative frameworkAnand said, “Dentsu Creative’s broader framework enhances the functionality of Dentsu Creative PR. Utilizing the resources and synergies of a vast framework, Dentsu Creative PR functions as a crucial component of the larger Dentsu Creative network. It allows us to offer clients holistic solutions to their business challenges all under one roof. Through the integration of Dentsu’s capabilities we have strengthened our capacity to provide comprehensive and innovative solutions. To improve efficiency and effectiveness, recent changes have focused on streamlining operations, enhancing collaboration across teams, and implementing advanced technologies. We now work on clusters, serving the top clients of Dentsu India and not merely on public relations. Such initiatives are intended to provide our clients with seamless and superior service, keeping us at the forefront of the industry.”Unique values that Dentsu Creative PR bring to the tableAnand, emphasized, “Dentsu Creative is driven by the philosophy of ‘Innovating to Impact’. With a combination of creative innovation, strategic insights, and global reach, Dentsu Creative PR brings a unique value proposition to the table. Our ability to craft engrossing narratives that resonate with diverse audiences while utilizing data and technology to maximize engagement and impact is what makes us strong. We excel in brand management, strategic communications and crisis communications, ensuring that our clients' brands are not only visible but also significant and relevant. Our integrated approach, combined with a deep understanding of market dynamics and consumer behavior enables us to deliver exceptional public relations, client engagement, and brand management results.”Dentsu Creative PR’s approach client relationsAnand shared, “Our client relations strategy is based on a foundation of openness, trust, and customized solutions. We place high priority on the unique needs and objectives of each of our clients, allowing us to create customized strategies that deliver outstanding results. Regular communication, proactive problem-solving, and a commitment to excellence are at the core of our service philosophy. By continuously seeking feedback and adapting to the evolving landscape, we ensure that we not only meet but exceed clients’ expectations, fostering long-term partnerships and achieving the highest level of client satisfaction.”Vision for the futureSpeaking about his vision for the future of Dentsu Creative PR, Anand added, “My goal for Dentsu Creative PR is to establish ourselves as the foremost authority on innovative and impactful public relations. By consistently pushing the envelope of creativity, adopting cutting-edge technological advancements, and keeping a laser-like focus on client success. Our strategic initiatives include investing in talent development, fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity, and expanding our capabilities through strategic partnerships. By staying ahead of industry trends and consistently delivering exceptional value, we will influence PR’s future and drive success for our clients and stakeholders.”

The New Frontier: Quantum Computing's Role in Future Marketing Strategies

Authored by Shiva Bhavani- Founder and CEO of Wing CommunicationsThe field of quantum computing is rapidly evolving, ushering in a new era of computational power and capabilities that were once unimaginable. As this revolutionary technology continues to advance, its potential applications in various industries, including marketing, are becoming increasingly apparent. Quantum computing promises to transform the way businesses approach data analysis, pattern recognition, and optimisation, thereby reshaping the marketing landscape as we know it.The Current Landscape: Quantum Computing in MarketingWhile quantum computing is still in its infancy, several companies and research institutions are already exploring its potential applications in the marketing realm. IBM, for instance, has developed a quantum computing platform called IBM Q, which allows businesses and researchers to experiment with quantum algorithms and explore use cases across various industries, including marketing.Quantum-Powered Market Segmentation and Customer ProfilingOne of the most promising applications of quantum computing in marketing lies in its ability to segment markets and create highly detailed customer profiles with unprecedented accuracy. With quantum computing, marketers can leverage the technology's ability to process vast amounts of data from multiple sources, including customer demographics, purchase histories, online behaviour, and social media interactions.Quantum-Driven Advertising Optimisation and Campaign ForecastingAdvertising is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy, and quantum computing has the potential to transform the way businesses optimise their advertising efforts. Through quantum algorithms, marketers can analyse vast datasets encompassing consumer behaviour, market trends, and campaign performance metrics to identify the most effective advertising channels, messaging, and targeting strategies.Quantum-Powered Recommendation Systems and Personalisation Recommendation systems have become a cornerstone of modern marketing strategies, enabling businesses to suggest products and services tailored to individual customer preferences. Quantum computing offers a solution to this challenge by using its ability to process vast amounts of data and identify intricate patterns and correlations.In 2023, Amazon announced a collaboration with IonQ, a leading quantum computing company, to explore the potential of quantum algorithms in enhancing their recommendation systems. The partnership aims to utilise quantum computing's ability to process vast amounts of customer data and identify subtle patterns that could lead to more relevant and personalised product recommendations.Quantum-Enabled Market Research and Consumer InsightsMarket research and consumer insights are the foundation of any successful marketing strategy, providing businesses with valuable information about consumer preferences, market trends, and competitive landscapes. Quantum computing offers a solution to this challenge by using its ability to process vast amounts of data from diverse sources, including consumer surveys, social media data, and market research reports.ConclusionQuantum computing is a technology that has the potential to transform the way we approach advertising and branding. The technology has the ability to enhance personalisation, optimise customer journeys, and detect fraud, making it a powerful tool for marketers. As the technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative applications of quantum computing in marketing. The future of quantum computing in marketing is highly promising, and it is an area that marketers should be paying close attention to.

The Green Wave: How eco-friendly tech is influencing marketing campaigns

Authored by Shiva Bhavani- Founder and CEO of Wing CommunicationsIn today's world, where environmental concerns have taken centre stage, businesses are under immense pressure to adopt sustainable practices. Consumers are increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint, and they expect the brands they support to align with their eco-friendly values. As a result, companies are turning to eco-friendly technologies to not only reduce their environmental impact but also to enhance their marketing campaigns. The Green Wave, as it's often called, is sweeping across industries, transforming the way businesses communicate with their audiences and positioning themselves as environmentally responsible entities.The Adoption of Eco-Friendly Tech in Marketing CampaignsUtilising Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR technologies have emerged as powerful tools for eco-friendly marketing campaigns. By creating immersive virtual experiences, brands can showcase their products, services, or initiatives without the need for physical collateral or excessive resource consumption.Embracing Digital Advertising and Social Media Platforms: The rise of digital advertising and social media platforms has provided brands with a canvas for eco-friendly marketing campaigns. By leveraging these channels, businesses can reach their target audiences without relying on traditional print or outdoor advertising methods, which often contribute to environmental pollution.Implementing Blockchain Technology for Transparency: Blockchain technology has emerged as a powerful tool for ensuring transparency and traceability in supply chains. By leveraging blockchain, brands can provide consumers with detailed information about the sourcing, production, and distribution processes of their products.Utilising AI and Data Analytics for Optimisation: AI and data analytics are playing a pivotal role in optimising eco-friendly marketing campaigns. By analysing consumer data and market trends, brands can make informed decisions about their marketing strategies, targeting the right audiences with the right messages.The Current Landscape and Futuristic TrendsThe embrace of eco-friendly tech in marketing campaigns is not a fleeting phenomenon; it is a seismic shift that is reshaping the industry. According to a recent report by the Sustainable Marketing Initiative, 72% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that prioritise environmental responsibility. This statistic underscores the urgency for businesses to integrate sustainable practices into their marketing strategies.Adidas' Parley Collection: In collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, a leading environmental organisation, Adidas has created a line of sustainable products made from recycled ocean plastic. The Parley Collection includes shoes, clothing, and accessories, and for every product sold, a portion of the proceeds is donated to support Parley's efforts in addressing ocean plastic pollution.ConclusionThe Green Wave is not a temporary swell; it's a tidal shift that is reshaping the marketing landscape. As eco-friendly technologies continue to evolve and consumer demand for sustainable practices intensifies, businesses that fail to adapt risk being left behind. The integration of eco-friendly tech into marketing campaigns is no longer a choice; it's a necessity for brands seeking to remain relevant, build trust with consumers, and contribute to a more sustainable future.As we navigate the complexities of our rapidly changing world, the Green Wave serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a future where sustainability and effective marketing coexist in harmony. Businesses that prioritise eco-friendly tech in their marketing campaigns will not only appeal to conscientious consumers but also contribute to the preservation of our planet for generations to come.

The AI edge in PR: Polly Williams shares TishTash's strategy

In this interview, Polly Williams, Managing Director at TishTash Communications, shares her expert insights on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in public relations. Williams discusses how AI enhances communication strategies and engagement, the ethical considerations, and the specific AI tools that have revolutionized their approach at TishTash. From social sentiment analysis to influencer management, she delves into the practical applications and future potential of AI in the PR industry.      How does your PR agency leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance communication strategies and engagement with target audiences?In all honesty, there is still a lot of nervousness around AI in the public relations space. And rightly so, especially when talking about ethics, privacy laws, and security. In truth, we have been using AI at TishTash for quite some time but in ways that may be taken for granted in this ever-evolving space. For example, utilising a legacy product like Grammarly, as one of the only AI tools we insist our team use. This is the perfect example of where there is proof of AI based efficiency and accuracy that you cannot yet guarantee with others. It ensures our teams are crafting content that meets standards and acts as a great barometer for quality of work, writing style etc. There are also a slew of new AI social sentiment listening tools now available which provide valuable insight into how our own and competitor brands are being talked about across social media. This allows us to monitor and measure sentiment and provide in depth recommendations around who and what our target audience want to engage with, how they engage and what makes them tick and will hence generate the greatest ROI for our clients. In turn we are able to build strategies that resonate with our target audience and keep our clients on or ahead of the trends, which is essential when building a consumer-focused brand.  Can you provide examples of specific AI tools or technologies that your agency utilises to analyse and interpret data, enabling more informed decision-making in the realm of public relations?Like many agencies, we are cautiously approaching the use of newer AI tools, and we have banned chat GPT for now (but that’s another story). Where we do find AI technologies useful is within our influencer management teams. For example, platforms such as Hypeauditor harness the power of AI and machine-learning algorithms to gather and interpret data across influencer profiles to help identify the best profiles for campaigns across markets. Being able to numerically validate an influencer based on their audience size, geography and previous campaign metrics as well as being able to analyse previous campaign ROI allows for a more finely tuned influencer program. This is extremely valuable given the rise of paid influencer collaborations and the interpretive influencer collaboration rules in the region. Predictive analytics uses data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes. This is based on historical data. This technology is particularly useful in PR and marketing, where it can forecast customer behaviour and preferences. This means businesses can make informed decisions about their strategies. PR is the perfect industry to invest in predictive analytics. By identifying social trends, consumer attitudes and global circumstances – prior to launching a PR campaign – this could multiply its impact significantly. In what ways does your PR agency incorporate AI-driven insights to tailor messaging and content for diverse audiences, considering the cultural nuances and preferences in the United Arab Emirates?Again, I believe the greatest AI tools are those that allow us to gain insights from real consumers. On an organisational level, we are educating our teams on the true value usage of AI - for administrative efficiency. Social listening and sentiment tools are so advanced now that the level of data and insight you are able to receive is amazing. Being able to understand how a consumer feels about a brand is such an incredible advantage. We have many global clients, who when they first launched in the Middle East had little understanding of how different their target audience was in comparison to their British or American counterparts, in relation to cultural nuances etc. Social listening is a brilliant showcase for identifying and sharing sentiment and allows us as the experts to interpret and craft compelling campaigns that will reach the right audience, with the right message to deliver our objectives. How do you address concerns related to the ethical use of AI in public relations, ensuring transparency and accountability in the deployment of AI technologies for your clients?As mentioned previously, we have banned Chat GPT from TishTash. No press information or content will be written using any tool that auto generates it (yet). Tools that allow you to input, analyse and interpret data will be shared with our clients, so we remain completely transparent. It is also essential at this time that such tools are not used in isolation without human input. I think at present, such tools are best for data gathering and analysis, to streamline workflows and save time, but for TishTash all strategy and planning is done by the humans in the office! What are the primary challenges and ethical concerns regarding the incorporation of AI tools in PR, including aspects such as factual errors, misinformation, data privacy, information security, and potential legal ramifications? How can these concerns be addressed?When Chat GPT launched, like everyone else, we of course tested it out. Essentially it is not nearly as accurate or up to date as it needs to be to ensure effectiveness, and there is no way, without elaborate prompts, that it can understand or utilise true brand tone of voice or replicate that of the writer. The reality is, too many people are using such tools in the belief that it will speed up their to-do list, and make their lives easier. Most importantly, any data or information you input via such platforms become public, and this particular point is one that many overlook, especially junior team members who may not be aware of the ramifications of using such tools. Therefore until proper laws and global best practices are put in place, agencies need to put very clear transparent policies in place that continue to treat client information as completely private and secure.

The Art of Staying Relevant: A Conversation with Ajey Maharaj

Welcome to the inaugural episode of our podcast series, where we delve into "The Art of Staying Relevant." In today's fast-paced, ever-evolving world, staying relevant is more crucial than ever, both personally and professionally. To kick off this exciting journey, we have a distinguished guest with us, Ajey Maharaj, the Head of Corporate Communications at Fortis Healthcare. With over 24 years of rich experience in the power and telecom sectors, Ajey brings a treasure trove of strategic insights and a relentless commitment to excellence in communication.Before his tenure at Fortis Healthcare, Ajey held significant positions at renowned companies such as Bharti Tele Ventures, Reliance Energy, and Tata Power Delhi Distribution. Today, we have the privilege of exploring his remarkable journey, his strategic approach to communications, and his insights on staying relevant in today's dynamic environment.Exploring Relevance: Personal and Professional PerspectivesStarting off, we discuss what the term 'relevance' means to him. Ajey believes that relevance is synonymous with continuous growth and adaptability. In a world that is constantly evolving, staying relevant means being able to adapt to the myriad changes around us. Over the past few years, we've witnessed a digital revolution, compelling us to embrace new technologies and trends. Ajey emphasizes the importance of being agile and receptive to these transformations to maintain relevance.For Ajey Maharaj, the mantra for staying relevant in the ecosystem is "continuous learning and adaptability." He asserts that learning should be a lifelong endeavor. By staying curious and proactive, we can navigate the ever-changing landscape effectively and maintain our relevance.Ajey's career, spanning over 25 years, has witnessed tremendous changes. From the era of fax machines to the advent of computers and digital communication, he has seen various transformations. Each sector has imparted valuable lessons in strategic planning, business development, team management, and crisis management. The key takeaway, according to Ajey, is the ability to adapt to these changes and leverage them for growth.Ajey's extensive background across different sectors has equipped him with a broad perspective and a versatile skill set. He believes that while deep expertise in specific areas is valuable, a diverse background fosters adaptability and a more comprehensive understanding of the business landscape.Join us as we delve deeper into these fascinating topics and gain valuable insights from Ajey Maharaj's extensive experience and strategic vision. This is just the beginning of our journey into understanding "The Art of Staying Relevant." Stay tuned for more enlightening episodes!<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" referrerpolicy="strict-origin-when-cross-origin" allowfullscreen></iframe>

From brand-building to leadership: Deepanshi Tandon’s Edelman story

Today, we have Deepanshi Tandon, Director- Edelman Middle East, a highly motivated and results-oriented communications professional with a passion for brand building. Deepanshi’s journey with Edelman ME began just over a year ago, and in that short time, her dedication and expertise have propelled her to a well-deserved promotion to Director. Prior to joining Edelman, Deepanshi spent 14 years honing her skills in a diverse range of industries, from travel and hospitality to luxury and consumer health. Throughout her career, she's consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and a commitment to continuous learning.Deepanshi thrives in cross-cultural environments and brings a global mindset to everything she does. Her ability to leverage diverse perspectives has been instrumental in delivering exceptional results for Edelman's clients. Let's delve deeper into Deepanshi's impressive career and her exciting future with Edelman ME.Congratulations on your promotion to Director role! Please share something about your journey.Thank you for your kind words. Reflecting on my journey, I can't help but feel immensely grateful for the experiences that have shaped me along the way.One standout highlight is from my time at OYO, when I was spearheading user engagement and influencer marketing initiatives for the brand. We embarked on a unique project, collaborating with an up-and-coming artist to create a rap song called "O YoYo". From brainstorming sessions to crafting the lyrics and fine-tuning the production with the artist, it felt less like work and more like a creative endeavor fueled by passion.Our goal was to resonate with OYO's audience in Tier I and Tier II towns in India, while also exploring influencer marketing as a revenue-generating avenue. The response surpassed our expectations; within just 24 hours of its release, the song went viral, leading to a remarkable 50,000 app downloads. Not only did this campaign yield significant returns on investment, but it also reinforced our brand's presence and resonance within our target demographic.The sheer joy of hearing colleagues chant "O YoYo" around the office and witnessing the song's widespread impact online validated the countless hours invested in ideation and execution. It served as a testament to the power of creative thinking and strategic marketing in driving tangible results.What made you shift to the UAE?I've always been drawn to working in environments that foster diversity, where people from various backgrounds and nationalities come together, crossing geographical boundaries. This dynamic atmosphere not only enriches my personal growth but also enhances my adaptability and understanding of different perspectives and cultural nuances.During my tenure as Brand Director at OYO, overseeing the European region, I had the privilege of working with a team comprised of individuals from Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, and beyond. Collaborating with such a diverse group was an enriching experience, as each member brought their unique cultural insights and perspectives to the table.With this appreciation for diversity in mind, I saw the UAE as the ideal next step for both my personal and professional aspirations. The UAE epitomizes diversity, with people from a multitude of regions calling it home. It offered an unparalleled opportunity to immerse myself in a melting pot of cultures and perspectives, aligning perfectly with my values and goals.As the Director of Edelman Middle East, what strategies will you be implementing to navigate the unique cultural and business landscape of the region, and how will they differ from global strategies?At Edelman, our philosophy is rooted in the principle of thinking globally but acting locally. This means that while we draw upon our global expertise and best practices, we recognize the need to customize our approach to suit the specific needs and objectives of each client. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in our approach; instead, we prioritize understanding the client's business objectives, identifying the core issues at hand, and assessing any associated risks.In practice, this may entail taking a step back to reassess the situation with a fresh perspective, asking critical questions such as: What are the overarching objectives? What challenges are we aiming to address? Are there any potential risks involved?By adopting this client-centric approach, we can deliver tailored solutions that not only meet the business objectives but also effectively differentiate the brand or client we are serving. This strategy enables us to navigate the complexities of the Middle Eastern market while leveraging our global resources and expertise to drive success for our clients. Your career trajectory showcases a diverse range of industries, from lifestyle to FMCG to luxury. How has this breadth of experience shaped your approach to brand building and communications, particularly in the Middle East market?The Middle East presents a unique landscape where each country is deeply entrenched in its own rich culture and values, yet there exists a common thread that binds them together. This juxtaposition of cultural diversity and shared experiences makes brand building in the region both challenging and captivating.Despite the diversity of industries I've worked in, I’ve found that while the fundamentals of brand building remain constant, it's the execution and the ability to perceive strategies through a cultural lens that truly determines success. Delving into the intricacies of local customs, traditions, and consumer behaviors is essential in crafting compelling brand narratives and communication strategies that resonate deeply with the target audience.For me, this aspect of the job is particularly rewarding. Whether it's weaving captivating stories for lifestyle brands, driving market penetration for FMCG products, or cultivating an aura of exclusivity and allure for luxury offerings, the multidisciplinary nature of the work is where creativity thrives.Could you walk us through a project where you faced significant challenges and how you navigated them to ensure the delivery of high-quality results, maintaining both strategic vision and agility?This example is particularly interesting because it extends beyond the typical challenges encountered in office environments. When confronted with a crisis situation firsthand, alongside a group of media and clients, the true test of resolution emerges. This instance pertained to a cola brand, where the objective was to transcend conventional PR strategies, aiming for more impactful coverage, especially in mainstream newspapers and digital platforms.Spotting an opportune moment within one of their campaigns featuring a young mountaineer's attempt to summit Mt. Kanchenjunga, we saw a chance to showcase the brand's ethos of risk-taking in an innovative light. Thus, we orchestrated a groundbreaking press meet at the base camp of Mt. Kanchenjunga in Nepal with the mountaineer himself, striving for an authentic brand experience as he was returning from the summit.However, the unpredictability of nature and mountains is beyond human control. Unforeseen weather conditions left us stranded in the mountains for four days, presenting numerous challenges. Despite the adversity, we seized the opportunity to capture compelling content and forge genuine connections among the traveling group. Personally, it underscored the importance of mental and physical endurance. Quick thinking, compassionate leadership, and ensuring the safety of all became paramount.Fortunately, on the fourth day, we conducted interviews with the mountaineer in the most authentic setting amidst the valleys, resulting in over 500 stories across various media outlets, including front-page coverage in leading newspapers. This experience not only underscored the brand's adventurous spirit but also imparted valuable lessons in leadership, resilience, and self-awareness. Edelman is known for its emphasis on trust and reputation management.How do you ensure that these principles are effectively communicated and upheld in a diverse market like the Middle East?Trust and reputation management are fundamental pillars for Edelman globally, and we continue to prioritize them in the region. Our approach revolves around fostering open communication, understanding local insights, and upholding ethical standards to ensure these principles are effectively communicated and maintained.Firstly, by fostering transparent and authentic interactions with all stakeholders involved, we lay the foundation for trust to flourish. Secondly, we tailor our strategies to resonate with the unique cultural and social dynamics of each market within the Middle East. This entails conducting thorough research, engaging with local groups, and integrating cultural insights into our communication initiatives.Furthermore, we adhere to stringent ethical standards and best practices in all our endeavors. Upholding integrity and transparency in our actions not only reinforces trust with our clients and stakeholders but also strengthens our reputation as a trusted advisor in the region.With the rapid evolution of digital communication platforms, how do you ensure that Edelman stays ahead in leveraging these technologies for client engagement while respecting cultural sensitivities of the region?Edelman remains at the forefront in leveraging technologies for client engagement. In addition to having a dedicated digital practice led by a senior digital leader, we also integrate technologies across the group. Recognizing the significance of digital channels in engaging audiences, we continually harness the power of various platforms and tools to provide optimal solutions for our clients.Our commitment to staying ahead in digital engagement is further reinforced by our in-house platform, which offers comprehensive modules and training sessions. These resources empower our teams to navigate digital landscapes effectively, ensuring agility and responsiveness to evolving client needs, audience preferences and behaviors.

Pitch Perfect! The Ultimate Guide to Media Pitching

In the bustling world of public relations and marketing, one term holds a significant way over the success of brand visibility: media pitching. Often perceived as the art of persuasive communication with journalists, editors, and influencers, media pitching is a strategic endeavor aimed at securing valuable media coverage for a brand, product, or service. Media pitching is akin to crafting a compelling narrative that captivates the attention of media professionals. It involves tailoring story ideas, press releases, or expert opinions to align with the interests and preferences of journalists and their respective media outlets. Here are some insider tips to navigate this process successfully.Understand the media landscapeThe first thing is that even before you craft a pitch do your homework on the media landscape. It is about researching the publication or blog to see if what you have is something that would best fit into their messages and audience; different outlets cater to different demographics and industries. It is important to identify journalists who are writing about your topic and start following them on social media; go through their past articles to understand the kind of topics they cover.Create an interesting and compelling storyMake your pitch an interesting and compelling story focused on human interest. Attach it to why it should matter now—be it set in an innovative product, a breaking-through service, a clear angle, or a hook that gets the reader's attention right away. Get rid of jargon and come straight to the point.Building a relationship with a journalistThe simple act of building rapport with journalists can boost your chances of media coverage. At the very least, you need to have a command of the work and valuable insights related to the article. Follow their work and engage with them on social media.Personalize your pitchPersonalize your pitch for the journalist and publication, telling them why you chose them, and thus, how your story fits in with their past work. This shows that you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in their publication.Strategically follow upMerely sending your pitch out is not enough. Do not be afraid to follow up strategically. Give your pitches a couple of days and then send a polite follow-up email. Keep your follow-up concise and respectful, and offer additional information or angles, if necessary. Persistence pays, but always respect the editor's time and preference.Be responsive and flexibleOnce your pitch is accepted, be responsive and accommodating. Reply to mail and give additional information or resources in good time and also be flexible with interview schedules and deadlines given. Develop the reputation of being reliable and professional; it will increase your being featured in the future. It will increase your chance of getting featured in the media in the future.To sum it upFrom the above, one can tell that media coverage is all about embracing a strategy field where one can be creative and persistent. Recognizing your audience, having a great story, engaging with journalists, and following up, will be a plus for your image in the media. Remember to be flexible and responsive to lessons learned after every experience, so as to improve your pitch efforts. The right approach will eventually lead to an impactful story and a new reach.

Role of senior leadership in driving social impact during crisis

Authored By Aman Gupta, Managing Partner, Health Practice Asia Lead, SPAG/FINN PartnersIn times of crisis, organizations face the daunting task of not only ensuring their survival but also playing a meaningful role in the wider community. Senior leadership has a unique and vital position in driving social impact during these challenging times. Their vision, decision-making, and commitment to corporate social responsibility can make a significant difference in how a company navigates crises and supports society.By setting a clear vision and leading with empathy, C-suite executives can align their organizations with community needs during times of crisis. Through swift decision-making, leaders can mobilize resources for immediate relief and long-term recovery. Ensuring transparent communication also builds trust with both internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, fostering collaboration and strategic partnerships amplifies impact, allowing companies to contribute effectively to crisis management efforts.Fostering unity and resilience by setting the tone at the topSenior leaders are the architects of a company’s culture and values. By setting a tone of empathy, transparency, and ethical behaviour that resonates throughout the company, they can inspire their teams to prioritize social impact. They can also create a supportive environment that acknowledges the diverse challenges individuals face during a crisis. Furthermore, transparency builds trust and encourages collaboration, as everyone understands their role in the larger context and works together towards common goals. The decisions and actions made by senior leaders reflect the company’s values and commitment to social responsibility, enabling the organization to adapt and thrive.Mobilizing resources promptly and decisively for the greater goodIn a crisis, swift and decisive action can make a difference. Senior leaders should be proactive in assessing the situation, understanding the needs of their employees and community, and making prompt decisions. By redirecting resources toward community support, such as funding local initiatives, offering expertise, or volunteering time and talent, organizations can become agents of change and hope. For example, reallocating resources to produce personal protective equipment during a health crisis or donating funds to relief efforts during a natural disaster can provide immediate support.Promoting collaboration to maximize benefits for all involvedSenior leadership can facilitate partnerships with other organizations, government bodies, and non-profits to amplify their impact. Collaboration fosters a sense of solidarity and combines resources and expertise, leading to more comprehensive and impactful solutions. For instance, a business may partner with a non-profit organization that has deep knowledge of community needs, while offering financial support or logistical assistance. Partnerships also enable organizations to extend their reach and influence to deliver support where it is needed most. They not only address immediate needs but also lay the groundwork for long-term recovery and resilience.Communicating effectivelyTransparent and open communication is a cornerstone of strong leadership during crises. Senior leaders should keep stakeholders informed of the company’s actions and plans, as well as the rationale behind their decisions. This builds trust and demonstrates the company’s commitment to its values, ensuring alignment across the organization and beyond. Moreover, clear, honest, and consistent messaging helps reduce uncertainty and anxiety. Additionally, providing open channels for communication allows stakeholders to engage directly with leadership and fosters a sense of inclusivity and collaboration. While it is important to remain hopeful and positive, senior leaders must also maintain a realistic outlook. Communicating potential challenges and uncertainties helps manage expectations and fosters a culture of preparedness and adaptability.Making a positive differenceCrises often expose vulnerabilities and gaps in systems and strategies. Senior leadership should use these moments as learning opportunities, assessing their response, and adjusting plans for future resilience. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement, leaders can better prepare their organizations for future challenges.By embodying empathy, decisiveness, and a commitment to social responsibility, senior leaders can guide their organizations through challenging times while making a positive difference in the world. In doing so, they not only build stronger communities but also establish a lasting legacy for their company and its stakeholders, ultimately shaping a better future for all.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

Arneeta Vasudeva: Brands' value mostly intangible

We are in a new era of Public Relations. In the last few years, the importance of reputation management has taken a sea change. More brands and clients, especially from the leadership teams, are viewing Public Relations from a close range. The industry has undergone a radical change with the advent of social media, which has to a large extent changed the approach to Public Relations. We have a relatively new and young audience that we need to face in the coming years so there are bigger challenges for brands and PR practitioners, who have to be more agile and proactive in their thinking to draw up business solutions for clients.In our exclusive column – PR Conversation – Adgully interacts with leading business leaders and obtains their exclusive views and insights on the various trends in the PR and communications industry.In conversation with Adgully, Arneeta Vasudeva, National Head, PR&I, Ogilvy India, delves into the current trends in the reputation economy, focusing on India in 2024. She explores how the reputation economy has evolved over the years and sheds light on the challenges and opportunities it presents.Additionally, Arneeta discusses the importance and impact of data-driven storytelling in the PR industry, showcasing how Ogilvy PR&I is leveraging data for effective communication strategies.What are the current trends in the reputation economy in India in 2024? How has the reputation economy evolved over the years in India?Speaking of reputation economy, one can see how brands are affected in today’s VUCA world. The intangibles play a huge role in building the value of brands. By ‘intangibles’ I mean factors such as customer endorsements, employee support, validation from industry, governments, and other influencers, that go on to add to the credibility of a brand.These are high value endorsements gained over time and with fast evolving platforms of digital and social, companies and brands must recognize the power and influence these channels have on their long-standing reputation.In the past five to seven years, digital platforms have provided numerous opportunities for businesses and brands to expand. This surely points to the significance of reputation economy in present times.As mentioned earlier, a large part of a brand’s valuation today hinges on intangible factors. This is deeply intertwined with the ongoing digital evolution and the changing social landscape, shaping how brands and individuals are perceived in the market.How does online reputation have real world outcomes for brands and individuals?From a communication standpoint, brands are delivering on their messaging and engaging customers, and a significant part of these interactions are happening through the digital ecosystem, often in real time. The space has indeed evolved into an opportunity to communicate more openly and freely, as well.In such a scenario, it is crucial to understand what you communicate holds great importance. Therefore, one must closely weigh in factors of authenticity, credibility, and genuineness, while putting outcontent. With that, it also becomes equally important to monitor and track online conversations and build an efficient and effective response mechanism.What are some of the best strategies implemented by brands for managing online reputation?As mentioned earlier, diligent monitoring is essential in this fast-paced digital landscape, where everything happens real-time. Having a prompt and efficient response mechanism is the key to managing a lot of the chatter that goes on in this space. On social and digital platforms, maintaining pace is totally vital, alongside being responsive.Some of the ORM tools we use help in building efficiencies, but reading into the overall sentiment and drawing an assessment is very important. It goes without saying, timing and relevance is at the center of creating the right content and response strategy.What are the challenges and opportunities in the reputation economy in India?The opportunity is huge as it opens up new avenues for brands to build their story. However, with this freedom of space and time, digital platforms also throw in a lot of uncertainty. It is difficult to always predict or preempt what may come your way. True for a lot of categories like food delivery and online shopping, for instance, where customer grievances can turn into a big dent in their reputation. While this may have nothing to do with the brand itself, there are consequences and fallouts of how the experience may end up being a negative.These operational challenges are part of everyday business, often affecting a brand’s reputation. In that sense, evaluating the digital ecosystem you work with becomes an important part of the overall customer journey and experience.What are the PR trends for 2024? How is AI being leveraged in the PR industry and where is the PR industry headed in the next five years?In today’s interconnected world, we shouldn’t be operating in silos. The boundaries between PR, advertising, and digital are blurring, with data, digital and AI, shaping our reality. This means being channel agnostic and adopting an idea-led and integrated approach to communications, is the way forward and we must embrace it.What is the importance and impact of data driven storytelling in the PR industry? How is Ogilvy PR&I utilizing the same?The role of data is crucial in supporting facts, credibility, and insights. From a communications and PR lens, this is absolutely key in shaping ideas for our clients and their brands. And even more today, as we get to see the interplay between data, digital and AI. One feeds and supports into the other, which actually amounts to a huge data paradox, if I may say so. There is data in abundance out there, and it is our job to make sense of it and channel this into creating meaningful content and assets for our brands.

When you become a mom, you'll understand - Himani Rautela

Authored by Himani Rautela, Deputy General Manager - Communications Lead at Redington LtdIn the hazy corridors of my childhood memories, echoes of my mother’s words with newfound significance. "When you become a mom, you'll understand," she would often say, her tone combined with a blend of wisdom and knowing. At the time, these words seemed like a distant insight, wrapped in mystery and intrigue. Little did I know that they would serve as the guiding light on my own journey into motherhood.As Mother’s Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on these words, unfolding their layers of meaning like a cherished gift passed down through generations. What once appeared as mere clichés now stand as pillars of truth, anchoring me amidst the turbulent seas of parenthood.With each passing day, I inch closer to resolving the enigma of motherhood, embracing the depths of this role. From the moment life stirred within the confines of my womb, I embarked on an expedition of self-discovery, navigating the muddled waters of love, sacrifice, and boundless devotion.The journey of motherhood is an embroidery woven with threads of joy and sorrow, hope and fear, each moment engraved into the very fabric of our souls. From the exhilarating rush of holding my newborn in trembling arms to the quiet moments of solace amidst the chaos, every experience has shaped me in ways I could never have imagined.Yet, it was in the quiet whispers of the night, cradling my child in tender embrace, that I truly grasped the essence of motherhood. In those stolen moments of intimacy, where the world fades into silence and all that remains is the rhythmic melody of our breaths, I found solace. It is in these moments of vulnerability that the true strength of a mother is revealed. As I navigate through the web of motherhood, I am constantly reminded of the sacrifices my own mother made, the silent battles she fought, and the love that sustained her through it all. Her words, once wrapped in mystery, now serve as beacons of wisdom, guiding me through the darkest of nights and the brightest of days.This Mother’s Day, as I pause to honor the women who have shaped my journey, I am filled with a sense of gratitude and respect. To my own mother, whose love knows no bounds, and to all the mothers who have walked this path before me, I extend my heartfelt thanks.In a world that often measures success by tangible achievements and material possessions, let us not forget the quiet heroism of motherhood – the late-night feedings, the tender lullabies, the whispered prayers into the night. It is in these moments, steeped in love and sacrifice, that the true essence of motherhood is revealed.So, as we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, let us take a moment to pause and honor the women who have shaped us, nurtured us, and loved us unconditionally. For in their strength, their power, and their boundless love, lies the true essence of motherhood – a force unparalleled, a love unmatched.

The evolving role of PR professionals in the digital age

Authored By Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director, Sherpa CommunicationsIn the ever-shifting landscape of public relations, the role of PR professionals has undergone significant transformation. The digital age has reshaped traditional responsibilities, demanding new skills and approaches. Here, we explore the substantial shifts and expanding responsibilities that define modern PR practice.Integration across disciplinesPreviously difficult to define, the role of public relations is becoming more clear as the industry evolves. Nowadays, PR professionals need to break past traditional limits, becoming skilled in various areas from marketing to social and digital strategy. As the boundaries between these fields blur, PR specialists must develop a comprehensive set of skills, enabling them to boost brand visibility and interaction across different verticals. This change has turned PR from a niche role into a broad discipline that is key to an organization's overall strategy.Shift in hiring practicesThe criteria for hiring within PR and marketing fields have also evolved. CVs that once dominated recruitment processesare no longer a key element; the focus is on candidates' soft skills now. Abilities such as quick adaptation, analytical thinking, and multitasking are highly valued.Today’s PR landscape needs professionals who possess a proactive 'go-getter' attitude, who can adapt quickly to the fast changing business landscape.Emphasis on digital proficiencyDigital proficiency is now non-negotiable for PR specialists. The digital age demands more than social media platform proficiency alone; it requires a deep, intuitive grasp of digital tools and strategies. From managing influencer relations to navigating social media algorithms, PR professionals must engage audiences in real-time. This digital savvy enables them to craft compelling narratives and run PR, social, and digital campaigns in sync.Data-driven decision makingAs the whole world is using data, analysis of data is a must now. Modern PR professionals must be adept at analysing and leveraging data to guide their campaigns. Utilizing metrics to gauge campaign effectiveness, monitor brand sentiment, track competitor activities, and identify emerging trends is essential for developing informed, strategic plans that align with business goals. This data-driven approach not only bolsters the impact of PR campaigns but also ensures that they deliver meaningful business outcomes.Strategic role of content creationAs the role of PR professionals expands in the digital space, there is an increasing expectation for them to actively engage in content creation. The ability to craft impactful, SEO-driven content that improves client visibility online has become crucial. PR professionals are now at the forefront of strategic communication, developing messages that not only inform but also engage and persuade the public across various channels. This responsibility covers everything from writing press releases and blog posts to creating video content and podcasts, requiring a blend of creativity, strategic thinking, and media savvy. This evolution has positioned PR specialists not just as facilitators of communication but as key content creators, influencing public perception and brand reputation directly.Crisis managementThe rapid pace of digital communication presents new crisis management scenarios to address. In the UAE, industries such as aviation, FMCG, retail, and F&B may require rapid response capabilities to effectively manage crises, requiring in-house PR teams and their agencies to be ready to handle potential crises quickly and efficiently. In such cases, it's important to develop and regularly update a crisis comms strategy that includes key messaging, communication channels, and especially live monitoring to react fast to online waves. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so too does the role of PR professionals. These experts are at the forefront, adapting to new technologies and methodologies while upholding the core principles of their profession. The future of PR promises further changes, with professionals continuing to expand their skills and strategies to thrive in this dynamic field.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

TEN by TishTash: Polly Williams on tailoring corp comm for the GCC

In the realm of public relations and marketing in the Middle East, TishTash Communications is making waves with its latest endeavor, Ten by TishTash. This new venture marks a strategic move for the company, as it steps into the realm of corporate communications.Ten by TishTash is designed to cater specifically to the intricacies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, covering Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Offering a range of services including digital media, content creation, and crisis management, Ten by TishTash aims to be a reliable partner in reputation building and protection across various sectors such as lifestyle, beauty, wellness, interiors, law, and real estate.In this interview, Polly Williams, the Managing Director of TishTash, sheds light on the rationale behind this initiative in an interview with AdgullyME, discussing its strategic implications for the future of corporate communications in the region.Excerpts: What prompted TishTash Communications to launch TEN by TishTash, and how does it address the evolving needs of corporate clients in the GCC region?As an agency we have consistently worked with many corporate and global clients over the last 12 years. In 2024 we have seen a real shift in the needs of these clients and the balance of the media and stakeholder match. We saw an opportunity to design a purpose-built division that responds to these changes. TEN by TishTash aims to respond to the seismic shift in the PR landscape, created by digital innovation and consumer transparency. Digital touchpoints are inescapably at the forefront, alongside the change in consumer appetite and needs. TEN by TishTash works to amplify businesses and brands looking to connect with impact - be it with stakeholders, employees, clients and consumers in a way that fits this brave and diverse new world. Could you elaborate on the integrated storytelling and authenticity that TEN by TishTash aims to offer? How does it align with modern PR objectives?Corporate comms still carry a stigma of some very old-fashioned troupes. Think men in suits, grey haired C-suite leaders etc. But the truth is the world has evolved and agencies need to evolve with it. Most businesses are not led this way. We have noticed a growing need for the ‘non-traditionally’ corporate businesses, to have a wider, integrated understanding of up to date, joined up thinking on the capabilities around their stakeholder, employee and consumer messaging and we believe corporate, ‘joined up’ storytelling for these businesses can have the impact required - cross platform and cross stakeholder, with the authenticity an audience now demands.With the emergence of digital touchpoints and changing consumer preferences, how does TEN by TishTash plan to navigate and leverage these shifts in the media and stakeholder landscape?Everything we do at TishTash is about creating impact for our client. TEN by TishTash will be no different in its objective and we will compound our success by sharing a fresh thinking approach to integrated marketing and PR that utilises the agency's unparalleled understanding of the regional landscape. The digital first approach from TEN by TishTash takes a keen focus on output that is relevant, modern and creative. This will include strategic thought leadership, profiling, events, whitepapers, trade shows and credible sustainability initiatives, working together, versus in silo, and in the language that the audience of a business, brand or leadership team want to read, listen to and understand. What specific strategies or approaches does TEN by TishTash employ to ensure impactful corporate communications for its clients, especially in areas such as thought leadership, profiling, and B2B coverage?The key starting point is a deep dive into current brand sentiment against business objectives or brand promises. Taking from this, a strategy that combines the identified audience appetite, aligned with the business goals is key. Identifying where stakeholders are now and the topics that are relevant to new audiences are crucial. The lines drawn between what is B2C and what is B2B are blurring and the work we do aims to better bring those two sides together in an authentic way. For example, one of our corporate clients recently unveiled new maternity leave policies for their workforce. This was covered in both B2C and B2B publications (digitally and in print). Historically, you would not consider that such news would have that depth and breadth of coverage, but with the right strategic thinking and storytelling, bridging corporate and social interest, we are able to broaden reach and find new relevant audiences.  How does the leadership team, including yourself, envision the role of corporate communications evolving beyond 2024, and how does TEN by TishTash aim to stay ahead of these changes?The role of corporate communications is no different to the role of consumer communications, and that’s exactly why TEN was created. It’s about people. What they read, listen to and what they are influenced by, when and where. The importance of digital-first, the need for sophisticated storytelling and the increasing role of AI are all essential areas for consideration. The success of TishTash has always been in our agility to respond to the quick changing landscape, and this strategy will continue as we focus on new integrated storytelling and authenticity that match modern PR objectives.

Leveraging Influencers to Amplify Brand Messaging

- Authored by Komal Rukhana, Founder at Mint and Milk PRIn today&#39;s digital age, where social media reigns supreme, leveraging influencers has become a powerful tool for brands to amplify their messaging in order to reach a wider audience. Influencers, with their dedicated following and authentic voice, have the ability to connect with consumers on a personal level, making them valuable partners in any brand&#39;s marketing strategy. The consumer&#39;s attention spans are shrinking and delivering the right message in short, crisp and engaging ways are now taking precedence. Leveraging the brand voice for companies that can’t be openly marketed over other mediums also becomes a priority when it comes to influencer marketing. In the rapid rise of the digital age, news is first broken online through digital campaigns and then it transcends to traditional media. So the conversation has now altered for brands which peg themselves as a digital first company. As a PR company we weigh engagement, reach, impressions, click through rate, sentiment analysis of the content along with comments even before even suggesting or recommending influencers to our clients. Each campaign is well thought through. For a brand like MyMuse within the Intimate wellness industry- funny and engaging content has been leveraged with influencers to mold the conversation. Two years ago the brand was budding in the space and with a targeted as well as amiable approach the brand has really managed to leverage the conversation using influencer marketing to change the narrative around sexual wellness and educate the customer. Over the last 3 years, their product portfolio has grown from 4 to 25+, spanning personal massagers, high quality lubricants and massage oils, games and journals to wellness products such as libido gummies and wipes. Messaging and brand perception can be monitored and tweaked based on the audience response and the brand has a larger say in what’s being communicated and perceived. The risk of miscommunication within messages is also reduced.AuthenticityWhen it comes to leveraging influencers, authenticity is key. Consumers are savvy and can easily spot inauthentic endorsements. By partnering with influencers whose values align with the brand&#39;s, companies can ensure that the messaging is genuine and resonates with their audience. In addition to authenticity, choosing the right influencers is crucial. Micro-influencers, with smaller but highly engaged followings, can often yield better results than macro-influencers. Their niche audiences are more likely to trust their recommendations, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.Geographic libertyCollaborating with influencers also allows brands to tap into new markets and demographics. Influencers have the ability to reach audiences that may be difficult for brands to access through traditional advertising channels. By diversifying their influencer partnerships, brands can expand their reach and connect with a broader range of consumers. Some of our clients have interest in tying up with influencers with an NRI dominance and that can only be achieved through influencer marketing. It lets you cut borders in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago. We represented a restaurant brand in Goa recently where the brand&#39;s videos would garner a reach of 3k on its feed however by engaging the right influencers we saw the video reach expand to garner 1M+ views thereby drawing immense awareness and reach for the brand. Furthermore, influencers can provide valuable insights into consumer trends and preferences. By monitoring the engagement and feedback generated by influencer campaigns, brands can gain a better understanding of their target audience and tailor their messaging accordingly.Building a community and collaboratingCollaborative reels with multiple creators within a campaign has become the need of the hour now to leverage the reach of all within a single reel to boost virality and generate a larger viewership. Engaging with the same influencers that have worked for the brand from time to time helps create a strong community with them and their audiences.Building micro-influencers from the get go -With budding and boot strapped brands affordability becomes a key challenging factor however this can be mitigated through working with micro- influencers which grow with your brands profile. Collaborating with budding influencers fosters mutual growth for brands as well as creators within the space thereby giving both something to benefit from. By leveraging influencers to amplify brand messaging is a powerful strategy we recommend for brands looking to connect with consumers in a meaningful way. By prioritizing authenticity, choosing the right influencers, and diversifying partnerships, brands can effectively leverage influencers to reach new audiences, drive engagement, and ultimately, boost brand awareness and loyalty.

Navigating virtual PR challenges and opportunities

-Authored by Komal Rukhana, Founder at Mint and Milk PR With global connectivity being the need of the hour, the landscape of public relations has undergone a profound transformation. Traditional office settings are giving way to virtual and remote work environments, presenting both challenges and opportunities for PR professionals. As the industry adapts to these changes, navigating this new terrain requires agility, creativity, and a keen understanding of the emerging trends.Embracing FlexibilityOne of the primary advantages of virtual PR work environments is the flexibility they offer. Constraints of physical location are eliminated through remote work, allowing professionals to collaborate seamlessly across geographical boundaries. This flexibility not only enhances work- life balance but also enables PR teams to tap into a diverse talent pool, fostering creativity and innovation.Overcoming Communication BarriersEffective PR relies heavily on clear and timely communication, which can be hindered by the absence of face-to-face interaction. To overcome this, PR professionals must leverage a variety of communication tools and platforms, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management software. Establishing regular check-ins and maintaining open lines of communication are essential for ensuring that team members stay connected and aligned on objectives.Harnessing TechnologyTechnology plays a pivotal role in facilitating virtual PR work environments. From media monitoring and analytics tools to social media management platforms, the PR industry is awash with technology-driven solutions that streamline workflows and enhance productivity. Embracing these tools enables PR professionals to adapt to the evolving media landscape, identify emerging trends, and measure the impact of their efforts with greater precision.Cultivating CreativityCreativity lies at the heart of effective PR, and virtual work environments offer ample opportunities for innovation. Without the confines of traditional office spaces, PR professionals have the freedom to explore new approaches and experiment with different strategies. Virtual brainstorming sessions, collaborative digital whiteboards, and online ideation platforms empower teams to generate fresh ideas and develop creative campaigns that resonate with target audiences.Maintaining ProfessionalismWhile remote work provides flexibility, it also requires a high degree of professionalism and self- discipline. PR professionals must set boundaries between work and personal life, establish a dedicated workspace, and adhere to deadlines rigorously. Additionally, maintaining a professional online presence is paramount, as virtual interactions often shape perceptions of credibility and reliability.Adapting to ChangeIn a rapidly evolving digital landscape, adaptability is key to success in virtual PR work environments. PR professionals must stay abreast of emerging technologies, social media trends, and industry developments to remain competitive. Continuous learning and professional development are essential for staying ahead of the curve and delivering impactful PR strategies that drive results.ConclusionAs virtual and remote work environments become increasingly prevalent in the PR industry, professionals must embrace the challenges and opportunities they present. By leveraging flexibility, harnessing technology, cultivating creativity, and maintaining professionalism, PR teams can navigate this new terrain with confidence and achieve success in the ever-changing media landscape. With adaptability and innovation as guiding principles, the future of PR holds boundless possibilities in the virtual realm.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

Award-winning impact: Unravelling Marie Claire's creative legacy

A fortnight ago, we interviewed Marie Claire Maalouf, the CCO of Edelman EMEA, who shared with us about her journey with Edelman, an award-winning global public relations consultancy firm, well-recognized globallyIn the years 2022 and 2023, her contributions led to the acquisition of over 100 awards, including prestigious accolades like the D&AD Yellow Pencil, one of the two Cannes Lions Grand Prix, and the sole Grand Lia in Health for the MENA region. Her portfolio is recognized by esteemed platforms such as The One Show, Cannes Lions, D&AD, and many more.Marie-Claire's influence goes beyond her professional endeavours; she has also served as a juror for prominent award shows like Cannes Lions, New York Festival, and D&AD. In an exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Marie Claire Maalouf, CCO of Edelman, explores her creative journey, her pivotal role at Edelman, and the unique opportunities and challenges encountered within the MEA creative sphere, where tradition intertwines with innovation to pave the way forward.Can you share with us your journey in the creative industry, particularly how you transitioned into your role as Chief Creative Officer at Edelman?Since day one, it has been a rollercoaster of embracing change, pushing boundaries, and constantly seeking out opportunities to make a real impact, to produce creative work that not only stands out but also stands for something. That’s why I see my transition from advertising to CCO at Edelman as a natural next step in my journey. It came from my broader understanding of the world of communication and a desire to leverage creativity beyond advertising, into realms where strategies intersect with public relations, digital innovation, and the ever-evolving media landscape. It doesn’t hurt when you truly believe in what Edelman does at the core: harnessing creativity to build trust—trust between brands and their audiences, between institutions and the public—trust that begets action, and action that begets trust, and so on and on...What unique challenges and opportunities do you encounter working in the creative field within the MEA region, considering its cultural diversity and rapidly evolving market?The cultural diversity here is not just a backdrop; it's the main act. It’s both the challenge and the opportunity. But if I had to pinpoint one specific challenge, it would be not falling into the trap of catering to everyone at the same time for the sake of inclusivity or out of fear of alienation. This is when we lose all the flavour and nuances and end up talking to no one. Once we overcome that challenge, opportunities present themselves. Just dive deep into the diversity, respect it, learn from it, and use it to create work where different cultures overlap, making work that bridges gaps, builds trust, and fosters connections. Once you’re at that level, you’re no longer just speaking to the MEA; you’re speaking for it, championing ideas that matter, that provoke thought, and, ultimately, drive change.How do you approach integrating traditional cultural elements into modern creative campaigns, especially in a region like the MEA where tradition holds significant importance?Tradition holds significant importance in the MEA region, but so does innovation. I’d say that one of the oldest traditions in the region is to keep moving forward. Tradition and modernity aren't mutually exclusive in creative work. I’d argue that the more understanding of the culture the work has, the more relevant and creative it can be. It is about striking a balance, diving deep into cultural stories, symbols, and values that resonate, then twisting them with contemporary insights or technologies to create something fresh yet familiar. The trick is not just to decorate with tradition but to embed it into the work, making it relevant to today’s audience.As a creative leader, you have contributed substantially in bringing the most coveted awards of the industry to the MENA region. In 2022/2023, you have helped win more than 100 awards. Could you highlight some of the most memorable campaigns you've worked on, and what made them successful in the context of the region?I’d start with the "Despair No More," which is rooted in the culture and the language. While we as a society were moving away from the stigmatization of menopause, the language was lacking, which hindered our progress as a society. So, we took it upon us to change the name of menopause in Arabic from the derogatory term “Age of Despair” to “Age of Renewal”.And then there is the work we’ve done for Annahar, the bold and brave Lebanese newspaper, which was contextual in its nature. Every single piece was a reaction from Annahar to a current relevant situation, a will to take a stand and challenge the status quo.In a constantly changing media landscape, what strategies do you employ to ensure your creative work remains innovative and relevant to your target audience?We simply listen. We listen to our audience and then we involve them in the work. We don’t talk at them; we work with them. A good example of that would be our GenZ lab that we have recently initiated in KSA for the region.What role do you believe storytelling plays in effective communication, particularly when it comes to connecting with audiences in the Middle East?Human beings are storytellers or seekers by nature. From the first cave drawings to the latest meme someone is posting at the moment you’re reading this, there is a story, a will to tell and share a story. But to truly connect with our audiences today, we have to learn when to be the storytellers and when to set the ground for people to tell their story or even ours. Today, brands do not have 100% control over their own story. Anyone with an internet connection can contribute to that story and even take it to a different place. This is where trust and action become important. If we act on the stories we’re telling, our audiences will trust it, act on it, and continue to tell it.You have been working for many social causes as well as helping women all around. What are your views about women's empowerment in the Middle Eastern region? What does the future look like?The region is steadily catching up with the rest of the world in that regard; we’re not where we want to be yet, but at least we’re moving. Even on a global level, we’re still far from an ideal situation. We’ve had our waves of 'first female X'... The future would be a place where we are no longer celebrating firsts, no longer having to prove our worth but are recognized for who we are and what we bring to the table. Empowerment today means action; what was enough five years ago is now the bare minimum. Now, there is progress and momentum is building up, and by looking at the younger generations, it seems we’re heading in the right direction; so now is the time to work harder. We can't just coast to where we want to be.

Spray & Pray PR is Dead: Nikhil Dey on Modern PR in the Digital Age

Nikhil Dey, Executive Director at Adfactors PR, offers valuable insights on the changing face of Public Relations (PR) in today's information-driven world. In this interview, he explores how the industry has adapted to the "attention economy," the crucial role of PR in a digital age, and the strategies agencies are adopting to thrive in a competitive market. Nikhil Dey argues that the old "spray and pray" approach to public relations (PR) is no longer effective in the digital age. Excerpts:How has the landscape of Public Relations changed over the past decade, and what factors have contributed to its growing importance in today's information-driven society?The attention economy is shaping the way Public Relations is evolving. We are currently operating in a world of shrinking attention spans and untrustworthy information, news and data. A good example is the often-cited research about our attention span being eight seconds. The study in question has been questioned, and the source data does not stand up to scrutiny. This is why professional and ethical public relations continue to play an important role in shaping and building reputation.With the proliferation of digital platforms and social media, how has the role of PR professionals evolved to effectively manage and navigate the ever-changing media landscape?There are many times a PR professional is called into action, but of all of them, crisis management is probably the place they shine brightest. Digital and social media have increased the speed, frequency and impact of how a crisis escalates and is amplified for a brand or an organisation. This has created the need for a well-oiled public relations capability to be put in place. Preparedness is the key to effectively navigating through and past a crisis, and this is the playground of the PR professional.In light of the projected growth of the PR industry in India, what new strategies or approaches are PR agencies adopting to stay ahead in this competitive market and meet the evolving needs of their clients?Staying ahead of the curve requires PR partners to be deeply rooted in the realities of the business leaders they serve. What are the real problems and opportunities that the business leaders are navigating? This requires PR teams to have deeper domain knowledge, to enable creative ideas based on insights. Creating this capacity to listen and decode what is happening in the market using a mix of human intelligence and data analytics is one key capability that is emerging as a differentiator. What is coming around the corner? To be the early warning system and the radar for a business is possibly one of the most valuable ways a PR partner can help protect reputation and build business.As businesses increasingly recognize the importance of reputation management and brand perception, how do you see the relationship between PR and overall business success evolving in the coming yearsBetter aligned goals between business teams, brand teams and PR teams are likely to result in strong synergies. Well-orchestrated campaigns built around a central narrative targeting specific audiences will prove to be most effective. Instead of the old “spray and pray” approach where share of voice and turning up the volume was the way to show how good PR was at drumming up visibility; the future is likely to be about staying below the radar and not inviting unwanted attention. Instead laser-sharp targeting of an audience with a clear call to action is a far better approach. Each discipline is like the arrow in the quiver of a skilful archer who will know when to use the right one.

Trailblazing in PR: Mapping Joe Lipscombe's strategic odyssey

Today, we're talking with Joe Lipscombe, Partner at The Romans, who delves into his journey, insights, and aspirations as he navigates the dynamic landscape of strategic communications in the Middle East and beyond. Lipscombe started in journalism, writing for big names like Forbes and Bloomberg. He then moved into strategic communications, joining Ogilvy in 2015 and rising to Executive Strategy and Creative Director for PR in the MENA region. He recently joined The Romans as a partner in Dubai, helping expand their presence in the Middle East. The Romans, headquartered in London with over 120 employees worldwide, opened their Dubai office in 2022 after successful ventures in New York and Amsterdam. In this interview with Adgully Middle East, Lipscombe discusses his journey and goals in navigating strategic communications in the Middle East and beyond.Please share your professional journey. What have been the highs and lows professionally?I landed in the region as a journalist, where I was able to cover most markets, learning the culture, people, ways, and means. That fascination hasn’t left me. I love the region, warts and all. After almost a decade with Ogilvy, where I was able to grow as a creative and strategic leader in a major global firm, I’ve taken on this new challenge at one of the most exciting agencies in the world today. Throughout that time there have been highs and lows. I keep the lows closer than the highs. And I anticipate many more of both.You have recently joined ‘The Romans’ as a Partner and Head of UAE. What are your roles and responsibilities?Bring one of today’s most exciting, independent PR stories to life in the MENA region. The Romans are a unique agency. In a sea of acquisitions, mergers, and agency ecosystems, The Romans believe in investing in great people and great culture so we can deliver great work for great clients. There is none of the fluff and none of the drama. It’s been refreshing to see that story be so well received. Now it’s mine and my team’s responsibility to translate that for this unique and diverse market.What has been your primary focus within the industry for the past decade? How do you approach problem-solving within the industry?Before joining The Romans, I was the Executive Strategy & Creative Director for Ogilvy PR across MENA. I spent the best part of a decade at that agency, learning my trade, working with top talents, and contributing to some really exciting, transformative projects in the region. All of those—Expo 2020 Dubai, Qatar World Cup 2022, New Suez Canal 2015, et al.—have their own unique challenges in such a fast-paced and ambitious region. While I don’t subscribe to a standard way of solving problems, I do believe that, as an industry, we can often take briefs at face value when in fact we should be exploring the root cause of challenges more closely. As we commoditise our industry more and more, we often skip important strategic and exploratory phases and head directly to solutions and execution. I strongly believe much of the value we provide as an industry is in the diagnosis, thought, and planning phases of any major project.Can you provide examples of some of the projects you have been involved in with large brands and institutions?As I mentioned before, I’ve been very fortunate to work on some of the biggest projects and entities in the region over the past ten years. Expo 2020 Dubai at a global level, the FIFA Qatar World Cup through Qatar Foundation, the New Suez Canal launch in Egypt, several Public Investment Fund launches, and many others. I find each brings its own unique challenges and opportunities and would argue each has contributed massively to the social, economic, and cultural structure of the region.As a marketer, if you’re contributing to projects with that level of influence, you can’t ask for much more.What kind of transformations have you witnessed in terms of digital and AI, within the region?Marketers are so keen to jump on trends they often forget to check if they’re landmines. But, we’re experimental, and that should be applauded. I can’t confidently say I’ve witnessed seismic changes in the industry at the hands of AI. But ask me again in five years.How do you approach developing an integrated public relations and advertising campaign tailored to meet the cultural sensitivities and preferences of the UAE market?We cannot reveal all our secrets. What we do is ensure our teams are diverse, skilled, deeply ingrained in local culture, and we trust them explicitly with major briefs and clients.Can you provide an example of a successful PR and advertising campaign you led in the UAE, highlighting how you navigated any regulatory or cultural challenges specific to the region?I led the campaign that won UAE PR Campaign of the Year in 2023 at MEPRA- ‘The Alternative Alphabet with GEMS Education’. It altered how educators teach mental health and wellbeing to our youth. It’s still somewhat a taboo topic, particularly when children are involved. But the education provider was an open and excellent partner and we were able to do something meaningful in a really beautiful way.

How Oberoi Realty is wooing ultra-luxury consumers with human-centered approach

In conversation with Adgully, Sarina Menezes, Head and Vice President - Brand Marketing and Corporate Communication, Oberoi Realty, discusses about the trends in the ultra-luxury real estate market as well as the marketing strategies and campaigns that Oberoi Realty has undertaken. She also speaks about how the ultra-luxury consumer looks forward to innovative experiences, having travelled widely and being exposed to the best that the world offers. She says, “Our penchant for Product Innovation through thoughtful designs and the ability to transform spaces and places is what makes us stand out as our unique selling proposition.”What are the trends in the ultra-luxury real estate sector and what does the future look like?The ultra-luxury consumer desires innovative experiences. They are well traveled and exposed to the best the world has to offer which leads to the fact that their aspirational experiences are driven by a desire to own branded luxury accessories like watches, jewellery, handbags, and high-end luxury clothing to larger investments like cars, real estate, and fine dining experiences. Beyond possessions, they value a community of like-minded individuals who appreciate the finer things in life. Belonging to such a circle, spending quality time with those who share similar views, and prioritizing comfort, safety, and sophistication define their quest for an enriched life.When it comes to real estate - be it commercial offices or homes, affluent buyers seek high-end luxury projects and A+ grade offices, that offer modern amenities and exquisite designs. The shift and demand are quickly moving in the direction of a contemporary and sophisticated lifestyle that can provide a luxurious living experience. It incorporates a comprehensive approach to a complete lifestyle shift – be it in terms of fitness, hospitality services, safety, and the desire to live in an exclusive like-minded community.The foresight to conceptualize real estate projects like these requires a commitment to innovation, and constantly seeking the new. The emphasis on high-end club amenities and a focus on a healthy lifestyle aligned with the evolving preferences of the ultra-luxury consumer.What is the marketing strategy at Oberoi Realty and its marketing mix? How has its TG evolved over the years?The marketing strategy at Oberoi Realty has always been to draw the customer in which means through a Pull Strategy. And we have been at the forefront of this as we pioneered Experience Centres. The focus has always been on engaging the customer into the vision of what we want to create in terms of spaces for him to live, work, and play through a holistic brand experience at our Customer Experience Centres.The entire marketing mix of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion plays out in real estate marketing strategy. We understand the evolving tastes and demands of our customers, whether they are seeking homes, offices, or shopping experiences. This is why, Human centricity is at the heart of the relationship we build with our customers.Customers at our experience center in Forestville in Thane can immerse themselves in the biophilia design philosophy that underpins the entire project. This human-centered approach connects customers with nature through elements like light, air, and water, creating a sensory experience that resonates from the moment they enter.How has consumer behavior evolved towards this industry in this digital age and how does Oberoi Realty adjust itself to the transitioning consumer preferences, altering its marketing strategies correspondingly?Product innovation goes a long way in bolstering marketing strategies. The pandemic was an eye-opener when our homes became spaces for work, study, exercise, and play and the need for larger homes and living space emerged, which led us to design and plan larger homes with a multi-purpose room that met these needs.We also introduced the En-Suite Studio Apartments that provide privacy (for any age group) yet the need to live together with the extended family. Available only if you purchase a 3-bedroom apartment, this product is one of our desirable configurations and has been received well by our target market.At Oberoi Realty, the Customer Experience Centres are a highlight of Hi-Touch where the customer experiences a beautifully designed ready Show Apartment, allowing customers to understand space and what their future home will feel and look like.The dynamic market in India, the evolving customer and his needs, and the sheer aspirational desire to own luxury homes make it imperative for brands to present their products in the most appealing manner that resonates with the customer and stands true to its promise as part of the brand marketing and communication strategy. Add to it the digital communication channels and it makes the efforts cost-effective and far-reaching – a combination of a push and pull marketing strategy.What is the USP of Oberoi Realty? How does it differentiate itself in the luxury real estate space and what are the strategies to stand out in this sector?Our penchant for Product Innovation through thoughtful designs and the ability to transform spaces and places is what makes us stand out as our unique selling proposition. Our Architecture and Design philosophy supports us to transform locations into destinations. We are committed to creating spaces that enhance the quality of life by applying contemporary architecture, human-centered design, planned landscaping, and impeccable quality.By placing customers and their evolving needs at the center of our developments, we constantly engage in product development, be it in terms of space, design, and utility. We also believe in observing global trends and practices to adapt them to our developments. Our Integrated Developments and Mixed-Use developments at Oberoi Garden City in Goregaon and Sky City in Borivali are a testament to this.How has Oberoi Realty played an instrumental role in the promotion of the 'Urbanization' concept in India?As India's leading real estate brand, Oberoi Realty is committed to enhancing the quality of life and promoting urban sustainability. In line with this vision, it embraces the principles of New Urbanism to create integrated developments that address these challenges and provide convenient solutions for a high-quality lifestyle. New Urbanism is a movement that has gained popularity worldwide over the past few decades. It focuses on designing walkable and diverse neighborhoods that are environmentally friendly. This concept encompasses bearing positive consequences, real estate planning, development, and collaborative efforts to create vibrant communities.As a testament to our commitment to New Urbanism, Oberoi Realty has developed projects that embody these principles. Our flagship project - Oberoi Garden City (OGC) in Goregaon, Mumbai includes prime residential towers like Esquire, Exquisite, and the upcoming Elysian, International Business Park - India's first mixed-use building with A + grade officers in Commerz, Commerz II and the upcoming Commerz III. Moreover, residents of OGC have access to world-class hospitality at The Westin Mumbai Garden City, exceptional retail experiences at Oberoi Mall, and the world-class Oberoi International School, all located within the vicinity.Sky City in Borivali our Integrated Living project promises a lifestyle upgrade with the Sky City Mall, Sky City Club, and Mumbai Marriott Hotel Sky City, a 5-star hotel – all nestled within 25 acres. With our vision set on creating similar integrated developments in Mumbai and other geographies, Oberoi Realty is at the forefront of exemplifying New Urbanism in the Indian context. By prioritizing the principles of New Urbanism, we aim to transform the lives of our residents, and the neighborhood and contribute to the sustainable development of thriving communities.How does one ensure that the brand is pertinent and enticing to the changing market dynamics?While CMOs are pounded by performance metrics and measures, the essence of marketing has remained unchanged. It is still all about the needs and wants of your consumers and customers. What has changed again is context. This is where brands and marketers need to get real to stay relevant, adapt to rapidly changing consumer behaviors influenced by global events, affluence, and propensity to spend, and leverage technology to connect authentically by addressing societal and environmental concerns.As the luxury and ultra-luxury market continues to evolve, brands like Oberoi Realty stand at the forefront of innovation, anticipating and meeting the ever-changing needs of a discerning clientele. By creating spaces that seamlessly blend comfort with functionality, Oberoi Realty sets a precedent for the transformation of locations and lifestyles, reinforcing the idea that luxury is not just a product, but a holistic experience tailored to the aspirations of the ultra-luxury consumer.What are the ways the brand actively engages with the customers to build long-lasting relationships?We are privileged to have a loyal customer base who have experienced what it is to live, work, and play in an Oberoi Realty project. Some have transitioned to larger homes within Oberoi Realty, while others have been our shining brand ambassadors, for which we are grateful.The long-lasting relationships have been built with the customer and our Relationship Managers through the lifecycle of the project and until the home is finally handed over to the residents. Our Experience Centres are places where customers can visit, engage, and interact with the people who are involved in designing, planning, and building their future homes.As a brand, we believe in the long-term potential of Brand Marketing, alongside efforts toward demand generation. Digital marketing is an effective way to communicate and reach out to customers in an economical, far-reaching, quicker, and efficient manner.What is the all-encompassing strategy behind the association with Marriott?Oberoi Realty's partnership with Marriott is a longstanding one which started with The Westin Mumbai Garden City in Goregaon; followed by The Ritz-Carlton, Mumbai in Worli. Marriott International and Oberoi Realty share a common vision as a contemporary brand that extends outstanding hospitality and excellence in service. This has also led us to partner with Marriott International for two more hotels - The JW Marriott Hotel Thane Garden City in Thane and Mumbai Marriott Hotel Sky City in Borivali.How was the year 2023 for Oberoi Realty and what are the growth projections for 2024? What are the marketing activities and campaigns undertaken by Oberoi Realty this year?2023 was a year when we handed over 1000 homes to our customers in Eternia & Enigma in Mulund. Again another 150 homes at Maxima in Andheri and the ongoing nearly 1000 homes at Sky City Borivali. We also made our foray into Thane with the launch of Forestville by Oberoi Realty on Kolshet Road which has been very well received and established us as a luxurious aspirational brand in Thane.We also announced our agreement with Marriott International for the J W Marriott Hotel Thane Garden City and the Mumbai Marriott Hotel Sky City. Both hotels will transform the geography of Thane and Borivali with affluence and an elevated lifestyle choice. We are delighted and look forward to the launch of Sky City Mall this year and with the acquisition of 14 acres in NCR we look forward to our next stop in New Delhi.

Pallavi Tinekar underscores PR's crucial role in startups

In the last 10 years, PR has taken a different dimension, especially after the entry of social media and the rapid shift to digital during the pandemic period. At the same time, the industry has been facing stiff challenges; moreover client expectations have also increased, with more emphasis being given to digital and online reputation management. The industry has undergone a radical shift and the current times have pushed the industry to change gears.In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Pallavi Tinekar, Vice President - Technology & Startups, Concept PR India, shares her journey from communications to technology and startups, addressing challenges in mentoring, accelerating funding conversations. She also highlights a successful communications campaign for a tech product and discusses staying updated with digital marketing trends, PR’s role in the startup ecosystem, navigating diverse audiences, fostering innovation.Could you share with us your journey from communications to technology and startups, and how your expertise in combining these fields has influenced your role as VP of Technology & Startups at Concept PR India Ltd?I started working with a couple of startups back in 2002, which were intended to increase potential businesses for the STD/PCO booth owners. At the time, their business was struggling as mobile phones entered the Indian market. This was my first brush with technology and its power to help a fellow citizen. The product was a smart card and it covered the whole spectrum – from paying bus fares to buying groceries. The PCO owners were supposed to collect electricity and relevant bill monies from households as part of increasing business, like an extension to e-seva, to be implemented nationwide. Such projects needed visibility and a degree in communications did just that. Once you realize the influence you have had on a project, you never want to look back. That is what happened to me. From startups to agencies to working in corporate communications roles, I have realized that simplicity can be a valuable asset and can offer numerous advantages over complexity.Moving on, I had the privilege to work with the finest professionals in the communications business which shaped me in the past two decades. Dealing with the Satyam crisis taught me a lot of resilience and team spirit. Goals cannot be achieved in silos; every team member is crucial for collective success. It is pertinent to understand the power of resources at hand to deal with any situation. As I collaborated with the communications team at Microsoft, I learned more about communication strategies and their direct impact on the quality of stories or results garnered. It was an unlearning and (a lot of re-learning) as I led the business communications for Microsoft, after doing PR for Red Hat, an open-source software provider, after moving agencies.Then I moved into a corporate communications role with CA Technologies and it had been a refreshing experience working with the team. I worked with various domestic and international leaders, giving me global exposure to cultures, diversity & inclusion, marketing strategies, internal communications, managing events, and analyst relations, among other things. Previous experiences helped shape communications at CA Technologies India and various APAC-level vertical businesses as well as the R&D centre in India.My second corporate communications stint was with Amazon Web Services with a crucial role in launching their India Region in 2016. As their first comms hire, there was a lot of pressure, building the strategy and working with communications teams worldwide, to launch the India region within two months of onboarding. But that was the thrill too! This was the mother-ship as I call it – working with enterprises, startups, channel partners, global and regional leadership – all in one to land a successful campaign that lasted for a few months.My journey entails working with technology companies – software, services, products, and each day I learn more. I have had the privilege to work with global CEOs and CXOs, including Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Jim Whitehurst (Red Hat/IBM), Mike Gregoire (CA), Andy Jassy (Amazon) and Werner Vogels (Amazon).Years later, the combination of all of the above experiences helps to build the foundation of a sustaining business with Concept PR. I have in-depth experience in external, internal, and CSR communications as well as reputation management for large IT MNCs, early-stage startups, and SMEs. As part of various local and global teams, I have collaborated and trained several executives for media and speaking engagements and have successfully initiated and run industry speaking programs. As part of my corporate communications experience, I have managed agencies, budgets, and communications mandates for various spokespeople (India, APAC, and global).What are some key challenges that you have faced while mentoring startups and helping them accelerate funding conversations and achieve growth?Mentoring startups and facilitating their growth can be both rewarding and challenging. I have been in some situations where mentoring was viewed as just another task rather than a personal development opportunity. It took several conversations for the teams to look at the opportunities such sessions got them.Mentoring is synonymous with patience. It takes a lot of convincing to get buy-in from a startup team, especially if they are not inclined to a certain thing. That can be image management, for example. Sometimes the founders are more focused on their image management than building the product. With my PR background, I may agree on that, but an MVP or pivoting on a product may get the founders more eyeballs from the right audience, that is, the funding teams. Image management can always follow on the back of a viable product that solves a current market problem.Sometimes, I also learn about mismatched expectations or over-dependence on mentor/s, thereby expecting them to solve the founders’ of startups' problems. Some founders want to follow a certain route under peer pressure, which may or may not work for their kind of product or company. In my experience, a bulk of the time is invested in making them see perspectives and balancing views and outcomes.Right advice along with time investment is crucial for early-stage startups, which also comes when they have put their best foot forward to receive funding and/or are part of an accelerator. Founders need a few degrees of extra attention and that can be due to language barriers, or less exposure to funding processes.Could you discuss a particularly successful communications campaign or event you led for a technology product or startup, and the impact it had on the target audience?I will talk about a product which created such an impact that its audience started talking about it. At the time, there was no visibility in the press. The implementation of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) led to a study conducted by IIM Bangalore, highlighting the role of FOSS and its impact in developing countries. Often a substitute for more expensive proprietary software, FOSS can impact the economy and progress of a country, like India, in a very positive way.We worked on a campaign to highlight the impact and talk about the positives from the survey report ‘Economic Impact of FOSS in India’ which was based on 20 case studies from various Indian government departments and educational institutions with FOSS being used as an operating system, server, or application. It was a strategic communications campaign and with the support of the media, propelled conversations with various companies. It was exciting to see that our primary target audience from a PR point of view, the media, was very intrigued. We experienced a wave of questions, in ways of interviews and meetings to learn more about FOSS. Without mentioning numbers, the quality of conversations was overwhelming and encouraging.With your experience in new media and content creation, how do you stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in digital marketing for technology brands?I have identified some reputable sources of information in the digital marketing and technology sector and follow them for trending topics and best practices. This includes industry-leading blogs, websites, and online publications that cover topics related to digital marketing, technology trends, and insights. Some popular sources include HubSpot, Moz, Search Engine Journal, Neil Patel’s blog, and Social Media Examiner.Attending industry conferences, events, and webinars focused on digital marketing and technology helps to navigate your business conversations and general understanding of consumer behaviour. Networking with professionals in the field can also provide valuable knowledge and connections.I encourage joining online communities and forums, where digital marketers and technology professionals gather to discuss trends and share insights. Platforms such as Reddit, Quora, LinkedIn Groups, and specialized forums like GrowthHackers and Warrior Forum can offer opportunities to participate in discussions, ask questions, and learn from industry peers. Identify influential individuals and thought leaders in the digital marketing and technology space. Follow them on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, where they often share valuable insights, industry news, and updates. Engage with their content and participate in discussions to stay current with emerging trends.Most of my reading involves market research reports to gather insights and be abreast of trends, consumer behavior, and technology adoption.The landscape is constantly evolving, so it is important to allocate time and develop a habit of consuming relevant content regularly, engaging with industry professionals, and continuously seeking opportunities to learn and grow within the digital marketing field.What role do you believe public relations plays in the growth and success of technology startups, especially in terms of building brand reputation and attracting investment?The role of Public Relations is integral to startups as they aim to build brand awareness. Startups often struggle to stand out in a cluttered market. PR can cut through this by putting their message out through various formats. In this, the founders go through some internal churn (if not already) to think through positioning and perception about themselves and their offerings.PR also helps to build trust. Trust is vital, especially for startups. People are cautious about investing in new, unproven businesses. PR consistently generates positive media coverage, fostering reliability and credibility, which is essential for attracting customers and investors.Many startups need external investment for growth. Good PR highlights a startup’s potential, showcases its value, and puts it on investors’ radars. A positive public image increases attractiveness to potential backers. PR enables startups to establish their founders and key executives as thought leaders and experts in their respective fields. By leveraging PR channels, such as speaking engagements, industry conferences, and bylined articles, startups can share their insights, knowledge, and vision with a wider audience. This can enhance the startup's credibility, create trust, and attract attention from investors seeking innovative and knowledgeable entrepreneurs.Parallelly, startups need to be cognizant of crises-led situations that can arise – whether from a product, a social media blunder, negative reviews, etc. Effective PR helps manage these situations, minimizing damage and maintaining reputation. Founders and teams need to understand and rely on the role of PR in their business.How do you navigate the challenges of managing communications for both domestic and international audiences, considering the diverse cultural and market dynamics?Just like any business, or startup, understanding the market is crucial to make an impact. Managing communications for both domestic and international audiences while considering diverse cultural and market dynamics can be challenging. There is a growing need to understand the cultural nuances, preferences, and even communication styles of audiences. I recollect one time in an internal team meeting, in an international market, a colleague’s idea, though with an honest intent, was shot down within seconds, because it lacked cultural sensitivity. While dealing with varied audiences, we need to be aware of etiquettes, taboos, cultural sensitivities to say the least to avoid potential misunderstandings or offense. Adapting your messaging and communication approach to align with cultural norms can help build trust and resonate with diverse audiences.Localizing content also works, to make it relevant and appealing. This includes translating your materials into different languages, adapting visuals, and tailoring messaging to reflect local customs, preferences, and market dynamics. Working with local experts or agencies who have a deep understanding of the target market to ensure accuracy and cultural appropriateness is beneficial to making correct impressions.For many markets, English may not be the first language. Utilizing multilingual communication channels, and providing content and support in the local language can enhance the user experience. For many campaigns, I have relied on local partners or media outlets to provide valuable insights. Always seeking feedback and adapting to varied styles should be inculcated in teams, as they progress together.Last but not the least, we need to listen more than talk or express, while working with diverse audiences because active listening and adaptability are key. By investing in research, localization, and understanding cultural contexts, we have navigated the challenges of managing communications for both domestic and international audiences, fostering meaningful connections and driving engagement across diverse markets.As VP of Technology & Startups, what strategies do you employ to foster innovation and entrepreneurship within Concept PR India Ltd and among your clients?PR has come a long way, and in its evolution, PR professionals have increasingly realized that it is not just media coverage, but an overall brand strategy emphasizing brand equity. It is with campaigns that resonate with the audience contributing to long-term success. That also indicates that we need to think about the whole spectrum and bring in synergies with functions like advertising, social media, and content creation for a more holistic approach.Whether external or internal, we constantly train to dig deep to find opportunities where others may see challenges. There are conversations to innovate by identifying unique angles, untapped markets, or unconventional channels. Sometimes, the most impactful PR campaigns emerge from unexpected places. While media coverage remains essential, our clients and internal teams leverage social media, influence partnerships, and get involved with direct communications with stakeholders. We also realize that not all conversations will result in tangible outcomes, so increasing focus is also on whether we moved the needle, even if it was an intangible outcome.We have embraced data-driven insights, monitored online sentiment, and adapted strategies accordingly. Each of the team members is tasked with a question or an assignment to think differently, and innovatively to achieve positive attention. There is on-ground training and assessment when they are tasked with new business conversations to test their entrepreneurial skills. They have shadowed me at most meetings to learn the ropes. New training, new skill acquisition, and constant learning are part of my team’s professional lives.Could you share a memorable experience or achievement from your career that you are particularly proud of, and how it has shaped your approach to communications and technology?As I mentioned earlier, I got the opportunity to work with Amazon Web Services, I was their first PR hire in India. My first assignment was to launch the AWS India Region within a steep time frame. Everything about the period leading to the launch - including working on the PR strategy, internal team for customer speak, analysts, partners, and startups – is memorable to me! My experience is a combination of what makes a successful campaign – right from team collaboration to joint goals, always putting the customer ahead, making the right choices, resulting in smiling faces, a sense of pride, and exhaustion with contentment. Rightfully, those learnings have helped me to understand customer asks today.As we completed the 3-city conference with Andy Jassy, we realized that India had topped the charts globally with the kind of media attention generated in that week and that was truly an achievement. A global award followed later in the coming months, but even today, thinking about that time makes me smile and I wish, every PR professional gets such experience at least once in their lifetime.The bulk of my learnings in the past two decades are my north star, personally!Limited Resources: Startups often operate with limited financial resources, which can make it challenging to attract investors, develop their products or services, and scale their operations. Mentors can help startups identify creative solutions, optimize resource allocation, and explore alternative funding options.Market Validation: Startups need to demonstrate the viability and potential of their business ideas to investors. Market validation involves conducting market research, gathering customer feedback, and proving that there is a demand for their product or service. Mentors can guide startups in refining their value proposition, identifying target markets, and validating their business models.Networking and Relationship Building: Building relationships with potential investors, industry experts, and strategic partners is crucial for startups. However, establishing these connections can be a challenge, especially for early-stage startups without an extensive network. Mentors can provide guidance on networking strategies, making introductions, and leveraging existing connections.Pitching and Communication: Startups need to effectively communicate their vision, value proposition, and growth potential to investors. Crafting a compelling pitch that captures the attention and interest of potential investors requires strong storytelling and presentation skills. Mentors can assist startups in refining their pitch, providing feedback, and improving their communication abilities.Competitive Landscape: Startups often operate in highly competitive markets, which can present challenges in differentiating themselves and securing funding. Mentors can help startups analyze their competition, identify unique selling points, and develop strategies to stand out in the market.Managing Growth: Rapid growth can bring its own set of challenges for startups. Scaling operations, managing cash flow, hiring and retaining talent, and maintaining a strong company culture become critical as startups accelerate their growth. Mentors can provide guidance on growth strategies, operational efficiencies, and talent acquisition.Regulatory and Legal Compliance: Startups need to navigate various regulatory and legal requirements, which can be complex and time-consuming. Lack of compliance can hinder funding opportunities or even lead to legal issues. Mentors can help startups understand and navigate the regulatory landscape, connect them with legal experts, and ensure compliance.These challenges require a combination of strategic thinking, perseverance, adaptability, and mentorship. While mentors can provide valuable guidance and support, it’s important for startups to proactively seek knowledge, network, and continuously learn from their experiences to overcome these challenges and achieve sustainable growth.

How to Develop a PR Strategy That Aligns with Your Brand Vision

Authored By Shiva Bhavani Founder and CEO, Wing CommunicationsIn the dynamic landscape of today's business world, crisis management has emerged as a critical lifeline for protecting and preserving the integrity of a brand. Effective crisis management is not just about mitigating damage in the moment but also about foreseeing potential crises and preparing accordingly. This comprehensive analysis delves into the essence of crisis management in public relations, equipped with relevant facts, data points, statistics, and insights from credible sources.The Imperative of Crisis ManagementCrisis management in PR is the strategic handling of unexpected and potentially damaging events that can affect an organisation's reputation, operations, or financial stability. According to a Deloitte study, 90% of businesses that have a crisis management plan in place report being able to tackle crisis effectively, demonstrating the critical role of preparedness in crisis management.Understanding the Types of CrisesCrises can vary in nature and origin, including natural disasters, technological failures, legal issues, or public relations blunders. The Institute for Crisis Management's annual report classifies crises into several categories, noting that in 2023, digital crises (stemming from cyberattacks, data breaches, and online defamation) represented over 40% of all business crises, highlighting the growing need for digital vigilance.The Role of PR in Crisis ManagementPublic Relations plays a pivotal role in managing a crisis by communicating with stakeholders, media, and the public. Effective communication can mitigate the negative impacts of a crisis, preserve stakeholder trust, and even turn a potential disaster into an opportunity for brand strengthening. A survey by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) found that transparent communication during a crisis leads to a 20% increase in stakeholder trust.Pre-Crisis PreparationThe foundation of effective crisis management is thorough preparation before a crisis hits. This involves risk assessment, crisis plan development, and training. A study by the Harvard Business Review emphasizes the importance of scenario planning, noting that companies that regularly engage in scenario planning are 45% more effective in crisis management.Crisis Response StrategiesWhen a crisis occurs, the response must be swift, strategic, and sensitive to the concerns of all stakeholders. The Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) suggests tailoring response strategies to the type of crisis, emphasizing the need for apology and corrective action in cases of preventable crises. A Forbes Insights survey reveals that 58% of executives consider timely response and transparent communication as the most critical factors in successful crisis management.Post-Crisis Analysis and RecoveryAfter navigating a crisis, analyzing the response's effectiveness and implementing recovery strategies is crucial. This includes reviewing what was done right or wrong, what could be improved, and how to better prepare for future crises. According to McKinsey, organizations that conduct post-crisis analyses and adapt their crisis management plans accordingly reduce the impact of future crises by up to 30%.The Importance of Digital and Social MediaIn the age of digital media, managing a brand's online reputation has become a key component of crisis management. A report by Edelman shows that 65% of consumers form their opinion about a brand during a crisis based on online information. This underscores the importance of actively monitoring and managing social media and online platforms as part of a comprehensive crisis management strategy.Lessons from Success and FailureAnalyzing real-life crisis management cases provides valuable lessons. For instance, the effective crisis handling by Johnson & Johnson during the Tylenol tampering scare in the 1980s is often cited as a textbook example of crisis management done right, leading to the introduction of tamper-evident packaging. Conversely, the initial denial by BP during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill worsened the crisis, demonstrating the negative consequences of poor crisis communication.ConclusionCrisis management is an indispensable aspect of public relations that safeguards a brand's reputation and longevity. Through meticulous preparation, strategic response, and thorough post-crisis analysis, organizations can navigate the choppy waters of crises with resilience and poise. This analysis, supported by facts, statistics, and insights from credible sources, underscores the value of integrating effective crisis management practices into the PR toolkit. As the business environment continues to evolve, so too must the strategies employed to protect and preserve the brand's integrity in the face of crisis.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

Part 3: Untangling the Web: Measuring PR's Impact in the Marketing Mix

In the high-octane world of marketing, Public Relations (PR) often plays a vital role. It shapes brand perception, cultivates positive media coverage, and fosters valuable relationships with stakeholders. But unlike flashy ad campaigns or targeted social media blitzes, PR's impact can be subtle yet significant. The challenge? Isolating and measuring its success amidst a symphony of marketing efforts. The third and final part of this series dives into the strategies PR professionals use to quantify their contributions, proving the power of strategic communication in today's dynamic marketing landscape.Jyotsna Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communications, DS Group, feels that isolating the specific impact of PR campaigns within a broader marketing mix can be challenging. However, she adds, several methods can help PR professionals measure their contribution. One approach, according to her, is to utilize marketing mix modeling (MMM) which employs statistical techniques to quantify the independent effect of each marketing channel, including PR, on sales or other key metrics (Farris et al., 2010).<img src='\a379b77727dbfd4a27395d5d756dfe43.png' class='content_image'>“PR professionals can also track campaign-specific metrics like brand mentions with positive sentiment before, during, and after the campaign to isolate its influence (Kitchen et al., 2017). Additionally, utilizing unique UTM parameters (Urchin Tracking Module) in press releases or social media posts linked to PR efforts allows for tracking website traffic specifically driven by the campaign (Smith, 2020). By employing a combination of these methods, PR professionals can gain a clearer picture of their campaigns' impact within the wider marketing ecosystem.”ReferencesFarris, P. W., Bendle, N. T., Pfeifer, P. E., & Reibstein, D. J. (2010). Marketing metrics: The definitive guide to measuring marketing performance. Prentice Hall.Kitchen, P., Schultz, D. E., & Vance, C. (2017). Measuring public relations: Techniques and applications. Routledge.Smith, P. (2020). UTM parameters: The ultimate guide for marketers. Search Engine Land: an increasingly converging and integrated communication universe, this could be challenging and the metrics do overlap at times, observes Sumathi Chari, Sr. Partner & Director, PRHUB. "Having said that, public relations (PR) fundamentally revolves around storytelling. It gains traction naturally when shared by impartial voices unconnected to the brand or its campaigns. Therefore, the extent to which we can cultivate and attract attention through compelling narratives will consistently serve as a pivotal and unique metric for evaluation," she says.<img src='\f7ba3a63fcfb8ef976744348b2649ad0.png' class='content_image'>First and foremost, says Siddhartha Mukherjee, founder of Brand Balance, PR is not limited to supporting the CMO and the marketing team of the organisation alone. According to him, its capability and the real scope of work are much larger and more complex. In fact, he adds, the actual capability of what PR is meant to do gets amplified when PR works with the CEO and all other CXOs. Hence, PR does not just work for the marketing of products or services of a brand alone but also the employer brand, investor brand, vendor and partner brand, government brand, and so on.<img src='\8cbbe92ceca4e5ebfb9f5b8e5b29f21b.png' class='content_image'>“Talking specifically about measurement in marketing campaigns, it is first important to understand PR's amazing potential to strengthen the marketing campaigns across the pre, during, and Post phases. In fact, if one studies the data of various marketing campaigns across industries, it will be observed that very few have made judicious use of PR in all three phases across pre, during, and post. In most of the cases, PR's recall by the marketing team has been at the 11th hour, and therefore, its intervention got restricted to 'during' or the ‘launch’ or ‘announcement’ phase only. If PR is leveraged properly with scientific ERPs - efforts, resources, and processes, its measurement will reveal amazing results in the outcome stage of the measurement framework. Paid and earned stimuli can be separately linked with the strengthening of brand recall and engagement scores,” Mukherjee explains.Beyond ROI: Exploring Vital Metrics in MeasurementIn the realm of PR, measuring success extends far beyond the traditional confines of Return on Investment (ROI). While ROI serves as a crucial indicator of financial performance, it often fails to capture the full spectrum of PR's impact on brand reputation, audience engagement, and overall organisational goals. In the multifaceted landscape of PR metrics, it is important dive into alternative benchmarks that hold equal significance in assessing campaign efficacy. By understanding the importance of these metrics, PR professionals can craft more comprehensive strategies and demonstrate the true value of their efforts to stakeholders.While ROI remains a key performance indicator, PR success extends beyond the bottom line, says Jyotsna Dash Nanda. “Measuring media reach, sentiment analysis, social engagement, and website traffic paint a more comprehensive picture. These metrics reveal brand visibility, audience perception, and the impact of PR efforts on business objectives.”According to Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR, while measuring success, PR professionals can also add these to the report to add additional layers:Social Media TrafficDigital Platform AnalyticsGoogle AnalyticsWebsite TrafficMarket ResearchOnline Listening Reports“Each of these metrics serves as an indicator of the reputation the PR team strives to cultivate for the brand. The availability of comprehensive data allows for thorough analysis, empowering the team to leverage insights effectively and demonstrate the tangible impact of PR efforts. However, challenges arise when data is scarce or inaccessible, compounded by limited resources for investing in necessary tools. In such scenarios, the team may find themselves reliant solely on media coverage to justify their presence and contributions, highlighting the critical importance of accessible data and adequate support for achieving ROI goals,” says Rattan. <img src='\e82aa403b495c06e50a425187f67245a.png' class='content_image'>Like other forms of communication, PR too, can never lay its claim on ROI (transaction), says Siddhartha Mukherjee.“However, it can and should claim its stake in ROO (Returns of Objective); in other words, measurement data that showcase change of thinking within target audiences. To achieve ROO as the outcome, the entire PR Measurement framework - INPUT-OUTPUT-OUTCOME - needs to be strengthened and leveraged very efficiently. Each block of Input, Output, and Outcome will need to have an intricate series of metrics. To sprinkle a few - a) PR Input should work towards balancing and target setting metrics such as reach, frequency, sustenance, emotion, multimedia, etc. b) preference for monthly as against quarterly planning cycle c) junking the AVE cancer d) To evaluate the visibility quotient, preference for holistic index scores as against count of articles or space...and so on,” Mukherjee explains.(Concluded)Read the first two parts here:

Beyond Likes and Shares: Measuring PR's Impact in the Age of AI - Part 2

In today's data-driven world, public relations (PR) professionals are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the true impact of their campaigns. Gone are the days of relying solely on vanity metrics like follower counts and press mentions. Companies are demanding a more holistic understanding of how PR efforts translate into tangible business results.The second part of this series dives into the exciting realm of emerging metrics and frameworks that are revolutionizing PR measurement. We'll explore innovative approaches that capture a broader picture of PR's influence, encompassing brand sentiment, audience engagement, and ultimately, driving business objectives. We'll also investigate the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in PR measurement, examining how AI can automate tasks, analyze vast datasets, and unlock deeper insights into campaign effectiveness.Forget just counting clips! The new wave of PR measurement goes beyond vanity metrics to understand the true impact of your story, observes Jyotsna Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communications, DS Group.<img src='\1af7160453db4551954a8ff6b6a4516e.png' class='content_image'>Sharing her insights on this, she adds: “With a Media Impact Score that considers journalist clout and publication weight, you can ditch the brag sheet and focus on real influence. A Relevance Index ensures your message resonates with the right audience, while a Rank Index tracks your climb to the top of search results. Engagement metrics show you how your audience is interacting, and Share of Narrative analysis reveals if your brand's story is cutting through the noise. PR measurement should focus on user engagement (clicks, shares, comments), website traffic conversion (sales, sign-ups) driven by PR efforts, and social listening to gauge brand sentiment and identify brand advocates. This data-driven approach demonstrates the true impact of PR on brand perception, audience engagement, and ultimately, business objectives. In today's media landscape, it's not just about getting mentioned, it's about getting heard.”According to her, some emerging frameworks are:AMEC Framework: A widely used model that goes beyond outputs (media placements) to consider outcomes (changes in awareness, perception) and impacts (on business goals).PESO Model: A strategic framework classifying media channels (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) to understand how different elements work together to achieve PR goals.RACE Framework: A results-oriented approach focusing on Reach, Act, Convert, and Engage to measure the user journey influenced by PR efforts.According to Jyotsna Dash Nanda, these metrics and frameworks offer a more comprehensive understanding of PR's effectiveness by prioritizing quality over quantity. “They go beyond simply counting media mentions to analyse the influence and relevance of the coverage. Additionally, these methods connect PR efforts directly to business goals by tracking website traffic, lead generation, and ultimately, sales. This data-driven approach also provides valuable insights into audience behaviour, revealing how audiences engage with PR content.”Traditional PR metrics, such as AVE, measuring media articles, brand mentions, or now even “potential reach” and “impressions” in isolation, do not define the actual audience reached or provide any subsequent internal engagement with your organisation, says Anup Sharma, Independent PR & Strategic Communications Consultant.<img src='\e708b698f5e4345815d1a4031057072b.png' class='content_image'>He feels that focusing solely on media measurement provides an incomplete picture. Similarly, he adds, brand awareness cannot be seen as a metric for measuring a PR campaign as it should be viewed as an outcome of effective PR and marketing campaigns.According to him, most media monitoring tools do not integrate traditional media monitoring and social media monitoring, or do a poor job of integration. However, he adds, new platforms can now perform both functions well and integrate different data streams from traditional media, social media, as well as internal communications into a single dashboard.“Engagement metrics tell how the earned content resonates with the target audience and while calculating the same, it's important to also take sentiment analysis into account. With the right success measurements, organisations can refine communication strategies and show exactly how much the PR effort contributes to overall brand success. PR and communication professionals need to take a look at the bigger picture and use other metrics such as brand equity, brand engagement, and brand sentiment to better understand the impact of their brand in the market. In order to truly measure success, it is important to track organisational outcomes such as sales, customer retention, brand loyalty, and market share. These metrics will give you a more complete picture of brand performance. The blurring line between paid and earned media creates the issue of credibility and trust in communication. Now, with the work scope of a Public Relations consultancy growing beyond just media management relations, not every aspect of communication outreach being managed by the PR firm can be quantitatively measured,” says Anup Sharma.Digital PR metrics such as website domain authority, traffic to website and SEO ranking are now well-established metrics and are almost a must in PR measurement, says Sumathi Chari, Sr. Partner & Director, PRHUB. The advantage, according to her, is they are more tangible compared to traditional metrics and are easier to align to desired business outcomes.<img src='\b6b9fc7a212bee0a137a41c366669436.png' class='content_image'>She feels that an 'integrated measurement' framework is critical in the future to assess the holistic impact a PR campaign has on the brand and business, one that measures across traditional, digital and social media amplification, that measures both quantitative metrics such as reach and impressions combined with qualitative parameters such as the messaging, tonality, engagement, reach to the right TG, alignment of content to TG, among others.Finally, says Chari, these metrics need to be brought together and analyzed comprehensively. “This analysis aims to extract key insights and define the campaign's impact on the organisation/brand in three key areas. The deeper we delve, the more effective we will be in defining the RoI and the impact of the PR campaign on the brand,” she adds.According to Siddhartha Mukherjee, founder of Brand Balance, there are more than five unique advantages of PR measurement. However, for this, the measurement framework needs to be designed, executed, and sustained scientifically.<img src='\867f5843ffc3b685b187da33d3491bfe.png' class='content_image'>“The measurement framework is a reflection of the way the human brain functions! Over the years, globally, various nomenclatures have been used to visualize a framework, such as - INPUT-OUTPUT-OUTCOME or EXPOSURE-ENGAGEMENT-CONVERSION. In fact, AMEC (the International Association of Measurement & Evaluation of Communication) has detailed it further as INPUT-OUTPUT-OUTTAKES-OUTCOME-IMPACT. AMEC is making a lot of effort globally to simplify the subject of PR measurement and ensure that it is well-embedded in PR Industries across countries around the world,” he adds.AIand PR Will AI play a key role in measuring in the days to come?Yes, AI will play a huge role, and we are hoping for the best, especially in PR measurement, says Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR.<img src='\fbab4f034452821461fb3d38283ed8f0.png' class='content_image'>“One promising emerging metric that offers a more holistic view of PR's impact on business objectives is overlaying the PR timeline with the sales graph. This combined view can resonate with both CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) and CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers). This done consistently over a period of 4-5 years will start showcasing the impact on each other and has proved to be very effective. Now the PR graph tracks only the hits (media and non-media) typically. But the more you add to it and start studying the interplay between both tracks, it becomes more clear to both teams on what and how PR is impacting the bottom line. Add a sentiment analysis and a vox pop feedback with key stakeholders to this mix and you have an impressive ROI document. While you create this, remember this is an annual document and not a monthly or quarterly one either. We have done this effectively for brands we work with and it was very well received,” Rattan explains.According to  Siddhartha Mukherjee, AI and tech-enabled interventions have amazing potential to upgrade the PR & measurement machinery of an organisation from a cost center to a revenue center. “It can contribute immensely across the PR framework, especially PR INPUT. This first block of the measurement framework itself has around seven different cogs such as listening, benchmarking, target setting, content bank, etc. Technology can bring in a lot of ease and preparedness,” he adds.Jyotsna Dash Nanda is certain that AI will likely be key in future PR measurement. AI can analyse vast amounts of data to identify sentiment, track brand advocacy, and measure the influence of earned media, providing a more comprehensive picture of PR's impact.Anup Sharma suggests that in order to continue to stay relevant, PR firms will need to rely on big data and artificial intelligence not only for predicting audience interests but also to move the needle towards credible engagement. PR can gain greater respect and credibility by using realistic metrics that produce credible data and that are tied to business outcomes.(Tomorrow, Part 3 of this series will cover how PR professionals can isolate and measure the specific impact of their campaigns amidst a mix of marketing activities, as well as other valuable metrics that PR professionals should consider when measuring success.)Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay

Beyond Buzz: Why Traditional PR Metrics Don't Tell the Whole Story – Part 1

In the dynamic world of public relations (PR), measurement has long been a cornerstone for assessing success and guiding strategies. Yet, behind the veil of traditional PR metrics lies a fundamental challenge: the inability to capture the true impact of PR efforts. While metrics like media impressions, social media followers, and website traffic offer numerical snapshots of visibility and reach, they often fall short in revealing the deeper resonance and influence of PR initiatives.Almost half of all PR professionals, according to Muck Rack's 2022 State of PR report, are looking for ways to measure the impact of their work. This desire is strong across the industry, with 49% of agency professionals and 45% of those on the brand side emphasizing the importance of "producing measurable results" to show the value of PR within their organisations.This focus on measurement isn't surprising. Traditionally, PR efforts were judged on less tangible factors like brand awareness or media mentions. However, in today's data-driven world, executives are demanding concrete evidence of PR's contribution to the bottom line. By showcasing metrics like website traffic increases, lead generation, or positive sentiment analysis, PR professionals can demonstrate a direct return on investment (ROI) and secure a stronger seat at the decision-making table. This shift towards data-driven PR allows for more targeted campaigns, budget optimization, and a clearer understanding of what truly resonates with target audiences.Indeed, the landscape of media consumption has undergone a profound transformation, rendering traditional metrics that emphasize reach and ad equivalence of coverage increasingly obsolete. In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving media environment, consumers are no longer passive recipients of information but active participants who consume content on the go and selectively engage with what resonates with them.Traditional metricsSo, what are the limitations of traditional PR metrics? How do they fail to capture the true impact of PR efforts?In this three-part series, The PR POST embarks on a journey to unravel the limitations of traditional PR metrics, exploring how they obscure rather than illuminate the real value that PR brings to the table. The attempt is to delve into the nuances of measurement in PR, emerging metrics, the role of AI, etc.There are tangible and intangible elements to every PR campaign, says Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR.According to him, a lot of the effort of traditional PR metrics only aims to capture the tangible elements of work done, ignoring all the conversations, effort, and planning put in to arrive at it and completely ignores the other intangible elements.“While the entire industry worldwide has tried with various degrees of success to measure the tangible impact PR creates and put it in excel sheets, graphs, charts and PPTs, it is like trying to hold on to water. It takes the shape of whichever container it sees and changes shape with the next. Similarly, a matrix that is tweaked to one client will change for the next. There are efforts to bring in standardization in all these methods, but it is a tough job. Something almost always gets left behind. Today, every agency has a different matrix. With the advent of AI, we are hoping to be able to create something more all-encompassing for tangible results. The intangible ones, however, are a whole different story,” says Rattan.Public Relations is all about how your brand is represented in various outlets as earned media, and PR measurement is the process of measuring the impact of this earned media coverage on your brand, says Anup Sharma, Independent PR & Strategic Communications Consultant.For all organisations, Sharma reckons, it's essential to understand how best to measure the success of their PR campaigns in order to demonstrate a return on investment. However, he adds, measuring the outcomes is hard as attributing them to PR campaigns is not easy.“While in the digital world with modern tools, keeping track of who mentions you, where, and how is possible, not all PR impact is directly quantifiable. Also, given the converged nature of communications today, earned content also appears on social media and falls into the blurred zone of earned media coverage or shared or both. There is no one, widely agreed method of measuring earned media value, and the trend of PR measurement as a topic has always been discussed and debated. The AMEC framework is the most widely adopted process for measuring and evaluating communications, as this focuses on capturing all outputs and outtakes, with a particular emphasis on organisational impact,” Sharma explains.Traditional metrics primarily focus on reach and ad equivalence of coverage, says Sumathi Chari, Senior Partner & Director, PRHUB. However, she adds, in today’s evolved and continually changing media landscape, this emphasis is irrelevant. Today, readers consume content on the go and choose the content they want to read or engage with.“At the same time, the scope of PR in a digital, multi-media environment has broadened, and limiting measurement to brand reach or a few other standalone metrics will dilute the larger impact of PR on businesses and organisations,” she adds.My observation is that very few within our industry are genuinely practicing and leveraging effective PR measurement, opines Siddhartha Mukherjee, founder of Brand Balance, a measurement & data analytics-led corporate brand reputation and ERP management consultancy.He states that the definition and visualization of PR measurement are influenced by our perception of PR. Its construct differs depending on how the top management of organisations perceives and leverages it.“For some, it is merely seen as a news dispatch or management tool, a perspective prevalent among a significant portion of organisations. However, another category of organisations exists where CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, and CHROs view PR as a strategic tool for brand reputation and valuation management. This disparity in the thought process among the end customers of PR forms the foundation for the current state of PR measurement,” says Mukherjee.The prevailing trend Mukherjee has observed in the measurement templates utilized by both clients and service providers tends to skew towards traditional PR monitoring. According to him it is imperative for custodians to discern between PR measurement and monitoring. Monitoring, he adds, primarily revolves around conducting daily and monthly assessments to gauge the quantity and quality of media visibility for corporate and product brands, as well as developments within the business ecosystem.“However, measurement presents a broader and more strategic approach. It focuses on ensuring that every PR effort conceived and executed contributes to enhancing brand and business metrics, ultimately reflecting in Return on Objectives (ROO). This delineates PR measurement as a linear structure encompassing PR INPUT, PR OUTPUT, and PR OUTCOME. Undoubtedly, this framework requires the backing of a meticulously designed framework of ERPs - efforts, resources, and processes - to effectively measure the impact and value of PR initiatives,” adds Mukherjee.Jyotsna Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communications, DS Group, reckons that traditional PR metrics lack insight into the "why" behind the "what" – they track results but not resonance. Instead, she adds, they often fixate on vanity metrics that fail to provide a comprehensive narrative.According to her, here's how they fall short, along with some future-oriented approaches:Limitations:Impressions/Reach: These metrics (e.g., number of people who saw a press release) show exposure, but not engagement (did they read it? Did it resonate?)Example: A press release gets published in a major newspaper, reaching millions. But if the writing is bland or the placement irrelevant, it might have minimal impact.Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE): This assigns a dollar value to media coverage, assuming it's the same as paid advertising. This is widely criticized as inaccurate.Example: A company claims an AVE of $100,000 for a positive article. However, no guarantee paid advertising for that amount would have had the same impact (or any impact at all).Sentiment Analysis (basic): Traditional methods might simply categorize sentiment as positive, negative, or neutral. This misses nuance.Example: An article mentions a company but doesn't explicitly recommend it. Basic sentiment analysis might miss the opportunity to understand the context and potential impact.According to her, it is also important to gauge performance vis-à-vis competition.(Stay tuned for tomorrow's part, where we'll delve into emerging metrics for a comprehensive understanding of PR's impact and the role of AI in measurement.)Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay

Ameer Ismail: PR companies must evolve in the AI era to remain relevant

In the last 10 years, PR has taken a different dimension, especially after the entry of social media and the rapid shift to digital during the pandemic period. At the same time, the industry has been facing stiff challenges; moreover client expectations have also increased, with more emphasis being given to digital and online reputation management. The industry has undergone a radical shift and the current times have pushed the industry to change gears.In an exclusive interaction with Adgully, Ameer Ismail, President, Lintas Live, Mullen Lowe Lintas, delves into the critical transformations that PR companies must undergo in the era of AI, he also emphasises on data-driven strategies for measuring campaign success, as well as how Lintas Live harnesses this approach to craft impactful PR campaigns for clients globally, highlighting the network’s capabilities in navigating diverse regions.How do you think PR companies should reinvent themselves in the age of AI?In my long tenure in the PR industry, I have never seen a greater need for re-strategizing and reimagining our business. Every industry goes through a tipping point, technology has defined this as ours. The rapidly evolving landscape of the digital ecosystem and fast evolving newer technologies like AI are fuelling the need for reinvention. A lot of what was traditionally done by PR agencies will change, powered by the transformative capabilities of AI. In response to this paradigm shift, PR companies must undergo a metamorphosis, they will need to embrace change and technology, reimagine talent for the future to stay relevant.PR agencies must embrace AI as integral part of processes and operations. These tools offer the ability to mine data, predict trends, and help formulate communication strategies/ content that deeply resonate with right audiences. You can already see AI being used for content creation, presentations, short digital films, press releases and much more. Clients are asking for AI-based thinking and creative solutions. While we have seen the PR industry evolve, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible with AI. All leaders in this business have been busy decoding AI and its impact on business, talent, and processes. Thankfully, adoption and usage of AI in PR has led to some clarity on its impact, and this will continue for a while. What is clear is that many will leverage AI’s predictive capabilities to carve out insights that can be critical to campaign effectiveness. Data/ technology led campaigns will get their own right of space and increased recognition.There’s a growing emphasis on data-driven PR strategies. How is Lintas Live utilizing data and analytics to measure the success of PR campaigns and demonstrate ROI to clients? For some time now there has been a shift to a more data driven approach, there is a move from intuition to (data driven) insight. The vast amount of data available has been guiding decisions on the choice of media, influencers and platforms and makes the approach for PR more targeted and message delivery far more effective. We see this kind of technological developments and data driven approaches as a game-changer. At Lintas Live, we have been using tools to map conversation data and have started to use AI’s predictive capabilities to map out conversation trends. Our innovative community-based model comprises three distinct communities:TrendspottersCreative ArchitectsNewjackersEach community plays a pivotal role in ensuring our clients secure an unparalleled share of attention by seamlessly integrating into current, topical, and relevant conversations, all while benefiting from data and technology usage. Most of our planners use this to define potential conversation topics for the months to come so that we know exactly what brand message to place in those conversations. The journey of data and analytics usage commences subsequent to the client brief, where we employ tools like Meltwater to monitor news and conversation data. This journey then extends to presenting results and ROI to clients through integrated dashboards.With the rise of social media and the decline of traditional media outlets, how is the Public Relations industry adapting its strategies to reach target audiences and measure the success of campaigns?Social media has democratised the landscape of information sharing. Everyone has a voice and can publish their views on platforms. As one navigates a huge volume of information you can just scroll on your device to access the same, but it’s the power of compelling and creative content is what makes you stop and take notice. Also, you will share with others only what you care about, this kind of dynamic fuels talkability and relevance for brands. Traditional media is still an important part of the mix, but it has become a very interconnected ecosystem of information flow with news breaking online (sometimes on social media) and then being picked up by traditional media outlets. So many millennials get their news feeds on platforms like Instagram that social media as a part of the mix just cannot be ignored. PR agencies and professionals are adapting to this landscape of social media and are orchestrating a symphony of innovative approaches to reach and captivate target audiences.The other dynamic is the increasing power of social media influencers, brands have recognised that there could be significant positive impact by using the right influencers and PR agencies are fuelling this by helping focus on the right influencers, then forging partnerships with them to deliver authentic messages that resonate with their followers. ROI and measurement are increasingly becoming the litmus test of success, and at Lintas Live, our approach prioritizes key metrics such as Engagement Rate, Reach and Impressions, Click-Through Rate (CTR), and sentiment analysis of comments and mentions.Additionally, we focus on analysing audience demographics and conversion rates to gain comprehensive insights into campaign performance. By closely monitoring these indicators, we ensure effective campaign evaluation and continuous improvement, enabling us to refine strategies for even greater success.In today’s world of information overload, how can PR professionals ensure their clients' messages cut through the noise and resonate with the public?PR professionals must stop the carpet-bombing approach. Everyone needs to understand that smartly articulated content can deliver a message powerfully and cut through the clutter. In navigating today’s sea of information overload, PR professionals face a formidable challenge: that is to ensure their clients’ messages don’t get drowned out, but rise above to captivate and resonate with their intended audience. To achieve this, a multifaceted approach is essential.In a world where attention spans are shrinking faster than ever, PR professionals must deliver messages that are succinct, impactful, and deeply relevant. But it is not just about reaching the right people; it is also about engaging them in meaningful ways. This is where creativity and content innovation come into play. PR professionals must think outside the box, pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling and embracing new formats and techniques to capture attention and spark engagement.The Yezdi campaign, #NotfortheSaintHearted, was a significant achievement for Lintas Live, marking the first PR led integrated brand win since its launch. Every team member was thrilled with this success. Unlike a typical brand re-launch, Yezdi held a special place in the hearts of its loyal followers, with numerous distinctive stories among motorcycling enthusiasts. Rekindling such strong emotions and reconnecting with consumers presented an exciting challenge for the agency. Through creative storytelling, the Lintas Live team effectively conveyed the emotions of Yezdi enthusiasts, encapsulating the brand’s essence with the memorable campaign hashtag #NotfortheSaintHearted.Looking ahead, what are some of the emerging trends you see shaping the future of PR? How is Lintas Live preparing to stay ahead of the curve in this dynamic field?Consolidation: As digital technologies continue to transform the PR ecosystem, the traditional lines between disciplines are blurring. There will be more demand for integrated marketing communication as clients will want to declutter the number of agency partners in the mix. Lintas Live is well placed to deal with this dynamic, as a part of a well-diversified group (MullenLowe Lintas Group) we have the full suite of services and teams to take a client through an entire brand journey. This is a huge competitive advantage.Technology: The advent of newer technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning will continue to disrupt the status quo. These technologies are compelling agencies and professionals to rethink their strategies and operations to stay future-ready. I predict a huge leap in the adoption of AI and machine learning that will enhance agencies’ capabilities to deliver quality content swiftly and all this will be fuelled by increasing client demand.Creative: In the realm of creative, the source of innovative ideas can come from any agency or individual. There is a growing emphasis on investing in PR-led creativity and an industry push for better recognition of creative PR campaigns. There will be a continuing trend towards greater investments in creative talent for PR agencies, signalling a shift towards prioritizing creativity as an integral and critical component in PR.At Lintas Live, we had recognized the importance of integrated and digital first creative led PR. That is the essence of our rebranded offering. I am delighted to see the power of this come alive and get recognition over the past few years. At Lintas Live, we've achieved remarkable success with clients like Bayer Consumer Health, winning 15 awards for our work on Saridon and Supradyn alone. Our impactful campaigns for Infosys during Pride Week and ongoing support for ESG initiatives have earned us widespread appreciation. Additionally, our enduring relationships with brands like Visit Victoria, Etihad, and Porsche demonstrate our commitment to long-term partnerships. With our global work for Lagos Free Zone gaining traction, our team continues to deliver standout creative content that drives results and garners attention.The MullenLowe Lintas Group has a strong global presence. Could you share some insights on how Lintas Live leverages this network to deliver impactful PR campaigns for clients across different regions?Being part of the MullenLowe Lintas Group in India and the MullenLowe global network has many advantages. Our vast network has helped us win large multi-market businesses such as Lagos Free Zone, a part of the Tolaram group. In some cases, we help the global network win brands, we recently helped MullenLowe PR US win the prestigious Etihad account for the US market, a brand we have represented for over 8 years in India.When required, our teams collaborate to access to a vast resource pool and knowledge and can connect with specialized teams across various markets across the world, enabling us to execute projects with global learnings and adopt best in class practices. There are also newer ways to approach ideation or brand challenges, our teams can learn from global colleagues and adopt the latest best practices. For example, there was an excellent use of behavioural science in new business pitch, we are in the process of getting this knowledge shared.Effective PR goes beyond press mentions. How can PR agencies utilize data and analytics to track key metrics like brand sentiment, website traffic, and social media engagement to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI)?In today’s dynamic landscape, leveraging data and analytics is paramount for demonstrating tangible ROI to clients. Utilizing advanced tools like Konnect Insights, Sprinklr, and Meltwater can empower PR agencies to delve deep into brand sentiment, website traffic patterns, and social media engagement metrics. By harnessing these insights, we gain invaluable understanding of public perception, enabling us to fine-tune our strategies in alignment with audience sentiment.Moreover, our approach goes beyond mere observation; we meticulously evaluate ROI by juxtaposing the costs of PR campaigns with quantifiable outcomes. Whether it is a surge in website traffic, an uplift in brand sentiment, or heightened social media engagement, we attribute these successes directly to our strategic endeavours.

Daylon Dcruz on Mastering the Art of Crisis Communication

In today's fast-paced world, every company faces the potential for a public relations crisis. To navigate these turbulent times, effective communication and a well-honed crisis management plan are essential. Daylon Dcruz, Senior Director at Pitchfork Partners, offers valuable insights from his experience as a PR pro, sharing his approach to crisis communication, maintaining stakeholder trust, and staying ahead of the curve.Can you share an example of a crisis situation you've managed in your career, and how have you approached it?Due to the nature of the crisis/crises, revealing examples due to confidentiality agreements with clients is a bit of a challenge. However, I think, at the fundamental level the basic approach is to ensure minimal trust erosion for the brand/corporation you are representing. The core approach hence will always be to have transparency, compassion, and empathy, coupled with action to make things right and better for the concerned stakeholders.How do you prioritize communication channels during a crisis, and what factors influence your decisions?The criticality is understanding the stakeholders and the platforms at which they exist. Determining the channels becomes easy. For example, in a crisis that involves labor issues, the best option would be to reach out to them first over a conversation rather than deploying mediums like a statement or social media post. On the other hand, if it’s a crisis that has multiple stakeholders, using channels like social media effectively can help douse any negativity emanating from it. While it is important to communicate in a crisis, it is equally important to choose the right channels to have an impact.3. What strategies do you employ to maintain transparency and trust with stakeholders during turbulent times?Transparency and trust during a crisis are less strategic elements and more fundamental. Effectively communicating the facts is as critical as the strategy itself. A crisis strategy cannot be created overnight, it has to be in place from the beginning. The tactics might vary as per the crisis but to be able to maintain trust and transparency, honest and empathetic communication is key. The aim is to treat the stakeholders with sensitivity and address their questions in real-time.Could you describe a time when you had to navigate conflicting interests among different stakeholders during a crisis? How did you handle it?Fortunately, I haven’t faced a situation like this in my professional career. However, in conflicting situations, it’s important to understand the end objective which is reputation protection during a crisis. As long as the organisation’s reputation becomes a primary objective, conflicts amongst stakeholders can be managed to ensure the best possible response to the crisis.What are the key elements of an effective crisis management plan, and how do you ensure its successful implementation?Having clear roles defined for a crisis is key. Most established companies constitute a Crisis Management Team and a Crisis Handbook. Having some of these elements at hand ensures efficacy concerning any crisis. Understanding scenarios and mapping the action plan and responses helps communication teams prepare for most eventualities.From an execution perspective, there is no better strategy than being prepared. This means ensuring the base-level narratives are in place, stakeholder contact sheets are kept handy and updated, pressure testing your responses to understand possible vulnerabilities, and then re-calibrating your approach for the same is critical.How do you stay updated on emerging trends and best practices in crisis management, and how do you incorporate them into your work?As a PR professional, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. I read a lot, analyze and study crisis case studies. There are several opportunities to also be part of industry events, webinars, and panel discussions around crisis communication and management. This keeps me informed and updated on the latest insights and trends. Several online resources offer valuable information and following certain blogs, social media groups, professionals and industry platforms is a good way of keeping abreast.As a PR professional, I also spend time on social media and news monitoring to have a finger on the pulse. Finally, scenario planning or simulations are very useful in analyzing or anticipating crises, and to navigate effectively.Can you discuss a crisis situation that caught you off guard, and what you learned from it to improve your crisis management approach?Sure. Years back, when social media was not as mammoth as it is today, a seemingly harmless social media post by a well-meaning employee of a known company went viral and sparked an unwanted controversy for the company. We were caught off guard because we had not considered the potential impact of an employee’s social media activity.This experience opened my eyes to the potential of social media and the impact it has on the reputation of an organisation. Learning from this, we implemented social media training for all employees and emphasized responsible online conduct. We also devised a rapid response protocol for social media crises to enable prompt response and controlled messaging.The lesson learned was that a crisis could emerge from anywhere, within or outside the organisation. The important thing to do is, consider all potential threats and risks, and prepare in advance.

Tapping Regional PR Strength: Strategic Integration over Numbers Game

As regional public relations (PR) continues to expand its influence, it brings a distinct set of strategies to the table, tailored to the nuances and preferences of local audiences. These strategies often leverage deep understanding of regional cultures, languages, and media landscapes, allowing for more targeted and impactful communication. By tapping into grassroots networks, local influencers, and community events, regional PR fosters authentic connections and builds trust within specific geographic areas, offering a personalised approach that resonates with diverse audiences.With over 100 languages, India’s diversity offers a huge potential for regional content. Couple this with the increase in literacy rate – which stands at 77.7% in 2023, an increase of 5% as compared to the 2011 census – and it is not surprising that regional media has been on a steady growth trajectory. In fact, the top two newspapers in the country in terms of circulation are Dainik Bhaskar and Malayala Manorama, both non-English publications.“People across the country prefer consuming news in their native language and to effectively communicate with such a diverse audience, we need to be proficient in regional languages – either by building expertise in-house or collaborating with regional language specialists,” pointed out Jaideep Shergill, Co-Founder, Pitchfork Partners.To leverage the reach of regional media, the approach by the PR industry needs to change. Shergill noted, “We tend to develop initial drafts and content in English, with subsequent translation into various regional languages. Things do get lost in translation, bringing inevitable gaps. Addressing this challenge requires a nuanced comprehension of the target audience and effective collaboration with vendors and associates who specialise in regional languages. For instance, a media interaction can have someone from the PR organisation who speaks the local language, thus reducing the possibility of ambiguity or miscommunication.”Other impactful measures can include building a strong regional presence, incorporation of the relevant Indian languages in PR communication, and strategies driven by the preferences and cultural values of specific regions to build meaningful and long-term connections with local audiences.Ameer Ismail, President, Lintas Live, MullenLowe Lintas Group, too, believes in the immense potential of regional PR in the ever evolving landscape of India. He observed, “Dramatically increased smartphone penetration is changing the way people in small towns and rural India consume information. The strength of regional language media and social media has brought about a huge cultural shift in consumer behaviour, especially amongst the youth of our country. Brands have realised the importance of capturing the attention of regional and rural audiences.”Ismail further said, “Our strategy for regional PR seamlessly integrates a profound understanding of local cultures, languages, media landscapes, social media trends and usage of data with the flexibility to adapt to evolving dynamics. We prioritise fostering an appreciation for local nuances, enabling us to craft authentic and impactful storytelling that deeply resonates with diverse audiences. Across our brand portfolio – from The Leela, Porsche to Paree – we have integrated regional PR into the overall media canvas seamlessly.”Elaborating on their work with SOCIAL, Ismail said that it is where teams implement tailored strategies to connect with varied regional audiences across India through hyperlocal community engagement initiatives like engaging with local artists through workshops, collaborating with local businesses and communities through initiatives like pop-up stalls, displays, etc., to garner more visibility. “Through regional PR, SOCIAL effectively communicates its brand message, values, and offerings that build brand awareness,” he added.Pooja Chaudhri, Executive Director, Concept PR, too, believes that regional PR is growing at a fair clip. “As communication experts, we advise our clients to use the best possible tools to get their message across to their customers. With increasing growth in non-metros, regional languages play a crucial role. We must ensure that PR communication strategies are customised according to the regional customers and should not be an adaptation of a broader national one. I think, we live in a time when communication must be designed bespoke. With the rapid response that any communication evokes these days, the obsolescence of messaging is a genuine hurdle that needs to be crossed regularly,” she said.Valerie Pinto, CEO, Weber Shandwick India, noted that the emergence of regional PR marks a dynamic shift in how brands engage with audiences, presenting distinctive strategies in contrast to traditional national approaches. At the core of regional PR lies a deep understanding of culture, local dialects, traditions, and cultural sensitivities, ensuring that messages resonate authentically. It is about adapting messaging, imagery, and campaigns to harmonise with local preferences and humour, ultimately enhancing brand relevance on a personal level.“But beyond just tailoring content, regional PR places a strong emphasis on community engagement. By comprehending local event landscapes and grassroots initiatives, brands can authentically participate and contribute, fostering goodwill within the community. In the realm of regional PR, it is not just about reaching an audience; it is about becoming an integral part of the community tapestry, creating connections that go beyond marketing strategies,” Pinto added.“Regional PR has always been a great way to take the message down to the grassroots,” said Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR. At the same time, she observed, “However, there has been an interesting trend evolving, where the evolution of regional media and audiences has turned the tables on Metro PR. Now, when you look at integrating Regional PR into your overall plans you have to leverage it more strategically with good story pegs, rather than using it to boost your coverage docket. This signifies an overall move towards strategic integration rather than playing in the numbers game.”

Merging AI and human insight for effective PR and marketing

Authored by Tanu Chopra, Seasoned PR Professional in Dubai.When we look into the public relations industry's crystal ball in 2024, we see a landscape rich with emerging trends and dynamic alterations in communication techniques. The involvement of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a force that is not just riding the wave of change but actively influencing it, is central to this shift.Gone are the days when PR and marketing were solely guided by human intuition and experiential wisdom. Today, we stand at the precipice of a new era where AI is catalysing a shift to a more analytical and data-driven approach. This transformation is not just about the efficiency of mining vast databases or the accuracy in forecasting consumer behaviours; it's about redefining how we understand and interact with our audiences. AI's prowess in machine learning, sophisticated data analytics, and automation is setting the stage for an unprecedented evolution in communication strategies and market analysis.The true art, however, is in using AI as part of a larger, human-centric approach rather than as a single answer. Let's look at how this combination will change the PR and marketing landscape in 2024.Mastering the Art of AI-Driven AnalyticsThe role of AI in data analysis and strategic planning within public relations and marketing is not just transformative; it's revolutionary.Advanced AI algorithms now delve beyond mere data analysis; they are the modern-day alchemists turning vast, unstructured data into golden insights. These insights are not just numbers and trends. They are predictive intelligence – a forward-thinking approach that anticipates market shifts and customer behaviour with startling accuracy. AI doesn't just track competitor strategies; it anticipates their next moves, offering a strategic advantage that is both proactive and pre-emptive.Renaissance of Content Creation and DistributionAI is no longer just a tool for automation, it is a creative partner. AI technologies are now sophisticated enough to collaborate with human creators, infusing content with nuanced intelligence and creativity.From the written word to the world of visual graphics, AI enhances the artistic process, injecting a level of precision and personalisation previously unimaginable. But the power of AI extends beyond creation to the sophisticated realm of distribution.In this era, content distribution is an art form, and AI algorithms are the master artists. They don't just disseminate content; they orchestrate their journey, ensuring each piece finds its audience punctually and contextually. This level of optimisation is more than just technical; it's empathetic. AI understands the audience's pulse, catering to their preferences and engaging them at a level that resonates deeply.Elevating Customer Engagement to New HeightsWe are witnessing AI transcend its role within the public relations and marketing realm and emerge as a pivotal architect of customer engagement and personalisation. AI is not just processing data but understanding and interpreting it to create a new customer interaction paradigm.The advent of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants has revolutionised real-time customer interaction. These tools no longer offer mere assistance; they provide a conversational experience that is as engaging as it is informative. They are the new face of brand-customer interactions, operating with empathy and understanding that blurs the line between artificial and human intelligence.Ethical Considerations and ChallengesIntegrating AI in public relations and marketing is not just a matter of technological advancement but also a journey through a complex ethical landscape.The first and foremost challenge is data privacy. The ethical use of AI in PR and marketing demands a stringent adherence to privacy laws, a transparent data policy, and a commitment to protecting user data from misuse or breaches. This is not just a legal obligation; it's a cornerstone of trust between brands and their audiences.Another critical challenge is the potential bias in AI algorithms. AI systems are only as unbiased as the data they are fed and the programming behind them. In 2024, the industry must ensure that AI tools are accessible from prejudices that could skew marketing strategies or communication campaigns.Furthermore, the ethical creation and use of AI-generated content is a burgeoning concern. As AI becomes more adept at creating realistic content, the lines between AI-generated and human-created content blur. The ethical use of such content demands transparency - making it clear when and how AI is used. This transparency is crucial for maintaining public trust and the integrity of our profession.Harmonising AI and Human CreativityThe true potential of AI in PR and marketing lies in its role as an enabler of human creativity. AI tools and algorithms are adept at processing vast amounts of data, identifying patterns, and generating insights at a speed and scale beyond human capability.However, human professionals interpret these insights, infuse them with creative thought, and translate them into compelling narratives and strategies. This synergy is where the magic happens – data-driven precision meets creative storytelling.Moreover, the human-AI partnership in PR and marketing is not static; it is dynamic and ever-evolving. As AI technologies advance, they open new avenues for creative exploration, enabling professionals to push the boundaries of what's possible.Simultaneously, human professionals guide the development and application of AI, ensuring that it aligns with ethical standards and human-centric values.Preparing for an AI-Driven FuturePR and marketing strategies in 2024 must be agile and adaptable, ready to pivot as AI technologies and market dynamics evolve. This agility is crucial in leveraging AI for predictive analytics, personalised customer experiences, and complex content creation.Finally, in an AI-driven future, collaboration is critical. Professionals should seek to collaborate across disciplines, combining AI expertise with insights from data scientists, creative designers, and strategy experts. This collaborative approach will foster innovative solutions and ensure that AI integration is holistic and practical.Navigating the Path AheadIn 2024, the use of AI in public relations and marketing represents a watershed moment, but it is the combination of human intuition that is critical. While AI provides unparalleled efficiency in data management and content generation, the heart of effective communication remains human empathy, creativity, and ethical judgment.For public relations and marketing professionals, the future is about mastering the balance between AI's analytical strength and the essential human touch. This collaboration guarantees that our initiatives are original, impactful, and profoundly connected with our audiences while keeping the human element at the heart of our profession.

Beyond Dubai part 2: Unlocking PR prowess across the Arab world

Dubai boasts a state-of-the-art media infrastructure, including world-class facilities (including the media city) and cutting-edge technology. The city's commitment to innovation and its embrace of digital communication have propelled the PR industry forward. PR companies in Dubai leverage advanced tools and platforms to craft compelling narratives, engage audiences, and manage reputations effectively in an increasingly digital world. In the first part of this series (LINK), we analyzed what makes Dubai the focal point for PR companies in the Middle East.In the second part of this story, let us find out the major trends that drive the PR sector in the region and what PR pros in the region have to say about the untapped opportunities in the entire Middle East region.According to Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director at Sherpa Communications, the major trends are:Data-driven approach: PR is increasingly adopting data-driven strategies, fuelled by advancements in data analytics. In 2023, there was a notable focus on harnessing big data for deeper insights into target audience behaviour. This enables more personalized and impactful messaging for clients, enhancing brand resonance.Multimedia content: The growing reliance on smartphones underscores the significance of multimedia content. In 2023, people watched an average of 17 weekly hours of online videos, and they are 52% more likely to share video content than any other media. Leveraging audio and video formats allows PR companies to create immersive customer experiences. Integrating brands into podcasts, YouTube channels, and other media outlets beyond online and print publications that are tailored to the brand’s target audience's preferences is crucial.Simple brand messaging: In 2024, concise, catchy, and authentic brand messaging is important. Short, attention-grabbing messages resonate well on social media, reaching diverse audiences across channels.Flexibility is key: PR professionals must adapt swiftly to evolving news stories and changing client expectations. You can craft an excellent pitch and research the reporters you wish to contact, and still not get a response. Moreover, crises can escalate rapidly, necessitating swift and strategic crisis management approaches to protect brand reputation. Having multiple alternative strategies proactively and being responsive to shifting circumstances and the latest evolving stories helps ensure that the right message and angle are conveyed.Artificial Intelligence: AI is being increasingly integrated into PR efforts, automating tasks like media monitoring, social listening, content creation and data-driven targeting. Early adoption of AI tools provides a competitive edge and frees up time for growth-focused projects. As AI continues to advance, PR professionals should explore its potential for enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in their campaigns.<img src='\e98fd6a9e312543b1556363087dff360.png' class='content_image'>Similarly, Injeel Moti, Founder and Managing Director of Catch Communications, includes digital transformation, adoption of AI, purpose driven-PR and content marketing integration as top five trends.According to Natasha Hatherall, Founder &CEO, TishTash Communications, integrated, 360 marketing and PR agencies are definitely growing in response to client and market demand for a full-suite of communications services, especially in content creation.Regarding the changes in the PR industry in the last couple of years, Anastasiya Golovatenk observes that a prominent change is the emphasis on purpose-driven PR.<img src='\a8ccad7b3b77624d0e6057b39621fc15.png' class='content_image'>According to Golovatenk, companies are increasingly aligning their PR efforts with societal and environmental causes driven by changing consumer expectations, with people valuing businesses that demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility.“We have seen a huge influx of interest in companies to expand to the KSA, with launches, partnerships, and joint ventures being announced by UAE-based companies in the KSA as the nation’s government strengthens and diversifies its economy. However, a one-size-fits-all communication strategy doesn't work in the diverse Arab world. The strategy for the UAE will not work in Saudi Arabia or other countries in the region. Understanding of the local market will be crucial for PR agencies to perform,” adds Golovatenk.Injeel Moti observes that the PR industry has been increasingly embracing digital platforms and tools. This included using social media for real-time communication, data analytics to measure the impact of PR campaigns, and the adoption of AI and automation for tasks like media monitoring, content generation, and chatbot-driven customer engagement.A look into the futureDubai's evolution into a hub for PR companies is a testament to its commitment to excellence, innovation, and global connectivity. As the city continues to grow and diversify, the PR industry is likely to play an even more pivotal role in shaping the narratives of businesses operating in the region.On the future, Injeel Moti said: “There is a whole lot of opportunity in the region; not just Dubai, but the UAE and other GCC markets opening up has meant increased opportunity for brands to penetrate a new market and subsequently opening up space for professionals in the comms / PR space to execute campaigns.”<img src='\f40828fc8db1990a6f4d7557ff881ddd.png' class='content_image'>Concurring with Moti, Alex Malouf, Executive Director, Corporate Communications and PR expert, said: “What I would like to see is more investment and more growth in other markets. I’ve learned that it’s very difficult to do good communications remotely; you have to be on the ground if you want to have a real impact. I do believe that there’s a fallacy that we need to correct, which is the region is uniform due to the Arabic language and culture. Look at the UAE. Abu Dhabi, which is one hour’s drive away from Dubai, is a completely different place, with different demographics. So yes, Dubai is a wonderful hub, but if you’re only in Dubai and not in Cairo or Riyadh or Beirut or Doha, then I wouldn’t call you a Middle Eastern agency.”A word of cautionAnastasiya Golovatenk is optimistic about the future which appears promising for PR companies looking to establish a presence in Dubai.She, however, is giving a word of caution.“I would like to emphasize once again that only those who are willing to adapt, learn about this market, and consistently offer a professional approach will thrive. We observe numerous instances of businesses and individuals entering this market with half-baked or unprofessional approaches. Such approaches do not receive support from either businesses or the local PR community. Our goal is to build a high-level network of PR professionals here, and shortcuts will not last.”<img src='\277937f67e57d5693f50bd386a323265.png' class='content_image'>Well, Dubai's state-of-the-art media infrastructure and commitment to digital communication have fueled a thriving PR industry. AI integration, purpose-driven PR, and content marketing are rising trends, while understanding local market nuances across the diverse Arab world remains crucial. Despite Dubai's leading role, untapped potential abounds in other Middle Eastern markets, offering exciting opportunities for savvy PR professionals willing to adapt and embrace cultural differences. The future of PR in the region looks vibrant, promising dynamic campaigns and brand stories that resonate across borders.Tanu Chopra "In my 15 years of experience in the UAE and Middle East public relations sector, I've witnessed Dubai's significant transformation into a global PR hub. The UAE's leadership has played an important role in this shift, particularly in their steadfast support for digital innovation. This commitment has catalysed a paradigm shift within the public relations industry, fostering the integration of cutting-edge digital tools and methodologies that improve communication efficacy while encouraging new levels of creativity and involvement. Dubai's strategic geographical location, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, business-friendly regulations, and a luxurious lifestyle solidifies its position as a flourishing hub for global public relations firms. Dubai's relentless pursuit of innovation, seamlessly aligned with fundamental PR principles, positions it as an exemplar for achieving global success in the realm of public relations. The emirate stands as a testament to the harmonious fusion of innovation, strategic thinking, and a commitment to excellence, setting the standard for the future of the PR industry worldwide."<img src='\f06f3d69651634788826d6167912e74a.png' class='content_image'>

Beyond skyscrapers Part -1: Dubai's skyrocketing PR scene takes center stage

In recent years, Dubai has positioned itself as a global business and cultural hub, attracting attention not only for its iconic skyline and luxurious lifestyle but also for its rapidly growing public relations (PR) industry. Factors like the city's strategic location, economic diversification, and commitment to innovation have contributed to its emergence as a key player in the field of public relations in the Middle East. Recently, we have seen nationals of many countries of the Middle East prefer to open their PR companies in Dubai.Dubai, strategically located at the crossroads of the East and West, has become the focal point for PR companies aiming to navigate the varied and dynamic landscape of the Middle East.Dubai's strategic locationDubai's strategic geographical location between Europe, Asia, and Africa has made it a natural meeting point for businesses and cultures. This positioning has enabled PR companies in Dubai to serve a diverse range of clients from various industries, facilitating cross-cultural communication and understanding.The city's accessibility has also attracted multinational corporations seeking a base for their regional PR operations. The Emirate has ranked 12th globally and secured the top position in the Arab world on the list of the 100 best startup environments for companies in 2023, as per the Global Startup Environment Report. It solidifies Dubai's status as an increasingly attractive destination for businesses to thrive, which attracts businesses and consequently PR agencies to the region.What PR pros have to say about Dubai as a hub?Dubai's rapid economic growth and diversification have attracted businesses from various sectors, contributing to a demand for specialized PR services. The city's visionary leadership has transformed it into a global business hub, hosting numerous multinational corporations and emerging startups. As businesses thrive and expand, the need for effective communication strategies becomes increasingly evident, driving the growth of the PR industry in Dubai.There has been a noticeable increase in the number of PR companies in the Middle East, with professionals from various nationalities (Indians, Arabs, Egyptians, etc.) establishing offices in Dubai.Let’s hear from PR leaders:<img src='\efa3109dda20c5da2b33e93c248afe55.png' class='content_image'>Injeel Moti, Founder and Managing Director of Catch Communications: I think Dubai has functioned as a central hub for media agencies across various sectors for several years. This is due to its strategic geographical location, diverse population, and cosmopolitan nature. Public relations professionals find themselves well-placed to execute communications from the UAE. The Middle East, especially the UAE, boasts a highly multicultural population. Since the introduction of free zone ownership, professionals worldwide have favoured the UAE for establishing and operating businesses, making it a key Middle Eastern hub for their global counterparts.<img src='\33bb805dafca55179c5ddc4e563e894c.png' class='content_image'>Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director at Sherpa Communications: The rise of PR companies in Dubai, with professionals hailing from diverse nationalities, signifies the growing importance of the city as a global business and communications hub. Dubai's strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and business-friendly policies have transformed it into a magnet for talent and businesses. This diversity of backgrounds and perspectives enriches the PR industry by offering clients a broader spectrum of insights, cultural understanding, and access to extensive networks. Moreover, Dubai’s visionary leadership has consistently prioritized economic diversification and innovation. Government initiatives actively encourage companies to move their offices to this region.<img src='\3a293588cf7658613d148374c26fae6f.png' class='content_image'>Natasha Hatherall, Founder &CEO, TishTash Communications: Success is always dependent on results, reputation, consistency, creativity and tenacity. Dubai will continue to be a central hub, especially with the continuation of the government's efforts to attract companies specialising in digital transformation and up-skilling in this sector.<img src='\7ae17a0d55392f53cde12ae74424e308.png' class='content_image'>Alex Malouf, Executive Director, Corporate Communications and PR expert: It is understandable why the industry prefers Dubai as a hub. There’s great transportation links into the Emirate from across the world, it’s a comfortable place to live with communities for every nationality, and this makes it a good place to attract talent (of which there is so much across the Middle East and Asian regions).<img src='\df81720a0f6d2568faf4698e52dbdd5f.png' class='content_image'>Osama Tinbakji, Founder, Ishraq Communications: Dubai has always been the best hub for public relations and communications as it is the city where most of the international companies have their regional offices. We have chosen Dubai to launch our services based on over 15 years of experience we have in UAE and the GCC region. The strength of the Emirati economy is at the heart of the region’s wider economic strategy, with the UAE acting as the catalyst and symbol of what can be done if one is bold and innovative in his youthful and vibrant part of the Arab world.Competition within the PR industry"The Middle East thrives on the voices and representation of its diverse diaspora, comprising its residents. We consider ourselves fortunate to work within such a rich and varied community," says Natasha Hatherall, Founder &CEO, TishTash Communications.She adds: “PR, media and communications has always been a huge player in the regional business and startup sphere, with all the opportunities that digital transformation brings. Different nationalities, and fresh focus and specialisms are always welcome, as they should be. I personally don’t buy into the notion of “competition”. In our industry, collaboration and innovation are paramount, and the influx of more companies only brings greater opportunities for all. I wholeheartedly welcome this trend."Concurring with Natasha, Osama Tinbakji said: “In my opinion, this is very healthy for the market; this development is highly advantageous as it expands the range of options available to clients seeking services from agencies that align with their preferred budget. Moreover, it presents an opportunity for new and dynamic industry professionals to enter the market, infusing it with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to drive impactful campaigns. The increased competition arising from this influx of talent will ultimately benefit clients, who can expect greater creativity and effectiveness in their campaigns as a result.”(Tomorrow, part two will unravel the top trends and changes in the PR industry in the region.)