Dubai– 27th January, 2018
We are all aware how for a brand to grow and take shape, it needs to communicate with its target audience and the community it operates in. What is more important is the consistency in doing just that, which comes in the form of ‘story telling’ and no one can do that job better than PR companies. That is where comes in the role of PR companies to create compelling and relevant stories for consumers to consider a certain product and at some point, purchase it. That is when lead conversion comes in and the actual ‘return of investment’ takes shape.
To find out more on this, I caught up with Group Account Director, Huda Ismail to discuss with her the significance of communication in the UAE. She extensively spoke to me about her current experience and how her company is setting new heights in the sector, reinforcing on the importance of communication in doing business.
M.H: How do you find the communication/PR industry now and 10 years ago?
H.I: To put it into context, I believe it has drastically. Today, it is no longer just a press release that conveys a story. We live in a world, where digital is growing at a fast pace, hence we need to adapt to that in our storytelling journey. For instance, 3rd party stories can be more credible when narrating a certain story. Videos is also another area that we have seen become of value, so the uptake of that has increased as well. People today want to experience stories rather than corporates, they want to experience emotions, hence I believe that winning PR agencies need to adapt to this new need and create tools around that. Big brands need to speak the language of their consumers and target audience, hence it is important to evaluate and measure every now and then.
M.H: Your company APCO has been in the business for over 35 years. Is it true that longevity plays a role when a company picks a PR service provider?
H.I: APCO started off as a Public Affairs company in Washington D.C. unlike other firms who first open in New York and L.A. 20 years later, the company began to venture into the consumer, lifestyle and other industries attracting many clients and trained experts to work in the firm and service these clients.
We have been operating in the UAE for the past 15 years and have an excellent track record with government and semi-government clients as well as the private sector. With over 200 professionals working in the company, comprising PR, multimedia, social media, media relations and public affairs we are in a great place to service our clients and have becoming a big contender in the industry.
M.H: Is it true that PR is a significant tool for brands? If so, why?
H.I: Absolutely. Brands need to continue communicating to consumers and the wider public. Although ‘advertisement’ is the first choice of any company to address that bridge between them and the public, it usually is costly and usually does not have the consistent impact. PR on the end, is consistent, conveys a story, creates a persona of a brand and so on. PR has proofed that it can play a significant role to make or break brands. For instance, in the case of crisis communication – PR steps in and handles it meticulously and we all know of so many brands who have turned to PR when negative incidents took place. I can safely say that PR has become an important asset but we certainly have a long way to do in this regard.
M.H: In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception that people have of PR?
H.I: That PR is magic tool! PR is a long process to transform brands, but the end is sustainable and successful. Having proof points is important for PR to do its job. Therefore, we can’t depend on PR to create something that does not exist. Companies need to have the foundation in place first before thinking of a PR strategy.
Maitha Al Hammadi- SNW News