The Holmes Report to discuss transformation of the regional communications industry
Dubai - The public relations industry in the MENA region has reached a level of maturity that matches the global practice but must prepare to operate with greater innovation, concluded communications experts at a roundtable recently organized in Dubai on the state of the regional communications industry.
Communications experts and senior executives from leading Middle Eastern companies including Etisalat, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) and Gulf Craft convened at the roundtable entitled "Transformation: The Communications Industry in the MENA Region Today", jointly organized by TRACCS, the largest home-grown public relations network in the region, and The Holmes Report, a global authority on the PR industry.
The in-depth discussion was moderated by Paul Holmes, Founder of the Holmes Group, with the participation of Dr. Ahmed Bin Ali, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications and Official Spokesperson of Etisalat Group; Bassem Terkawi, Senior Director of Strategic Communications at TDIC; Erwin Bamps, Chief Operating Officer at Gulf Craft; and Mohamed Al Ayed, President and Chief Executive Officer at TRACCS. The roundtable focused on key issues affecting the growth and sustainability of the public relations industry in the MENA region's rapidly evolving business and cultural environment.
One positive development highlighted was the universal acceptance that in-house PR departments and agencies no longer needed to prove their value to senior management, and that the function of PR was widely understood and increasingly taken seriously. Etisalat's Dr. Ahmed Bin Ali emphasized that PR is "no longer an accessory to a business, it is a necessity that is paramount to creating the identity and vision of the organization." According to TRACCS's Mohamed Al Ayed there are five critical phases in the transformation of any industry: realization, understanding, growth, maturity and innovation. He added that the PR industry in the MENA region has now reached maturity and provides a clear value proposition within the communications mix.
All participants agreed that social media has resulted in a fundamental change to the entire communications landscape in terms of speed, approach and results. Erwin Bamps highlighted the issue of brand ownership in the age of social media, stating that at no time has it been more starkly evident that "a company does not own a brand, a brand exists in the public domain". Mohamed Al Ayed said that in today's changing communications landscape, PR professionals have three choices - "adapt, migrate or become obsolete". Paul Holmes added that today a PR practitioner is "expected to do everything" and that is changing the core nature of the business and the skills required to succeed in it.
With regards to the question of how being geographically headquartered in the Middle East affects a company's global messaging and perception, Bassem Terkawi said that for a company like TDIC being tasked with developing internationally-recognized museums such as the Louvre and Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, the UAE's position on a global stage has definitely helped accelerate communications but it has also put all efforts under intense global scrutiny. All the participants agreed that internationally there was a significant distinction between being a "Middle East" brand and a "UAE brand" and that an association with the UAE came with the expectation of surprising and over-delivering on all promises made.
For further insights from the "Transformation: The Communications Industry in the MENA Region Today" roundtable please refer to the extended release available here http://www.traccs.net/News/transformationen/
TRACCS is the largest home-grown public relations network in the Middle East & North Africa, with more than 200 professionals working in 13 markets from offices in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, Kuwait, Doha, Muscat, Manama, Cairo, Beirut, Amman, and Damascus, with affiliate offices in Tunis, Algiers and Casablanca. The only Middle East public relations company ranked among the top 250 public relations consultancies in the world by the influential Holmes Report Global Rankings, TRACCS is a multiple award-winning practice offering a full range of sophisticated services to government, corporate and multinational clients. Founded with the goal of building an indigenous Arab public relations industry in the Middle East and North Africa, TRACCS is the only public relations practice with the sustained commitment to nurturing the talents of young communicators across the MENA region.
For more information:
Tel: +9714 3672530
TRACCS 24/7 Media Hotline: +97150 9448389
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