In today’s volatile market having a good public relations plan is more important than ever before. Today’s consumers are more intelligent than ever – but they’re also more skeptical of new advertising campaigns, products, and approaches. Public relations focus less on advertising and more on giving valuable information to the public – usually without including a sales pitch. It’s often much easier to educate an individual so that they recognise their own wants or needs rather than attempting to directly sell a product.
Laying emphasis on the point above the 20th PR World Congress happening for the first time in the Middle East revealed some insightful discussions bringing back the focus of the world to a well designed PR campaign.
Talking on the occasion, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed on public relations in digital age. He said that "The work of Public Relations professionals is important to us all, especially in today's digital world, where we can connect with one another instantly. The UAE is home to a thriving PR industry that engages with the most dynamic media scene in the Middle East”
Hamad Bu Amim, Director-General of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "The PRWC takes place at a time when the importance of transparent and open communications has gained vital importance for both governments and businesses."
Sunil John, chairman of the Congress and CEO of ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller, said the theme of the congress, ‘From the Arab Street to Wall Street: Communications in the Age of Dialogue', was a timely one. Here in the Middle East, we are witnessing once-in-a-lifetime political change. Across the world, the Great Recession has led to powerful new protest movements. Everywhere change is in the air," he told Gulf News. That's why, today, communication has never been more critical. That is also why, for both governments and companies, the need to engage in dialogue has never been greater."
This new trend — sweeping from the Arab Street to Wall Street — has made the role of communications professionals more vital than ever. That's one key reason why the PR industry continues to witness such strong growth, especially here in the Arab world, he said.
Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the opposition People's Justice Party, Anwar Ebrahim urged that Gulf investors must ensure Malaysian deals are transparent and an end to graft as country seeks more investment
The politician said corruption was leading Malaysia to lose out economically to rivals in South East Asia.
Dubai Gulf companies doing business with Malaysia should ensure that deals are transparent and above board, an outspoken Malaysian politician has told Gulf News.
Anwar, who was the keynote speaker at the Public Relations World Congress, said that corruption was leading Malaysia to lose out economically to rivals in South East Asia.
He said that while Malaysia was pursuing more free market policies, their effects were being compromised by nepotism and a lack of transparency.
Specialists attend the 20th Public Relations World Congress held in Dubai yesterday. Abdallah S. Juma, former president and CEO of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company in his address to the conference stated that Dubai The regional communications industry must listen and include the voice of the Arab youth.
To match the changes in the political and cultural landscape following the recent uprising across the Arab region, communication specialists should look towards the young population, said Abdallah S Juma.
The PR industry is relatively new in the Arab world, however, it has come a long way since it was established in the early 2000s, he said.
As the industry develops so will expectations. Dr Tarek Yousuf, CEO of Silatech, Qatar, said the expectations of young people are also high. According to Yousuf, the Arab Spring has been about achieving the goals, aspirations and dreams of a youth generation in the Arab world who have felt left out. The challenge now from a communications and public relations arena is to engage them.
According to Faisal Al Zahrani, president IPRA Gulf Chapter Saudi Arabia, it's a powerful tool that cannot be ignored. In order to harness it, the communications industry needs to understand its advantages as well as its pitfalls.
"Solid skills must go hand in hand with the mastery of social media. Social media spreads rumours far more effectively than other tools. We must know how to distinguish fact from fallacy and your clients will depend on you to do that. Everything has a cause and effect. Our job is to ensure the effect for our clients is always positive," he added.
Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State, pointed out in her opening speech that the UAE has been utilising these new channels. "Now we are very close, more than before. Technology has given us unlimited channels in order to communicate," she said. Data sourced from Gulf News.