Mental health in the media

In 2019, it is not unusual to see the words ‘mental health’, ‘sustainability’ and, ‘well-being’ featured frequently across media and social channels, as the topics become a much more fluid conversation for everyone.

The world of PR must adapt to this and move with the motion it heads in, veganism is on the rise, people care more about their health than ever before, and brands must recognise and deliver for these growing factors. From hotels in the Middle East such as JA Resorts and Hotels becoming the most sustainable resort in Dubai, to vegan/gluten-free restaurants and cafés such as Bounty Beets.

But what about mental health? Does the media have a responsibility to promote healthy practices and feature brands that are bringing mental health to the forefront? Mental health satisfaction is one of the key performance indicators of the pillar of world-class healthcare of the UAE National Agenda. The UAE Government is regularly undertaking new measures to address mental health issues and reduce the stigma associated with it.

“Informed journalists can have a significant impact on public understanding of mental health issues as they shape debate and trends with the words and pictures they convey.”

Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady of the United States

Celebrities and public figures such as actors Dwayne Johnson and Gina Rodriguez, and singers such as Ariana Grande and Jesy Nelson have also broken their silence and used their social media platforms to share their own stories about their mental health. This has even led to documentaries that are being urged to be shown in schools and colleges around the world to encourage others to take accountability for their words and actions.

An increasing number of brands are bringing out products/services to raise awareness around mental health too, or raising money for organisations that specialise in treating mental illness. For example, a theatre company in London invited influencers to promote a show about mental health called “Brainfood”.

At the same time, an influx of wellness brands are launching everything from functional fragrances to nutritional supplements in the name of stress reduction. Huge global brands are also choosing to highlight such topics, such as Burger King. With their anti-Happy meals, Burger King partnered with the non-profit Mental Health America to launch the Real Meal campaign to create the message ‘no-one is happy all the time’. This was a clever dig at their main competitor, McDonald’s, but powerful nonetheless.

As we learn to adapt in an age where social media is part of our lives, choosing to carry on the conversations of mental health and providing strategies and solutions going forward remains very high on the agenda and a topical subject in the media landscape.

The importance of the Arabic language in social media

The importance of the Arabic language in social media

The continued growth of social media in the MEA region has had a large number of positive impacts for both individuals and businesses, however we have witnessed by and large most brands investing in creating English-first content.

A recent report compiled by Crowd Analyzer, Hootsuite and APCO has shed light on the state of social media in the MEA region, focusing on its biggest players – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Seemingly the most comprehensive report on social media in the Middle East, it demonstrates that while English and Arabic are the two most used languages in the region, going more in-depth with market-specific statistics, Arabic is the primary language used to communicate across all sectors.

Below we have compiled a few of the key takeaways from the report regarding the use of Arabic on social media:

–    The most commonly used languages on social media in the Middle East are English (48%) and Arabic (45%)

–    30% of all social media users in the region are between the ages of 15 and 29

–    Arabic is the fastest-growing language on Twitter, among 25 other languages used on the platform

–    The majority of social media users in Saudi Arabia use Arabic to communicate. In 2018, the number of Arabic-language users grew by almost 35%, going from 7.6M at the end of 2017 to 10M at the end of 2018. Meanwhile, English-language users grew by only 3% in the same timeframe.

From these points, we can understand how important it is to include the Arabic language when creating content. Producing Arabic language content will show your audience that your brand cares about their preferences and is willing to tackle all customer queries, concerns and feedback, regardless of whether they are submitted in English or Arabic.

Lastly, including Arabic language content will differentiate your brand from other brands in the region, many of which do not produce Arabic content.

Seven are all-round communicators, equally strong in Arabic and English, and as one of the leading digital agencies in Dubai, we truly know how to connect with an audience – from the emerging generation of influencers to big business decision makers – and everyone in between.

Podcasts – The Hidden Gem of Middle East Media

Podcasts – The new medium of the Middle East? If recent studies are anything to go by this could very well be true. Current data shows the increasing popularity of podcasts in the region with 16% of the population now tuning in at least once a week, making the UAE on par with the UK for listeners per capita. Additionally, according to one UAE media report, some podcasts saw their listenership double between 2017 and 2018, with three quarters of the population now having heard of podcasts.

So, with podcasts clearly increasing in popularity, the question is should brands and business be taking note? In short, the answer is yes. Not only are they one of the fastest growing media mediums, but for their regular listeners they are the most trusted. And whilst regular listeners are still in the minority, this is set to change as data has predicted a “tipping point” could soon be happening with regular listeners soon becoming a huge portion of the country. The global media are also taking notice with renowned America publication WIRED commenting that “Podcast listeners really are the holy grail advertisers hoped they’d be”.

If brands need even more reasons to jump on this new bandwagon, some of the stats that have been produced should suffice. In a recent report conducted by Infinite Dial in the United States, they found that 54% of the study said they were either “somewhat” or “much more” likely to consider brands that advertise on podcasts. According to a 4DC report they have found that regular podcast listeners, on average, outspend non-regular listeners by 26% and, not only that, but they also spend 25% more on food and drink over non-listeners.

This significant difference in spending power is boiled down to the assumption that those who listen to podcasts are “more educated” and therefore more likely to have a higher income. Whilst this prediction may seem presumptuous, a recent study  has seemly verified the speculation thanks to a swelling data pool, (particularly via Edison’s Infinite Dial and Nielsen’s Total Audience reports).

The only question left to answer is not why but how? How do businesses infiltrate this somewhat untapped market, and how can they do so by maintaining the authenticity it thrives on? The first and most obvious solution is to sponsor a podcast. The outcome being that those delivering the podcast would include a soundbite generally at the start of the podcast of the brand or business in question. Plain, easy and effective. For those wanting to create a higher level of positive sentiment and more authentic approach, you’ll have to do some more work. Reaching out to podcast hosts sharing your product in the hope that they will organically talk about your product is an end goal. Alternatively, establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry and feature as a guest on industry-related podcasts to grow brand awareness in an organic way.

In short, podcasts increasing popularity, attractive audience and trustworthiness are a real no brainer for business and brands to explore. Looking to advertise or push your brand though podcasts? Look no further than Seven Media to be on the pulse of all things current in the Middle East.