A RETURN TO NORMALCY IS ON THE HORIZON

PR services

Albert Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”. This quote perfectly describes how the PR industry has navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In ways that not a single individual could have envisioned, 2020 was an extremely tumultuous year and the economic consequences of the pandemic hit businesses across all sectors in some shape or form.

As a result of the ensuing disarray, brands focused their communication on making consumers feel safe and more connected. In 2020, most publications were overflowing with COVID-19 coverage from across the globe. Among it all, a beacon of light shone far and bright as the media industry searched for upbeat stories to carry the world through a dark time.

Private and public sector organizations that shared genuine positive stories and managed to retain consistent engagement with their stakeholders were recognized and won the trust of people.

One example is how Abu Dhabi and UAE government faced the pandemic head-on and by regularly utilizing different media platforms. Through this approach, they were able to educate the population on their successes and spread reassurance across the country while also positioning the country as a global leader in crisis management.

Seven Media was at the forefront of delivering PR strategy for campaigns through this period for Frontline Heroes Office, Together We Are Good initiative by The Authority for Social Contribution – Ma’an, and the Official 49thUAE National Day celebrations. Seven created and delivered result-driven communication strategies while creating a nation-wide movement that involved all emirates, nationalities, and age groups.

As per the Global Investment Outlook report released by First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE economy is expected to recover this year due to a strong rebound in tourism and oil prices. In addition, according to an S&P Global Ratings report, there is a stable outlook for Abu Dhabi’s economy, with growth set to “steadily recover” in 2021.

This bodes well for the future and with the well-organized and implemented vaccination drive by the UAE government, improved relationships with Qatar and Israel, along with an increase in oil demand and a surge in tourist arrivals, will help push the economy in the right direction.

As businesses in the region went through rapid shifts during the most difficult times, we identified the need to better understand the changing environment of clients and markets across sectors.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the importance of communicating with consistency and engaging in active listening with the stakeholders to generate trust and goodwill.

With businesses recovering, they are forging a path towards accelerating growth following a stagnant year and are choosing PR to build brand recognition and generate consumer trust.

The last two quarters have seen an upward trend in the demand for PR services and more businesses have started realizing the importance of having a long-term PR strategy in place.

I am no Nostradamus, but I can safely predict that this demand is going to continue increasing through the rest of 2021.

Seven Continues Award-Winning Traditions in 2021

PRCA

The PRCA MENA Awards are always fun – a chance to look back on the year gone by and hopefully come away with a prize or two.

As ever in the age of COVID, the ceremony this year was a little different as the industry got together to celebrate the very best in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the region.

Seven landed two major honours and came away with highly commended wins in a range of categories.

But the highlight has to be how the event took place in the same spirit it always has – despite being totally online.

PR is a competitive business but, as a whole people get on and it seems to be the case the pandemic has made those bonds stronger.

We all hope the awards this year mark the transition of the toughest of times into better ones – and the positive attitude of all those involved would seem to point to that in a big way.

5 Principles of Effective 360 Storytelling

360 Storytelling

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

If an incredible video is posted on YouTube amidst the 720,000 hours of video content uploaded every day, what is the likelihood your target audience will see it?

That depends entirely on your ability to effectively leverage integrated media, channel, and data analytics behind a full 360-degree storytelling strategy.

Today there is greater potential than ever before to build smart, hyper-targeted content strategies that best position you to get your story in front of your customers and key stakeholders regardless of the noise and clutter. And you can achieve that through the 5 principles of effective 360 integrated storytelling and content management.

  1. Plan your search engine footprint.

Proactively plan and control what your target audience sees about you on page one of the search engines. Think about how you search just about any kind of product, service, business, trend, event, etc. A few simple rules apply. You won’t read the same article twice. You are more likely to change search terms rather than go past page one. You will check out owned content, but you want to see credible third-party content as well.

Design your content strategy to enable your audience to control their own discovery journey. Diversity in storylines and content allows me to learn about you on my terms. I am essentially piecing together a puzzle about you in my mind based on my relationship with you and how I can benefit from you.

  1. Story and stakeholder alignment.

Content and storylines need to align with strategic business objectives and stakeholder wants/needs/value. That could mean planning your search engine footprint to help me learn and understand about your central product or service, new trends you want your company or brand to be associated with, sense of purpose and social performance, environmental and sustainability principles, financial performance, strategic partnerships and what distinguishes your employer brand. Or in most cases, all of the above. All contribute to how I form my opinion of you and the purpose and value you bring to me, my life, my business.

  1. Diversity in content.

Content is only king if it’s worthy of grabbing my attention in the snap of a finger (or scroll of a thumb). Video and animation that is easy to consume and surprises me. Interesting, impactful data visualization that is far more powerful than a by-the-numbers infographic. And just because we aren’t reading physical newspapers and magazines today doesn’t mean that news coverage isn’t just as important to your content mix today than ever. In fact, strong tier one news coverage in online publications with powerful search performance can have a significant lasting effect on a company’s search engine footprint.

  1. Owned and borrowed social channels.

A “one and done” posting strategy is likely to bury your content deep within overcrowded feeds. The goal is to improve the odds by connecting the dots between you and your target audience through a wide range of social channels. That could include tapping the channels, strategic partners and interests that are close to and aligned with your business, product, or service. Certainly, influencers fit within this group, as potentially do employees. How and where you extend the reach of your content depends on the story and audience.

  1. Power of data analytics.

This is the last mile. It’s where digital marketing and communications strategy come together with data analytics to give your content and storytelling true staying power. The beauty of a smart, hyper-targeted paid content promotion and optimization strategy is that companies don’t need to spend millions on a Super Bowl ad to get seen. In fact, in today’s world a few thousand dirhams can go a long way getting in greatly improving the chances your video will be viewed, your feature article read and your social channels followed. It’s all about leveraging data to be close to your audiences to enable understanding their search, social and online habits.

Whether we are talking consumer brands, B2B marketing, or government entities, while the target stakeholders and the overall content marketing approach will vary, these common principles apply.

Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it’s noisy. And yes, getting eyeballs on your content is highly competitive.

But given the abundance of available channels and the ability to integrate targeted stakeholder data analytics into content, media, and social strategy, marketers can do more today than ever before to get interesting content in front of the people who truly matter, regardless of whether or not they are in the forest to hear that tree fall.

4 Steps To The Perfect F&B Launch Plan

F&B Launch Plan

The biggest misconception when it comes to planning for the F&B industry is the assumption that one style fits all. From fine-dining, casual to fine-casual, the segments are varied and well defined, with each category owning a specific set of audience. These audiences differ in their approach to dining out, consumption of content, and style of engagement. Therefore, it is only logical to have a distinct launch plan for every F&B client aptly customized to their target audience.

Step 1 thus, is to define the audience geographically, demographically, and behavior-wise. Who are we reaching out to? What is their persona? What do they like and where are they from?

This definition in turn leads us to step 2- finalizing the platforms of choice. Where can we find our ideal audience? Where do they engage and spend time the most? Consider regional stats and analysis to zero in on the playfield, whether it’s TikTok, IG, Facebook, or even Snapchat.

The platform brings us to the question of content. Instagram is massively visual in nature – static and video. With a series of formats to play around with, we get to explore reels, stories, carousels, and more. The penetration of TikTok and Snapchat has been so high that we advise every client to think vertical and mobile-first. Because if your content is not phone-friendly, it is not likely to be consumed. Backup your visual content with a tone of voice, catchy to your audience reflected in the captions and community management, and we have step 3 complete.

Final step? Paid support. With the massive amount of content across every platform fighting for the audience’s attention, it is crucial to give your brand a boost with paid ads. The time, effort, and money invested in content creation cannot be justified by relying on organic reach alone. This result becomes over 3 times better when supported by boosts and targeted ads. New exposure is equal to a new audience, which converts to new followers and potential customers.

So is there a one-size-plan for the perfect F&B launch? Not per say, but these 4 steps give you the basic framework to follow. If you are unsure how to dive deeper into the action, well, that’s what we are here for. Reach out to us and let’s give your brand the launch it deserves!

 

How Video Production In The UAE Truly Cut Its Teeth Over The Last 12 Months

Video Production

Seven Media has always seen the huge benefits of building a video production into campaigns as a way of conveying motion and influencing action in a way print simply can’t do.

Our in-house video production company – Seven Studios – was launched to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing media landscape. We saw the need to own the type of content which can be served directly to audiences through social media and enjoys 12 times more shares than print and text combined.

But around a year ago a challenge arose: how would video production be able to continue when the world started shutting down?

Traditional productions with several crew couldn’t take place as easily as before, so we suddenly had to adapt. We had to be smart about how to capture the filmed content that has so much impact.

Learning how to execute remote productions was the first step. Asking clients to shoot clips with mobile phones and instructions on lighting, capturing interviews via Zoom and shooting solo instead of with a crew became the norm.

With Seven Studios’ excellent editors, we were able to produce some impressive content in these challenging times. The team produced around 500 videos for clients between the start of the first lockdown of the UAE due to Covid-19 and the end of 2020.

What this did for us and our clients was added strength to content development capabilities because in the future we will be able to be more flexible.

Now in March 2021, we have more tools at our disposal to create simple productions. And because they are effective it became normal, so see – on major TV networks as well as and digital channels – segments of people speaking into their mobile camera or on Zoom.

It has taught the world that maybe you don’t always need a high-end production to get a story across effectively.

While 2020 was a massive challenge, video production once again emerged triumphant. And now the world is almost back to normal we have a stronger proposition than ever to create multimedia content.