Dubai Food Festival 2021 – How Has The Media Market Reacted To A Public Event?

social media agency in dubai

Since the impact of Covid-19, events, and festivals became a thing of the past. Businesses and organizations turned to digital forums to host press conferences, events, interviews, and much more (I’m sure we’ve all heard “can everyone see my screen?” in the last twelve months). However, this month Dubai Food Festival was back for its eighth edition – one of the first public events to return in the wake of Covid-19, providing residents and visitors with food fun across the city, but how did the media market react?

Well, in fact, media were pleasantly surprised to see the return of one of the most-loved festivals on the city’s annual calendar. With Covid-19 changing the way that the media landscape operates, particularly with the shift to the digital world, media have had to adapt their processes – from recording radio sound bites via WhatsApp to joining press conferences with hundreds of members on Microsoft Teams. Dubai Food Festival gave media the chance to jump right back into the action, with an event here in the city whereby they can visit, experience, and rate first hand some of the exceptional experiences on offer as part of Dubai Food Festival.

From face to face media interviews with Celebrity and Michelin Star Chefs, to trying out Dubai Restaurant Week menus at various venues in iconic city locations or visiting entrepreneurs at some of Dubai’s most loved independent and homegrown restaurant concepts, Dubai Food Festival gave media the opportunity to go back to basics to find stories that resonate with their readers.

Will other city-wide events follow in the path of Dubai Food Festival. Now, that’s food for thought?”

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.

How Does the Social Media Algorithm Work?

social media agency in abu dhabi

Firstly, what exactly is a social media algorithm? An algorithm is a mathematical set of rules specifying how a group of data behaves. In social media, algorithms help maintain order and assist in ranking search results and advertisements. Overall, the top factors in most social media algorithms in 2021 are the amount of engagement that piece of content has received (especially within a short time frame) and how much you tend to engage with that creator’s content in general.

Here are some of the defining factors of the social media algorithm:

  • It prioritizes content from friends and family members over businesses
  • It heavily prioritizes content from accounts you engage with most (comment, like, share, or accounts you message)
  • It prioritizes content that has already achieved high levels of engagement

TIPS TO WIN THE SOCIAL MEDIA ALGORITHM

  • Ask questions to inspire engagement from your audience
  • Post content that encourages meaningful, lengthy comments
  • Write interesting, meaningful captions
  • Utilize video content as much as you can
  • Engage with followers’ content during the first hour after you post something
  • During the first three hours after you post something, immediately respond to every comment
  • Experiment with different hashtags and hashtag strategies
  • Utilize Instagram Stories to get a more organic reach with your audience without affecting your feed’s cohesive style
  • Stay consistent! This algorithm will downgrade you if your posting frequency is sporadic
  • Post different types of content including text, images, and video to see which achieves the most significant impact

 

 

 

Here’s How You Can Build Your Brand Image Using Social Media

social media advertising

Building a loyal customer base and gaining the trust of and appealing to new customers can be a daunting task; one that requires a lot of investment. In this digital age, social media has become an integral part of digital marketing. Not only is it more real-time but is also more effective when it comes to communicating and developing a bond with end-users.

Social media platforms allow businesses to reach millions of customers worldwide and if social media marketing is not a part of your branding strategy, then, trust us, you are missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity. We’ve put together an easy guide on how you can build your brand image by simply using social media…correctly.

1. Solid social media strategy

When you decide to set up your accounts on the various social media platforms, the first thing you must consider is your objective. Is it brand awareness? Is it lead generation? Or is it for customer service? Once you’ve established your key objective, build your social media strategy around it. Having said this, be conscious and true to your product and service. Not all businesses need to have an account on every social media platform. Some can work great on Instagram and TikTok, some can do exceptionally well on LinkedIn, while some do great on all.

2. Relevant content

If you’re not relevant, your audience will lose interest in your business. Stay updated, get on the new trends if you have to, and always look at your audience and give them the content that they want to see. Insights on social media platforms will give you a detailed analysis on who your audience is, what is the content they like to engage with, what time and day are they most active at, and, of course, an average age group and their demographics. Utilise all of this information and incorporate this understanding in creating your monthly social media plans.

3. Paid spends

Given the kind of reach social media platforms have, paid spends or social media advertising is one strategy that will yield consistent ROI from day one. Target your audience, set a budget, define a time frame, pick out eye-catching visuals that represent your business, and you’re good to go. In no time, will you start seeing results, be it brand awareness, rise in sales, and lead generation.

4. It’s all about the visual elements

How easy would it have been if a business could post the same piece of content on all platforms, right? This is a mistake a lot of businesses often make. However, before you decide to do this, consider tweaking the content according to the platform. Could long-form captions work on Facebook and LinkedIn? Sure, they do but will the same work on Instagram or Twitter even? Put out fun, interactive, and engaging videos and images on your social media platforms – this definitely grabs one too many eyeballs.

5. Engage with your audience

It’s always good to be spontaneous while responding to customer queries and comments. Businesses don’t stress on this enough but community management is essential in building trust and engaging with their audience. Timely response shows that you care and also make brands more human and reliable.

6. Brand voice

In a world where there is a lot of awareness on various world issues, be it social or political, it is always great for businesses to have a voice; to show their stand. This will help customers identify a business that they would want to engage with and will also build a sense of trust. We’d say, as a business, don’t shy away from putting out your opinion on a world issue because users appreciate businesses that have a spine and show that they care.

While these are some of the basic yet key points that businesses must keep in mind before devising their social media strategy, the social media space is dynamic and ever-evolving. Keep up with the times and ace the social media game!

 

5 ways to improve your social media strategy

social media company in dubai

Social media is an essential tool for all businesses, particularly in the UAE where social media users spend up to 3 hours per day scrolling on social feeds. It provides unlimited opportunity for brand awareness, social commerce, lead generation and direct customer relationship building. How can organisations ensure they’re using social media effectively to achieve their goals? Here are 5 simple things to consider when developing a social media strategy.

  1. THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER

Who is your customer? Develop a series of customer personas in order to deep dive into the way they think, behave, their preferences and the way they consume content. This will prove really valuable when it comes to planning content and making strategic decisions.

  1. CONTENT DIVERSITY

It’s easy to fall into the trap of sharing the same format and type of content week after week – if it’s not broken, why fix it? Well, data shows us that in 2021 social media users value diversity. Stale content results in engagement decline and harms your position in social platform algorithms. Keep your audience engaged by trying a variety of content formats such as video, images, carousels and play around with platform features such as stories, Instagram reels and guides.

  1. CONSISTENCY IS KEY

While your content should be diverse, it’s vital that your posting frequency is consistent. Through platform insights, figure out how much time your audience spends on a given platform. From here, decide how often you think you should post and stick to it. If you start to notice a dip in engagement, it’s a good idea to analyse the volume of content you’re posting. Remember, quality over quantity!

  1. PAID, PAID, PAID

Paid social media advertising is the strongest tool in your arsenal. If utilised effectively, it provides an enormous return on investment and helps you to achieve specific business goals such as website traffic, lead generation or app downloads. Organic content is great for reaching those who are already followers, but paid content is the only way to reach potential new customers efficiently.

  1. PLAN AHEAD

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Developing your social media strategy and planning content in advance helps you to prepare more effectively and take into account key dates, consumer behaviour at certain times and upcoming business objectives. This ensures you never miss an opportunity to deliver a key message at the right time.

 

The Rise of Social Commerce

Social Commerce

The phrase ‘new normal’ has been overused and thrown around this year like never before, but let’s face it, this year was a turning point for several industries and will likely change how business is done for years to come. As weaknesses were exposed in business models due to the pandemic, it became clear that the investment in digitization was necessary and could help save businesses in the long run.

While the global economy took a hit during the pandemic, one industry that continued to flourish was eCommerce, as online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide. In fact, in 2020, retail eCommerce sales worldwide amounted to about 4 trillion USD, a number projected to exceed $6.54 trillion by 2023.

In the case of eCommerce, it seemed as if the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the growth of the already expanding sector as new firms, customers, and types of products hit the market. With more people at home, another form of eCommerce was on the rise, social commerce, the use of social media to drive eCommerce transactions.

In the past social commerce meant paid, owned, and earned media on social platforms to build visibility and drive traffic to an eCommerce store. However, in recent years social media platforms have added extensions that allow users to buy directly from the app.

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are leaders in the social commerce landscape, honing in on shopping extensions recognizing eCommerce as a pivotal part of each platform’s overarching growth strategy.

This year, as a part of the updated app features, the companies released shopping extensions that allow users to have a tailored and intuitive buying experience. This move resulted in a whopping 81% of consumers searching for products they need to buy on Instagram and Facebook, making the two channels a massive reference hub and marketplace for goods of all kinds.

As consumers spent more time indoors, shopping trends leaned towards online platforms, especially via mobile devices. This prompted brands to invest in social channels with convenient eCommerce offerings to target their consumers along their buying journey.

The power of social commerce lies in its ability to showcase highly visual and aspirational ad content, that stimulates the passive desires of users before their functional needs arise. For example, if I am looking for a new watch, the platform will utilize my browsing data and other data points to identify my wants, and then it will funnel inspiring ads to me that may satisfy my needs. But what does this mean for traditional eCommerce platforms?

Traditional eCommerce platforms such as Google Shopping and Amazon are not as intuitive as Instagram and Facebook, as they cater to solving immediate problems and not presumptive desires. For example, if I search for a new watch, it will show me several watches; however, unless I am specific with my product or brand name, I am likely to be presented with generic ads that are less aspirational and tailored.

While it is too soon to say that the buyers will forgo traditional eCommerce platforms altogether, we can see that there is real value for the businesses to utilize social eCommerce to attract and build loyalty amongst a target audience.

Social commerce will close gaps in the online shopping experience and provide the customers with a smooth end-to-end buying experience. With new buying habits and preference onset by the pandemic, we foresee that social commerce will remain a large part of the eCommerce industry worldwide.

Social commerce will also attract micro-businesses and craft shops, as the simplicity of the social commerce setup will likely persuade small business owners to skip more complex standalone e-commerce storefronts models. While this may mean more competition among brands and platforms, it also means competitive prices and more consumer choice, which is sure to enhance the buying experience for online shoppers.