A campaign of national pride

Seven Media - UAE National Day 2020

UAE National Day is a major event for the whole country – and this year Seven is very proud to have been tasked with being at the centre of a unique PR and social media campaign.

In previous years the countdown to national day focussed on the official event which would be attended by thousands of people of all nationalities from across the emirates.

But on December 2 the event is going virtual – with a live being shown on everything from local TV to social media and digital platforms.

So how do you get everyone excited and engaged about a celebration which has for the previous 48 editions had people coming together as a key call to action?

On PR the challenge has been to use as many communication channels as possible to execute simple but exciting content that hypes the event, but doesn’t give everything away.

We have teased elements of the show in the lead-up and also promised surprises on the night – meaning that there will still be a sense of anticipation come UAE National Day.

Video has also played a major role across PR and social media with the use of archive footage and new interviews forming the backbone of a campaign that has been truly innovative.

And as Khalfan Al Mazrouei, a member of the organising committee of the Official 49th UAE National Day Celebration, recognised, the global pandemic had to be addressed clearly.

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic required us to approach the official 49th UAE National Day celebrations in a new and ambitious way – one that uses digital visual technology to inspire an audience watching from home.
“The overarching theme of the live show is one of hope and optimism. Embracing the country’s rich legacy and traditions, it looks ahead to a vivid future in which we remain true to our values.

“The narrative of the show artistically revolves around the growth and transformation of a seed into a shoot and then finally into full bloom, mirroring the journey the UAE has taken in the last 49 years.

Future trends in digital and social communication

Seven Media - Future trends in digital and social communication

The pace of change in the digital media industry over the past 10 years has been staggering. As we enter the next decade, what trends will shape a sector constantly evolving?

TikTok is already a global phenomenon with about 500 million active users worldwide. This year, the company opened its first Middle East-based office in Dubai and it’s only a matter of time before it takes off regionally.

Its main attraction is that you can easily produce content on your mobile phone that has the potential to reach millions of people through organic reach, as opposed to paid promotions and boosted posts. 

There is a massive opportunity in the region for brands to engage with a youthful audience on a fresh and exciting platform using content that is easily consumed and shared.

With yet another new face on the digital scene, it is important to consider the potentially negative impact of social media. The harmful psychological effects of social platforms have come under the spotlight recently and the industry is facing pressure to demonstrate they can protect users’ well-being.

In 2020, we expect to see social channels making mental health a key strategy. Simply removing the Likes function isn’t enough. It is essential to invest in promoting support groups, removing malicious content, and stamping out online bullying.

The power of the digital influencer to promote brands and carry messages via social media has been one of the most remarkable trends in media marketing over the past few years. But times are changing.

Earlier last year, a survey conducted by YouGov in the UAE and KSA revealed that 79 per cent of those questioned have unfollowed a social media influencer for drowning their timeline in promotional content. Research by HypeAuditor found that 31 per cent of UAE social media influencers purchase followers, while 20 per cent use tricks to artificially boost their online profile.

Brands will continue to invest billions of dollars on influencer marketing, but will increasingly target legitimate storytellers who share authentic content with a specific audience. Those perceived as mere extensions of the corporate machine will fall by the wayside. 

In recent years, we have seen the use of algorithms influencing the content we see. In the PR industry specifically, there has been a push for ‘content calendars’ of pre-written, pre-approved, posts scheduled for release on specific dates. But as an audience, we increasingly expect a personalised two-way conversation.

I expect a big move back towards creative storytelling over the next decade, with video at its heart. Video already has 12 times more shares on social media than text and images combined. This year, we expect 82 per cent of internet traffic to be video-based. 

Platforms and tools exist to make sharing video content easier than ever. But too often content is published for content’s sake. Only videos that tell an engaging, relevant story has the power to be truly memorable and create a lasting impression among its audience. 

As one of the best social media agencies in Dubai, we’re here to support you with your digital communications strategy and implementation.

Seven Media wins big at inaugural PRCA Digital Awards with an impressive double

Seven Media wins big at inaugural PRCA digital awards

Leading independent, full-service agency wins ‘Best Digital Team’ and ‘Best Use of Video in a Campaign’ awards at the inaugural event in Dubai’s D3

Seven Media continued its award-winning ways at the PRCA’s first ever digital awards yesterday evening and scooped the two most prestigious accolades in a double-whammy.

Following on from Seven’s two consecutive PRCA ‘Large Consultancy of the Year’ title wins in 2017 and 2018, the event saw Seven walk off the stage with the two coveted ‘Best Digital Team’ and ‘Best Use of Video in a Campaign’ awards, proving once again that Seven Media’s creativity and dynamism are proving winning formulas in a challenging Middle East communications landscape.

A key factor behind this success is the recent formation of Seven Studios, the video production team and creative force behind the video content created. Seven Studio’s work on the award-winning campaign for Manchester City Centurions Trophy Tour Fan Surprise, using unique story telling methods and hidden camera work that went viral across the world, ensured the UAE-based agency clinched the top prize.

Gregg Fray, Director and Co-Founder of Seven Media, said: “Digital is rapidly becoming the most important element to clients and we as a company are constantly evolving, as proven with the addition of Seven Studios, to ensure we remain ahead of the game. This award, as voted for by our peers, is a testament to our forward-thinking nature and excellent results we have secured throughout the year. 

“To be recognised as Digital Team of the Year, strongly underscores Seven Media’s deserved reputation as the top social media agency in Dubai with its track record of prestigious digital and social media activities for our clients. Our growth, client and staff satisfaction and retention speaks for itself and with the glowing endorsement from our incredible clients the judges deemed Seven Media victorious.”

The power of sport

Seven Media - the power of sport

This week, Abu Dhabi won the World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination award at the 26th edition of the World Travel Awards 2019. Having hosted world-class events including the FIFA Club World Cup 2017 and 2018; the AFC Asian Cup 2019; the 11th edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event of 2019, Abu Dhabi has proven itself to be a global hub for some of the most prestigious sports events across the globe.

Two of these events – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 – are current/former clients of Seven Media and our team has witnessed the power of sport to unite people across the UAE, first-hand. Just this week, the Higher Committee of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 was awarded the joint 2019 Chaillot Peace Prize for the Promotion of Human Rights.

The World Games culminated in seven days of sporting achievement, thousands of athletes and volunteers, dozens of events, countless displays of bravery and boundaries shattered, and millions of smiles. But that was not the last of it – a huge part of our work focused on ensuring a legacy of inclusion was left long after the Games were over. We got people talking about the need to change perceptions, the UAE as a global leader in humanitarianism, and the hope for a future in which we can all live unified. 

Here at Seven, we have a team of individuals dedicated to sporting clients that is not only passionate about sport, but that is also determined to use sport to unite people from all backgrounds, across the region. We are incredibly proud to see Abu Dhabi and the UAE recognised on the global stage for its contribution to staging world-class sports events and for using sport to promote human rights, and we cannot wait to see what this next chapter holds for the UAE as it continues its feat to become one of the leading homes for large-scale, prestigious sporting events in the world.

So if you’re looking for a sports PR agency in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, please get in touch.

Gearing up for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019

Seven Media PR agency in Dubai and Abu Dhabi gears up for th4e Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019

Once again, the Seven team are gearing up to manage the PR for the one of the Middle East’s biggest events – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, our sixth race weekend since we won the account in 2014.

Following last year’s landmark 10th Anniversary edition, 2019’s will be the biggest one yet as we enter its second decade – a full five-day race festival of on-track action and off-track entertainment, culminating with the 48th UAE National Day on 2nd December.

Our team has been planning for this moment since tickets went on sale back in mid-March, and the campaign has followed a strategically planned pathway to take us to this point and on course for a fully sold out race weekend in less than two weeks’ time – it’s not just five days on site in November but a year-round closely managed effort in partnership with the team at Yas Marina Circuit.

Integrating closely with our colleagues on the social media team at Spark Foundry is key to success as we move through the five main phases from launch day to race week and our messaging and performance is adjusted and fine-tuned to ensure the Circuit’s commercial needs are met.

There are so many moving parts to consider – from media accreditation, global music artist announcements including Lana Del Rey and The Killers, to media centre management to interviews and imagery preparation – it’s a truly Herculean team effort that never lets up.

With two weeks to go there are fewer than 1,000 tickets left and these will disappear rapidly as we get to the business end of the Formula 1 season, following Sunday’s epic Brazilian Grand Prix.

During the seven days of race week the PR teams in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will write, translate and distribute more than 45 press releases, conduct more than 50 interviews, and collate and analyse more than 15,000 press clippings from around the world as well as work with more than 350 of the world’s best sports media. All while 60,000 race fans from more than 170 countries relax and enjoy the spectacle.

Wish us luck!

Photo courtesy of Yas Marina Circuit

Reflections of FinTech Abu Dhabi 2019

Reflections of FinTech Abu Dhabi 2019

Unicorns. Cryptocurrency. Blockchain. Sandbox. Artificial Intelligence.

These were the buzzwords on everyone’s lips at Fintech Abu Dhabi 2019 organised by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Seven Media was in the thick of things handling the media operations and PR campaign for this incredible event.

The third edition of the FinTech festival, powered by global innovation platform, Unbound, had over 5000 participants, 100 speakers and more than 50 sessions.

The event featured a packed schedule of discussions, panel sessions and debates from some of the world’s most innovative global companies, industry thought leaders and top CEOs.

A team from our Abu Dhabi office were on the ground at ADGM and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) at the three-day event managing the media operations with a host of top-tier media present, including a CNBC studio on-site.

Our deep industry expertise and understanding of the local markets enabled us to pick out the right stories and guided media to the key sessions at the event. In addition to this, our outstanding strategic thinking and experience in managing large scale high profile events led us to successfully deliver MENA’s leading FinTech and Financial event to the media. 

Using a mix of press releases and one-on-one interviews with key speakers, we were able to deliver great stories running across top tier broadcast, print, online and social channels in UAE, and beyond.

With industry experts covering the entire spectrum from the future of the banking industry to blockchain and the use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, it was an exceptional educational experience for the team.

Here is a roundup of some key takeaways from the event:

Artificial Intelligence is the key to the future

A.I. and machine learning massively reduce costs and allow businesses to disrupt the traditional model of business. 

The FinTech industry is using technology intelligently and creatively. We now see Venture Capitalists using AI to conduct due diligence and hunt for new investment opportunities as it helps them informed decisions at a faster pace. 

Collaboration is vital

The importance of partnerships and collaborations were pointed out as one of the critical factors for success in the sector.

The perception of the FinTech companies has changed from being a disruptor to a collaborator. This has helped in accelerating the speed of the product cycle, aiding the stakeholders and the end-users.

Startups and financial institutions need to work together to create solutions and help each other to enhance the scalability of their business as well. 

MENA is a growing hub for FinTech startups

Even though the region’s FinTech industry is still in a development phase, the ecosystem fostered will provide a platform for FinTech unicorns to emerge over the coming years.

Consumer demographics, large smartphone and money transfer use and government support have been one of the key drivers for the growth of the FinTech industry in the MENA region.

UAE’s positioning as the largest fintech hub for startups in the MENA region was further cemented during the event with Mubadala Capital unveiling a $250 million (Dh918.29m) in tech funds and ADGM launching their digital sandbox.

Judging by the success of what we saw, there’s no doubt that the FinTech industry will go from strength to strength in the region. The industry is continuing to evolve by the day, and there will be innovations and ideas that will inspire more companies and entrepreneurs in the coming years. 

Have we lost the art of storytelling?

Seven Media

The way things are going, we’re in danger of completely saturating the digital world with video content. 

Some 500 million hours of video is watched on YouTube each week and – according to a recent report by Hootsuite – more video content is uploaded online every 30 days than the major US TV networks have created in the last 30 years.

With so much noise being created – and so much time spent consuming thousands of hours of instantly forgettable moving images – it is time to remind ourselves that we appear to have forgotten the art of storytelling.

This is easily done when we consider that even the worst of advertisements, if executed properly through social media channels, can reach millions of customers around the globe.

Virtually anyone can make a video and upload it, but we seem to have forgotten to ask ourselves the basics: Does it convey a message? Does it have a purpose? And the number one question … is it any good?

If you do get it right, you’re in luck, as there are now more social media platforms than ever before – from the 1 billion people who watch YouTube to the 165million active monthly Facebook users based here in the MENA region. That’s a lot of people literally waiting to be served decent content. 

Video is definitely the right way to target your audience as it has a 95 per cent retention rate. When you compare this to the 21 per cent retention rate of print, it’s already evident that video can guarantee more emotion, influence and action than any other form of advertising media. 

In this fast-paced world where an entire conversations can be summarised into 145 character Tweets, customers are becoming adverse to the verbose and wordy. They want their comms to be attention grabbing and entertaining. 

It has been proven that customers are 27 per cent more likely to click on a video than a standard ad on a web page. It is video that appeals to our senses and makes us curious to find out more and once we do, we’re share 12 times more on social than text and images combined. 

So, it’s been proven that video is the most effective media, but the best tends to mean the most expensive, right? Wrong. If targeted effectively, the cost per view can result in being as low as AED 0.01 per view – and that’s views of exactly the sort of person you want to see it.

The beauty of social media is that there are demographic tools, so you can set the advertisements to arrive straight on the screen of your dream customer. You can eliminate the unsuitable age groups, gender and geographic region so you have the best chance of reaching exactly who you want and need for your product. You can even target people who are active fans of your competitors! 

The initial creation of video can also be tailored to your budget as well. Gone are the Mad Men-style agencies filled with suits creating million-dollar blockbuster adverts. Now, audiences want their advertising to be authentic and tell a story. Recently, Seven Studios was hired to do a behind-the-scenes style video, in conjunction with a big budget advertisement. The result? Our behind-the-scenes video received higher engagement, because it was more relatable and interesting for the consumer. 

In this region, there is a place that consumes more videos daily than anywhere else around the entire globe. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 98 per cent of KSA can be reached through video. Previously, this KSA audience seemed a distant dream to many brands, especially those outside of the Middle East, but thanks to video, this important market can now be fully engaged. 

So before you decide to make a video for your brand, organisation or movement, it’s important to speak to a company that is able to understand your story and create something relevant and meaningful. They will be able to advise how and where to target the video, what social media channels are most relevant and the most effective way to boost through spend. As an award-winning social media agency in Dubai, we can help.

Until then, please, just don’t create video for video’s sake. 

TikTok for social media marketing: yay or nay?

Tok Tok for social media marketing - yay or nay?

With over 500 million monthly active users globally, TikTok has witnessed a rapid growth over the past two years, resultantly stirring up a storm in the digital world.

For starters, let us give you a brief about the renowned app, *drumroll* TikTok.

TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app used extensively by teenagers and young adults for the sole purpose of entertainment. It has been labelled as the “next big thing” and don’t be surprised, because it just might be as it is the third most downloaded app in the world.

So, what makes TikTok so distinct and popular?

It is more than just lip-syncing to cliché songs or pre-recorded videos, TikTok is an outlet allowing users to unleash their creativity, use the numerous AR lenses and express themselves by means of short, catchy videos.

However, the question arises; can brands incorporate TikTok in their social media marketing strategy?

The answer is, why not? TikTok can be a potential new platform for brands to explore and open up to various opportunities and connect with new audiences. Thus, increasing brand awareness amongst an untapped segment particularly for brands that are interested to cater to a youthful target. TikTok also runs its very own TikTok ads platform which allows advertising to only a limited target based on simple factors such as age, gender and state level geolocation. Nevertheless, by the end of 2019 TikTok promises to narrow down their demographics and emerge with an improved ads platform.

To achieve the desired outcomes on TikTok, brands would need to get their creative juices flowing and pouring! A full-fledged brainstorming session, a solid ‘think out of the box’ idea and the will to delve into new possibilities; these will help kickstart your brand’s journey on the app. TikTok gives your brand the opportunity to effectively promote your products or services, a jingle or slogan or any element of your brand as innovatively as possible.

Global fashion chain Guess was the first ever fashion brand to take on TikTok with the #InMyDenim challenge. Users were encouraged to create a mini music video while wearing their Guess denim piece from the newly launched denim line and post on TikTok with the hashtag. The challenge was a tremendous success with over 38.6 million views and tons of entries. What Guess also extracted from this challenge was a mammoth amount of user generated content; an essential for every brand.

Another brand using TikTok to their optimum is Red Bull. Short videos boasting the adventure and thrill in skydiving, skateboarding, mountain bike riding and more by involving followers are featured on Red Bull’s TikTok feed as it translates to the brand’s persona. With the rapid rise of TikTok came along the influencers on the platform, and we kid you not, these TikTok influencers are fast-growing with an unbelievable number of views. The large following of these influencers can be targeted by brands in order to boost their products or services. Similar to collaborating with Instagram bloggers, brands can tie-up with TikTok influencers with a large following for campaigns to reach out to a wider audience. Howbeit, with this social platform running primarily on the youth having fun, brands will also have to do the same rather than perceiving it as no more than just an advertising opportunity. We wouldn’t recommend brands to simply create a profile on TikTok and share their own videos. Instead, here’s what we suggest; if your brand possesses the right resources and an exceptional idea, capture the interest of the users by developing a campaign.

If you’re overlooking these advantages for your brand, know that you will be missing out on a great deal because TikTok is here to stay. But if this piques your curiosity, head over to the best social media agency in Dubai – Seven Media to step into the new age marketing medium.

Closed Groups – The Future of Social

The Facebook Group is nothing new. Spaces for like-minded people to come together and discuss specific topics have been around since social media’s earliest days. These groups have seen particular growth over the past year, however, becoming a vital part of social media users’ daily lives.

Snapchat was the first platform to capitalise entirely on closed-group sharing. Their goal was to be the space where people shared private messages, images and videos with close friends. The result? Massive success. The increasing publicity of an individual’s online presence revealed the need for such sharing.

Remember the early days of Facebook when the platform represented somewhat of a safe space – most interactions were with real people, many of them friends and family. It was a place to showcase yourself, your preferences, your personality. This sort of intimacy on social networks has been undone by their own success. Newsfeeds are overflowing with clickbait, fake news and advertising galore. Cue closed-group sharing popularity growth.

Since this shift, Facebook has become the space for sharing your public persona – a less authentic, more curated persona. Meanwhile, Snapchat became the space for the ‘real’ persona, where individuals feel more comfortable sharing intimate details about their daily lives because they are sharing with people they know and trust.

Closed-group social platforms enable a new behavior of sharing. By reducing the cognitive overhead of publicly posting, these companies are betting on users sharing more often. In other words – with less mental math deducting who will see your post, story, photo – the more (and more often) users will share.

Recent reports have indicated that Instagram is hopping on this closed-group social train by developing an app called Threads.

Threads is designed as a sister app to Instagram, and invites users to automatically share their location, speed and battery life, along with more typical text, photo and video messages with friends. (Does sharing your location or battery sound strange to you? Don’t forget, Snapchat introduced these features years ago).

The ultimate goal of Threads? Promote constant, automatic sharing between users and the people on their ‘close friends’ list on Instagram. Reportedly, you will even be able to opt into automatic sharing, and Threads will regularly update your status without you having to type or click anything at all.

So, for companies and brands who rely on social networks to reach customers, whether through advertising or organic, personalised interactions, closed-group sharing has been an important player in the massive decline of organic engagement and reach.

Does closed-group sharing point toward the future of social media in general? A means to recover and authenticity the trust that Facebook began with? And if so, what does this mean for branded pages striving to reach the vast online audience?

That’s where Seven Media, one of the top social media agencies in Dubai comes in, addressing challenges is our specialty. Get in touch, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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.