Hanadi Dagher, Managing Partner of M.H.D for Public Relations,elaborates on the agency’s edge and the team’s strength amid the growing competition in the PR sector. While digital disruption has introduced challenges into many business models, Dagher sees boundless opportunity ahead for PR firms and has complete confidence about her agency and PR as a practice.
Tell us about your agency: What is your team made of? What’s your competitive edge?
MHD brings together a team of young and ambitious PR professionals, specialized in the various and evolving aspects of public relations. The edge our agency has over the competition lies in the way we build trust and lasting relationships with our clients. We focus on their demands and work tirelessly to understand their needs, and most importantly the message they want to convey through their business.
What are the difficulties and challenges you’re facing to keep up with a growing competition in the PR sector?
The Lebanese PR market is a relatively small one, so if you study the competition well enough it would not be that hard to keep up with the big agencies and be successful, no matter how small you are. However, the journey would not be free from challenges. In fact, the economic crisis and the growing political insecurity in the region is draining local media both from content and from resources. Therefore, it is definitely a challenge to convince traditional media of the importance of PR (non-political) and, in parallel, it is also more and more difficult to convince them to make the shift towards a complete digital presence. In consequence, some clients are still adamant to be featured in traditional media, and have a hard time understanding the importance of content PR (video storytelling) and influencers.
What are you focusing on to stand out from the competition? And where does your strength lie?
As PR agencies, I believe that the wave we have to ride is the one that sweeps the clients’ audience. So to stand out from the competition, we do our best to identify the right audience for our clients, and then focus on targeting it using the most efficient means of communication. Our forte also lies in the work we do after reaching out to the audience, in other words evaluating and reporting on the audience’s engagement (whether online or offline). Indeed, we cater our reporting in a way that allows our client to understand whether or not their message was correctly conveyed, and if not what were the problems that prevented it from reaching the audience. We also offer crisis communication, since reputation has become so critical nowadays and clients rarely know how to handle communication during a crisis.
“Some clients are still adamant to be featured in traditional media, and have a hard time understanding the importance of content PR (video storytelling) and influencers.“
What has been your agency’s biggest projects in 2017/2018?
In 2017, we had many big and successful projects, including the Real Estate Forum, Christmas In Action, Oil and Gas Forum, Retroville, City Picnic, Festival of Colours, Black Friday Market, Fattal, Classic Car Show 2017, Beirut International Jazz Day, Sadeem (The Arab world’s biggest digital competition), to name a few.
What are the trends that will characterize the PR industry in the upcoming year and going forward?
There are three main trends that are starting to shape the future of Public Relations in the Lebanese market. The first is obviously the shift towards storytelling (whether online or offline), and this is something we have experienced through the growing demand by clients to develop their digital communication on social media, especially through powerful video content. The second is the growing emphasis on micro-influencers and bloggers; the latter have become part of an efficient marketing strategy given the fact that using the right third party voice to promote a client’s particular message can be a powerful way to reach audiences. The third trend is the growing reliance on specialty PR agencies, a reference to firms that specialize in specific aspects of public relations (event launch, reputation management, thought leadership, etc.) or even specific topics (business, entertainment, arts, etc.).