Manchester-based agency Brazen has been leading the way in the communications industry with its highly creative result-driven campaigns since 2001. Building on that success, Louise Jacobson, MD, Brazen PR UAE talks to ArabAd about the agency’s first geographical expansion into the Middle East in January 2015.
The state of the PR industry is generating some heated debate, as many communication professional argue that ‘PR agencies’ are already dying out and will cease to exist in the next ten years. What's your say?
Brazen was one of the first agencies in the UK to recognise that our profession and industry has changed, so we rebranded from a PR agency to a PR and Content Marketing agency offering PR, social media, digital and branded rich media, search marketing and events under one roof.
That said, I believe the key fundamental to creating cut through with modern communications is the art of storytelling. Whether that be a social media post, media release, blogger outreach etc. you are telling a story to create impact on a targeted audience.
The first thing a PR professional is taught how to do is story-tell. How to bring a brand or concept to life and make it relevant, interesting, engaging and newsworthy. This is something in a PR professional’s DNA.
I don’t see storytelling dying out, in fact the need to create cut through and compelling content with the ever increasing volume of social and traditional channels open to consumers will mean this art will be increasingly important. And a PR professional is perfectly placed to do that.
PR professionals are also two way communicators by nature. We have been speaking to journalists for many years and now directly with consumers on social media. We don’t buy space and broadcast messages, we engage and converse. This skill has meant that PR has led the way in terms of effective social media engagement.
Only a year ago you've extended operations to the UAE market, how has the agency been fairing so far?
We’ve just celebrated our first year in the region and have been delighted about the response to our unique, fresh approach to PR & Content Marketing. In 2015 Brazen won 11 clients, delivered three record breaking campaigns, was shortlisted for a MEPRA Award and achieved 100% staff retention.
What are the challenges you've faced so far?
Of course we have faced some challenges like any business opening in a new region. There are a lot of different processes here and in general business takes longer to convert than in the UK.
The way PR is measured and evaluated has also changed, with less emphasis on outputs and more focus on how ideas have affected consumer behaviour and resulted in outcomes and business objectives. How has your PR strategy changed in the past 10 years?
Brazen provides bespoke measurement packages based on the brief and objectives and this is now more important than ever. We measure activity at each stage of the campaign to show results and return on investment so we can adapt elements of the campaign accordingly (if necessary) to ensure the very best results.
We take a multi-pronged approach to evaluation and use cutting edge techniques to measure. Usually there will be forms of hard metrics such as reach and volume of media cuttings to soft metrics such as messaging and sentiment.
What distinguishes your approach ('Intelligent Creativity') from that of the competition?
"Intelligent Creativity" was a concept we developed a few years ago and is our mantra. Brazen is a highly creative agency and one that pushes boundaries, but we aren’t just creative for creativity’s sake. All our ideas achieve the desired results and goals strategically mapped out from the start.