Nidal Abou Zaki - Managing Director - Orient Planet PR and Marketing Communications talks to ArabAd about his company's digital branch and the internal changes taking place to accomodate an ever-changing market.
The state of the PR industry is generating some heated debate as many communication professionals argue that ‘PR agencies’ are already dying out and will cease to exist in the next 10 years. What's your say?
The PR industry today is flourishing and will continue to do so in the next 10 years and beyond. The role of PR professionals has never been more important, as the need for outstanding communications strategies is growing, driven by high demand from a digitally-connected and information-consuming society. With a better understanding of PR, many sectors have now recognised how the industry contributes to nation-building, human development and global relations by strategically getting key messages out to the wider public. This role will be consistent in the next decade or so.
The basic principles of PR will remain unchanged although the channels of communication will surely evolve along with current and future trends. One such example is the disruptive social media network that gave PR professionals a new mode of communicating with audiences. Perhaps, in 10 years or so, press releases will be replaced with modern platforms that are more efficient conduits to target markets. However, regardless of what the industry looks like in the future, PR agencies will remain relevant with a good story as its strong foundation.
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?
Over the past 10 years, Orient Planet has implemented key strategies addressing various demands of the industry. An example can be seen in our integration of social media in our campaigns amidst the widespread popularity of the all-important online social channels. This has led us to establish a dedicated social media unit, Orient Planet Social, in response to the clamour for a two-way street of communication. Orient Planet Social is also part of our strategic expansion plans. We are now strengthening our digital efforts to thrive in the information age.
What are the challenges you’ve been facing so far?
We see still the need to lay more emphasise on the importance of digital PR campaigns as part of an integrated communications strategy necessary amidst the ever-changing media landscape. PR professionals will also have to increase client awareness on the importance of crisis management and brand building especially during tough times.
In today’s highly interconnected world, PR professionals must work twice as hard to ensure that their clients’ brands are seen and heard by tech-savvy consumers. PR agencies that evolve alongside these trends will have the best chance of succeeding and flourishing.