Anyone with an ounce of true marketing and public relations expertise will tell you that during the past 18 months, the agility of agencies in Dubai and the rest of the world has been the true marker of both staying afloat, and being able to serve our clients ‘where they are now’
‘Where they are now’ is certainly not pre-pandemic, or even ‘post lockdown’ or even Q1, 2021 – one thing is for sure, the constantly moving consumer, their wants, needs and attitude to brands and purchases has never moved faster. Seemingly week by week and the industry as a whole has had to adapt with them.
With a constant raft of misinformation and rumour spreading via social media in the main, and still ongoing, means that the trust factor is more important than ever. Where a savvy consumer, reader or viewer absorbs their news from is rooted in trust more than it ever was. If the pandemic has changed the industry in any way, it is that a reliance on the ‘traditional’ outlets, or those that the public trust more is more vital than ever. This brings us to the A word.
It’s easy to talk about traditional and legacy outlets, but we can’t ignore the fact that some cynics will still take those with a pinch of salt. Specialising in the beauty and wellness space at TishTash, we find our best digital coverage and PR comes from an authentic connection between brand and consumer, usually via an endorsement or ambassadorial message from word of mouth, and media wise, micro influencers and family and friends. We saw this pre-pandemic, but the situation has elevated the importance of trust and authenticity in PR and marketing to such levels that can no longer be ignored. If we were to say digital or social first for any consumer brand or thought leadership, we wouldn’t be exaggerating.
We can’t ignore the fact that many traditional or legacy media outlets are following new business models this year too. Many print titles no longer exist, narrowing the obvious opportunities, but leading brands to re-consider digital strategies. However, with more paywalls appearing in the region, or outlets working on ‘pay to play’ basis for coverage, we are certainly seeing challenges in the GCC overall, bringing us back to doubling down on those we can work with to generate trust, credibility and winning the consumer hearts and minds.
Covid-19 has supercharged the industry changes for PR and Marketing we were already seeing at TishTash pre pandemic. It hasn’t come as a surprise to us, and we are lucky that our existing insights, relationships and planning held us in good stead for the revolution that we are working in now as a Dubai based agency.
Never has authentic and meaningful brand proposition and communication been more important. Consumers do not like obviously being sold to, and post Covid we see them almost becoming militant in their refusal to engage with anything less than values driven authenticity from products and brands. Time to reflect, not just for the industry, but the world as a whole and a rebellion against spammy messaging and tactics leaves brands that are still trying this or refusal to accept, back in the dark ages of pre-2020.
The ability to manage crisis comms has changed too. Working with influencers and thought leaders gives us more opportunity to see bad messaging or behaviour from those we collaborate with, and there is no room to hide. We are still working our way through challenging times as a society and ‘cancel culture’ is real. Harder work on the monitoring and moderating front for sure, but the ability to ‘read the room’ for brands and businesses is vital – some things just aren’t ‘funny’ anymore and we quite rightly have to keep an eye on anything that is no longer deemed inclusive, diverse, or indeed ‘kind’
Upskilling staff as an industry, taking time to provide more creative campaigns and true ROI to our clients has never been more important within PR and marketing, and there is no room for the slow. It’s as frustrating as it is exhilarating, but there’s no going back, and whilst it feels like the fastest rollercoaster we will ever be on, the benefits of being on board for the future-proofing of your agency or career in a post-pandemic PR world are right there.
Want to read more about the back to school market in the region, click here.