UAE's PR sector to double-up by 2030
Sunil John, Boutros Boutros, Huda Buhumaid, Umayma Abubakar and Omar Zaafrani at PRovoke Mena Summit 2020
This will be driven by the growth of global brands that emerge from the Middle East region, especially from the two largest economies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
The recently held PRovoke Mena Summit 2020 held in Dubai highlighted that the region's public relations' $1 billion industry is expected to double in value by 2030, powered by the rapid growth of national champion companies.
"From $500 million a decade ago, the industry has upped its value to more than double that figure today, and will further gain traction to double again by 2030. This will be driven by the growth of global brands that emerge from our region, especially from the two largest economies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE," said Sunil John, founder of Asda'a BCW and president - Middle East of BCW.
|Sunil John, Boutros Boutros, Huda Buhumaid, Umayma Abubakar and Omar Zaafrani at PRovoke Mena Summit 2020|
John noted that the dramatic economic, social and political changes witnessed in Mena position the region as a strategic market for all global industries. The region will be at the centre of the world this year, with Expo 2020 Dubai, the G20 Summit meetings in Saudi Arabia, the upcoming World Bank IMF annual meetings in Morocco in 2021 and other global events set to contribute to the regional PR industry's continued growth.
The summit is part of a global series of events that explore innovation, disruption and evolution of the PR industry that is redefining influence and engagement across the globe. Starting with a session, 'From National Heroes to Global Brands: Why the Middle East has emerged as a PR Powerhouse,' moderated by John, the panel hosted some of the region's most respected and influential communicators - Boutros Boutros, divisional senior vice president, corporate communications, marketing and brand, Emirates airline and group; Umayma Abubakar, director of internal corporate relations, Mubadala; Omar Zaafrani, senior vice-president, group communications and corporate social responsibility, Adnoc; and Huda Buhumaid, chief marketing officer, Dubai Holding. The panelists explored how the regional PR landscape has grown, mirroring the transformation of national champion companies, such as Emirates, Mubadala, Adnoc and Dubai Holding, into global brands.
According to Emirates' Boutros, PR continues to be the "most valuable, effective and affordable communications medium that will continue to grow in the coming years.
Mubadala's Abubakar added that successfully communicating the organisation's story is also a reflection of the vision of the UAE's leadership. "Our government's goal of economic diversification has positioned the UAE as more than an oil and gas economy. There is a compelling need to tell our story to the world, to show that we have a lot to contribute and add value. In this, it was important to be transparent, and to be perceived as a responsible global investor," she said.
The responsibility of national brands goes beyond their organisation and must represent a national perspective reflecting the UAE's national branding and soft power, said Adnoc's Zaafrani, adding that the challenge is to address the stereotypical stigma attributed to oil and gas sector players. "That takes courage, and a deliberate focus on humanising the story to make oil and gas relevant to the community," he said.
Dubai Holding's Buhumaid believes that there are interesting stories from this region and people are interested in knowing 'how, why and when.
He added: "We are here 'for the good of tomorrow' and we change the landscape of Dubai through our different ventures. With over 400,000 people living in our real estate communities, more than three million people staying in our hotels, and with 11 business parks employing 95,000 people, we are promoting Dubai to the world."
Concluding the session, John said that communicating to a global audience is different from talking to a local audience. "The strategy needs to be truly global, cultural nuances understood with creativity playing a key role, supported by advanced data analysis. But innovative content and story-telling will continue to be at its heart."