Communications planning during the madness that is 2020

We are only a few weeks into the new year and WOW has it already been a wild ride. Bushfires, volcanoes, impeachment proceedings, international conflicts, a deathly virus… it’s a lot to take in.
With all that going on, marketers across the region are trying to stay on top of their 2020 plans as they embark on another year. Between the madness of global and regional news, here are some key considerations as you commence your communications planning.
Cybersecurity & Reputation Management
If you read my last blog post, you already understand the important link between cyber security and reputation. In wake of the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, cyber security experts have forecasted that security concerns are at an all-time high. Our client, FireEye, warned that “any activity could include cyber espionage intrusions as well as disruptive and destructive cyber attacks.” Regional organizations – especially US-based ones – should be on high alert.
Cyber attacks are inevitable. Communicators need to make sure that their 2020 plans include a crisis response plan in case such attacks occur. This plan should include securing an internal review system (for media statements, customer communication, etc.) as well as communication and training with your employees and internal stakeholders ahead of time so they know how to respond to customers and media.
Stronger focus on Saudi Arabia
When it comes to our 2020 planning with clients, one thing that hasn’t surprised me is the noticeable emphasis on Saudi Arabia as a high-growth business market. Ever since the oil boom of the early 2000s, the Kingdom has ambitiously redefined its economy via diversification and government efforts – including National Transformation Program 2020 and Vision 2030, the ground breaking agenda which builds on three pillars – a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation.
With these reforms and objectives paving the way for a new KSA economic vision, there’s no better time to take advantage of business opportunities and invest in the quickly growing economy.
That being said, the KSA market is not an easy one to break into when it comes to PR and marketing. The media landscape is quite sparse, and the publications that do put out stories rely heavily on news coming from the public sector and private organizations who are willing to put money behind ads.
To make a splash in Saudi, you’ll need a) a comprehensive digital marketing plan and b) an all-star agency who knows the KSA landscape the best (😉).
CSR: Talk the talk & walk the walk
Research by Cone and Porter Novelli says that nearly eight in 10 Americans are more loyal to purpose-driven brands and 67 percent are more willing to forgive if that company makes a misstep. Even more compelling – further research shows that purposeful companies outperform the stock market by a whopping 42 percent.
In light of the natural disasters around the globe, regional organizations are undoubtably jumping on board to aid in relief efforts. But what does this mean for communicators? Of course, you work to include your efforts in your outgoing communication, but its critically important to make this a full-time initiative. Year-round content calendars surrounding your CSR efforts should be a part of your 2020 plans – not just when there are natural disasters.
Just make sure you don’t make a Jeff Bezos misstep.
The great Expo 2020
It’s been years in the making and the time has finally come – Expo 2020 is just around the corner. Talk to any regional journalist, and you’ll notice they are all looking for Expo angles. Communicators need to get creative to break through the noise – trust me when I say you can find a tie-in with just every sector from sustainability, to education, to physical and cyber security to tourism!
On top of that, as communicators, we need to continuously stay on top of the news to make sure there isn’t an angle we aren’t missing and be able to jump on any news hijacking opportunities.
GITEX – the countdown begins now!
I can’t ignore any 2020 planning conversation without the mention of GITEX Technology Week – one of the most important weeks of the year for anyone in the tech space. We are only eight months away.
GITEX Technology Week is the biggest tech show in the Middle East, North Africa & South Asia. If you are a vendor or thought leader in the tech space, then you should know how leverage this opportunity and position yourself as a thought leader in the industry. If you are unsure about how to make this happen, that’s where we come in! Click here for our recommendations on how to make your tech standout at GITEX.
If the last two weeks have been any indication of what to expect, 2020 is going to one heck of a year! Not sure where to start your planning? Get in touch with us and we’ll help you get your 2020 on the right track.
By Lauren Brush, Associate Account Director, Active DMC