Exploring PR in the Middle East

Who wouldn’t take up the opportunity to learn about PR in Dubai?

I have been lucky to join the Active PR team from Hotwire, its affiliate partner in the UK, on an exchange programme for the past two weeks. In a bid to learn about the media industry in the Middle East and to continue building the relationship between Hotwire and Active, the team here has let me into their day to day PR lives and provided great insight into the media landscape across the region.

I’ve attended client meetings and learnt about the business sectors which are booming in the Middle East, been amazed at how many languages the team speaks due to the varying Arabic and English titles and also seen how their campaigns are built around events like GITEX and religious periods like Ramadan. It’s been interesting to see how the media landscape here differs to the UK, from the diverse requirements for clients across the region to the informal relationships with media.

What has struck me the most however is that whereas clients in the Middle East tend to be less open to social media; in the UK digital is now the core of many campaigns. The popularity of online means that many publications no longer produce a print magazine and it’s not uncommon for campaigns to be based solely around Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare. What’s great about digital is that campaigns can be measured more accurately than ever before. By tracking downloads of a report, requesting logins before reading an article or simply measuring the click through rate to a company’s website, digital means that we can prove the value and ROI of PR to clients more easily.

Overall, my Middle East experience has been great. The team here is awesome and has been extremely welcoming. They’ve shown me the sights in the evenings and have answered all my questions about life in Dubai from PR to petrol prices!