CEO Predictions 2013: Avi Bhojani, Group CEO, Bates PanGulf

Exclusive: The emphasis in the communications sector is increasingly moving away from traditional routes, writes Avi Bhojani.

For the Bates PanGulf (BPG) Group, 2012 was a year when we have had to come to terms with new economic realities, while looking to recalibrate our business and operating model.

But on the whole it was a good year for the group with serious growth being achieved in our media asset management business, public relations, digital and social media offerings allied to steady wins in our advertising business.

In the digital space we recently launched a specialist social media practice BPG Social that fits within our existing centre of digital expertise – BPG Possible.

Overall, it has clearly been a challenging year for the marketing communications industry. Consumers are increasingly moving away from traditional media routes towards a greater emphasis on digital and social media.

Meanwhile clients are getting ever more demanding and overall, the competition is getting tougher and hungrier.

At the services end it is going to become increasingly commoditised with procurement playing an even more significant role in engagement processes by larger multinationals and regional companies. This is something we have already seen happening with local government entities. The impact of this
will mean more core competency shifting to responding to requests for proposals than the actual pitching of ideas and out of the box integrated solutions.

In the UAE we have witnessed a strong economic recovery. This can be seen all around us in Dubai from increasing real estate prices to more traffic on the roads and the lack of available apartments for rent in some pockets of the city.

Globally the situation is much bleaker with most developed economies facing recessionary trends or static growth at best.

We are confident that the UAE and Dubai economies will grow even more significantly in 2013, and some recent announcements like the bold and audacious Mohammed Bin Rashid City and the UAE’s concerted bid for Expo 2020, which clearly positions Dubai as the ‘Oasis of Ambition and Optimism’ in a region otherwise strife with law and order challenges.

At a global level the ‘haves’ will become less privileged, while the ‘have-nots’ will accelerate their propensity towards greater consumption.