Why ME public relations agencies must seek strategic partners - Gulf Business
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Why ME public relations agencies must seek strategic partners

Why ME public relations agencies must seek strategic partners

PR agencies must form strategic partnerships for their own good as well as that of their clients

In this competitive and demanding marketplace, there are numerous public relations agencies giving companies, organisations and governments a wide range of options when it comes to choosing a partner.

So PR agencies offer varying degrees of capability and qualified professionals to consult on clients’ budgets, plans and campaigns.

With business in the Middle East region growing significantly for the PR and marketing sector, the landscape is evolving into a dynamic and diverse environment that demands different skill sets and expertise.

Many global organisations are looking to start or strengthen their PR campaigns in the region and in order to achieve their communications and business objectives, they usually have to choose between global agencies – with an extended network across the world but an impersonal approach to client management – or smaller local agencies that have a more personal touch but limited reach.

Some agencies have recognised the need to widen their appeal and offer existing and potential clients the benefits of an independent agency combined with access to a larger international network, which in turn opens up an active pipeline of new business opportunities across the globe.

Our own services, for example, cover the Middle East region. But a recently-signed co-branding agreement with global PR and communications consultancy Hotwire PR – making us the exclusive partner agency for Hotwire in the region – means we are now partners in a global network of 12 offices across 10 countries.

How do we leverage these partnerships?

Partnerships provide a platform to access the very best of communications from various industries and regions. They help to tap into a much wider network of prospects, services and skills, and provide regional clients with a broader range of solutions to their communications needs, as well as increasing their visibility.

It also gives the existing client base further scope to increase their activity through the agency, by gaining access to some of the most innovative tools around digital and social engagement, and campaigns. Furthermore, partnerships present a great opportunity for existing and future team members to experience working in other markets, as well as the chance to benefit from international training programmes.

For the PR and marketing sector, partnerships are a further sign that the big agencies still see the Middle East as a viable and interesting region to extend their scope and services into. And more importantly, it adds another dimension for clients looking to take advantage of the dynamics, drive and value of an independent agency while still benefiting from the support, access and capabilities across various service areas of a big agency.

Such partnerships open up business opportunities for both parties as well as for the client. By demonstrating each partner’s capabilities, local expertise and offerings, partners can benefit mutually by extending their services to each other’s clients that plan to expand their business in the region. Having a deeper understanding of the region and its business needs enables partners to offer guidance as well as specialised communication plans that will help clients to target the right audience.

The way forward

Clients understandably want to work with the best throughout the world and partnerships make this much more achievable.

By partnering with a global agency, smaller regional agencies can build stronger, larger networks. This provides a platform to share values, ideals and agendas and helps to develop a consistency in policies and procedures for clients across the globe.

Having a global view in different markets also provides an opportunity to share ideas with a far wider community of local experts and allows clients to expand their horizons and move into new geographies.

Partnering is key to any business, but especially so for PR and marketing companies. By having the benefits that you would expect from a single brand solution, as well as the local strategic thinking and on-the-ground experience, clients get to experience the best of both types of agencies.

Sawsan Ghanem is managing director and founding partner of Active (Digital. Marketing. Communications)


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