By Sam Bridge
Founder of Dubai-based ASDA'A BCW says growth will be driven by the expansion of global brands that emerge from region
The PR industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is set to double in value to $2 billion by 2030, according to a leading Dubai-based expert.
Speaking at the PRovoke MENA Summit 2020, held in Dubai, Sunil John, founder of ASDA’A BCW and president, Middle East of BCW, said 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, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
“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 John.
The summit opened with a session moderated by John and a panel including 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 & 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 companies such as Emirates, Mubadala, ADNOC and Dubai Holding into global brands.
Boutros said public relations continues to be the “most valuable, effective and affordable communications medium, which will continue to grow in the coming years". He said the Dubai office of Emirates plays the role of a “global inhouse hub to manage all the different agencies, with the strategy and policies originating here".
Abubakar said successfully communicating the Mubadala 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.”
With a directional focus on making ADNOC, an oil and gas company, "cool", Zaafrani said the challenge is to address the stereotypical stigma that is 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.”
Buhumaid 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 3 million people staying in our hotels, and with 11 business parks employing 95,000 people, we are promoting Dubai to the world.”