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PR conferences – are they worth the bother?

Posted on July 28, 2013 by Louay Al-Samarrai

In the past month I have been privileged to attend to partner PR conferences – both in Europe and both requiring travel, expense and a great deal of juggling between the day to day at Active PR and the focus that these events require not to mention the preparation required for each one!

Is it worth it I hear you ask? What benefits do these bring you rightly say? Well in a sentence – Yes they are and the benefits are both immediate and long term.

Let me explain.

We as marketing professionals preach visibility, top of mind awareness and perception and we tell our Clients that this is what we can deliver for them amongst other things and – at Active PR at least – we do! But what about ourselves? How do we market ourselves?

One way is to attend these events and forge new relationships, counter or enforce any perceptions our European and US partners may have of us collectively or individually and message that we are a professional, reliable and responsive partner for them in a region not renowned for these elements when it comes to our profession or all of those that practice it!

To actively participate and to be “high profile” is beneficial to the Agency. To take every opportunity to engage and input and represent the caliber of the team we have is an investment in the continuing growth of Active PR and must be seen this way by the representatives attending – in this case me!

In addition it’s also about listening and learning whether this be about social media and the latest stats and innovations or about measurement of PR and where this is at and the various approaches and arguments around this or it is about the latest work processes or profiling the latest generation of individuals joining PR around the world. All of this is extremely useful if not to think about implementing or reproducing in our Agency, then to reinforce that we are doing the right things to grow the business and to nurture the people that stay loyal to it.

The most recent example – Hotwire Boot Camp in London – was very useful, very relevant and very effective in dealing with various aspects of the profession we are in, looking at the challenges we all face now and in the future and how to deal with these.


What is also delivers is new business, new contacts and new opportunities to generate revenue and that is what pays the rent, pays the salaries and grows the Agency to provide new talent opportunities, take us into new areas both with new as well as existing Clients and challenge us. Afetr all it’s the challenges that keep us engaged, interested and excited.

That brings me back to why we attend these events they keep us engaged, interesting and attractive to Clients, the media and the people we interact with!

I look forward to more!

bootcamp 2

Exploring PR in the Middle East

Posted on July 9, 2013 by Active

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!

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Digital · Marketing · Communications