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How much business is too much business for a boutique agency?

By Stanislava Burianek on February 17, 2019

Did you ever feel too overwhelmed with new business enquiries? Never! New business is great for both small and big agencies.  The first quarter of the year, and especially January, are busy periods for any agency as clients come back from long winter holidays and business starts burgeoning again. New projects, industry events, new fiscal year starts and more always seem to kick off around this time.

This month especially, we received a lot of inquiries from various industries, spanning from technology, fitness, defense, healthcare sectors, and even startups. More new business is always good news for agencies of all sizes. But what is more important for a boutique agency is maintaining that new business streak to continue to stabilize cash flow. This can only be achieved with a strong business development strategy and recurring projects from existing and new clients.

It is not always easy to keep new business coming in and some seasons are quieter than others, but here are a few helpful strategies to help you stay afloat.

Industry events are great for new business fishing, but you never go fishing with your bare hands. Instead, you come prepared. You need to ensure you are armed and ready to excel at your new business game with every event you attend. That means identifying your new business targets ahead of time, learn more about people you want to speak to (thank God for LinkedIn) and, if any of them are speaking at the event or are part of a panel discussion, attend and listen. There is no better conversation opener than your own feedback on something your prospect is into on an expert level.

Even if you don’t close your deal right there and then, there is no such thing as a failed business pitch or proposal. If you stay in touch and maintain your relationships with the business you are after, there is a chance your roads will cross. Yes, even at Active, we have lost business pitches in the past or submitted proposals that got buried for months – sometimes quarters! – with no resolutions or feedback. As we stayed in touched over time, our prospects eventually realized they had chosen the wrong agency or finally received budget approvals and got in touch with us again.

Stay creative and you can always work out a solution or proposition that will spark your existing client’s or prospect’s interest. It is important to continuously come up with ideas that will serve as a solution to their current struggles and can deliver a measurable return on investment (ROI). If your idea is strong and timely, budget allocations will surely follow.

Stay social and watch the space when trying to keep in touch with your existing retainer or project clients as well as prospects. Show interest in their social media activities, engage with decision makers, share, like and leave meaningful comments. This will help you not to be “out of the blue” person. When the right time comes and you decide to start a conversation, they will know you as that engaged and interested in their business person on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Last but not least, always be a consultant! Never allow your desire to up sale a service or a product to ruin your long-term relations. If even support or project is not right for your client, say it and earn their trust and respect as a consultant. It is never good for your business to overpromise and underdeliver no matter how tempting project fees may look. Happy hunting!

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The importance of social media in marketing.

By Aishlinn Bracken on January 30, 2019

The time we spend on social media is increasing and that’s good news for businesses! The UAE is home to 9.4m people of which 9.3m is active on social media. That’s a whopping 99.2% of the population, according to the Global Media Insight. The most used platforms in the region are Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The increase in use of these platforms is mainly due to the growing internet connection accessibility and availability of public WiFi hotspots. We conform to our social groups and interact on social media platforms. Everything we do daily is done online from connecting with friends, ordering lunch, Instagramming, checking out what our favorite influencers are talking about.

If we need any information, we instantly search for it online. Whether it’s booking a holiday, checking out the latest iPhone release or looking for the new trendy bar in town, Instagram or Facebook will immediately help us make our decision. Whether its through an influencer or the company’s website, we will base our decision on the information we gather online. Luckily, we live in a world where all this information is easily accessible and with the advancement of technology, we find what we are looking for in seconds. It’s instant, reliable and can be accessed easily – which is an advantage considering our busy lifestyles.

The internet is transforming the way businesses market their products and solutions. As the stats from Global Media Insight show, 99.2% of the UAE is active online. So, it’s with no surprise that the time we spend online increases every year. Our world is becoming digitalized and consumers are inclined to adapt to this. Therefore, brands should be intelligent about how they can effectively market their products on social media platforms. Today, online marketing has a huge impact on achieving business goals.

We are constantly bombarded with pop up ads, sponsored post and influencer content which have strong purchasing power on their audience.

An example of a brand that developed in the region through aggressive online presence is Huda Beauty. Huda Kattan was listed as one of the richest, self-made women and one of the top three beauty influencers by Forbes. She is a prime example of someone who built her brand and became so successful by proving her presence and delivering creative content on social media platforms. Through these platforms she was able to provide instant reviews, receive immediate feedback and constantly adapt her content.

Today, our online presence plays a major role in our life.  It’s how we connect, how we find entertainment and research about our next adventure – whether it’s a holiday, new job or the perfect PR agency (Active DMC), there is a social platform that will give us the information we need.

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العلاقات العامة والتسويق المتكامل وجهان لعملة واحدة

By Yasser Zeriz on January 9, 2019

لطالما عملت شركات القطاع الخاص والعام على الاستفادة من وظائف العلاقات العامة لبناء صورة إيجابية عنها، مستهدفة بذلك جمهورها الداخلي أو الخارجي. ولكن من الضروري التركيز على أن دور العلاقات العامة في منظورها الاستراتيجي هو صياغة أو إعادة صياغة وتسويق صورة الواقع الاجتماعي كما يرونه الخبراء في قطاع العلاقات العامة.  ولذلك أطلق على تنفيذي العلاقات العامة بأنهم “صناع الصورة”. على سبيل المثال في حال حصول أزمة لأي شركة، فإن أول عمل تؤديه العلاقات العامة هو إما توضيح الصورة أو طرح حلول جديدة مستهدفة إدارة الأزمة واحتوائها بالصورة الأمثل.

لقد تطورت العلاقات العامة في العالم العربي على غرار مثيلتها في العالم الغربي، وأصبحت تعمل باستقلالية بعيداً عن التقليد الأعمى لحملات العلاقات العامة في أوروبا وأمريكا. لقد أصبحنا نرى حملات محلية مبتكرة من صميم المنطقة، فضلاً عن تطويرها من مفهوم العلاقات العامة التقليدي إلى مفهوم العلاقات العامة المتكامل، أو ما نطلق عليه حديثاً التسويق المتكامل.

كان منهج العلاقات العامة التقليدي يعتمد على توضيح ورسم الصورة من خلال بوابات وسائل الإعلام المرئية والمسموعة والمقروءة فقط، ولكن مع الثورة التكنولوجية الهائلة خلال العقد الحالي، برزت الحاجة إلى مفهوم علاقات عامة جديد يواكب التطور الذي طرأ على قطاعات أخرى، ليستطيع تلبية المتطلبات الأخيرة كسهولة الوصول، وإمكانية الوصول في أي مكان وزمان، فضلاً عن تلبية رغبات الجمهور بالطريقة التي يفضلونها.

من هنا جاء مفهوم العلاقات العامة المتكامل (التسويق المتكامل) لتلبية هذه المتطلبات، فأصبح يعتمد على التقنيات والمنصات الحديثة كوسائل التواصل الاجتماعي، وتطوير محتوى مرئي ورسوم بيانية (انفوغرافيك) وفيديوهات تدغدغ وتلامس مشاعر الجمهور المستهدف، ناهيك عن الاستفادة وتسخير وسائل الإعلام التقليدي بما يتماشى مع هذا المفهوم الجديد.

في الختام العلاقات العامة والتسويق المتكامل هما وجهان لعملة واحدة، ويهدفان في جوهرهما إلى صياغة أو إعادة صياغة الواقع الاجتماعي بصورة جديدة، إلا أن التسويق المتكامل هو العصر الجديد من العلاقات العامة.

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What my first month at Active DMC has taught me

By Komal Mishra on December 19, 2018

Only a few short months ago, I decided to make a monumental change in my life – to relocate from India to Dubai. The moment I entered Active DMC for my first interview, I immediately felt at home. I knew this is where I was meant to be.

I still remember it was 5 pm on the evening of my 10th day in the country. I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed thinking ‘why is everyone getting married?’ (What do you expect from a millennial?!) Suddenly, I get an email notification with the subject line: Congrats! Active Offer Letter. I can’t explain the number of emotions I experienced in a span of a few seconds.

I can’t believe it, but it’s been a month now. Working here has been a roller coaster ride filled with so many big wins and lots of guidance from the whole Active DMC team.

Here are some highlights from my first month at Active DMC:

  1. We are consultants, not postmen

Yes! You read it right.  Right from the management to a junior executive, everyone is encouraged to share their perspective on the smallest of the things. When a client email hits my inbox, I’ve learned to ask myself – is this going to add any value to the brand? Does this align with my client’s business goals? Can we do something out of the box to leverage it? After answering all these questions, I put my thoughts forward to the client with confidence and recommend them whether the proposed activity or a plan makes sense.

  1. Active DMC values work-life balance

I have been always very fond of this famous saying ‘You can’t do a good job if a job is all you do.’ However, I was never able to follow it because, in the communications profession, I’ve always been expected to be on my toes 24/7.

I went head over heels when I heard my boss saying, ‘We believe in work-life balance! We prefer our team to work incredibly smart and hard during the day, so you can enjoy your time in the evenings.’ In my three-year PR journey, believe me, I haven’t heard anyone using this phrase. While the team here is working hard every day to meet their objectives and consulting clients, the management ensures every employee (including themselves) have a life beyond work. I note down all my daily tasks every morning, plan my day and close my high priority tasks first.  Since my day is so well planned, I complete my tasks with focus and peace of mind. In the end, my boss is happy, the client is happy and more importantly, I am gratified.

  1. PR is not only about media relations

The fact that we don’t just excel at media relations but also offer a bouquet of different and ground-breaking communication solutions to our clients is just amazing! We believe in giving a creative touch to everything we do. Videos, infographics, social media management, just name it and we have it all!

It’s only been one month, but here’s to many more! I can’t wait to see what is in store.

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Three reasons why podcasting is a game-changer

By Mai Elsayed on December 9, 2018

If you have been in the media industry for a while, you would probably agree that digital media is slowly but steadily becoming big business in the Middle East. This could be because there is a high rate of social media and smart phone penetration in the region.  According to Strategy&, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are amongst the top nations driving such adoptions due to their digitally savvy population. A study by Northwestern University concluded that two-thirds of Middle Eastern participants said they get news from social media every day. That said, it is no surprise that podcasts are the Middle East’s new favorite media outlet. There are more than 550,000 accounts and over 18.5 million episodes in more than 100 languages on Apple Podcasts alone! But can you guess what makes podcasting so special?

  1. Podcasts fit perfectly into people’s schedule

Marketers acknowledged the value of the daytime market since 1930 when soap operas were first launched in Chicago. In case you don’t know about the history of soap operas, housewives who send their husbands to work and children to school were considered a fruitful untackled market. Marketers knew that housewives were looking for something to entertain their ears while they were doing the housework.

Today, housewives, entrepreneurs, business men and women listen to podcast to entertain their mind as they work on routine tasks such as driving, cooking dinner or even while finishing operational tasks in their office. Podcasts are now a rich and quick source of information that users can comfortably fit within their schedule. Since the content is consistently available on podcasting platforms such as Anchor, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud, users can download and listen at any time of the day.

  1. Binge consumption is very common

It is no secret that digital content, including podcasts, is time-shifted media. This means that the track is recorded and stored on the platform for users to listen to at the comfort of their time. In fact, podcast creators are experiencing the same consumption rate that video producers on platforms like YouTube are facing. Serial media gets users inclined to binge on the episodes especially when the content follows a story telling format and engages the audience members.

  1. Build a relationship with your audience

Podcasting creates an excellent opportunity for a brand to build its credibility by developing a connection with the audience and nurturing it. Podcasts and radio broadcasting are similar in the sense that audience members get familiar with the hosts’ voices. In fact, users can easily maintain their audience’s loyalty with the continued production of quality, engaging content. Additionally, podcasting is similar to social media as it allows two-way communication. It is no longer about the hosts sharing their ideas. Instead, podcasting platforms allow listeners to engage with the audio content by commenting on it and sharing tracks with their friends.

In conclusion, podcasts are one of the digital drivers in the media industry and every marketer should be aware of the potential that this new medium has and the opportunities it could bring about. This is why we leveraged Gitex 2018 Technology Week to launch our own podcast series titled “The Technologists”. In ‘The Technologists’, we discuss the latest technology trends, market demands, predictions and so much more. If you still haven’t listened to our podcast series, be sure to check them out by clicking this link.

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