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The Importance of Networking- Creating an Edge

By Aishlinn Bracken on May 20, 2019

In the media industry, one of the most important elements of our job is to network – get out and meet people. Whether it’s at an event or drinks after work, we must make ourselves known in the industry. Here in Media City, we believe in exercising this during our lunch hour, as we are in the center of all thing’s media. Networking doesn’t have to be a formal event, we can have a little fun and head to the local with coworkers or clients for a catch-up. Building relationships becomes more significant when it comes to building leads and befriending key journalists.

We put it to the test! My colleague Stanislava and I one day came to the realization that we both love a game of pool, it all kicked off from there. The next day we were on our way to the Radisson Blu, ordered two diet cokes and five tokens for pool. The lounge was buzzing at peak lunch hour time with journalist, radio presenters, marketers and business owners in the industry. A couple of days passed, and we started to make friends and hence expand our network with a key journalist in our industry. Networking doesn’t have to be a chore and can provide value in many ways, having more resources at our fingertips is helpful when hitting deadlines and sourcing features.

It’s not about what you know, but who you know! We all have a desire to continue learning and the more people we know the more useful it becomes as we can share knowledge, advice, gain a different perspective and develop relationships.

Aside from this being an amazing networking opportunity, we also felt it increased our productivity and creativity when we returned to the office. We had a clear mind, focused and ready to get back and finish the day with a bang. Sitting in an office all day can play on your mind and body. It’s important to get out for fresh air to leave the screen and switch off. In the end, this benefits your productivity and allows you to expand your network

Active DMC strongly believes in having a healthy  work-life balance. Our directors and managers constantly emphasize the importance of switching off and using our time efficiently when in the office.

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Pitch Perfect, People!

By Active on May 14, 2019

By Umme Qizra Aleem

Pitching to journalists is not a layman’s task. You might think that pitching is a normal task but, it is tough. In my experience, working in public relations has become harder than ever before. The media landscape has changed over the years and the role of journalists has drastically evolved, especially in the B2B sector. With magazines and newspapers driven to maintain their hold in the reader’s community, they have diversified and fragmented their content, targeted at niche audiences of specific sectors.

The idea of communications remains the same but what’s different is the way it’s communicated. I didn’t belong to the generation that faxed out media announcements and press releases, but I did work with them. Digitally, we have transformed by moving on from faxing out releases to sending them by email. It is always easy to hit the send button and wait for the journalist to respond magically to your pitch, but we are in a business where conversation matters, and we must put in the effort to convert a pitch into a story.

With the change in the journalism landscape comes the change in how we – the PR pros – communicate with them.

I am not belittling email as a meagre way of sending a story of a release, it is an incredible and an effortless means to share information to a larger group of journalists. But, I must flag this because most of the PR pros assume that email is the best way to communicate. If you ask me how a strong pitch works, I will always advise you to pick up that phone and speak to the journalist. This is how you either make or break your story.

Journalists receive thousands of emails from PR pros, especially if they are from the B2B sector. You may send a fantastic pitch and more often than not, it could miss the journalist’s eye. Do not assume that the journalist will read your mail and call you back. It doesn’t work like that. Make your pitch stand out by calling the journalist and giving them your pitch verbally. The majority of journalists will take your call, but they won’t have excess time on their hands, so you need to be ready with your crisp pitch and in not more than two sentences.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they even give you feedback if you ask them smartly. You must know this tactic to ‘ask without asking’. Phrase your winning sentence smartly, make them believe that your idea is newsworthy and that you are all in to give them more insights to make the story not just reader friendly but authentic as well.

There is more to your pitch than you think, and you must go beyond just calling and emailing them. Stop hiding behind your screen and go meet the journalists. It is always a good idea to ask the journalist out for lunch or just a cup of coffee. This will give you an opportunity to give a face to the name that usually pops up in their mailbox. As a PR practitioner, this will also help you understand the media’s mindset and will give you a clearer picture of the kind of stories they are interested in.

To be successful, B2B PR professionals must have clear and strategic conversations with journalists, especially when dealing with specialized publications that focus on specific stories.

So, get off that chair, go out and meet the journalist to have a real conversation with them!

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الاحترافية والثقافة في التواصل والاستشارات

By Yasser Zeriz on April 29, 2019

بقلم ياسر الزرز – مسؤول تسويق أول في شركة آكتيف للتسويق والتواصل الرقمي.

تبيّن لي من خلال عملي في بيئة متعددة الجنسيات والثقافات، وعلى وجه الخصوص عند تقديم عمليات التواصل والاستشارات لعملاء من وراء البحار، أن هناك فجوة كبيرة في تعريف مفهوم الاحترافية في المنطقة. فمن وجهة نظري يمكن تعريف الاحترافية بأن يؤدي الإنسان التزاماته تجاه عدة أطراف وليس فقط استيفاء الحد الأدنى الموكل إليه من أعمال، ضمن قواعد وأطر وضوابط واضحة ومتعارف عليها. ولكن وعلى الرغم من أننا الآن ننظر إلى أن الدول الغربية على أنها مصدر الحضارة والتقدم والاحترافية، إلا أن التقليد الأعمى لا يؤدي إلى النتائج المرجوة في كثير من الأحيان.

أرى واسمع في يومياً أن (كذا وكذا) غير احترافي، و(هذا وذلك) غير مهني، ولا يندرج ضمن القواعد والأطر المتعارف عليها وإن هناك نقص في مفهوم الاحترافية في العالم العربي. إن ذلك صحيح وخاطئ في ذات الوقت. هناك نقص كبير ولكن ليس بالاحترافية بل بنقص الوعي حول الثقافة. فما يكون احترافياً في أوروبا ليس بالضرورة أن يكون احترافياً هنا والعكس صحيح.

على سبيل المثال، تقول صحيفة “ديلي ميل” أن أغلب الدول الغربية عادة ما تنظر للبقشيش باعتباره أمراً متوقعاً، في حين أن البقشيش في الولايات المتحدة هو أمر لا مفر منه ويدل على احترافية العميل، وترفض أغلب دول شرق آسيا وعلى رأسها اليابان وتعتبره إهانة بالغة. ينطبق هذا المثال تماماً في مجال التواصل والاستشارات، فالمنهجية والطريقة التي يتعامل بها الأوربيين على سبيل المثال تختلف عن المنهجية والطريقة في العالم العربي. وما هو مقبول في تلك المنطقة لا يعني أنه يجب أن يكون مقبولاً في منطقة أخرى.

يجب على العاملين في أي قطاع بمن فيهم قطاع التواصل والاستشارات، عوضاً عن المقارنة بين الحضارات العربية والغربية والسعي نحو التقليد الأعمى لما يرونه احترافياً، توضيح ونشر الوعي وتثقيف العملاء حول جوهر الاختلافات لأن ذلك ما يضيف قيمة لأعمالهم التي يستهدفونها في المنطقة العربية.

 

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PR Faces to Watch by Campaign Middle East Magazine

By Mai Elsayed on April 24, 2019

Summary of career path

Magazine writing has always been my favorite past time activity since I graduated from the American University of Sharjah in 2015. Before I joined Active DMC , for two years I contributed to key lifestyle and health media outlets as I enjoy researching and drafting opinion pieces about psychology. I also run a full-time mental health blog.

What rules/principles do you try to follow at work, that you would pass on to someone coming into the industry? And who did you learn them from? 

Rules I follow in the workplace:

  • Staying positive and having a ‘can-do’ attitude truly makes a difference in the work that one delivers.
  • Making mistakes and knowing how to fix them is always better than remaining stuck and not learning a new skill.
  • Believing that you are capable of achieving anything is the first step to adding value to any task you work on.

Who did I learn from?

Stanislava Burianek, Lauren Brush and Sawsan Ghanem – all these three women at Active DMC showed me the true meaning of what a woman is capable of when she empowers herself. They all practically taught me that a woman can be an achiever and excel in all the different areas of life.

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A Happy team at Active DMC

By Mechelle Manuel on March 20, 2019

What does happiness mean to you? What makes you happy?

Sawsan Ghanem

Happiness is my family and, close friends I can confide in and be myself around. It is being successful, having a sense of achievement and purpose every day. It is an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. What makes me happy is seeing my kids & hubby happy, having health and inner peace, being close to my friends who get me. Having a damn good cup of coffee, a good book and walking the streets of London also make me happy.

 

Louay Al-Sammarrai

What makes me happy? Simple – My kids and Sawsan! and……walking into this office and experiencing this team!

 

Stanislava Burianek

Having positive and energetic team around me makes me happy! When my family is healthy and happy, I am happy! I am going to Madrid next week, so I am very happy!

 

Lauren Brush

Happiness to me means having a calm heart and calm mind – and being surrounded by the ones you love! Staying active – especially with others – makes me the happiest! 😊

 

Umme Qizra

Happiness is to know that there is always someone to look out for you and I’m happy to have found that secure feeling at Active. Happiness is spending time my nieces and nephews. Happiness is to know that my family supports my decisions and has my back no matter what.

If you really want to be happy, don’t wait for someone to bring it to you on a silver plate. Look inside, and you will find happiness within you.

PS: FOOD makes me happy too 😛

 

Mai Elsayed

In my opinion, happiness is a state of mind and a lifestyle. True happiness is being able to focus on the present and enjoy every bit of it. It truly makes me happy when I am doing my ballet exercises or surrounded by my crystals, tarot cards and Palo Santo. I find happiness in the little things in life like the first sip of coffee in the early morning and a good psychology read.

 

Aishlinn Bracken

What makes me happy? The fact that I have amazing friends, family and colleagues around me every day, who always make sure to put a smile on my face. And of course, a good cup of tea and copious amounts of chocolate.

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