How global PR firm mergers could be a boon for local agencies

Merging global PR firms creates challenges for those firms and deepens the concerns of local clients and employees due to the uncertainty over the future and difficult decisions that usually accompany mergers, writes Jummar PR’s Ibrahim Almutawa

However, this unleashes opportunities for local agencies to grow across markets.

Merging pains

Mergers in the communications consulting sector are fraught with many risks, notably the conflict of interest among the portfolios of each party’s clients.

Additionally, some clients may miss the level of care they used to get from their ex-PR agencies before merging into a new larger entity.

The uncertainty of merging could harm employee retention, causing talent loss and layoff concerns due to the lack of clarity on the new entities’ strategies.

This can push talent to move to other agencies, taking their clients with them.

One of the most significant hurdles in mergers is the integration of different work cultures.

This process is not just about merging two entities but about creating a new, unified culture that reflects the best of both.

The unified culture should serve as a guiding light for the new entity, inspiring the teams in all aspects of their work.

Rise of the local and independent

On the other hand, Saudi Vision 2030 has opened great horizons for different sectors.

These sectors have started to develop their business outlook and realise the importance of communications and public relations in branding and delivering their messages at the local, regional and global levels, supporting the steady growth of the PR market in KSA 

The business players actively involved in the region nowadays are mostly local.

They need PR agents who understand local culture and values and are good at delivering communication messages in an original and authenticated tone, away from copying imported experiences and concepts and trying to customise it to look as much local as possible.

Each society has its own values and language for communication and discourse, and therefore, what is acceptable in one society may be reprehensible or rejected in another.

All these factors open up new opportunities for local PR agencies to enhance their presence and market share, but the main factor is still the ability of these agencies to think globally and act locally in providing consulting services that reflect local values and cultures and achieve communications objectives of clients, as business atmosphere in the regional markets, notably the Saudi one, has become very competitive, in light of the increasing numbers of local companies, and the efforts of global companies to consolidate their presence, whether by setting up regional headquarters or merging with regional top players.

By Ibrahim Almutawa, Co-founder and Managing Director, Jummar PR.