Industry snapshot: A constant in a sea of change, by Cicero & Bernay’s Ahmad Itani

Founder & CEO of Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy, Ahmad Itani

Change is a fundamental attribute that is at the heart of all progress and without which new knowledge cannot be attained. Where many other fields have had to transform over the years to maintain relevance, public relations, representing the timeless asset that it is, has remained relatively unchanged; it just adapted to contemporary communication mediums. PR practitioners have, in turn, expanded the industry’s offerings with skill sets, such as technology by way of AI, and holistic services, including creative concepts and strategies that best connect with stakeholders.

Are you saying the right thing to the right people in the right place? Join us at the next Campaign Online Briefing: Cross-Platform Marketing – How to do It Right. Our experts will help you put together a content strategy that works across all the right media.


However, a complete shift in the media landscape brought forth by the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital innovations and processes. Consumption of online information and the meteoric rise of digital footprints and e-commerce activities made certain that tools and platforms changed to digital-centric methods almost overnight – especially as more consumers are searching for information and sharing opinions online than ever before – and the next integral development that has taken precedence from an industry-wide perspective is human connection.

Placing people at the heart of campaigns is, of course, not new, but where they were mere customers we communicated with, they are now keystones whose happiness is the primary metric. In PR, new-age, advanced machinations now rule the day and help articulate and manifest the purpose of each campaign or strategy towards that end as an extension of their values. Agencies and their clients, therefore, are no longer operating in tandem or in concurrence; we are now in the age of intertwined efforts where the success of one leads to the growth of the other.

Progress, however, across all fields is not easily achieved in an ecosystem that does not support growth and innovation. We can speak of global PR as a subject of discourse, but our collective regional experience presents adequate relevance to postulate and project about the industry. Being among the first nations to recover from the pandemic and the fastest to re-energise their respective economies, the UAE and KSA present an ideal platform for advancement. Businesses here are granted a breeding ground for innovation through stalwart vision and leadership, bringing about heightened confidence in the region to embrace and adapt to changes on the path towards the future.