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PR Industry Snapshot with Plus 1 Communications’ Anna Hope

Anna Hope, Managing Director Middle East, Plus 1 Communications

HOW HAS COVID-19 CHANGED YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS?
Our relationships have strengthened as we’ve helped our clients navigate through the continuous changes of the past few months, and advised heavily on how best to communicate during the pandemic. Our digital strengths have also allowed us to work differently and support our clients with their multiple needs.

The key for us is to work with clients who truly understand the value of communication. We’ve all seen a number of brands that have thrived during the pandemic and have done so through innovative communication campaigns and collaborations. When a crisis hits, it’s really not a time to stop communicating; it’s a time to change your message and reassure your customer base.

HOW HAS COVID-19 CHANGED THE WAY YOUR AGENCY OPERATES?
Having international offices, has always meant we have been digitally connected, so the UK, Dubai and Mumbai team were all able to adapt quickly to remote working. Moving all our client meetings online was a big change, and I’m sure it is something that we will continue with. We’re also thankful to have such a diverse portfolio, and will continue to expand this.

As communicators, we don’t really need much in terms of a physical office (although we’ve just opened a third office opposite Windsor Castle in the UK) ,just a laptop, phone, a contact list and off we go. We really can work from anywhere as long as the team is connected and coordinated, and as a team that has worked together for many years, we understand our strengths and weaknesses and can easily support each other.

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC CHANGED YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MEDIA?
We’ve witnessed the further decline in media titles, and noticed that editorial teams have shrunk, so there has certainly been an added pressure to find editorial space. We noticed the introduction of paywalls, and pay-per-press-release, but, having worked in this industry for 20 years, I truly believe that if you have a strong news story and you pitch it to the right media outlet then it will be published.

News doesn’t stop. If the story isn’t strong enough, then you have go back to the drawing board. The pandemic has certainly sped up the digital transformation of businesses, and as a result we’ve noticed an increase in digital campaigns for our clients. The key for all campaigns, though, is communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time via the right medium. Media will always be part of our communications strategy, but we’ve learnt to adapt and ensure we use the best channels to get the best results.

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