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What are the three main needs of PR?

Jummar PR's Ibrahim Almutawa shares the challenges and changes in the PR industry

What are the biggest challenges facing the PR industry?

The industry is facing three main challenges, of which the foremost is the shortage of competencies, given that they are in high demand, especially in the Gulf region. Building confidence is another challenge.

Amid the mounting wave of fake news and misinformation sweeping today’s world, navigating safely in such turbulent water becomes indispensable to staying trustworthy.

Another big challenge is constantly confusing PR with digital marketing on social media. It’s common to confuse them, even though the two have significant differences.

What major changes have you observed in the industry in the MENA region over the past few years?

We can see growing global interest in the region and its countries, which are undoubtedly taking great political and economic leaps, with major social and cultural changes taking place.

There has been a high demand for effective PR services that can keep up with these changes. And that demand has granted local businesses ample opportunity.

The Middle East is home to diverse communities that greatly appreciate having their values and heritage respected. They also want to be addressed in a language they understand, which helps them focus on fulfilling their interests.

This can pose a substantial challenge to international PR companies in the Middle East. Local PR companies have an advantage here, thanks to their understanding and knowledge of the communities they belong to.

Strong and sustainable relations with media outlets are crucial for our work. Local PR companies have another advantage over their foreign counterparts in this area.

Over the years, these local companies managed to build strong relations with local, regional, and international media outlets in a way that enables them to develop well-crafted media material to highlight the strengths, accomplishments and opportunities of the companies they represent.

You have highlighted the importance of local PR companies, but what do you do when a client requests international reach?

We are living in a world where interests are really complex. For instance, many Saudi companies need international services in European, Asian, and African capitals.

To fulfill that need, Jummar joined the Public Relations Organization International (PROI), the largest network for independent PR agencies worldwide.

As a PROI member, we can reach over 165 cities worldwide through over 90 PR agencies, bolstering our international presence – an experience that has proven helpful for us and our clients.

Will AI affect the PR industry?

The human element will always be essential for providing PR services. There are values that a machine can’t offer, such as creativity, sensitivity, and ethics.

But data analysis, for example, has become largely reliant on AI because it can efficiently determine patterns and trends, and this helps PR companies manage their clients and get their messages delivered to the right audience.

We are convinced that AI will play a major role in the future of PR.

Ibrahim Almutawa, Managing Partner at Jummar PR