‘It’s not that hard to keep up with the big agen­cies and be suc­cess­ful’

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

Hanadi Dagher, Man­ag­ing Part­ner of M.H.D for Public Re­la­tions, elab­o­rates on the agency’s edge and the team’s strength amid the grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the PR sec­tor. While dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion has in­tro­duced chal­lenges into many busi­ness mod­els, Dagher sees bound­less op­por­tu­nity ahead for PR firms and has com­plete con­fi­dence about her agency and PR as a prac­tice.

clients are still adamant to be fea­tured in tra­di­tional media, and have a hard time un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of con­tent PR (video sto­ry­telling) and in­flu­encers.

What are you fo­cus­ing on to stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion? And where does your strength lie?

As PR agen­cies, I believe that the wave we have to ride is the one that sweeps the clients’ au­di­ence. So to stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion, we do our best to iden­tify the right au­di­ence for our clients, and then fo­cus on tar­get­ing it us­ing the most ef­fi­cient means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Our forte also lies in the work we do af­ter reach­ing out to the au­di­ence, in other words eval­u­at­ing and re­port­ing on the au­di­ence’s en­gage­ment (whether online or off­line). In­deed, we cater our re­port­ing in a way that al­lows our client to un­der­stand whether or not their mes­sage was cor­rectly con­veyed, and if not what were the prob­lems that pre­vented it from reach­ing the au­di­ence. We also of­fer cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tion, since rep­u­ta­tion has be­come so crit­i­cal nowa­days and clients rarely know how to han­dle com­mu­ni­ca­tion dur­ing a cri­sis.

What has been your agency’s big­gest projects in 2017/2018?

In 2017, we had many big and suc­cess­ful projects, in­clud­ing the Real Es­tate Fo­rum, Christ­mas In Ac­tion, Oil and Gas Fo­rum, Retro­ville, City Pic­nic,

Fes­ti­val of Colours, Black Fri­day Mar­ket, Fat­tal, Clas­sic Car Show 2017, Beirut In­ter­na­tional Jazz Day, Sadeem (The Arab world’s big­gest dig­i­tal com­pe­ti­tion), to name a few.

What are the trends that will char­ac­ter­ize the PR industry in the up­com­ing year and go­ing for­ward?

There are three main trends that are start­ing to shape the fu­ture of Public Re­la­tions in the Le­banese mar­ket. The first is ob­vi­ously the shift to­wards sto­ry­telling (whether online or off­line), and this is some­thing we have ex­pe­ri­enced through the grow­ing de­mand by clients to de­velop their dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion on so­cial media, es­pe­cially through pow­er­ful video con­tent. The sec­ond is the grow­ing em­pha­sis on mi­cro-in­flu­encers and blog­gers; the lat­ter have be­come part of an ef­fi­cient mar­ket­ing strat­egy given the fact that us­ing the right third party voice to pro­mote a client’s par­tic­u­lar mes­sage can be a pow­er­ful way to reach au­di­ences. The third trend is the grow­ing re­liance on spe­cialty PR agen­cies, a ref­er­ence to firms that spe­cial­ize in spe­cific as­pects of public re­la­tions (event launch, rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment, thought lead­er­ship, etc.) or even spe­cific top­ics (busi­ness, entertainm­ent, arts, etc.).

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