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What brands should consider when thinking of a regional outreach campaign for their brand

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Before embarking on a PR campaign in a new market, it is important for brands to clearly understand the country’s media landscape and market dynamics. This understanding will help brands harness its potential, for example, through pitching stories into the media, or whether a marketing budget may be needed to boost campaigns or even just to understand what sort of news is interesting and relevant to reporters in a particular market. This exercise becomes even more critical if you are a global brand entering the Middle East market and as such, it is better to outsource this to your PR partner who can then help you with a complete analysis and report of the market.

Here are some considerations brands need to take into account when planning media outreach in new markets:

News: The basis of any good PR campaign is the news or story being told. Brands, therefore, need to make sure they have strong news which is likely to be of interest to the local media. The news should be something which will make an impact on the local community. It would ideal if it supported government initiatives in some way. Your trusted PR partner will be able to advise on the most powerful angle for your campaign, help define key messages and localize content to make it more relevant.

Understand local geographies: All Arab countries cannot be painted in the same colour, despite sharing a common language. Each country has its own culture and national agenda, which in turn influences the media landscape. For example, reporters in Kuwait favour market insights and in-depth thought leadership stories over community-based stories. On the other hand, community-based stories are sought-after in Jordan. This holds true for the UAE and KSA as well, where human development and female empowerment are themes being supported by the national agenda. Understanding these differences is key to the success of your campaign.

Defining the right contacts: Different reporters cover different beats. For a campaign to be successful, one must find the right media contacts to tell the story in the right way. It is best to engage a locally based PR agency that has a strong network of contacts, understands the market well and can provide the right advice to ensure your message reaches the right audience.

Local language nuances: Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. The population of the Arab world is around 369.8 million people, with a geographical area stretching from Morocco to Dubai. With such a large space to cover, it’s no wonder that this language has so many different and important dialects. Being aware of the nuances of the local dialect is an added advantage while dealing with media and helps you form stronger relationships. For example, Egyptian Arabic is a blend of the Coptic language (the native language in Egypt prior to the Arab Conquest) and Classical Arabic. Maghrebi Arabic, which is spoken in many parts of Africa such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Western Sahara, and Mauritania is heavily influenced by French, so brands undertaking press outreach in these areas will require materials to be translated into French as well as Arabic for maximum success.

The Middle East is a diverse and culturally rich geography and one which is developing very fast across all areas. At Sherpa, our team understands the market dynamics and has strong networks across the region. If you are a brand that is planning to enter this region and want to reach out to the media here, drop us a line on [email protected] so we can advise you on the best steps for an effective campaign.

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