Middle East Power Book 2021

The definitive guide to the brightest and most influential PR professionals in Middle East.

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Elizabeth Sen

Elizabeth Sen

Chief client officer, MENA

APCO Worldwide

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What is your single biggest learning, professionally, from the past 12 months?

People are our only irreplaceable, intangible assets.

From 1 (low) to 5 (high), how optimistic are you about the growth of PR and marketing in the Middle East over the next five years – and why?

5. Governmental ambition, tenacity and investments will continue to drive our industry and growth.

What is the single biggest threat to the PR industry and brands in the Middle East over the next five years – and why?

A tendency to place blind faith in global trends and buzzwords, without investing adequately in regional research or intelligence.

From 1-5, how well do you think comms agencies in the region are addressing current digital trends? Please explain.

4. Comms agencies have stepped up to diversify their offering swiftly. In the next three years this will also reach a stage of maturity. If they are able to preserve their own strengths and nurture digitally able talent, they will be unstoppable.

Which areas of comms have become more influential within organisations over the past 12 months – and why?

Internal communications, because there is a growing acknowledgement of the fact that talent retention, performance and innovation needs motivated workforces and a leadership team that has a very clear North Star.

Which single channel has become significantly MORE powerful for organisations/brands over the past 12 months – and why?

This isn't 'one size fits all'. However, the growing focus on 'storytelling' makes a great case for an integrated approach.

Which single channel has become significantly LESS powerful for organisations/brands over the past 12 months – and why?

Paid media – brands have deliberately cut spends on paid/performance media and seen no negative impact on consumer behaviour or spends. The approach needs to be embedded in the broader strategy and with specific impact, for this channel to be effective.

Which organisation has had the worst 12 months in terms of reputation?

The Trump administration, for obvious reasons.

And which one has had the best year in terms of building brand trust and reputation? (Not your own organisation.)

I admire Netflix – it's a great story; and I like its active engagement on ESG now.

Name one way in which your experience of the past 12 months has changed you?

I have a deeper appreciation for the urgent need for empathetic communicators to carve out a bigger role in political communications.