Pandemics; crises; all things digital, and finally a return to physical. No one can accuse the communications industry of being boring. Especially in the Middle East, where the function has had to rapidly mature to be able to deal with everything that has happened over the past two years.

Alex Malouf

This year is one where organizations and industry leaders will have to make decisions that will shape the function across the region. Here’s my predictions on where we are headed in 2023.

Let’s start with the basics, namely our people. Internal communications has been transformed over the past two years, and this rate of change is going to continue in 2023. Expect more focus on proper employee engagement, on people’s well-being and on organizational purpose.

There’s little point in focusing on purpose internally if you’re not saying anything externally. This year should signal a change for the region’s brands as they finally embrace some sense of brand purpose. Given that we have COP27 in Egypt and COP28 in the UAE, expect that much of this is focused on sustainability and the environment (which is a start). It will take longer for brands to get involved in social issues, but once you’ve embarked on the journey to purpose, expect brands to seek out issues that matter to their core stakeholders.

When it comes to platforms, communication pioneers will dive into the likes of the metaverse. How useful this will be is still debatable (hands up all those people in a region of over two hundred million who are actually online, wearing Oculus goggles and are admiring their legs), others will look to use physical events to engage with stakeholders. If 2022 provided anything, it is that the trade show is back and communications leaders will need to work out the ROI on whether they grow online or offline.

My final prediction is on that mythical question of a seat at the leadership table. Given everything that communicators have had to deal with, they deserve to be seen as a core organizational function and to be reporting to the CEO. 2023 is the year when we see more and more communicators switch their reporting lines from Marketing or Human Resources to the CEO’s office. And, honestly, this recognition is long overdue.