Sarah Curtis, Co-Founder, Dubai-based PR Agency, POP Communications

As we close another year, post-Covid 19 pandemic height, we’ve seen a return to ‘normalcy’ with new variations across the regional industry. From an operational standpoint, firms returning to physical offices continued to increase in 2022 with many taking a hybrid approach, POP Communications included. 

This approach has encouraged staff members to own their time and get back to creative environments, facilitating idea exchange, brainstorming, and fostering creative appetites, which facilitates a well-rounded work approach.

Along with operational changes, there’s also been a shift across tactics to support clients’ communication and continued brand-building objectives. 

Some practices that have made a mark or strong comeback in 2022, and are likely to continue into 2023 and beyond such as:

Going Back to Basics – The Modern Approach: Re-Incorporating Traditional PR Tactics Alongside a Digital Focus 

As an industry inundated with social media platforms, new brand-building approaches, influencer engagement relations, and technology, it can be expected to see a move forward to incorporate new techniques with tried and tested ones. 

In recent years, scopes of work solely dedicated to influencer marketing or social media ad management, and geo-targeting has been the norm. Given the rate new media tactics consistently evolve, a redirection was inevitable as brands re-assessed basic awareness needs. 

Media relations, events, and speaking engagements among other tactics have resurfaced but with an innovative, modern flair to reflect today’s globally-minded customers. 

Here are some tactics I’ve seen re-ignited and expect to continue onward and why.

Media Placements:  Print and Digital 

  • Can be easily captured and kept on file.
  • Support a brand’s growth strategy and forward-looking mindset (investor appeal).
  • Showcase recognition from a credible third party.
  • Engage with a mature audience which for many brands, is key.
  • Support SEO Objectives – It’s no longer one of the other. Press releases and articles are key drivers to increase rankings.

In-Person Connections:


  •                               Editors/Press: Tangible brand information
  •                               Influencers: Experiential engagements  

Breaking Bread Together: Getting out from behind email and whatsapp connections

  • Value-added practice remains number one for relationship building in a post-Covid era both with media and client connections as it fosters:
  •                             Further stories/features or work.
  •                            Staying in the know of a publication or brand’s plans.
  •                            Maintaining relationships with the editor/reporter, and client contacts throughout their career.


Creating Hype is Getting Old: Communicate and Engage with Purpose 

Consistency is key. It always has been. Ongoing, contrived, and business goal-connected communication wins in the long run. The region’s appreciation for social media and inclination towards ‘Instagram worthy’ has propelled a ‘building hype’ environment. Having worked with brands that have executed an all-out approach both from a budget and information-sharing perspective at a given time, I fully understand the effects of ‘what happens now.’ So, here’s why there will be a continued turn:

Media: Quality Triumphs Quantity: Eliminate Mass Distribution Noise and Congestion 

  • A handful of placements in targeted media outlets can be a game-changer for a brand.
  • Stand Out: Deliver content showcasing added value or expertise tied to industry or general market news.
  • Example: Showcase a brand offering as a solution to its target market’s pain points. 

Influencers/Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs): Authentic Community Engagements Over Lead Persona Partnerships

  • Transition to broader engagement within a community vs. one person sharing content continues to prove successful.
  • Consumers and brands value the importance of ‘others’ being involved, resulting in a strong brand focus and ethos. This can be seen through:
  • Social Media Groups 
  • Industry Organizations 

  • Brands often become tied to the lead persona as opposed to the individual being associated with a brand. This can be seen with:
  • Celebrities
  • Macro Influencers who may resonate with the brand. However, followers do not. 


Thought-Leadership Positioning: A Trio Win – Agencies, Clients, and Media 

The region and the UAE in particular have created attractive environments for driven and talented individuals to work across sectors for either established organisations or to take the entrepreneurial leap. As a result, everyone is looking to tell their story, and securing media interviews is becoming increasingly competitive. 

Welcome the power of by-lined articles (white papers). Although, a long-standing practice, there’s been a sharp increase in this approach within the last two years and I’d expect it to continue into 2023. Here’s why:

Publication Staff Size

  • Volume of team members is still shrinking. As a result, editors are open to receiving content that is well-written. 


  • Opportunity to Engage with Experts
    • An information-sharing vehicle to showcase a company’s USPs but in a relatable manner to a publication’s readership base. This is not meant to be a puff piece.

An information-sharing vehicle to showcase a company’s USPs but in a relatable manner to a publication’s readership base. This is not meant to be a puff piece.

Support B2B Focused Communication

  • An excellent way for PR companies to effectively get the message out, whilst handling the narrative.

Repurposed Content 

  • Use on social media channels encompassing a smart and holistic approach