‘No’ to DIY in communications

Let a professional communicator do the job for you, says Nada Haddad in our latest EMENA Board blog.

 

I started my career in communications in the Middle East some twenty years ago working for multinationals and eventually founded my own boutique agency in 2013.

diy_disasterOver the years, I observed how the concept of communications in the Middle East evolved. Adverting and marketing were the buzzwords 10 years ago. Today people are still lost in the midst of a bewildering array of views. For example, they often wonder what comes first: branding or communications? Is marketing a part of communications? Till now, I am often asked whether I work in telecommunications.

Despite this confusion, most of Middle Eastern companies prefer to do the job in-house. And unfortunately so. For communications, to use a Freudian metaphor, is a bit like the unconscious self: you only see the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, it may appear easy for the amateur to set up a website or create a brochure. The common thoughts being “What does it take? I can do it myself”. We could dwell extensively on how the creative industry in the Middle East is perceived. However it is not the purpose of this blog.

The result of this “Do It yourself” attitude in communications is for example, websites that are not conceived properly, neither ergonomically, nor content or design wise. Sophisticated concepts such as SEO are simply unknown. But even basic questions such as: What is the objective? Who is the target audience? What is the message? are often overlooked. These observations apply to a wide spectrum of communications streams.

Recently, I worked on a project’s communications. To my surprise, the idea of brand was not only missing from the terms of reference but also from the proposal. Communications is not just a way of sharing a product or an achievement with a defined target audience. It is also an identity, the personality of a project, product, company. In crafting this message in-house, without the advice of a seasoned communicator, one could easily say the wrong thing about oneself or communicate or convey a distorted image. Of course, only the company knows what it is about and what its products are about. But going out and telling it to the outside world needs the involvement of a professional communicator who will ask the right questions, who will drive and guide the thinking process and who, with help from within the company, will craft the messages that will appeal to the target audiences. This is the RoI (Return on Investment) of working with a professional communicator.

A Lebanese proverb says “give your bread to the baker” i.e. don’t bake it yourself when a professional can do it for you, and so tastefully.

 

Nada Haddad

Nada Haddad

About Nada Haddad

A specialist in corporate communications, public relations and strategic communications, Nada previously worked as United Nations’ communications officer, and built as well as developing the regional communications function for Deloitte and Touche in the Middle East. Today, she has her own agency and is an independent consultant in brand and communication in the aviation, luxury retail, IT and development sectors.
@nada2206