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Category: BLOG

BCW is Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year at 2021 EMEA SABRE Awards

ASDA’A BCW also wins Gold SABRE EMEA 2021 Award for VISA and two EMEA IN2SABRE Awards for Bayer and the 12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey

BCW has been named Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year at the 2021 EMEA SABRE Awards, which recognise superior achievement in branding, reputation and engagement.

BCW was selected after an exhaustive research of 200 submissions from PR firms across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Recognising BCW EMEA, PRovoke said: “BCW kept true to its ‘Moving People’ proposition… taking a proactive approach to client partnerships and producing some of the most creative and impactful work in the industry.”

Sunil John, President – Middle East of BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, said: “We are thrilled that BCW EMEA has been recognised as the leading consultancy in the region, reflecting the quality of work we do in the Middle East. This is truly special as it reflects the success of our strategy in response to the pandemic to become truly integrated, digital-first and creative. Our talented team makes a difference with their innovative and creative approach to communications.”

Commenting on the win, Maja Pawinska Sims, Associate editor, EMEA at PRovoke Media, observed: “Three years after its mega-merger, BCW has evolved into a formidable player in EMEA, with an agility and propensity for innovation that you might not expect from an agency of its size even outside a pandemic. While much of the world came to a standstill, BCW kept true to its ‘Moving People’ proposition.”

ASDA’A BCW’s Finance Practice’s campaign for VISA, #WhereYouShopMatters, also won the Gold SABRE EMEA 2021 Award in the Best Consumer Services – Financial Services category. The campaign was selected from over 2,000 submissions from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa by an expert panel of 60 professionals.

#WhereYouShopMatters is a great example of the innovative integration of PR, research and digital. It not only made communications impact but also made a big difference to small businesses affected by the pandemic.

The IN2SABRE Awards 2021 were also announced at the ceremony, and ASDA’A BCW won two honours: Best Meme/Viral Campaign by the Corporate and Proof Communications teams for the #MoveForwardwithBayer. This impactful campaign reflects the power of the firm’s digital-first approach. ASDA’A BCW also won a Certificate of Excellence for Thought Leadership in PR for its 12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey 2020.

COVID-19: Navigating the Now, Preparing for the Next

Unlike anything experienced in our lifetime, COVID-19 impacts every person, community and organization on Earth. The implications vary from market to market, sector to sector and person to person, and a lot of uncertainty looms. Still, one thing is certain: We’re united in our care for one another, our commitment to progress, and our optimism for the future.

At ASDA’A BCW, we remain people-first and client-centric as we embrace this ‘new normal’. Like many of our clients, we’ve moved swiftly and with agility to work in new ways, and to deliver work that matters more than ever.

This means helping our clients to navigate the NOW and prepare for the NEXT.

Today, our clients are focused on business continuity. We partner to deliver critical communications – internal and external – to support day-to-day operations in this fast-changing landscape.

At the same time, we’re helping our clients to see around the corner and plan for what’s next. When we emerge from this crisis, the world will be forever changed. People will think, feel and behave differently. Companies will shift into recovery mode, which will require not just rebuilding, but in many cases, business transformation. Rich insights, creativity and strategic communications will be essential to move people. And that’s exactly what we do.

For more information or support during this challenging time, please contact: info.asdaa@bcw-global.com

Sunil John: CEOs should take a stand on relevant social issues but authenticity is key

If ever an industry was to have earned a reputation for conservatism and playing it safe when it comes to communications, it would be oil and gas. That goes double for the oil giants in the Middle East, whose operations are tied so inextricably with the economies and governments of the countries in which they operate.

So, it came as a complete surprise to me that one of the few articulate corporate voices to emerge after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and the subsequent boycott of Saudi Arabia’s flagship Future Investment Initiative by dozens of international companies in October last year, was that of Amin Nasser, the CEO of Saudi Aramco.

He appeared live on CNN to express his regret over the killing, and to say that he believed the Kingdom was fully aware of the gravitas of the situation, and was investigating the case.

It struck me that this single appearance has changed the communications landscape in the Middle East, where most business leaders suffer from ‘tall poppy syndrome’ and are afraid to speak out in fear of being cut down to size by peers or, more likely, governments. Here was a businessman unafraid to speak out on an issue on everyone’s lips, but which every regional CEO wanted to avoid at all costs.

It sparked an article I wrote at the beginning of the year, where I argued that, in this day and age, CEOs in the Middle East have a duty to stick their heads above the parapet, and a subsequent industry panel session I hosted on this issue: Should CEOs, and the companies and brands they represent, take a stand on policy-making and political issues?

Ultimately, the panel, comprising CEOs and communications professionals from government and multinationals based in the region, agreed that now is the time to take a stand – but with some caveats.

CEOs that do take a stand can reap rewards when their values connect strongly with their audience. Ultimately, though, a CEO’s responsibility is to the business, and the risk-reward strategy needs to be properly ascertained, especially in a region where social issues and politics are frequently indistinguishable, and governments can exercise significant power over the business world.

CEOs that want to engage on social media need to know what they’re signing up for. Where once a public-facing CEO would act through a spokesperson, today’s outspoken executives have direct access to stakeholders through social media. There’s no filter, and once released, the genies aren’t going back into the bottle.

In an era of #fakenews, more people are looking to CEOs. Brands aspire to foster trust; today’s CEOs are more and more expected to embody their organisation’s brand values, and, when a trusted connection is made, then these CEOs have a responsibility to act in the interest of consumers to maintain that trust, even in areas not totally related to the business.

And, related to that, the panel agreed that authenticity is key. I would even take that a step further: I firmly believe that authenticity will be the new measure of successful communications.

As PR practitioners it is our job to work with CEOs to ensure they emphasise the truth, broadcast the facts and present an image of unimpeachable honesty. We need to make the CEO more human, more authentic and more transparent – that will be the new measure of effective communications.

In conversation with MEPRA: Sunil John

ASDA’A BCW President – Middle East Sunil John was one of the first people to be named a MEPRA Fellow by the Middle East Public Relations Association. This fellowship recognises PR professionals that have made a significant contribution to the communications industry.

In a recent interview with MEPRA, Sunil reveals his early career in journalism, his best career advice for budding PR professionals and how he grew ASDA’A BCW to become the biggest PR agency in the Middle East.

Watch the video below.