Guest Author 20 Mar 2023 // 10:14PM GMT
The MENA communications sector is continuing to grow, and is expected to double in size to hit an annual value of $1 billion by 2030. This serves as both an illustration and a driver of great things to come inspiring huge confidence in the future of our industry, which has only truly taken root and started to flourish in the region over the last three decades.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this new reality is the accelerated pace at which the industry has been growing, particularly during the past 10 years. This dynamic expansion positions communications as a true game-changer and a powerful strategic force that shapes the world of tomorrow.
The foundations have been laid throughout the past two decades, with perseverance and lots of trial and error influencing the persona of both the industry and the modern communications professional; ambitious, confident, and positive are just some of the key descriptors that immediately spring to mind.
The transformative journeys that many of the 22 MENA countries have embarked upon in terms of socio-economic diversification, foreign trade and investment, and even tourism, have also contributed to a strong two-way appetite among both service seekers and service providers. Governments and private sector companies were looking for solutions, while the communications industry – whether agencies or consultants – sought a platform for growth. This synergy has ultimately created a win-win situation for all. So, why do we keep saying that communications is a ‘Game Changing Industry’?
Simply put, the old playbook doesn’t work anymore. Today’s reality is a product of the past, and what was once the future is the here and now. Not only is our industry constantly changing, but the evolution of communications has, and will continue to have, a huge impact on all of the other industries around us.
Five critical factors will continue to drive the transformation of communications over the next five years. Without a doubt, the first and one of the most significant influences is the exponential increase in the perceived value of our industry within the public sector. Growing numbers of government entities across the region are now prioritizing communications as a key driver of socio-economic transformation. The resulting unprecedented degrees of confidence and demand are driving elevated levels of trust.
Multiple ambitious national transformation agendas are currently well underway across several MENA countries. Significant investments in communications aimed at driving and achieving their goals, especially from the public sector, are adding stability to the industry by providing steady and calculated financial returns. This is the second factor – transformation-driven big budgets.
The third factor is the emergence of ambitious young talent, which continues to be key to the region’s transformation. With more than 108 million (or 28%) of the population aged between 15 and 29, new feeder streams are emerging to power and nourish the industry. It is only natural that a young population with big dreams and aspirations should be targeted by equally optimistic communicators from the same demographic. This is impact in action.
The fourth driver of transformation is the deeper convergence of technology and communications which experts have long insisted on as a strategic priority. As the shift to a digitally-connected, data-enabled future continues to disrupt our industry, adopting innovative new approaches is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Those who embrace change stand to achieve exponential growth, while those who fail to adapt risk being left behind.
Finally – and crucially – the fifth factor is the shift from service to advisory which is shaping both the industry and communicators of tomorrow. The conventional service formula that has been tried and tested in the past may not suffice and work in the future, and thus, service providers need to devote the same level of dedication, enthusiasm, and passion towards their own positioning and that of their offerings as they have been doing for their clients.
The process of transformation itself is just the journey. What truly matters is the long-term impact our journey creates, which is reflected in every milestone achieved through the development of winning strategies and their successful execution.
Throughout this constant evolution, one thing remains certain; our industry will continue to inspire and drive public and private sector efforts in advancing national agendas across the MENA region. This, in turn, will see communications experts emerge as an essential commodity, rather than simply valuable assets.
What is paramount is that we anticipate the key trends that will drive communications and proactively adapt our ways of thinking and doing. With passion, agility, and vision, we as communicators can own the conversation, shape the story, and lead our industry toward unprecedented growth and prosperity. Let’s make this tomorrow’s reality.