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PRamadan – PR opportunities during Ramadan

We all know that the Holy Month of Ramadan is a time of reflection where working hours are reduced to allow time for family, social & religious activities and rest. But we can’t ignore the fact that it also carries some interesting PR opportunities that allow us to enhance messaging, reach out to our target audiences during a special time, and bond with clients, journalists and business associates.

In order to make the most of Ramadan from a professional perspective, here are a few recommendations for PR agencies and professionals:

Revolve your PR activity around Ramadan and its values:

For example, intensify CSR and community-oriented activities, or participate in a local government initiative where other players will also be involved. This will lend you credibility through being genuine.

Identify publication supplements:

As a special season, Ramadan will see many newspapers and magazines dedicating supplements or pages for the Holy Month. Get in touch with them early to identify relevant opportunities for your clients. Make sure also that you supply information on time.

Ensure quality rather than quantity:

Aim to consolidate your clients’ messaging and stick to one or two key message points so as not to bombard the audience, especially at a time when so many other brands will be talking loudly, but futilely. Unless you’re a rice or Arabic sweets company, it’s best not to deliberately intensify communications during this time!

Be aware that one media event will suffice:

Ramadan is generally characterised by plenty of Iftar and Suhoor media invitations where PR agencies compete for the media’s time and attention. With half the media wanting to attend and socialise outside work, the other half prefer to stay at home with family. Others are simply double-booked between two Ramadan tents on the same day… with the tents usually at opposite ends of the town! It is a good idea to therefore limit the number of gatherings to just one time in the month. Invite only your closest media contacts for a cosy meal to catch up on clients’ latest news, their own news, and generic industry happenings. They will appreciate the gesture to talk work in a relaxed and informal setting without wasting too much of their time.

Finally and most importantly, enjoy this special month that comes by once a year. It is a time when we are meant to rethink our ways and simplify… not overcomplicate!

As the estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world begin to embrace the holy month of Ramadan; a time of reflection, enlightenment and fulfillment, advertisers and brands around the region have just finished piecing together their latest seasonal campaigns aimed at luring in more sales, viewership, footfall; basically more engagement with their target audiences whoever they may be.

With advertising sales in the region close to doubling during this month alone, brands of multiple industries intending to headway in the big race will have most likely incurred a major dent in their advertising budgets during a time when every single advertising page, billboard, TV or radio spot is going for a major premium. Mobile spend alone is valued at more than USD200 million in Ramadan and this is by four main companies!

If you want your brand to be respected, heard or considered, then it has to make an appearance of some sort during Ramadan; as expensive as the move seems, it is essential.

The good news is that there are alternative mediums to conventional media: digital media. Online usage in the Middle East has been reported as more than 30% higher during Ramadan and up to 70% higher in countries such as Egypt or Oman where populations are predominantly Muslim, according to a recent report by The Social Media Agency. Advertisers spent more than $9.6 billion on digital advertising in Q1 of this year according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau; 15% more than last year further validating the effectiveness of this medium.

Reality is that Ramadan is for Muslims what Christmas is to Christians and is logged in the annual communications calendar as a peak season; and it is. People are ready to consume more of everything and they have the time, the money and most importantly, they have the appetite.

For brands looking to launch advertising or PR campaigns in the MENA region, it is important to acknowledge the importance of Ramadan beyond mere branding or visibility; it is a bonding opportunity with the Muslim consumer who will represent one quarter of the earth’s population in 2030!