In the business ecosystem of the Middle East, there are organizations that work silently in the background that serve as the region’s main defense mechanism against crises and issues. These organizations usually have a roster of experts in the boardroom, law, human resources, regulatory enforcement—areas that determine a company’s resting prowess, but not exactly its product offering.
When these organizations have the right support—as in, HR leaders are up to date with the national priorities, compliance officers have a robust network of resources or lawyers have a platform to voice their perspectives—they can raise their company’s standard. If equipped with the right tools, these experts will be able to institute future-forward company policies that align with their nation’s direction, attract and retain talent or share knowledge and best practices. When this happens, the entire business ecosystem benefits.
In 2023, APCO’s Middle East operations will focus on developing this market and supporting these organizations. The tremendous growth of the industry in the last two years is a testimony of how communications are at the heart of crisis management and prosperity. It speaks to the great ideas and talent in the region, and many hope it will continue to be an upward trajectory.
That said, our focus on this market allows us to continue to raise the bar and harmonize private companies. On top of our in-depth practice areas, we have the tools to ensure that the right people are in the right conversations. The opportunity is ripe.=
APCO’s Strength in Finding Opportunity from Complexity
APCO is in a unique position to bridge the private and public sector. Our Middle East operations have deep relationships with nodal organizations that allow us a glimpse of the region’s direction. We understand national priorities, and we know exactly how to meet them, and how companies will benefit once they meet these expectations.
Our visibility and network enable two things. First, it puts us in a position to see the key players in both the public and private sector. We see the big vertical picture, including everyone’s pain points and opportunities, and we are able to make intellectual connections that become tangible solutions.
Second, it enables a wealth of institutional knowledge in our practice areas that is not easily shared horizontally across different sectors. For example, when Emiratization became a priority in the private sector, we made a connection between the UAE’s former gender reforms and provided targeted counsel to our clients. We were able to see the bigger horizontal picture using our diverse practice areas and help MNCs meet national priorities across different lanes. In a nutshell, we know the right things.
This intersection of opportunities makes APCO great partners to the private sector’s silent hard workers. As we can map out these different relationships and dynamics, we can equip compliance officers, HR leaders, boardroom directors with the big picture and mobilize them with public private partnerships.
Currently, there is a gap in servicing this market because they are not directly related to their company’s products and offerings. It is a mindset that perpetuates the public relations function as just part of their sales efforts. However, as we all learned in a post-pandemic Middle East, PR is integral to public affairs, crisis and business management, three of APCO’s key practice areas. There is an opportunity to capture this market and continue to develop it – and we are seizing them as we speak.
Governments in the MENA region are making significant changes to attract foreign investment. They want small and large businesses to thrive with incentives to set up shop and remain in the region. Similarly, they are also introducing reforms that put equity and sustainability at the center of their visions. As such, policies have been introduced to ensure that companies meet their nations’ environmental and social milestones, and it is only a matter of following through.
This is probably one of the few times where “now more than ever” is pertinent: now more than ever, the private sector needs to step up and join the conversation. When they can meet these priorities, they can benefit from certain incentives and are actively working for a more sustainable future for the region. These priorities were set in place for a reason and once followed through, everyone benefits. The experts who can realize these priorities are the ones in the market we are trying to develop, and we are positive that we have the tools to strengthen these partnerships.