AI to make $136 billion contribution to Saudi economy by 2030

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is poised to have a profound economic impact, with the potential to contribute an astounding $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and an anticipated injection of SR511 billion ($136 billion) into the Saudi national treasury, as reported by PR consultancy firm W7Worldwide, citing PwC.Moreover, AI is proving to be highly beneficial in the realm of public relations, as evidenced in a report titled "The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Public Relations Industry," published by W7Worldwide, a prominent marketing communication agency based in Saudi Arabia. This technology empowers professionals to scrutinize extensive datasets, enabling the detection of trends and patterns that enhance their comprehension of target audiences. This data-driven insight, in turn, facilitates the optimization of social media campaigns, the identification of potential influencers, the assessment of PR effectiveness, and the anticipation of forthcoming market and business trends.Additionally, AI chatbots and virtual assistants, like "ChatGPT," enhance user experiences by overseeing a wide array of tasks, including responding to customer inquiries, scheduling appointments, and even conducting interviews. This delegation of routine tasks liberates PR professionals to focus on more strategic responsibilities, such as formulating strategies and engaging with the media.The report underscores the pivotal role of AI in crafting PR content and tailoring its delivery to specific audiences by leveraging data pertaining to customer preferences, purchasing behaviors, interests, and ideal communication channels and timing. AI-powered writing tools excel in generating press releases, posts, blogs, and other written content with remarkable accuracy. However, it is important to note that, while these tools are invaluable in specific scenarios, they have not yet reached the level of sophistication required to fully replace human writers.Furthermore, the report addresses the challenges and mounting concerns related to AI's impact on the PR industry, encompassing worries about job displacement due to automation, the potential generation of misleading or fraudulent content necessitating stringent fact-checking, and ethical considerations regarding AI application, particularly concerning data privacy and bias.The report underscores the PR industry's ability to adapt, having effectively managed the digital transformation in previous instances. PR professionals have demonstrated their ability to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape and can replicate this success with AI. This entails staying informed about the latest AI technologies and applications, comprehending their functionality, and harnessing them to enhance their businesses and maintain their leadership within the industry.

Bidding adieu to PR legend Tony Christodoulou

The global PR and comms industry just lost one of its all-time greats: Tony Christodoulou. He was the founder and chairman of Action Global Communications. Tony passed away last week, and it's a major loss for the industry.Back in 1971, Tony started the Action network in Nicosia, Cyprus. He had a passion for storytelling like no other, and he worked his magic for a solid 35 years with British Airways, taking the Action brand to a whopping 40 markets. British Airways was expanding exponentially in the '80s and '90s, opening up all these fresh biz and tourism destinations. Tony took advantage of that and made Action the biggest indie agency network in the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Europe.In '94, Tony made moves in the UAE, setting up Action's first presence in Dubai after snagging MCS. This was a game-changer for the PR and comms scene in the Middle East. Tony built teams and made his mark in the industry, showing love to clients from all kinds of industries.But Tony wasn't just about PR. Homie was also the Honorary Consul General of New Zealand in Cyprus for 22 years. And he racked up a bunch of awards, including an Honorary Fellowship from MEPRA in 2018.Tony's son, Chris, who's now the CEO, said his dad had an infectious personality. People from all over the MENA region are showing love on social media and industry platforms, reminiscing about Tony's mentorship. His legacy is something the whole Action Global Communications family is proud of.Action Global Communications set up an online tribute book for Tony on its website. PR pros and industry bosses from around the world are leaving hundreds of messages honoring Tony's impact.Tony's daughter, Kathy, who heads up new business development, said her father had a gift for forging real connections with clients and colleagues. In today's fast-paced industry, where everyone's focused on deliverables, that personal touch often gets forgotten. But it's all in Action's DNA, and they're going to keep it alive in Tony's memory, pushing the agency and the industry forward.Tony leaves behind his wife, Mickey, his children Chris and Kathy, and six grandchildren. Plus, there are thousands of past and present Action Global Communications employees who've been part of the team during the agency's 51-year run. Tony was 80 when he passed, but his legacy lives on.

APCO Worldwide acquires Dubai-based NGC International Advisory

APCO Worldwide has acquired NGC International Advisory—multinational agency based in Dubai, specialising in public policy, government affairs and regulatory affairs in the MENA region—and Strategic Advice—Italy-based public affairs firm—APCO CEO Brad Staples announced today.“I sincerely welcome our NGC and Strategic Advice colleagues to APCO and look forward to learning from their regional and global expertise and insight, on which many clients across industries, sectors and regions have relied,” Staples said.NGC is powered by a team of experts with collective experience of nearly a century, serving clients across the region with operations in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan. NGC Managing Partner Mohamed Bahaa will serve as NGC International Advisory’s CEO and APCO’s managing director of public affairs in the MENA region.“APCO and NGC share deeply rooted values—prioritizing dedication, expertise, passion, equality and diversity—and this common bond makes us stronger collectively,” Bahaa said. “The practice of public affairs is a fairly nascent one in the dynamic MENA region, but one that is critically important to multinational companies and other clients looking to align their objectives with key government priorities, secure their permission to operate and achieve their goals.”Mamoon Sbeih, president of APCO’s MENA region, said, “this acquisition further reinforces APCO’s public affairs offering in the MENA region—providing clients with enhanced public policy advisory and support, government relations and communications management, regulatory affairs support and management, policy and regulation monitoring, industry groups and associations management and executive training programs.”Strategic Advice is an established partner for companies seeking to understand and manage political scenarios and advance their objectives through multistakeholder campaigns. As an independent, non-partisan consultancy, it provides impartial analysis to inform clients and help them reach key decision-makers—at national and local levels—through customized offers tailored to their needs.“I am delighted to return to APCO, where I started my career more than 20 years ago,” Strategic Advice’s founder Gabriele Cirieco said. “Now, more than ever, in a quickly changing world, APCO’s presence in Brussels and in other international hubs is key for Italian companies. Joining forces with APCO allows us to provide clients with presence and support where critical decisions are now made.”Paolo Compostella, president of APCO’s Europe region, said, “I am delighted to welcome Gabriele and all other Strategic Advice colleagues to APCO. It is a welcome return and an injection of additional insights and expertise to a team that has been experiencing extraordinary growth for over a decade. Thanks to our new colleagues we are further deepening APCO’s roots in the Italian ecosystem and strengthening our networks in key businesses, industries and across national and regional institutions. The acquisition was a strategic investment in our core service of planning and executing multistakeholder campaigns that are truly integrated at European and global levels.”For nearly 40 years, APCO has served as a trusted advisor and partner for organizations from around the world seeking to understand, anticipate and respond to the most complex policy issues. APCO’s deep and long-standing relationships with decision-makers and advocacy groups across regions help deliver policy results and drive impact. APCO provides clients with:Insight: policy and political intelligence, legislative and regulatory tracking, stakeholder mapping, landscape analysis and issues monitoring;Strategic Counsel: advocacy and lobbying strategy, relationship building and management, message creation and thought leadership development; andEngagement/Strategic Positioning: grassroots and grasstops advocacy and top-tier media relationships.The addition of NGC and Strategic Advice continues the recent expansion of APCO’s advisory capabilities. In March, APCO made a strategic push into financial communications with the acquisition of Camarco—a London-based financial communications firm, elevating APCO’s C-suite advisory capabilities and spearheading an ambitious move to extend its counsel to stakeholders in the capital markets arena—and added deep change, transformation and employee engagement expertise with the acquisition of Gagen MacDonald—a Chicago-based human-focused transformation and consulting firm, joining two independent and pioneering woman-owned companies together to bring deeper stakeholder insights and expertise to help organizations achieve their vision for positive change and transformation.