FATIME ZOHRA OUTAGHANI

Morocco 2020/21 | TELECOMS & IT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Fatime Zohra Outaghani, CEO of PR Media, on the firm's main successes, being an established player, and the application of new technologies.

PR Media started its operations 16 years ago. What have been its main successes?

PR Media was established in 2004 at a time when the agency was a pioneer in the PR sector in Morocco and more broadly North Africa. We quickly understood the interest from companies and organizations to rely on experts and dedicated services to bring their voices to a variety of audiences such as the media, consumers, influencers, and so on. We have seen some great successes. The first was our rapid development, with a presence in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. We cover these three countries with teams that have a thorough understanding of the environment, stakeholders, and local practices. We have also been affiliated with the American giant H+K Strategies since 2005, which gives us the benefit of a network of key expertise throughout Africa, both French and English-speaking. It is essential, in the context of Morocco's opening up to the continent, to be able to effectively accompany a public or private player in the field abroad. Our growth is also embodied in our human resources, namely the 50 or so consultants who make up the agency's strike force. They are organized into business units, with a precise vision of each of our clients' areas of activity. It is a great pride to have trained in Morocco specialists in influence, some of whom have been working alongside us for more than 10 years. Our third success concerns the diversity of our sectors of intervention. We cover a wide spectrum from energy to entertainment, food processing, new technologies, cybersecurity, sports, luxury goods, real estate, wellness, transport, consumer goods, and more. All these contribute to the transformation of economies throughout Morocco and Africa.

You are an established player in the communications field. How did PR Media reach this point?

This is the result of the recognition of our customers. We have been working with some companies since our creation, which is quite rare in our industry. Our ability to listen and adapt is also fundamental. We have successfully taken every turn in the transformations that have affected markets and consumers since the early 2000s: the mobile revolution, the internet revolution, the digital revolution, and so on. In Africa, Morocco is often at the forefront in these areas. We have evolved by being proactive, accompanying changes, and even showing pedagogy toward our customers, who are not always informed and aware of new uses. I am thinking in particular of the major role of digital technology in terms of influence. We can no longer be content to communicate through the press. A few years ago, we, therefore, created a subsidiary entirely dedicated to digital and the management of e-influencers and digital communities. Moroccans are connected, and we are connected with them.

PR and communications remain a highly competitive market. How do you differentiate yourselves from other agencies?

PR Media is a leading agency because our expertise is recognized, and our clients' interests are our top priority. We develop relevant and effective strategies for them, often going beyond what they expect and with concrete, measurable results in line with their objectives. This is our corporate culture: always do better, always do more. I am convinced the difference lies as much in the consulting aspect as in the purely operational aspect of our business. In this sense, our support and our ability to guide are strongly differentiating elements.

How do you make sure you remain up to date in such a fast-paced digital world?

PR Media has a strategic monitoring department that regularly updates our working standards, tools, and methods. This allows us to stay one step ahead of the transformations that will impact our activities. More broadly, we have reviewed our organizational model by abandoning the traditional silo-based operation and moving from a vertical to a horizontal structure. All of our departments are working toward the same goal: that of our development, with the support of technologies that accelerate production times and become a determining factor in growth.

What is your assessment of AI, big data, and automation? Do you see yourselves benefiting from these new technologies in the near future?

We are benefiting from them today in fact. Knowledge of audiences is fundamental to effectively carry the voice of our clients. We conduct regular research to better understand the expectations of journalists, influencers, consumers, and citizens in general. We thus rely on advanced analytical tools with which we can better identify not only the major themes of conversations on social networks, for example, but also their tone. The predictive data offered by AI is also a way to target the content that will have the greatest impact. It is useful to determine which ones generate the most consultations, with the production of reports that reduce the time spent browsing the data and examining the numbers. We also use platforms that help us monitor media and predict the impact of news on our clients' image.

What is your presence abroad today; do you envision new markets?

PR Media is a Moroccan agency, with a North African geographic footprint and a reach that covers the entire continent and beyond. With our affiliation with H+K Strategies, we can operate in all territories, relying on teams that have a perfect understanding of the environments of each country where they are located. We are, therefore, a local but also a global agency, with the conviction that digital technology is changing the notion of borders.

What is your target for 2020? How do you aim to position yourselves?

We have successfully evolved from a PR agency to an influence consultancy firm. In 2020, this trend will continue with the in-house development of new services and skills based on the possibilities offered by recent technological developments, with more prediction, real-time data analysis and fine knowledge of our audiences. However, we are also convinced people remain at the center of everything we do. While AI and big data will play an increasingly important role in our activities, our experts remain the privileged interlocutors of our customers.