Tailored campaigns to benefit companies that want brand visibility but are challenged by limited resources and tight cash flow due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak

Dubai-based PR consultancy Shamal Communications has launched a series of packages aimed at supporting the UAE’s SME community, as COVID-19 restrictions continue to make commercial enterprise challenging for many small and indeed larger businesses.

The packages cover print and online media and encompass a raft of initiatives such as interviews, articles, opinion pieces and blogs, as well as social media campaigns, blogs, market research, newsletters, website copy and video commentary. 

“No business professional needs to be told that these are unprecedented times and, of course, we all need to stay safe and operate responsibly. However, now that the UAE is gradually relaxing its social restrictions, now is the time to start stimulating business activity and generating much needed revenue,” said James Lakie, General Manager, Shamal Communications.

“We know that budgets and cash flow in particular are very tight. That is why we have created a collection of short term, value-led PR and marketing packages to suit current market conditions. Payments can be deferred by up to 120 days depending on the scope of the campaign,” he added.

Although an SME itself, Shamal Communications which was founded in 2004, and has witnessed severe economic shocks before, including the global financial crisis in 2008. However, it has been prudent with its dividends over the recent past, creating a solid cash reserve and enabling the company to offer support to other SMEs.

According to Ministry of Economy, the SMEs sector represents more than 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the country and provide jobs for more than 86 per cent of the private sector's workforce. In Dubai alone, SMEs make up nearly 95 per cent of all companies, employing 42 per cent of the workforce and contributing around 40 per cent to Dubai's GDP.

The current pandemic could not have come at worse time for many SMEs, having spent aggressively to market their brands, in the build up to Expo 2020. Now that event has unfortunately been postponed until October 2021, it leaves many small businesses exposed with reduced capacity to generate revenue.         

In response, the UAE authorities have been very decisive. In total, the central bank has now pledged AED 256 billion to stimulate the economy and mitigate the economic impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the business community.

In its most recent move, the central bank has also reduced the reserve requirements for demand deposits for UAE banks, by half, from 14% to just 7%, which will pump an additional AED 61 billion into the financial system, improving liquidity and underpinning the banks’ ability to extend their lending further still.

“Although these moves are welcome, some SMEs will be reluctant to take on debt at this time. A much more constructive option is to try and drive in revenue,” said Lakie.

“That is why we have introduced these packages. Not only are they competitively priced they offer great value and, once combined with deferred payments, small business owners will have the opportunity to not only invoice, but to collect their payments before they have to pay us,” he added.

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