ASDAA Burson-Marsteller brings PSB, the global market research leader, to Middle East

ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, the Middle East’s leading public relations consultancy, today further strengthened its investment in evidence-based communications with the launch of the first Middle East office of Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), the global market research firm and electoral pollster famous for advising President Bill Clinton and the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on winning election campaigns.

Headquartered in Dubai, PSB Middle East will offer corporate and government clients a range of services tailored to communications strategy development and brand positioning, including market and competitor strategy, image management, brand and product entry, and advertising and messaging testing.

PSB is already well established in the Middle East having provided the fieldwork and market research analysis for the annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey since 2008.

Founded in 1976 in New York City, PSB, a WPP Group company, today has eight offices worldwide and a roster of marquee clients from the corporate sphere, advertising and entertainment, and the government and political realm.

PSB Middle East will work in partnership with ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and activate its seven dedicated practice teams: energy and environment, finance, food and beverage, healthcare, media & entertainment, retail, technology and telecommunications. Particular focus will also be given to the Government sector.

Announcing the launch of PSB Middle East in Dubai, Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller and Chairman of PSB, said: “Effective communications relies on hard data and compelling evidence and insights, and that is as true of the Middle East as it is of any region around the globe. Evidence-based communications is a core pillar of the Burson-Marsteller Being More brand promise, and it is a valuable resource that our partnership with PSB will deliver to our Middle East clients seamlessly and competitively.”

Joseph Ghossoub, Chairman and CEO of the MENACOM Group, the regional parent company of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “The astonishingly rapid political and economic changes in the region over the last three to four years underline the importance of further integrating market research into PR and communications strategy development, to align campaigns more closely with shifting audience perceptions. The MENA market research market is worth an estimated US$300 million but there is substantial room for growth if its potential is fully utilised.”

Jay Leveton, Global CEO, Penn Schoen Berland added: “PSB has helped elect more than 35 heads of government and shape the political debate in five continents. Its original methodologies also support a diversity of blue-chip clients. Every year the firm conducts more than 2 million face-to-face interviews in 45 countries, providing scientifically-tested insights on which to build sound communications and marketing strategies. Clients in the Middle East can now benefit from this enviable track record through the collaboration between PSB and ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller.”

Sunil John, Chief Executive Officer of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and PSB Middle East, said: “The impact of the annual Arab Youth Survey, which in its fifth survey in 2013 interviewed 3,000 Arab national youth in 15 countries, has demonstrated the value of evidence-based communications and the opportunities to be had from further strengthening our partnership with PSB. In a region where research into public opinion is still limited, PSB Middle East will improve access to reliable data on audience and customer perceptions and help communicators in government, business and civil society deliver more effective and strategic campaigns.”

PSB Middle East will operate from the head office of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller in Dubai Media City with a core team of researchers and analysts. The firm’s methodologies cover qualitative and quantitative research and proprietary tools such as AdLab™, for profiling the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and marketing material, and BrandAsset®, a benchmarking device aimed at evaluating the residual strength of brand and product names.

PSB Middle East’s qualitative tools include focus groups, online communities, in-depth surveys, mobile pulse surveys, influencer mapping, sensory sessions, co-creation workshops and shop-along and in-store intercepts. Quantitative tools cover message testing, corporate reputation management, brand positioning, advertising testing, name testing, micro-targeting, segmentation and crisis management.