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December 6, 2017

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Pakistan’s digital landscape mirrors developed world

KARACHI: Pakistan is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and its digital landscape is no different from other countries, a foreign communication specialist said on Tuesday.
“The growth has been tremendous,” Elias Markopoulos, a regional director at a public relations consultancy firm Hill-Knowlton Strategies, said during a visit.
Markopoulos will be a keynote speaker at the Pakistan’s first influencer marketing conference, which is scheduled on December 9 at the Institute of Business Administration’s City Campus.
Of a total population of approximately 194.8 million in Pakistan, there are currently 35.1 million internet users (18 percent penetration) and 31 million active social media users (16 percent penetration).
More than 40 million people have smartphones; of them, 39 million use 3G and 4G services.
Almost 28 million people now access social media from their mobile phones. Moreover, experts estimate that the total value of e-commerce in Pakistan will cross the one billion dollars mark by 2020.
“These are remarkable numbers that could make any brand in the country ponder why they have not gone digital yet,” the regional director of Hill-Knowlton Strategies said.
He said the world of public relations has evolved over the last decade. New tools and communication mediums have been introduced as brands look for creative ways of connecting with their target audiences.
“The internet has been the primary catalyst for change and every mode of communication now has a digital leg. Whether you talk about marketing or PR, brands in Pakistan have embraced this new paradigm shift in communication and have gone digital in full throttle mode.”
Markopoulos said a digital-first approach to communications has been the norm for many years and “we are seeing more and more brands beginning to embrace this.”
“Brands now realise that they need to be able to tell their story in a way that captures their

audience’s imagination, and there is no better way to do this than via digital channels,” he said.
“In many cases, we have seen that the best brands are the most effective storytellers. The more they are able to connect with their audiences, the higher are the chances of their products doing well.”
The communication specialist said the use of internet and the advancement in mobile technology triggered a change.
“As one delves further into digital PR, the concept of influencer marketing is one that is on the rise with several Pakistani brands,” he added.
“Influencers are influential individuals, who have a wealth of knowledge and know how to share it.
Influence is about authenticity, credibility, access to information and the drive to empower others.”
Markopoulos said savvy consumers are increasingly turning to the key opinion leaders for advice when making decisions.
“And that is why we see more and more brands in Pakistan and globally investing in influencers and converting them into brand ambassadors.”

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