The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

People, passion, purpose

Tuesday, 27 November 2018, 10:04 Last update: about 7 months ago

Martin Vella

MBR Publications Ltd has promoted Margaret Brincat from Sales & Publications Manager to Managing Partner and Director of the Company's new rebranded media and PR agency and its newly formed MBR Public Relations Group, which will house the holding company's media, PR, marketing and advertising divisions. Brincat co-created MBR Publications Ltd (MBR) in August 2014, following a tumultuous time at her previous agency that was filled with executive departures, including its chief marketing officer, sales and design, chief financial officer and CEO. Since establishing the firm, together with Martin Vella, Brincat has placed strong emphasis on talent, creating professional development and bringing best practice in the company's modus operandi. In an inspiring interview, Brincat talks about her new role as leader of MBR Public Relations Group and the future of PR.



Why did MBR Publications decide to establish this separate PR group?

Our industry is changing so much and client needs are changing to follow the current trends. Clients are asking more and more for access to diverse local and foreign talent - integrated teams that service them best that satisfy their requirements and work seamlessly together with other disciplines, like advertising, event planning, branding, corporate identity and media buying in the MBR portfolio. MBR has always been known for its fierce adherence to independent brands and to the rules of fair play and best business practice, so this builds on the independent brands, but working more closely together. We have recently rebranded and also created a new logo that best portrays what we do and what we stand for.



Do the individual companies, PR agencies and marketers contact you now?

Yes, various prestigious brands, corporate companies and most of all SMEs and start-ups are contacting us and report to me, and I continue to provide best services to meet their needs, including offering free consultation services and conducting on-site visits. The PR agencies include BPC International Ltd, JP Advertising, MPS, Corporate Identities, as well as companies such as Vodafone, Trustly, Simon Estates, IMOVO, J2 Group, MIA Services Ltd, Sterling Consultants Group, Multi-Maxx Ltd, and banks such as FIMBank plc.



How will this new PR group benefit business firms, agencies and organisations?

What we will be sharply focusing on, and what is already a pillar for MBR, is HR and talent. I wake up and go to bed thinking of HR, so this is the next step. We will be able to provide talent within the Company with more career opportunities. We need to make sure that we keep the talent with MBR and provide them with new opportunities as well as build on exciting training and development opportunities.

For some clients, nothing will change. They are with the agency they have chosen for their brand. However, we are getting more requests where clients say: "I just want to have access to the most innovative, best marketing minds, and honest business partners in Malta. I do not want to have to bother with leading it all myself. As my partner, Martin really comes up with new amazing ideas and is full of enthusiasm and positive energy, and if I need other disciplines, he also helps me integrate those as well. That will be easier with a bit more formal structure, which we are working on. And we will be looking for strategic acquisitions and new ventures, since the Company has in mind of branching out on a new exciting business direction and journey.


What types of acquisition are you looking for? Creative, media, digital?

It is too early to say. But it is where all the strategic interests of the Company are in and will assimilate.



How will the new PR group affect the other agencies?

It does not. That stays the same. [MBR Public Relations Group] is more of a management structure.


Some described MBR's client list as "heterogeneous,' ranging from government groups to corporations to gaming industry figures". Is there a certain industry or vertical where the agency is looking to expand?

This is one example where the real MBR Public Relations is far different from the outsider's perception. Traditional corporate, consumer and technology brands comprise the vast majority (perhaps even as much as 95 per cent) of our business. This remains a constant, despite the fact that we continue to attract entertainment and other business leaders in sectors that traditional public relations agencies do not reach.

When we launched the Company in 2014 with Martin Vella (today, an award-winning journalist and international moderator) and BOV, HSBC as clients, competitors dubbed MBR an "eclectic duo show". It's funny how much less attention was paid to the consumer and corporate brands that allowed MBR, from 2014 to 2018, to be honoured by many, including the President of Malta and GOPA, as a leading marketing, PR and event organisation company. Today, we continue to grow in a variety of different sectors, but we realise most of our growth is in focused, entrepreneurial brands in a wide array of sectors.

Our clients are people who play to win and seek to maximize every cent and every minute. Even major household brands have an entrepreneurial-minded character and resolve. Our client list, in most senses, is derived from the same types of clients as our competitors, but our clients move quicker and are more aggressive.


What is the number one thing you look for in a MBR job candidate?

Smart, focused, aggressive career-minded people are the key to MBR's continued growth. We are inundated with résumés, and I am willing to venture that MBR is a recognised, respected PR brand by young audiences, whether designers, sales or potential hires, among other agencies our size. The person who succeeds at MBR is someone who could find their way out of a room without a window or door. And do it quickly.


What do you think lies ahead for the PR industry for the remainder of 2018 and 2019?

The economy is not easy, and we do not see it getting better soon, so entrepreneurs and smart PR firms will continue to look for ways to stretch every euro. I think mid-size agencies will continue to challenge the big agencies. There are a lot fewer agency-of-record relationships, and many more opportunities for us to get in the door.

The current economic environment is very tough for all agencies and all businesses. Financial support to micro-business is not adequate and tax compensations are not relevant or bearing any positive results. Businesses will continue to turn to aggressive public relations firms to get the most of their marketing spend. I believe mid-sized firms will continue to challenge the behemoths. Companies are seeking strong firms that can steer the course of a campaign, yet nimble enough to influence a news cycle. As for us, we expect a good year and our projections and goals remain the same: to be one of the top five independent publishing, PR, Media, marketing and event organisation agency in Malta.

MBR will continue doing great work for our clients and creating innovative successful, strategic PR, marketing and event programmes.


About Margret Brincat

Before serving as Managing Partner, Margaret Brincat was chief marketing and commercial officer at Network Publication Ltd where she excelled as a Sales & Publication Manager in charge of The Economic Update (TEU) and Spinnaker magazines. At MBR Publications Margaret, together with Martin Vella, created a unique CSR initiative to drive positive fund-raising campaign in aid of Puttinu Cares and the Malta Community Chest Fund, helping children suffering from cancer and leukaemia. Prior to TEU, she was Head of Sales at Lighthouse Communications Ltd, overseeing ad sales, marketing and research, and led the company's branding efforts focusing on the company's achievements and aspirations, reviewing performance and business objectives for this year and the next, and exploring ideas and suggestions to improve work processes, efficiency and quality at all levels of the organisation. She is a contributor to The President's Trust Fund, chaired by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, the entity that creates initiatives that give vulnerable young people the skills and confidence to overcome barriers in their lives and.

Margaret Brincat has been nominated HSBC Business Woman of the Year 2018.

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