Wild Planet Productions knows the value of publicity.
The natural-history television company recently entered a unique competition and crafted what nearly a dozen other small businesses from the region could not: the best two-minute video pitch about what makes its business so special.
"When was the last time you experienced the thrill of seeing animals in the wild?" asked Wild Planet's first 13 seconds of footage as underwater rays and sharks swam across the screen. "Arabia's wildlife needs your support."
For its submission, Wild Planet, based in Ras Al Khaimah, has won three months of public relations support worth about US$20,000 (Dh73,456) from Active Public Relations and Marketing Communications Consultancy (Active PR), a company based in Dubai.
"In this line of work, communication is everything," says Jonathan Ali Khan, the managing director of Wild Planet. "We do have good connections with the media, but perhaps what we are lacking in is strategy. For someone like ourselves, who couldn't really afford the normal PR services of a professional agency... [winning] is really a great opportunity," he says.
With three full-time employees, the company often hires freelancers for additional support while filming and editing wildlife footage.
It plans to create a formal strategy that would help attract more interest in its work and, ultimately, sponsorship money to complete some ongoing projects.
One of these is developing a film about the sharks of Arabia into a three-part series.
While Mr Ali Khan says the film has already received interest from National Geographic Television for international distribution, it still needs to be completed and requires additional funding.
"The traditional sponsorship methods are not working so much anymore," says Mr Ali Khan. "We're looking to get some input from [Active PR] as to how they can help us overcome that particular obstacle," he says.
Active PR, which launched its Entrepreneurs Loudspeaker Competition this year to help small businesses with fewer than 15 employees, says it aims to help galvanise a wider range of supporters for Wild Planet.
"As we started off as a start-up a few years back, we were thinking [we and other start-ups] need support," says Sawsan Ghanem, Active PR's managing partner. "The young businessman or businesswoman need their voices to be heard," she says.
Active PR decided to avoid doling out a cash prize because it wanted to support a business strategically while focusing on public relations.
"The objective of the campaign was not to give away money, but to work with a start-up and give them a voice to be heard with their target audience," says Ms Ghanem.
A dozen small businesses from the Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories took part this year in the competition, which Active PR hopes to make an annual event.
The first phase included a public vote over the course of more than a month, in which anyone could pick his or her favourite video pitch that had been posted on Active PR's Facebook page. Once the top five pitches were determined, a panel of three judges selected the winner.
To watch Wild Planet's winning video go online to www.thenational.ae/thelife