Saudi Arabia is becoming a powerhouse in economic growth and development, investment opportunities and futuristic giga-projects that aim to advance humanity. Post-pandemic, the Kingdom’s story became a headline topic on almost every news front-page. Young Saudi talent is making ripples across sectors regionally and beyond, driven by the momentum of Vision 2023. This major leap is a testament to the country’s relentless vision and ambitious goals.
The story gets even more interesting when we look at the narrative and the way Saudi Arabia is sharing its story with the world. Saudi is not only marking its territory as a growth powerhouse but also as a marketing and communication giant.
A PARADIGM SHIFT
Once upon a time, agencies and brands focused their efforts on marketing products and services for the Saudi space. Everything had to be adapted to speak to that specific landscape. There was little to no external communication.
Today, the reality reflects a total shift in paradigm. The conversation turned two-sided. Several milestones have helped bring the Saudi narrative to the global map.
The Initial Public Offering of Aramco, for example, played a prominent role in taking the energy giant beyond borders, and placing it on the global maps of innovation, economic development and citizenship among others. Aramco’s online and offline presence is now a celebration of advancing communities, innovating solutions, and delivering sustainable energy to the world.
Its partnership with F1 has also changed the game in terms of brand association and breadth. This big wave in sports partnerships has become the focus of many other brands, bringing people together from all corners of the world through sportsmanship and the love of games.
BETWEEN LOCALISATION AND GLOBALISATION
To cater to this borderless shift in communication, several brands are adapting their online presence to speak to both local and global audiences simultaneously with relevant content and stories. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in dual accounts within the social ecosystem, one for the local Saudi audience and one for the international scene.
This approach is enabling brands and agencies to widen their reach and their creative discourse seamlessly. In the same line of thought, ‘Made in Saudi’ is now both a national staple and a global sign of trust and reliability. Content and ads about Saudi projects and brands are dominating the conversation online and setting a new standard for future growth.
People want to work in Saudi, with Saudi, and for Saudi. Brands are not only speaking of what’s possible, they are proving it.
THE HOTTEST DESTINATION
Saudi Arabia is also raising the bar as a main attraction destination. What was once merely a future vision is now becoming reality. Saudi Arabia is home to numerous touristic attractions as well as a magnet to international investments.
Al Ula, for example, is reshaping the integration between heritage and the present, and taking users on rich journeys of storytelling both online and on-site. In the same fashion, Neom is changing what it means to live in the future and attracting residents and mega investors to set up shop in the world’s first cognitive city.
On the cultural front, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra, is positioning itself as a global beacon of inspiration and knowledge and bringing people together through the power of arts and culture.
GROWTH IN REAL TIME
One of the most exciting phenomena we are witnessing is the speed at which Saudi Arabia is expanding and how the communication space is mirroring it in real time. We are witnessing and living Saudi as we consume its content. The Kingdom has so much to offer and so many resources available that not only is it becoming a leader in the economic space, but it’s also pioneering web 3.0 and meta verse-driven activities.
‘‘Several brands are adapting their online presence to speak to both local and global audiences simultaneously”
We are witnessing the future of Saudi now and we, as brand storytellers and agencies, are working with Saudi brands to bring that future to life in the present moment.
VISION BEYOND BORDERS
Saudi Arabia’s bold global marketing takeover is an inspiring story of success in the making. Its focus in the right places at the right time should serve as a case study in making it big and inspiring the world to do the same.
And if we look at the current landscape and how things are unfolding, Saudi Arabia is becoming a global trendsetter in image building and storytelling, with a vision that will impact the narrative for years to come.
By Shadi Elmourad, Business Lead at Leo Burnett KSA