30 Mar Cracking the Communications industry in KSA
As the Kingdom continues to evolve as a result of the Vision 2030 initiatives, I can see the increasingly important role marketing and communications will play for businesses in the Kingdom.
Even since I arrived here 3 years ago, the awareness of building Saudi brands and effectively communicating their messages has increased among my clients dramatically. Each week new marketing briefs land in our inbox asking for help with brand strategy and corporate communications.
Indeed the very first brand festival was hosted in Saudi last week showcasing the best of Saudi Arabia’s marketing talent, developing the industry in KSA and setting standards for brand valuation in the Kingdom.
As this market expands in Saudi, there will be an increased demand for qualified Marketing & Communications professionals. It is my belief that women may be best placed to fill these positions in Saudi Arabia. In the UK the PR industry is dominated by women – we are natural born communicators!
If you are thinking of getting into this field, or are a seasoned professional looking to crack the Saudi market, here are my top tips to make it in The Magic Kingdom:
- Read, read and read some more
Get to know your local publications and make contact with the contributing journalists. Ask them what kind of stories they are looking for, what are their lead times and deadlines. Making that personal contact is key and makes all the difference when you are trying to grab headlines for your client. If you already have a little black book of media contacts you will be far more appealing to any prospective employer. Remember, whatever story you are pitching must be either entertaining or useful, put yourself in the shoes of the journalist who has a demanding editor to please!
- Find your niche
The great thing about my industry is that it so broad there is almost something for everyone. Do you have incredible organisational skills and can hold court at even the most daunting dinner parties? Then perhaps focus on an events or experiential agency for vacant positions. Perhaps you are a social media star and can navigate your way around google analytics with ease – then try a digital agency. I was trained in traditional media relations and brand strategy, as such I veer towards broad brand building and integrated communications campaigns. Have a look at the different types of agencies and roles out there and decide which one appeals to you most.
- Get qualified
Once you’ve honed in on which area of Marketing & Communications suits your skills and personality it might be a good idea to get back to school! There are many professional bodies that offer short specialist courses throughout the year, and may offer some amazing online distance courses too. I have recently taken courses with The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in London and the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), both of which I highly recommend.
- Put yourself out there
Finally, Public Relations & Marketing is a people business so you need to get out there and meet prospective employers and clients in person. I cannot stress how important this is, especially here in KSA. Sure, make contact on Linkedin, but invite them for a coffee and meet them in person. I know from personal experience this isn’t easy, people are busy and often there has to be a big pull factor to get people to take time out to meet you. My advice is be sincere, polite and have your elevator pitch down! Most people remember that personal touch, and while your efforts may take a while to pay off, it is amazing how many doors open by being politely persistent, gracious and genuine.
Brand & Communications Director, The Cities Partnership
The Cities Partnership is a creative communications agency based in KSA.