Business | 21.05.2018

Ready. Saudi. Go.

The reforms in the Kingdom create numerous opportunities for marketers, if you play your cards right, says Elie Khouri

Among the many reforms in Saudi Arabia initiated by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the ones enabling the economic participation of women are among the most powerful. The right to drive has certainly grabbed the headlines around the world as a victory for personal freedom. Beyond that, it enables the country to put millions of people to work and earn an income. This is an appealing prospect for businesses and brands but they will have to adapt their marketing and advertising to this new reality.

Of course, many conditions will need to be met for all of Saudi Arabia’s 13.1 million women of working age to find work. But the goal isn’t and can’t be full employment.  If Saudi Arabia was to raise its labor force participation rate for women from 15% today to 58%, the GCC’s record, it would create 6 million new income earners. Together, they would generate a $52 billion boost to the country’s GDP by 2025.

If unemployment was an issue in the past, the tide will soon turn. Many sectors are opening to investors and opportunities abound everywhere. One of the most noticeable is entertainment but there are plenty more. Women are also turning to entrepreneurship in droves, thanks to their high level of education and wealth.

The liberalization of the economy will provide ample opportunities to create jobs and with attitudes changing, it’s high time marketers look at Saudi Arabia from a different perspective. The country is evolving much faster than ever before.  This means old recipes and strategies are fast becoming irrelevant and ignoring this huge market would be a mistake. Consumers’ psyches, behaviors and attitudes require a new and more engaging approach. Be it with women or the youth, a new language and tone are necessary as new codes are emerging.

To find out more about the sectors opening up and what this transformation means to advertisers, you can read the article, published in Forbes, here.

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Elie Khouri
Chief Executive Officer at OMG