A brand new yr, a brand new job and a brand new nation. Effectively, the final isn’t precisely true. I’m again in Saudi Arabia, the nation I lived in for quite a few years over a decade again. And if it wasn’t for the unmistakable Najd accent and the landmarks, I could also be fooled into considering that I used to be some place else. The change in Riyadh alone has been outstanding. There’s the plain modifications, similar to girls driving (and sure, I’m each having fun with and a little bit frightened of sitting within the passenger seat as my spouse drives me round a city she used to know even higher than me). However there’s additionally a shift in society, in how individuals cope with one another. There’s extra actions in Riyadh, together with stay reveals (I by no means imagined I’d see an ice present in Riyadh). Society is shifting, partly as a result of a top-down push and partly as a result of relentless power of the Kingdom’s youth (who make up nearly all of the inhabitants).
This implies alternatives for communications and communicators. For the previous two years, the Kingdom has been in some ways the increase marketplace for new accounts, with the launch of presidency mission after authorities mission. And this rising concentrate on Saudi Arabia will inevitably translate to demand for extra, higher communicators on the bottom, professionals who each perceive the native market (and its language) in addition to the media and communications exterior of the Kingdom. For the Saudis, that is key. The nation I do know, and a people who find themselves probably the most beneficiant and hospitable within the Gulf, is a far cry from how Saudi Arabia is perceived overseas. Open, clear dialogues will assist alter these perceptions.
In true New 12 months’s fashion, I’m going to make a couple of easy predictions about communications in Saudi Arabia. Initially, I consider that the Kingdom will host extra overseas companies over the approaching 12 months – you can’t serve the Saudi market from overseas, even from Dubai (and the UAE’s working week shift makes this tougher). Second, I additionally consider we’re going to see extra home-grown companies seem, with specializations in new areas similar to inside comms and alter comms. And we’re going to see extra Saudis enter the comms subject, which might be important if we’re going to create the kind of skilled I consider who can assist the operate flourish right here, a hybrid who can perceive each Saudi Arabia and its individuals in addition to the surface world. Each companies and people consumer aspect want to assist make this occur by working with universities and giving younger Saudis a style of what communications is all about.
For now, we’re settling in and having fun with the brand new Saudi Arabia whereas getting reacquainted will all that makes this nation so particular. And I’m hoping to each weblog and podcast extra from this really particular place. If there’s something you’d like me to write down about, please do let me know!