Companies across the region flocked to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) this week for the “Saudi Brand and Communications Summit 2010”—held in Riyadh from June 5 – 8, 2010. Noting the incredible potential in the KSA market for all kinds of communication expansions, Mohammed Johmani, CEO and Founder of O2 Network, spoke at the summit about the key drivers of Saudi branding and marketing sectors. Johmani’s agency O2 Branding served as a main sponsor of the event.
Research reports suggest that total advertising spending in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will recover at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 10 percent from 2009-2013, with internet advertising expected to grow at nearly 32 percent. With Saudi Arabia’s GDP being pegged as the highest in the Arab region, those in the branding and communications industry are excited to explore new innovations in the KSA media market.
“The strong foundations of the Saudi economy have encouraged companies to spend on growth during a time where most organizations are looking to cut costs, especially in marketing,” says Johmani. “O2 Branding has definitely focused more of its energy on the Saudi market in the last few years, and this summit is the ideal platform to view the latest trends while networking with key decision makers in the region.”
O2 Branding is a perfect exemplar of the opportunities afforded to regional entrepreneurs looking to grow communication companies within KSA and the Arab world as a whole. Part of the multi-discipline O2 Network, the agency assesses all aspects of a company’s “brand potential”, offering strategy design and development, brand-activation counseling, and company-wide workshops for brand management.
O2 Branding grew out of the understanding that brands are organic in nature; an insight that is reflected in their mission to create ‘Living Brands’. The agency recognizes that brands look, speak, and behave according to their surroundings. In order to ensure an integrated brand culture, O2 Branding draws upon the expertise of the entire O2 Network, including interactive, PR, and advertising agencies, to offer clients integrated communication solutions. Commenting on the ‘Living Brand’ approach, Johmani said: “To create living brands, we align brand strategies to consumer touch points. O2 is unique in its communications approach because of its fundamental understanding that people interact with brands and experience them through multiple channels, which translate to the practices of marketing, public relations, and interactive digital media, all of which contribute to shaping certain characteristics of a brand. This approach ensures a comprehensive platform for the creation of an attuned brand culture. ”
Johmani was amongst amongst elite of regional and global figures who are speaking at the summit including Patrick Jephson, Former Private Secretary, HRH Diana, Princess of Wales; Mohamed El Fatatry, CEO, Muxlim, (Voted One of The World’s 500 Most Powerful Muslims); Werner Baumgartner, Managing Director, Swarovski Middle East; Terry Kane, Director Of Digital Strategy, Jumeirah Group; Majdi Al-Sahhaf, Director Marketing And Corporate Communications, Saudi Industrial Property Authority ‘MODON’; Shadi Bakhour, Director Sales And Marketing, Saudi Xerox; Rayan Qutub, Head Of Corporate Business Development And Investment Promotion ,Emaar, The Economic City; Cameron Walker, Director Corporate Communications, National Commercial Bank; Siva Kumar; Global Head Of Customer Experience, HSBC; Tarik Hamou Hadi, Vice President Sales, Marketing And Innovation, Savola Foods; Mousa Obeid, Head Of Marketing KSA, Nokia; Yasser Al-Kharobi, Head of Corporate Marketing, Rotana Media Group; Howard Belk, Co-President and CEO, Siegel+Gale.
Major topics of discussion at this year’s summit included connecting with Saudi youth, rules of branding in a post-recession environment, and the unique traits that define the Middle East communications industry within the larger, global scene.