How Saudi Bold Communication Agency ranked 22nd in the 2019 Good Report.
Riyadh-based communications shop Bold was the only GCC and Saudi agency ranked in the 2019 edition of the Good Report, out of 673 agencies evaluated from 76 markets. The report, produced by ACT Responsible in collaboration with WARC, recognizes the world’s best use of creative communications to promote sustainability and social responsibility.
Abeer Alessa, Co-Founder & General Manager of Bold Communication Agency and a member of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce’s Advertising Committee, explains what made Bold stand out this year and how it reflects a deep transformation of the Saudi communications industry.
How did this recognition come about?
This recognition is not the sole achievement of Bold. It is the result of the constant collaboration and collective efforts between us and our partners in success, Alwaleed Philanthropies.
We partnered with Alwaleed Philanthropies seven years ago and since then, we have been working on many campaigns promoting good, some of which triumphed and others were learnings.
The process has been a progressive one, but the main components behind this success are:
- The lively dynamic with our partners that goes beyond the limitation of a typical client-agency relationship.
- Shared responsibility, passion, and vision.
- Having an open mind and never giving up.
How does Bold position itself vs other Saudi agencies?
Bold is about the people; it is about bringing to the table diverse characters, cultures, and minds through acceptance and understanding, to create together and build together. This belief goes beyond the work and beyond the office; we are transforming mindsets and approaches by creating communities, collaborations with students, CSR initiatives, workshops, etc.
How would you describe the advertising industry in KSA today? How is it evolving?
If we took a screenshot of the industry today and compared it with another taken ten years ago, the evolution would appear substantial and drastic, in a positive way. The dynamics of the industry are totally different. And I’m not speaking about the digitization only!
The industry in Saudi has always been foreign to the culture, in the sense that communications were never addressed to or about Saudi people, not authentically. Decision-makers in the communication world were not culturally driven, and neither were agencies. The reason for that was that the industry was all new and hadn’t accumulated the knowledge or know-how to navigate the culture, experience it and express it. Now, the rules of the game have changed, starting with the Saudization in different sectors and the Saudi Vision 2030, youth support and development, proper education, available opportunities, and the support of the local content.
Local agencies are blooming, and they brought in what lacked before – the missing ingredients: cultural insights, relevance, and new business & operational models. As a result, healthy competition has increased and all agencies are upping their game. We can’t accurately define what it is evolving into, but we know that we are heading towards a high caliber, mature industry that looks more like us and parallels our ambitious vision and culture.
How do you explain the fact that it so little known and recognized globally?
When something is authentic and reflective of the truth, it becomes recognizable, and this is what the industry is focusing on now, to reflect the culture, the people, and present an authentic image of the country.
So, we won’t go into the past and discuss every detail, but I can say that we gathered our learnings from it, and now is the way forward. I am assertive that you will be seeing more global recognitions in the near future.
How to help this industry grow and mature?
We believe in the infinite game approach, where the competition is always with yourself. So, we start from within; we challenge ourselves on the daily, which is always the best practice.
We also believe in knowledge sharing and spreading awareness on all levels, whether it is by taking an active responsibility in educating our partners, peers, and industry associates, or by creating initiatives, workshops and even sponsoring events for fresh talents and students.