Arab world’s first-ever youth-centric marketing event charts a new course for the industry

(MENAFN- Your Wordsmiths)
Communicate — a subsidiary of NordStella — hosted its maiden ‘Marketing to Youth’ forum, in KSA, where over 80 leading marketers and advertisers congregated for discussions on strategies and technologies to effectively engage the younger audience

March, Riyadh, KSA: Communicate, a Dubai-based multi-format platform specializing in marketing and advertising content and a subsidiary of NordStella, hosted the 'Marketing to Youth' forum on 8th March, at Muvi Cinemas, Riyadh Boulevard City. A first-of-its-kind initiative in the region, Marketing to Youth reinforced the need for strategies attuned to the preferences of Gen-Z and millennials while touching upon the pivotal role of technologies and social media platforms.

As the younger generations account for about 70% of the population in the Kingdom, the government has helmed many youth-centric reforms in recent years. Communicate’s incentive to inaugurate its vision-oriented forum in KSA was partly demographical. Supporting the notion was the keynote by Sunil John, President of ASDA’A BCW, who, referencing the 2022 Arab Youth Survey, said, “There is no part of the world that is more optimistic and confident about the future than the Kingdom. Our survey reveals that 97% of the Saudi youth feel their best days are yet to come.”

This juncture, characterized by massive untapped opportunities, called for scholarly discussions on strategies to effectively market to a younger audience. Marketing to Youth forum has catered to this need, timely and meaningfully. Overwhelmed by the early response to the forum, Sahar Rafique, Managing Director of NordStella, commented: “We’re still in the embryonic stage of launching in KSA. The Marketing To Youth forum marked the beginning, and we have a lot planned for this part of the region. With this forum, we aimed to bring Saudi’s marketing, advertising, and communications community, as well as students, under the same roof to drive engagement and valuable learning.”

Rafique’s enthusiasm is shared by Aamir Allibhoy, Chief Marketing Officer of Tim Hortons - Middle East, who said that it is imperative for brands to take a step back and re-evaluate their consumer journey when speaking to the Saudi youth. “That’s because they’re looking for richer experiences,” explained Allibhoy. Reiterating the need for youth-centric marketing, Elias Sawaya, Marketing Communications Manager, Samsung, noted, “Every strategy a brand works on should have value for its youth. They also need to become a part of their culture and community to speak to them at their level. This way, we’ll be able to come across as problem solvers to the youth.”

The role of public relations and advertising in engaging the youth was emphasized by Injeel Moti, Founder and Managing Director of Catch Communications: “Innovation plays an important role in driving engagement amongst youth. Considering the pace at which things are moving today, brands need to find a way to connect with their audience first. One way this can be done is through impactful storytelling. Public relations can accomplish it by making youth part of the conversation.”

Marketing to Youth forum saw experts delve deep into youth-centric strategies. A notable keynote to that effect was by Tim Buckler, Product Director - Digital Marketing, Mastercard: “Always work on a Plan B. When your design launches in front of the consumer, they will engage in a different way, and you really need to work on optimizing and personalizing the approach based on the data you’re collecting. While most brands commit to the key drivers of youth, they need to be agile enough to adapt to any changes.”

Brand agility, technology adoption, and audience segmentation were the key talking points among the forum’s 80+ attendees from across sectors. Together, they charted a new course for next-gen marketing while positioning 'Marketing to Youth' as a trailblazer. Partners MBC Mobile Solutions, The Influencer Factory, Your Wordsmiths and MKV digital too, contributed meaningfully to make it a debut to remember. The forum is another feather in the cap of Communicate, whose parent NordStella is known for the prestigious MENA Effie Awards — the region’s biggest and most-celebrated marketing event with over 13 years of excellence — and the sought-after Thought Leadership Program (TLP) series.

About Communicate
Launched in 2005 as a monthly print magazine, Communicate is now a multi-format, engaging platform on a mission: To help our stakeholders understand and activate the digital transformation reshaping the advertising & marketing industry in the GCC and beyond. Communicate has long been recognized for its analytical approach to the industry’s inner workings. Today, and its theme-based quarterly edition are an essential resource for organizations aiming to build efficient, creative, and future-proof tools and strategies.

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