OTTAWA and JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA: Mindful of the limits of Saudi Arabia's current media landscape but with an eye towards the future, The National Commercial Bank (NCB) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has enlisted help from Canada-based dna13 and their partner, Media Watch Middle East, to measure the effect of their PR efforts.
“With newspaper and internet reach being lower than North America, reputation management amongst the audiences that have internet connections and access to print media is of the utmost importance,” wrote Chet Galpin, CMO of NCB in an e-mail from Saudi Arabia. “By keeping a close eye on opinions and views that form in these outlets, we will look to adjust our message as quickly as we can.”
Initially, measurement and monitoring efforts will focus on print feeds provided by Media Watch, which is headquartered in Dubai. Media Watch has worked with the bank for some time and was able to help dna13 close the deal.
“In North America, you go in, show the software and [give] the value proposition,” said Chris Johnson, CEO of dna13. “In the Middle East, it's much more of a trust relationship. It came down to meeting with the owners of Media Watch, explaining what we do, and gaining their trust. ROI and making money didn't really come up.”
The NCB's PR efforts focus on its community outreach programs, including employment programs, small business development, and new consumer products. And, in Saudi Arabia, word of mouth is a vital PR tool.
“[W]ord of mouth is an important communication vehicle to manage,” wrote Galpin. “[T]he old adage that bad news travels faster than good news applies here.”