Lulwa AlHarbi: 'We are a “For Saudi, By Saudi” company'
Posted on 2023 Dec,25

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With her in-depth understanding and knowledge of the social, cultural, and economic contexts in Saudi Arabia, Lulwa AlHarbi, CEO and Partner of Acquaint Communications explains where the strength of independent local agencies lies and what in her opinion is needed for any agency to succeed in this market that resembles no other.

How would you describe the current general ad business mood in Saudi Arabia?

Like many other things in the Kingdom right now, Saudi Arabia is seeing a massive growth in consumer communication. There is not only an appetite to consume, but agencies are showing quite an appetite to produce and take risks while at it. By our own read, the mood is certainly not one that looks like it’s letting down anytime soon.


How do you see the flood of rival companies affecting your business?

In all honesty, we generally find ourselves reacting to our ‘rivals’ very differently to most other companies in the market. We understand very well that the industry is built on cut-through competition and perhaps sometimes overreaching, but in all honesty, that has never been our go-to - and neither has it ever proved successful for us. As a result of that, we often view rivals as inspiration. Not afraid to defend our space ever, but that has never needed to be our default stance.


How do you maintain your agency's edge in such a dynamic competitive market?

There is surely no one simple answer to this. As a quickly growing local network, honored enough to serve some of Saudi’s most prolific clients, there are a lot of moving parts. Therefore we have to continuously tweak when it comes to remaining competitive and most importantly, true to who we are.


We are a For Saudi, By Saudi company. And we have set ourselves some aggressive expectations…”


What do you think agencies need the most to succeed in a market like Saudi Arabia?

Understanding where the international meets the local is now more important than ever. The Kingdom is genuinely playing its ‘Glocal’ role tremendously, that agencies that don’t keep up, will likely not survive too long.


What in your opinion Saudi advertising is still lacking?

One of the areas we are continuously looking to push is ‘data-based’ or ‘insight-based’ communication. There is a lot that can be done in this area and things we can learn from our colleagues internationally for a more effective dollar spent per unit of communication.


What role do you see your agency playing in the overall Saudi Vision 2030?

The Kingdom's vision is about impact - and Acquaint’s vision is no different. We are a “For Saudi, By Saudi” company. When it comes to communication and messaging in the region, we have set ourselves some aggressive expectations, and also have key economic contributions that we are set to make towards V2030.