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  • Episode 6: Marketing in the Arab region vs. rest of the world

    July 12, 2023

    In this podcast episode of Consumer Connections, hosts James Piecowye and Faisal Khan invited Ruchika Kalra, an accomplished marketing and brand specialist with experience in global roles for renowned brands like Durex, Red Bull, and currently serving as the Brand Director for

    Ruchika Kalra’s career journey has been a mix of conscious choices and life opportunities. Her experiences at Unilever provided a strong foundation in marketing, while working with Red Bull gave her a transformative understanding of brand authenticity. Joining Durex allowed her to participate in the reestablishment of the brand’s core principles. Currently, at, she aims to apply her consumer goods expertise to the tech industry.

    The discussion revolves around marketing in the Arab region compared to the rest of the world. Ruchika shares her insights and experiences from her diverse career journey, emphasising the importance of understanding local markets, consumer insights, and the role of social media and AI in marketing strategies.

    Key Takeaways:

    Principles Remain the Same, Manifestations Differ

    While consumer behaviours and cultural nuances vary, there are underlying human insights that drive marketing strategies. For example, the concept of being open and curious may manifest differently in different regions, but the core principle remains the same. By understanding these principles, brands can create campaigns that resonate with local audiences while maintaining a global brand identity.

    Understanding the Arab Market:

    Marketing in the Arab region requires recognizing the diversity and multi-dimensionality of consumers. While family values and cultural traditions hold importance, consumers in the region are becoming more aware, savvy, and open to new experiences. Brands need to unravel these layers and treat consumers based on psychographic perspectives, finding commonalities while respecting cultural differences.

    Empowering Local Markets for Reactive Marketing:

    Brands need to empower their regional teams to make quick decisions. Reactive marketing requires agility and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing consumer behaviours. By streamlining internal processes and granting more autonomy to regional teams, brands can seize opportunities and execute innovative campaigns that resonate with Middle Eastern consumers.

    Social Media and Marketing:

    Social media has become a crucial platform for marketing. Brands need to have a social-first lens and create content that is entertaining, emotional, or funny, while also incorporating the brand identity. Ruchika highlights the importance of understanding each platform’s purpose and playing a role beyond traditional product advertisements. Brands like Durex, with its organic existence in conversations around sex, can leverage social media effectively.

    The Relevance of Market Research and Consumer Insights:

    Ruchika emphasises the importance of market research and consumer insights in shaping effective marketing strategies. She cites an example from her experience with Durex, where consumer research helped identify an open and curious segment of consumers who were pushing boundaries and questioning societal norms. This insight led to a successful campaign around sexual equality, demonstrating the value of market research in driving relevant and impactful marketing initiatives.

    Growing Relevance of AI:

    AI is no longer just a buzzword but a technology that is transforming the industry. While AI is currently being utilised in areas such as copywriting and image designing, Ruchika believes that its impact will expand further. Ruchika foresees AI playing a crucial role in real-time consumer sentiment analysis, enabling marketers to quickly assess the impact of their campaigns and adapt accordingly.

    Ruchika Kalra’s extensive marketing experience in globally recognized brands provides valuable insights into marketing in the Arab region. Understanding the diversity of consumers, leveraging social media platforms with a purpose, and empowering regional teams are crucial for successful marketing campaigns.

    Additionally, the future of marketing lies in AI, which can help analyse consumer sentiment and adapt strategies in real-time. With the right approach, brands can thrive in the Arab market while staying globally connected and authentic.

    Grab your headphones and tune in to our episode on your favorite podcast platform.

    You can also watch the full recording on our Youtube account below. 

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