PR > Culture & Context


EDELMAN, London / LINKEDIN / 2019

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Why is this work relevant for PR?

This campaign was founded on earning attention and trust.

We tapped into a topical issue and pursued deeply understanding the target audience, in order to build relevance. We offered a point of view and solutions (rather than passive brand promotion). The value offering got audiences to care and share.

Campaign traction was gained organically and offered a space for normal voices in Saudi to enter the conversation.

And it Earned results – With a total campaign budget of US$6,000 paid budget, our campaign over-indexed on earned conversations to affect objectives in a remarkable way.


Cultural context: Saudi’s ambition is outpacing its culture as old habits and perceptions, especially when it comes to women, are hard to shift.

Client challenge: Linkedin’s value was underestimated in Saudi Arabia. It's English-first platform was perceived as aloof and out of touch.

Qualitative research showed it was perceived as a global brand, distant from Saudi Arabia, which didn’t understand the needs of the local market, and offered no noticeable contribution to the job market.

This perception placed LinkedIn at a massive disadvantage compared to local and regional Arabic-first competitors.

It wasn’t the first choice for either hiring or professional brand positioning in the country, and it had a slower increase in sign-ups than its competitors.

It was vital to address this brand perception issue if Linkedin was going to have a chance at increasing their footprint in the marketplace.


• Increase platform sign-ups

• Elevate brand perception

Describe the creative idea

Our idea was to use LinkedIn data to rectify the subjective narrative, and tell real stories, from real professional women affirming their potential and given a voice by LinkedIn.

First, we conducted an in-depth research which exposed some fascinating contradictions relating to female employment:

Using this data, we created the “Hear it from me” ( ?????? ??? ) campaign, turning LinkedIn into a platform that amplified the voices of Saudi career women, making them visible to recruiters and public, via online film, social media, interview and more.

We also delivered training to women and employers, giving people the tools to take action in the real world, enabling real change.

The campaign encouraged companies in Saudi to re-evaluate their hiring practices and well as inspiring widespread conversation on earned, owned, social and mainstream media.

Describe the PR strategy

In 2017, the Saudi government announced their ambition of increasing the participation of Saudi women in the workforce from 22% to 30% by 2030.

50% of Saudi University students are women but workforce representation is only 22% and 1/3 of recruiters believe there’s a lack of female talent.

Saudi Arabian women don’t lack the skills or the desire to work…they lacked a community. They were effectively invisible.

LinkedIn’s mission is to match talent with opportunity and there was a great need to do EXACTLY that in Saudi.

The plan was to channel & align LinkedIn’s efforts with their human capital ambitions by getting professional Saudi women to sign up to LinkedIn & understand how the platform supports their careers & professional needs.

We leveraged this insight: Saudi women reject the negative narrative deeming them unavailable or unready & seize every opportunity to voice their opinion and show their capabilities.

Describe the PR execution

The in-depth preliminary research study was the vital first step of the campaign activation.

It afforded us a unique insight in to the REAL challenges facing women (vs. assumptions), and allowed us to design a campaign specifically targeted to approaching those issues in a practical, meaningful way.

Key findings informed the following activations:

• Social media data cards sparking conversation on Facebook and Twitter

• LinkedIn’s first Saudi female employee as campaign spokesperson, Blogging and vlogging (Trusted local voice to help break the aloof global brand image).

• Traditional media press release and media interviews with AlArabiya News Channel's PrimeTime Morning show.

• Tangible tools for employers to place Saudi female Talent:

- A Playbook guiding companies on using LinkedIn to place talent

- 8 workshops educating 400+ Saudi women on building their professional brands and getting noticed by prospective employers (In collaboration with Ministry of Labor & Saudi universities).

List the results

• 100K new sign ups during the campaign quarter, bringing the total Linkedin membership in Saudi to 3M

• Linkedin’s platform generated over 548K impressions and over 13K clicks, which exceeded the engagement rate benchmark (0.65%) on the platform by 457%

• 35% increase in perceptions associating LinkedIn with career progression among Saudi females

• The campaign broke records on social media and earned more coverage than previous Linkedin campaigns in MENA.

• Twitter engagement rate = 6.5% (regional benchmark is 3%) with over 60K engagements.

• Facebook engagement rate = 10.6% (regional benchmark is 5%) with over 70K engagements.

• 40 pieces of EARNED coverage across tier-1 dailies, broadcast and trade publications.

• Total media reach of 49M impressions and an ad value of more than $160K

• LinkedIn received countless collaboration requests from companies and was viewed as a partner in finding and attracting female talent

Please tell us how you designed/adapted your campaign for the single country / region / market where it aired.

Our campaign was targeted at Saudi Arabian women and employers, requiring us to consider cultural nuances at every touch point.

To give Saudi women a professional voice, we put their faces and voices at the centre of the campaign, sharing their stories across social and mainstream media (starting with LinkedIn’s first ever Saudi employee, who is female). In a country where women are expected to be modest this had to be done in a respectful and sensitive way, which would promote conversation without alienating traditional masses.

This alone wouldn’t solve the problem in a country with so little experience of placing women in professional work. To effect real change, we also worked with employers, training them on ways to find professional women and hire them into their organisations.

We ran Linkedin application workshops for Saudi women, filling a skill gap that was holding them back.

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