Mohammed Bin Salman: Power and Perception
Rising from obscurity, Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) is transforming and modernizing the highly conservative kingdom. Having been a quietly spoken and a relatively unknown prince, the attentive and silent note-taker has thrived into one of the powerful leaders in the Arab world.
To achieve the status, MBS has mastered the art of public relations to thrive in establishing power and perception within the kingdom. Several instances where MBS’ prowess in PR has consolidated the regime’s power and created the right perceptions among the Saudi Arabian populace are as follows.
Employing PR For Power and Perception
#1. Corruption and Prominent Arrests
In a wave to stem corruption, the Saudi Arabian government authorized 298 mass arrests of government employees for corruption. Popularly known as “the Ritz-Carlton arrests,” highly-ranking members of the royal family, current and former government employees, prominent businessmen were detained for three months.
While sending signals that corruption would not be tolerated, the move by MBS’s regime drew applause from many Saudis. Thanks to an effective public relations strategy, MBS earned more followers at home for shaking down previously untouchable royals and merchants. At the same time, the strategy helped endear MBS’s administration to Saudi’s living in poverty, despite the country being a leading oil producer in the world.
#2. Economic Transformation
Employing effective PR strategies to popularize Saudi Arabia’s vision of 2030 has improved the power and perception of the Saudi Arabian economy. By diversifying away from an oil-based economy and transforming the country into investment capital, MBS’s administration would create millions of jobs for underemployed Saudis.
Thanks to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and an effective marketing and communication strategy, the Saudi Arabian populace is confident that MBS’s administration would transform Saudi Arabia into a hub connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe.
What’s more, the economic transformation taps into effective public relations to reach the young and culturally diverse Saudi Arabian populace. The economic plan incorporates a US$64bn fund that’s meant for the development of the entertainment industry. With the development of the entertainment sector, millions of jobs will be injected into the Saudi economy, benefiting millions of low-income households.
Through PR, MBS’s administration has highlighted the benefits of the economic transformation, enabling the populace to understand the benefits of the suggested reforms.
#3. Booming Business
With effective marketing and communication strategies, Saudi Arabia highlights the magnitude of its economy and the lucrative contracts that international businesses can source. Thanks to the successful PR campaigns, major economies remain steadfast allies to MBS’s administration.
Demonstrating the effectiveness of Saudi Arabia’s PR strategies in promoting power and perception is the country’s multi-billion arms contracts. Worth noting, congress has unsuccessfully tried to halt large arms sales to the kingdom. Still, President Trump has always overruled the decision based on the perceived financial and strategic importance of MBS’s economy.
What’s more, through effective PR and marketing, MBS has positioned the Saudi Arabian economy as a strategically important bulwark against the Iranian expansionist agenda. Effectively, the PR strategies have opened doors for favorable policies towards Saudi Arabia, improving its prospects for trade and bilateral ties.
Through effective public relations strategies, prince Mohammed Bin Salman has effectively improved the Saudi Arabian kingdom’s power and perception. Specifically, through publicized corruption-related arrests, economic transformation, and booming business, Saudi Arabia has built-up its power and perception, increasing benefits accrued by its people.
PR firms who have worked with Saudi or Saudi interests include Edelman PR, Qorvis Communications and 5WPR.