Regional luxury and events agency made the announcement for its newly opened offices in Riyadh last week. Founders of the agency discuss the reason behind the move and what's next.
With its massive oil wealth, Saudi Arabia represents a nation possessing the highest number of super-rich households across the GCC. Driven by rising income levels, the country’s luxury market continues to grow rapidly. According to the Saudi Arabia Luxury Market Report 2021, the luxury market value is further expected to reach $22.2 billion by 2024, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.2% during 2019-2024.
Amid this rising demand, The Qode’s Founders, Ayman Fakoussa and Dipesh Depala identified their role between brands and buyers in the region and opened their first office in KSA’s capital city. Communicate sat down with both of them to dive deep into the reason behind the expansion at this particular time and their strategy on flourishing in the region.
A natural succession
The expansion to KSA wasn’t a decision taken overnight, it became a necessity over time.
“We’ve already been working with numerous brands and clients in Saudi. However, over the recent past, with Saudi Arabia opening more, and the whole renaissance that it is experiencing, it has inspired a lot of interest from all our existing and potential clients, they now want to be very present there. It is a very pertinent market for most of the brands that we work with, and this has just been a natural progression for us. The growing scale really required us to have an on-ground presence in Saudi,” explains Fakoussa.
Fakoussa has been working in Saudi for the last 20 years across various roles and takes account of the drastic changes that the Kingdom’s economy is going through today. “Many luxury brands are now buying back their businesses. A lot of them are setting up their offices with full teams in Saudi, thus becoming independent from the offices in Dubai and becoming headquarters of their own. So, what's happening is that there's an increased amount of activity that's happening on the ground, brands are now able to activate, they can do events. Where the idea of a mixed event, a few years back was not even something that could be considered, is happening now,” says Fakoussa.
Contribution to Saudi’s 2030 vision
Vision 2030 is identified as Saudi’s grand plan to rebalance its economy and diversify into a host of new sectors of income. It is meant to transform the country into a global financial marketplace by 2030.
The Qode’s expansion into the country, also promises a significant contribution to this vision with respect to the luxury market. “What we do for brands in general, is that we help amplify their messages. We contribute to the success of a business through communications and spreading awareness. Our contribution comes from the fact that we're looking to change the image of Saudi Arabia when it comes to both regional and international audiences. We are working on bringing experiences to the Kingdom,” explains Fakoussa.
“I’d like to add that we also work with a lot of clients in F&B and hospitality, and this is where we come in. The vision is to become an international hub and diversify the economy away from oil and F&B, hospitality, and tourism are all going to become very important factors and we will help amplify the message,” he adds.
Emerging talent in the Kingdom awaits opportunities
The Qode reveals that it has been working with social media influencers across the country long before they opened their office here. With the expansion, both brands and young enthusiasts are provided with the opportunity to new collaborations. “Saudi has always been a breeding ground for influencers that brands are always looking forward to engaging with. With the country now opening, there's a bigger pool for us to choose from. The influencer marketing scenario is just getting stronger and stronger, but it's not a new phenomenon. We are helping them find their niche with the right brands,” explains Depala.
The communications agency held its first brand showcase in Riyadh last month at the A Fashion House located in BLVD Riyadh Seasons. The event was attended by media, influencers, clients, and VIPs and showcased the latest collections from brands in its portfolios such as Givenchy, MCM, Rimowa, Mouawad, Bil Arabi, Louboutin, IWC, Mango, H&M, COS, Zara, Alo Yoga and many more. They also collaborated with a local charity that uses artworks made by children with down syndrome to create sweatshirts to gift to their clients. “There was a huge amount of excitement when we first announced the event and we were blown away from the response we received. It’s almost like people in the city were waiting for us to open and be a part of something that was happening in-person,” commented Fakoussa.
Consumers are looking forward to new experiences
Both Fakoussa and Depala believe that consumers across the KSA are looking to connect with the brands that they are buying from. “Before the pandemic, consumers were able to have that shopping experience. During the pandemic, they switched to consuming goods online and it was a very different experience because you couldn't physically have the product until it got delivered I think one of the things that they crave and really enjoy now is the fact that they can actually connect with the brand physically, in their space. It is a 360 experience,” explains Depala.
In the image above: Press day hosted by The Qode in Riyadh's
“I think that people are looking for experiences. They want to be entertained, and brands have shifted from being just retailers to even entertainers, while constantly pushing for new experiences for their clients. In addition to building the seamless retail experiences, we’re also going to focus on bringing the brand to life,” concluded Fakoussa