KSA + MBS, Social Media, Road Fever

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KSA + MBS, Social Media, Road Fever

The Weekly | Brigadoon
March 10, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Subscribe here: http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/


KSA + MBS: One of the significant benefits of living and working in the nation's capital is the staggering amount of talent that is active and speaking in the city on any given day.

Just this week I had the opportunity to attend a high-level presentation on happenings in the Middle East and how a social-political crisis in the region can last decades, impact millions, explode unexpectedly, and ultimately end up on Western shores.

In the West, we can hope and ignore the Middle East situation, but the social-political challenges of Syria, Iran, and Yemen won't go away anytime soon, if ever.

One issue I haven't been paying enough attention to is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the pending leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  

Though Muhammad bin Salman is not yet officially the head of state, he popped into London Town this week and prim and proper Britain rolled out the red carpet for the crown prince. Known as MBS, he had lunch with Queen Elizabeth and meet PM Theresa May at her country estate. He's coming across the pond soon and is scheduled to meet with Trump on March 19 here in DC. 

Why this matters?

MBS is hoping to persuade Western diplomats, thought leaders, influencers, and CEOs that his "shock" reforms like letting women drive and a crackdown on corruption have made his country a better place to invest. Also, he has the massive carrot of the planned Saudi Aramco IPO to shape the West's view.

Though just 5 percent of Saudi Aramco will be made available to international investors, many are speculating this will likely be the world's largest IPO ever. This sale could bring Saudi Arabia $100 billion if Saudi officials' valuation of the company of $2 trillion remains. 

Besides the IPO, MBS wants to solidify support for his tough anti-Iranian stance, secure greater empathy for his boycott of Qatar, and advocate that KSA's aggressive military action in Yemen is necessary to provide long-term stability in the region and to ensure "The Kingdom" is secure and steadfast.

The speaker suggested this combination of anti-corruption reforms, moves to empower women, and energetic use of force is something we have never seen before. 

With MBS moving quickly to reform KSA internally and employing aggressive military tactics not seen from Saudi Arabia in decades, the leadership of "The Kingdom" is in a race to change the Middle East in unknown and unseen ways.

While the bankers of London and New York are seen as the frontrunners to host the partial upcoming flotation of the Saudi Aramco IPO, we all need to be more engaged with the MBS show - his leadership is making moves like never before.

Social media - what is it good for? This week Pew Research is out with their annual report on Social Media Use in the United States.

And to no one's surprise, a majority of Americans use Facebook and YouTube, and young adults are unusually heavy users of Snapchat and Instagram. The survey of US adults finds that the social media landscape in early 2018 is defined by a mix of long-standing trends and newly emerging narratives. 

As has been the case since the Pew began surveying about the use of different social media in 2012, Facebook remains the primary platform for most Americans. But the social media story extends well beyond Facebook. The video-sharing site YouTube is now used by nearly three-quarters of US adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

But there are pronounced differences in the use of various social media platforms within the young adult population as well. Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter even when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. 

So is social media a good thing?


But what does this social media thing mean for marketers, communicators, and advocates?

A few ideas.

Americans might say in polite company they don't love social media, but their activity says otherwise as they use these tools and use them a lot. Second, social media users take advantage of multiple platforms and embrace their unique tweaks. Finally, it may be early days of social media, but there is a lot of content and distraction out there - and frankly, most of it is junk food for the brain.

For marketers, communicators, and advocates to take advantage of these tools they must think: reinforce, reward, recognize, refresh, and research.

Also, your content must be outstanding because the consumer has multiple channels for distraction, others want your audience, and if the user doesn't feel special, someone else will give them a home.

So keep on using social media marketing but make sure your content and engagement reinforces, rewards, recognizes, refreshes, and is well researched.

If you want more, you can access the full report here: https://goo.gl/rWdo9g


‘Blockchain’ is meaningless: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means https://goo.gl/WXvWqH

Luxury travel is becoming even more specialized: Skift reports, here's a concept you are likely to hear more about soon: silo travel. It's all about going to a place for a very specific reason, and luxury travelers are all over it. https://goo.gl/TNmquL

‘Splinternet’ to herald a trade war for the ages: A bigger fight than steel tariffs will likely be over IP, and who gets what in coming years. https://goo.gl/RPVxBr

Is your phone killing you? Mobile phones should be turned off before bed, the chief medical officer has advised as she warned that the cocktail of pollution caused by modern life was a risk to health. https://goo.gl/g9JQPn

These are the 100 richest places in the US https://goo.gl/i3FZXr


Make it happen: Looking for a place to share ideas, comment on business, or provide expertise?

This is the place.

Send The Weekly 500 - 750 words on any topic that would benefit the Brigadoon community.

Please note, I do my best copy editing after I hit send. So, whatever you send me, I suggest you do a bang-up job on the spelling, grammar, and editing before you send it over.


Road trip adventure: Tim Cahill's Road Fever is the adventure of a lifetime - well at least for me. I love nothing more than a good ol' classic road trip with miles of road, adventure, coffee, cigars, and stacks of jazz CDs.

And just think if you drove from the bottom of this hemisphere to the top - what an adventure!

Along with professional long-distance driver Garry Sowerby, Cahill drove a diesel-modified Sierra truck donated by General Motors 15,000 miles from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego to the northernmost terminus of the Dalton Highway in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a record-breaking 23 1/2 days - a record still in place today.

Sustaining themselves on cases of vacuum-sealed milkshakes, instant coffee, and beef jerky, Cahill and Sowerby cope with mood swings, engine trouble, Andean cliffs, obstinate bureaucracies, slick highways, armed and uncomprehending soldiers. 

It is a quite an adventure and quite a book.


Deviate with Rolf Potts - Episode 19 with Tim Cahill: I listened to this podcast earlier this week, and it got me thinking about how much I enjoyed reading Road Fever. 

Just like the book, this conversation is worth a listen.

During this pod, you'll learn all you could about Tim Cahill - the journalist, author, and pioneering travel writer. 

In 1972, Tim was hired by Rolling Stone to cover rock and roll until ’76, when Rolling Stone decided to assemble an outdoor magazine called Outside and made him the founding editor.

Tim discuss the importance of hooking the reader from the first line of a story, the evolution of travel writing, his brush with death in the Grand Canyon, and how his connection with walking and travel has changed as he has aged.

“I think fear comes out of ignorance.” -- Tim Cahill


Soccer in Atlanta: Speaking of MBS, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host Atlanta United's first home game of the 2018 MLS season.

The Five Stripes will play DC United on Sunday with a 3:00 pm ETkick off.

You can catch the match on ESPN.

MLS 2018 predictions: Atlanta for title ... and Ronaldo teams up with Beckham? The Guardian reports, thead of the new season, our panel of experts deliver their verdicts on the MVP, MLS Cup champions and whether promotion/relegation will ever come to pass. https://goo.gl/dfgTCm

Thanks for reading and supporting this passion project. Feel free to send me an email with news, gossip, commentary, and restaurant tips - marc@thebrigadoon.com 


Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in global communications and thought leader management at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with boardrooms and C-Suite executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps leaders create compelling communications, focused content, and winning commerce.

Established in 2013, Brigadoon is the global community where creative, curious, and compelling entrepreneurs and thought leaders gather bringing together diverse talents to exchange insights and drive creativity.

Subscribe here: http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/

Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.