June 2015

Waiting on the king on the road

As Jaguar Land Rover's (JLR) media manager in the Middle East and North Africa, Salman Sultan has the arduous task of promoting the premium automobile brand in a region flooded with luxury brands. A deep understanding of the media and automobiles has helped Salman make a success of the responsibility

"I am one of the few lucky people on this planet who loves his job." Salman Sultan's enthusiasm for his job is almost infectious. The public relations (PR), social media and events manager for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) says he finds the sheer pace of activity and the immense learning at work simply exhilarating.

Based out of Dubai, Salman's main responsibility is to manage the day-to-day social media and PR activities of JLR MENA. Fluent in Arabic and English, the Saudi-born, UAE-educated Salman runs a keen eye over all the Arabic translations of press releases issued by the company, always making sure of linguistic nuances and cultural appropriateness. Once the press releases have been translated to his satisfaction, he shares them with the company's media teams in the MENA region and with local journalists.

The company uses social media heavily to build relationships with its fans, customers and prospects. With the social media landscape changing rapidly, Salman makes sure that he is learning something new each day. "I read about social media trends, and follow other brands to keep abreast of changes in the fast-paced world of social media. Social media is huge in MENA, but how each market in the region uses and consumes it is quite different. Kuwait, for example, is big with Instagram, whereas in my home country, Saudi Arabia, YouTube is popular," he says.

Such clear understanding of the markets and target audiences obviously has its rewards. "I am proud to say that during the Jaguar XE global reveal in London (September 2014), the MENA Jaguar Facebook page had the highest reach ever and was the best performing Jaguar social media page globally," he says.

For Salman, immense job satisfaction comes in the form of the media coverage for JLR in the market, pride in his employer and the iconic brand he represents.

Salman is deeply conscious of the importance of staying up to speed on developments in the automobile industry, local market trends and competition. "Read, and read some more" is his mantra to achieve this. He reads up as much as he can on cars – something he absolutely enjoys doing, given that he is passionate about "anything with an engine" — and invests time in acquiring a deep understanding not only of JLR vehicles, but also of rival products. A love for travelling and meeting new people from all walks of life are other useful ways to acquire new lessons and perspectives in life, he says.

Prod the car enthusiast to speak about his favourite vehicle from the JLR stable, and he says it's a tough choice: "I would be lying if I told you that I liked one brand over another. Of course, I love the Range Rover — who doesn't? I also love the iconic Defender, which was one of the first cars in the region. Jaguar's new F-Type reignited my passion for British sports cars. As a young boy, I used to have a Jaguar XJ 220 poster in my room and I always wanted to own one. Every time I hear the roar of the F-Type engine, it takes me back to my childhood. I am really looking forward to the launch of the F-Pace in the Middle East. This car will redefine the Jaguar brand in our region!"

With so much to do and look forward to at work, surely Salman's days are far too packed for anything new? Not really. He has quite a few plans lined up: brush up his Italian skills, learn a couple of new languages and complete a triathlon, even as he continues to work his way up the ladder at JLR. Vroom on, shall we say?