MENAFN - Arab News
Saudi- Build a brand not a product to improve economic indicators
(MENAFN - Arab News) A3 Communications has a vision and it is to brand the Saudi nonoil sector's increasing GDP, exports, local talent, and competitive advantages that harness innovation and fight foreign competition.
As mentioned in the first part of the article published earlier this week, branding will effectively contribute to the Ninth Development Plan as discussed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, which is the diversification of the economy in nonoil sectors, and sustainable development supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Branding also assists in increasing local Saudi franchises operating overseas, hence the need for injecting income back into the economy in the supply chain and generating foreign royalties.
The only way to attract foreigners to invest in Saudi franchises is to build a brand not a product. Branding positively adds value to your company in many ways, including brand equity - intangible brand value.
Apple brand equity is worth more than 182 billion. Google's brand declined 2 percent to 111.5 billion. IBM, McDonald's and Microsoft figure in the top five.
Much awareness is created to attract foreign investors to invest in our country, which has started and we must continue to attract them to invest in our brands by presenting our diverse product portfolio.
Branding is a set of values, beliefs, feelings, and personality just like a human being communicating the unique message to the customer to feel something toward the brand not product driving demand and loyalty. A customer for life! We can brand products, people and places.
Branding is about finding your Unique Selling Benefit (USP) and communicates that benefit into an emotion for the customers to feel through advertizing.
Now there is a Holistic Selling Proposition approach taking into account the 5 senses making up the brand. Saudi companies still are trying to find the Emotional Selling Proposition introduced in 1960s. If the target market doesn't feel something, then you have failed to become the next brand leader, says El-Masri.
Saudi Arabia joined the WTO in 2005 forming a single market among the other 5 GCC member states, therefore, now more than ever, Saudi products must compete with international products. But this is the exact problem. We must not discuss products rather discuss brands in order to improve our economic indicators.
In order to create the best brand locally, we must consider the program of Saudization; encourage local employment in the private sector away from the public sector.
Unemployment among Saudi nationals aged 20-24 is a total of 39.9 percent. If we take the advertizing sector, a much needed talent pool is required to fill local vacant jobs at advertizing agencies. Due to lack of talent, agencies look overseas to hire.
Incubation of Saudi talent is highly required through education and development for graphic design, photography, illustration, animation, advertizing, and art of communication-branding if education is a pillar of economic development and Saudi Arabia wants to move toward a knowledge economy.
If the Nitaqat is to work effectively, find the occupation gap in the market, such as graphic design, educate local talents, and incubate young Saudis in local agencies.
In addition, SMEs must also brand their internal workforce by motivating their employees toward their brand promise via different activities to motivate young Saudis to work. This is called Employer Branding.
A3 Communications organizes the first branding awareness event in Saudi Arabia today at Riyadh Novotel-Al Anoud (6 p.m.-10 p.m.). A3 Brandnomix Show 2013 will take you on a journey of how to brand and its impact on the economy.
Its features: Hundreds of products on the shelves, more than 3,000 advertizing messages a day, millions of products online (where 49 percent of 17 million Internet users in Saudi purchase online). Too many choices - branding is the only way to achieve such a competitive edge.
Speaking of branding places in terms of tourism, we know that Makkah has been welcoming Haj and Umrah pilgrims for the last 14 centuries. The Qibla sticker in hotels has become a necessary religious promotion symbol.
Makkah is paramount for Saudi Arabia's brand identity as a country the world is already highly aware of. Now, it is about enhancing the brand values internationally.
According to Mayor of Makkah Osama Al-Bar, Madinah looks to enhance the tourism activities carried out by tourism organization Diafa.
If we take the principle of branding, the mission is to brand the city further by restoring its brand values that are historic and religious values through new facilities attracting non-Muslims creating higher brand awareness for Makkah Gate.
This will allow people to learn more about the Islamic culture and for Saudis to vacation locally. This will also create a positive sentiment on an international level given that it is branded with the right positioning style.
As you can see branding helps impact economic factors such as tourism, local industries, privatization, employment, foreign investment, and as a result influence the GDP.
A3 Brandnomix Show will take you on a journey on how to brand and its impact on the economy.
A special appreciation to our supporting gold sponsors - The Investor for Securities, HJ Media, JcDecaux ATA, Luxury Events, and diamond media sponsors- Arab News, CNBC Arabia, Eqtisadia TV, Eqtisadia, Eqtisadyat and Arab Ad magazine, Rotana Khalijiah, Ad in Spot and Oxygen.
(This is the final part of the two-part series. Ayman EL-Masri is general manager of Superbrands Saudi Arabia and chief creative officer and founder of A3 Communications).
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