Al Othaim is eating Panda ALive?! 

Othaim is eating Panda alive: How is Al Othaim spearheading when it is operating less outlets but more profitable?

 

Did the previous management fail on Panda, Hyper Panda and Pandati? Yes! Because they never had a strategy and clearly confused strategic and tactical approaches. This has cost Panda a fortune over the years.

They failed to educate the customer on the purpose of Hyper beyond discounted supermarkets. The management failed to deliver the values of convenience through Pandati. While Baglas major footfalls are soft drinks, cigarets and basic items shoppers, Pandati focused on the basic items shoppers and this narrowed the segment that Baglas enjoy but yet Pandati went ahead like a furious lion to open across the country to get the Baglas out of business and they had their share of ill intent.  Baglas, on the other hand, are offering both delivery and emotional closeness (the delivery culture is huge and it has a strong emotional value). Pandati never enjoyed the loyality Baglas enjoyed and still enjoy. The management and marketing focused only what Data said but failed on “How To create a value and Deliver”. Unfortunately we have data Marketers who can’t create values beyond understanding what the data says.

What were the key lessons learned from their failure? First, to launch all these without a strategy and clear approach is futile. Second, engaging in a private label fiasco without grounding shoppers’ trust is also futile. A private label is heavily based on “trust” and when shoppers hardly trust you, they stay away from any private label that carries your name! Get it?

 

A year and half ago, I published a post on LinkedIn about Panda and it went viral. The summary of this post is that I argued Panda is in serious trouble. Also, I published a post on Pandati when it was first launched and presented why I think it is a failing concept. Today, all that I predicted has materialized. The point you have missed in these posts is that I was never articulating my insight to battle you but to shed some light and pull your business in the right direction.

Back then the marketing department of Panda took things personal and I understood why but they were professionals. Unlike the former heads of marketing in Alnahdi, Rabea and Cofique who literally went on personal attacks in their social posts but “I NEVER RESPOND TO PERSONAl ATTACKS”, my only response was time will tell. Few years down the line none of the above work for the respected  brands and my predictions were SPOT ON. I wish them all the best, the only adivse never  go on personal attacks and harass over social media  that’s what small minds do, great minds discuss subjects.

 

Today here is my advice to whoever is reading this article!

If you keep ignoring my free advice, you will face what Cofique, Rabea, Panda and Alnahdi went through. Yes, I am extremely confident of my criticisms and claims.

 

Today, Panda management is busy closing outlets more than opening. The rational behind this is restructuring while system remains the same.  The idea of  marketing under commercial is mind disturbing,  My free advice? Don’t do it, this is crazy, you will be doomed! I’ll remind you in future posts

In Panda’s management, some are misinformed on what comes first, commercial or marketing functions and unfortunately the are key decision-makers who take decisions based on ill-informed knowledge on how marketing functions beyond managing advertising agenies. On commercial and marketing approaches, each has a completely different task in business. I suggest you keep marketing away from commercial FREE ADVICE!

 

The reason why commercial and marketing approaches need to be as far as possible is because of the nature and function of each. Commercial is plain trade and it shifts values created by marketing. Think, for example, how would you place “Marketing & PR” under commercial? Commercial is trade and price-oriented while marketing is concerned with creating choices. We can now put the question more simply and answer: What comes first, price or choice? Of course, it is choice! Because this is basic and plain, I think I can generalize and draw the conclusion that corporate managers in our region are dead dumb on marketing.

 

While commercial is purely retail trade, someone needs to manage both perception and value. I doubt your management understands the importance of perception and value to all operations and the flow to sustain long term results over short term tactical returns. This kind of structure only digs a bigger hole and hardly moves the demand side of the organization to attain greater results or build a sustainable brand.

 

Now brand should never be under commercial –period! Get it right, Sherlock!

The private sector in our region works based and favoritism over experience and credentials. Most of the stakeholders are picked by the social merits of their last names or the same origin. We have to accept the truth that favortisim is the heart of our business culture not teamwork and that’s one of the primary weaknesses. I have seen unqualified people join company boards and get heavily paid and their last name is their own merit. The problem is far bigger than brand and marketing. It is people’s mindset and ethics. If you hire a friend because it is a friend, you should question your morality. This is something that has to be completely eradicated for every organization to serve its core purpose. As long as such unethical practices exist across the region, the private sector will fail to add value to any economy.

 

Many of us wish regional brands like Panda to do great but Panda’s current management is too busy pointing fingers at the previous management. This is what the beginning of failure looks like. Al Othaim supermarkets are actively taking a big chunk of Panda’s share while also exhibiting sustainable growth on volume that is achieved through means other than opening new stores.

Constant Engagment builds loyality and improves bottomline ROI  “FREE ADVICE” 

 

Al Othaim aims to reach 207 stores by end of 2019 and this my friends will flip the entire modern trade leadership in the kingdom. Al Othaim stopped listing brands that contribute less than 3% and deactivated those that contribute less than 3%. Clearly, volume is key to any supermarket but this also greatly improves the margin on trade. In the first quarter of 2018, Panda massively declined by 50%. Many non-profitable stores were closed but again Panda always failed on stores to creat volumes. The size of their stores, category arrangements and footfall were always off. Panda comes in many shapes you cannot figure out if this a price brand or an experience brand.

Their approach to improve margin and volume was to hit the low price. Typical trader mindset not marketers. They applied this tactic last Ramadan and they managed to cut the decline but are nowhere close to compete with Al Othaim. This is a very traditional approach and a commodity mindset to seasonal marketing. Hello CEO, here is some questions for you: Is Panda a price or discount brand? The two offer different values and experience. Why is price your ultimate value without creating choices for your customers? As crazy as it sounds, this why you chase bottom-line without vision and sustainability? Exactly. I did get your answer.

 

Al Othaim’s growth is store volume which is brilliant but why? Let’s look at these key points Al Othaim delivers:

 

A. Less choices and great quality. Al Othaim does well on private label, why? Known as ethical and trusted brand.

 

B. Heavy investment on footfall to shift from Panda and Tamimi, offers experience over price (I did not mention discount, do not get all fired up).

 

C. Import division that started three years ago to lure the segment that’s attached to Danube. Great assortments, big threat to Danube.

 

D. Al Othaim name hits localization. What to understand the relevance of localization? Read my book, “The Power of Belonging”. If Al Othaim improves the value and keeps innovation at the heart of their operations like they did in the recent years, they will take over by the end of 2019.

 

E. Saudization and customer service, two things they nailed right and showcased national pride.

 

One last question: Where are you on technology Mr AlOaithem.

 

They have invested well on functional values but a lot to work on in regards to emotional values.

 

Panda did not only lose trust from shoppers but also FMCG brands. Most FMCG brands are living a painful experience because of Panda’s hiccup.

Corporate mindset should change from trading to choice or we are doomed in the next two decades. The problem is the mindset across all sectors, not the economy! Stop blaming the economy when you lack basic foundational knowledge on how to build bottom up markets. Stop saying that consumer disposable income dropped when you actually lack ideas to lures engagement. The problem with corporations today is their fear of change and inability to embrace fundamental demands for sustaining long-term growth. The economy is not stupid; you are ego tripping. Panda needs to reconsider everything what Panda is today!

Thank you to all those that helped with Data and contributed to this article.

Together we strive and thrive, change or die! Change is inevitable! 

 

Uber and Careem! Brand or Commodity?

 

When it comes to hiring a chauffeur driven car, Uber, is an app that is globally known. However, when looking at the success regionally, Careem is also another app that makes the list.

Uber led to many passenger transportation apps popping in different parts of the world today and helped the industry make billions as a result. It operates in 65 countries under passenger transportation and has an array of payment options.

In recent years, the Middle East witnessed the need for such apps in order to have better services and avoid the hectic cab rides.

Two brands that come to mind are Uber, a San Francisco based company and Careem, a Dubai based company. Both brands share similar values but Careem still holds the unique value over Uber by giving the option of “book later” and leading the region with cash option payment.

Uber’s first regional destination was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia then it gradually expanded throughout the region. Careem, in recent years, has expanded to most of the region but not all of it.

My goal, in this article, is to focus on as a brand what their brand message to their audience is and which company is more intact when it comes to the commodity of transportation. I fully understand when a brand chases quick expansion it intends to lose its focus.

So for the past two months, I used both brands aggressively to experience all the brand touch points. So let’s look at each of the brands.

You can clearly see from the name and the few of the brand touch points, Careem as a brand is positioned as your local app. Given that positioning, the core question always was “who is Careem?” The simple answer is a regional transportation app, which is generic. If the app takes you from one point to another then it’s a commodity. You can’t hold the company responsible if the management treats the brand as a commodity. Question is and will remain, what idea as a brand are they trying to sell to the public? A transport app? Well so is Uber and others.

During each of the experience, you’ll notice Careem calls their drivers “captain” while Uber calls them “chauffeur”. So which of the two holds premium? Clearly Uber. When you travel to a congested city like Cairo, the two offer a totally different experience as they speak to completely different audiences. Careem caters more to the middle and lower class while Uber is targeting a higher class. The Careem app is user friendly. However, you are in for a few surprises once you have placed the order and their brand promise becomes a reality.

Careem has GPS issues – it has an accuracy problem. Drivers either end up on the wrong side of the road or a block away. Second, because proximity is not added, like it is in Uber, you end up waiting longer for the driver to arrive. What I mean by proximity is that Uber is closer from your point of pickup and is available in less time.

Before I start with Uber let me finish Careem. Firstly, for the life of me, I just can’t figure out what Careem’s brand essence or promise is? I feel the brand was developed as an app and went only through a design experience.

Today, customers can’t expect so much from Careem other than the most shared value “convenient”. You order a car and the car shows up. Other services including the recent launched “go”, propose more value but remember many of Careem’s values are originally owned by Uber. During my different visits to Cairo, Riyadh and Jeddah, my experience with Careem changed. When Careem first launched, it made every effort to retain customers, different types of drivers and cars. Today Careem doesn’t cares as much, I guess. To test the brand experience, when I was recently in Riyadh, I ordered Careem and at the same time I ordered Uber. The Careem driver failed to find my location which was the Al Faisalia hotel. It took him almost an hour from the time I ordered. The Uber driver showed up in twenty minutes due to rush hour. While I was heading to my meeting in Uber, I called the Careem driver and the customer service to locate the driver. Both failed to respond so I finally cancelled the order.

What is Careem’s brand promise? What’s its brand essence? We understand that Careem was good in positioning itself as the regional brand but sorry that’s not good enough to deliver what customers expect. Customers are paying for the entire experience of the brand. Sometimes, I feel the brand Careem we knew became a commodity. The amount of price discount they give away is crazy. The text messages they send for discounts is not any different from Al Ahram in Jeddah that sells low priced clothing. I never received an email from Careem like I do from Uber which focuses on experiencing the city you are travelling to. So is Careem a brand?! I need to get my brand facts book out to be convinced.

On the other hand, Uber lives as your private chauffeur. A promise they made and delivered in so many ways. Now let’s get the record straight here, I don’t favor any. In fact, when Careem first launched, I was an advocate of theirs but you can’t be an advocate to something that has ignored the core of their experience. Uber is expanding to 65 countries and the experience in each of the country differs due to local laws and so forth. For example, Uber in Germany has to operate under a licensed cab company but not in Austria. But, for the most of it, Uber still manages to keep its promise. Even though, Careem’s app is much more user friendly, Uber’s app is still friendly. During the time of order, their driver’s proximity is much closer than the Careem drivers and GPS is much more accurate. Recently Uber realized they are more than just passenger transportation and evolved their brand. Today, Uber is hire a driver, helicopter, order food and courier. Don’t be surprised at what’s next.

Since the company is evolving so fast they need a core essence that will hold everything together. Something that says who they’ve become. Today, in simple term Uber is “logistics”. You can hire a car, they will arrange it. You can hire a helicopter, they’ll arrange it. You can order food, they’ll arrange it. You can send a parcel, they will arrange it. They simplified logistics to one single app which is just a click away. The brand has evolved and so did their marketing mix. Their positioning is reflected in their new look and feel. You will notice the key word “availability” and their promise is “reliable at all times”. The rationale behind Uber’s new brand idea is to bring together two things that were in separate worlds for over seventy years. And they are doing this by bringing them together as the “Bits” and the “Atoms”. The bits for Uber is the technology and its ability to express its efficiency, ability and power. The “Atoms” is responsible for how technology moves cities and their citizens, and the goods that are transported everyday. The brand tells its story from its inception of the famous tweet to its recent evolution of serving its new created purpose. We all can agree that Uber has disrupted the transportation industry across the 65 countries and 400 cities but we can never disagree that Uber is one of the most talked brand in this era.

Uber and Careem are two different brands. While one is massively evolving and other is catching up. Uber provides the experience and Careem is turning into a commodity.

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, an author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renowned Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

Brand Strategy vs Absolutely No Clue

Background:
A few years ago, João and I had a debate on “How art as a design is more relevant than the strategy”, at the Chamber of Commerce, in Riyadh. The audience had ambivalent feelings, some agreeing with it while others disagreeing. João and I always had our differences. I never seem to agree on his field of advertising while he never agrees on my field of strategy

I’m a hard believer that advertising has failed or the advertising we knew has failed to evolve because of its continuation of false claims. I asked João to write an open letter with his views on Brand Strategy. Even though, I do not fully agree with what he has to say, I would like to, nevertheless, share his thoughts which are as follows:

The Rise and HARD fall of the Brand Strategist
by João Almeida

The trendy – short lived – age of the Brand strategist is coming to an end. Faster than you can say ‘Brand Evangelist’. Traditional advertising is already dead, an outcome welcomed and brought forward by many Brand experts. But little did they know, the death of the ‘Mad Men’ also meant the death of the ‘Strategy Men’

So you may ask who’s going to replace all those wonderful ‘what-people-think-and-how-to-make customers-feel-the-brand’ experts? The answer: Mathematics, Statistics and AI software

In a not so far away future, software algorithms will be able to personalize ads not for the 1%, but for the .0001% of consumers. This means strategy for the ‘long term’ will be redundant. Decisions will be made in a millisecond. Content, stories and ads will be delivered to you (and you specifically) without the need of human planning or strategic input. Facebook is already doing this to some extent. It’s still in its beginning stage, but imagine a brand story being told differently to a vast audience. Imagine that an ad seen by you will only also be seen by 50 other people (who share your statistical history). That’s 50 out of almost 2 billion FB users! That’s a strategy no human mind can beat

So who’s left? The content creators and the storytellers will survive the Brandpocalypse. Everyone else needs to start re-branding

Here are my thoughts:

The Fall Of Advertising and Design (Art) without The Essence of Strategy
by Said Baaghil

Let’s be serious, whatever we do as strategists and advertisers is for the purpose of the brand which is the business. Things need to be have a logical business model for any brand to work. As a strategist, on brand and marketing and even branding, the first and foremost thing we need to think of is the business model and then align the rest according to that model. The thought of a beautiful logo and art is irrelevant to support any business sense, João said. In fact, he claimed, it’s irrational and may produce high a level of business threats. Also the death of human expertise and the drive of technology as the core thinker to support the business line is crazy!!!

João debates, in a not so far away future, software algorithms will be able to personalize ads not for the 1%, but for the .0001% of consumers. The first question is would a software be continually able to understand the human senses? No matter how things evolve, human to human will remain the best practice for brands to thrive. Brands are like humans,they live and die so they continually need to evolve to sustain growth

When you look at McDonald’s and compare it to Five Guys and the health movement that’s revolutionizing the industry, what impression would it give to you if everything is automated including the communication? We are speaking here of the customer senses. Even if technology massively evolved in the communication platform, you still need a human brand strategist to deal with the evolving needs of people

No matter what happens to our world as technology changes, brands are like humans. They grow and die, unless they evolve. This is why they need to have the human experience for it to be logical and make sense to the customers

João Almeida is a Creative Professional with over 15 years experience in leading multi-disciplinary, multi-national teams both in Europe and the Middle East that have helped in developing successful Brands and Business Strategies across different industries

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, an author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renowned Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

Uber: The New Identity

Uniting the “Bits” and “Atoms” for the first time, the bits is the refined “technology” and atoms is everything around us “objects”. Uber’s rationale behind the new identity is unifying the two for the first time, the technology and the atoms. The technology is used as process and the atoms is the object that moves from one point to other. If we look at the business strategy of Uber which evolved from passenger transportation to logistics and transportation, the new “Uber” brand core perfectly says who they’ve become

I’m a strategist not a design expert, many designer could disagree on the use of font, color palette and so on and that’s not my argument here but from a brand strategy point Uber successful reflected their evolution and their new rationale perfectly reflects their evolved business strategy

On the other hand many argued why Uber will ditch the slick stylish logo the most recognized in today’s app world, I agree but the more the brand delivers values the higher chance the symbol becomes recognized. Google’s identity looks like grade school kids drawing but since the company delivers constant values you can’t help but constantly recognize their identity

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, an author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renowned Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

Sustainable Brands and Universities

Just like other organizations in other industries, institutions of higher learning need to compete in order to survive. But because of the fear of sounding too corporate, universities often hesitant to borrow proven methods from business, or are late to the game. Branding is a case in point. At the turn of the century, universities started to dip their toes in the branding waters. Many of the early approaches focused on creating new taglines, changing logos and spending a great deal of money on advertising. Those attempts reinforced the skepticism that many stakeholders had about branding, especially the faculties.

Today universities realize that in order address affordability, competition, innovation, equality, employability, divestment, funding and other issues that challenge their image and future, universities need to embrace an approach based on mission and core values. They need to adopt an approach that focuses on culture and stakeholders. They need to stand for something. They need to be authentic. This approach aligns the internal culture and external reputation of the university, and ensures sustainability.

It’s vitally important that universities in the Middle East and specifically in GCC understand the value of owning a brand and how the brand reflects the institution, students and recruitment processes. Today there are many great local universities in Saudi Arabia such as Effat, Dar Al Hekma and King Saud. They are all considered reputable, but even reputable universities need to connect their missions and their core values to their stakeholders.

Rex Whisman is the Founder and Chief Strategist at BrandED Consultants Group that guides organizations/institutions beyond logos, taglines and Advertising campaigns. In the last 25 years, he has held many senior-level positions in Branding, Communications, Engagement and Marketing, on both the institution and consultant sides

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, an author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renowned Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

 

 

Looming Financial Crisis, Brands and Commodities

I don’t see the Financial Markets settling soon. Global Financial Markets will stay volatile till 2020, possibly beyond. It’s like a FINANCIAL BAZOOKA, like a train coming straight at you and you are not going to stop it by standing in its way. I see more financial bloodbath and rocky times ahead for many countries & their markets. Simple investors will have sleepless nights and smart investors will have peace of mind with their funds. But the question is where to park your funds when markets are so uncertain and unpredictable?

The Answer: Follow the basic rule of LIFE and invest in REAL ASSETS for Wealth Preservation. The global economy stands at a crossroad of growth and decline and few financial markets might even collapse. If we analyze economic history, we see that there is a recession in the global economy after every 7/8 years. So it’s long overdue now and which is why 2016 has started on a rocky note as markets went down in China, Europe, US and Asia. Financial markets look too choppy at the moment. According to Sam Zell—American Business magnate and Real Estate mogul:

US economy is knocking at the doors of deep recession in the next 7 to 11 months. Global economy is witnessing a bigger crisis which will last longer and perhaps will be more severe than the 1930s… History is repeating after 83 years and many investors are not aware of the gravity of the situation

So what’s a MARKETERS ROLE IN TOUGH TIMES? Consumers are very sensitive to Brands. FMCGs are much stable even in hard times when the economy hits rock bottom but the same doesn’t apply to Retail especially for Auto and Luxury markets as these two sectors suffer the most. The question that Economists frequently ask: Can Brands sustain themselves in times of hardship when companies cut their Marketing budgets?

The answer is simple; Brands can live long if they are real Brands (and not commodities) because of their relevance for and being the preference of their target segment. In a volatile Economy, Brands who share the same Category Values suffer the most because consumers end up making decisions based on Price. In these times, Marketers who depend on huge budgets suffer the most because they depend on Advertising as a means of influencing Consumer decisions unlike Brands which are grown organically and are sustainable in a recession economy simply because their consumers’ habits and reactions depend least on communications or any tools that influence their call to action. In tough times, Brands survive and thrive over commodities, for example: McDonald’s globally and Saudi Brands such as Al Baik and Al Marai will still perform well, like previous times

It is only in uncertain times that Marketers can innovate and come up with strategies to move ahead and support the companies’ reservation on spending

Shan Saeed is Chief Economist at IQI Holdings whose expert views have been aired on CNBC, Bloomberg and Al Jazeera English. He advises clients in the Middle East and South East Asia

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, an author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renowned Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

Simplicity is the focus in ‘The Power of Belonging’

Simplicity

The simpler the Brand, the better it can be understood, or on a more fundamental level:  the better it can be experienced

The overcrowding of the Brand, whether via an over-extended Brand Name and product lines, can leave the audience confused, or worse, leave them to fail to even form a perception of the Brand

Simplicity helps you to maintain a focus and address the Brand with one aligned message. Think of how simple and elegant Polo is, Polo is all about ‘Lifestyle’ not cuts or fabrics. Starbucks is simple: It’s coffee

Do you remember Kmart? Kmart tried to do and sell everything there was to sell, and when more categories that were focused upon came into the same industry, Kmart lost touch and its fate was clear, Kmart failed to evolve and specialize. Walmart has everything, but managed to be clear in its Brand Positioning. Everyone knows that Walmart undersells all its competitors, a Mission to which it has always been committed. Walmart is also close to nearly every neighborhood in America and thus has the reach to simplify its Brand in that direction. The days of commodities are over, today everything is about the Brand, the simpler the Brand the better it’s understood and serves the audience

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 28th February, 2015

Every Brand, Belongs

Everything BELONGS to something and something belongs to everything! It is the same with Brands

Every Brand has its own culture and community, much the same way a child belongs to his parents, the way we stem from the family tree and how we all belong to mother Earth

From the starting point to the end—and every point in between—everything has a process of Belonging

For example: You belong to your Family, You belong to a certain Religious denomination, You belong to a Nation, You belong to an Ethnic group….(the list goes on and on)

Belonging is an endless process that has a great impact based on Emotional Attributes and the Emotional Connectivity between Desire and Wanting

Brands are no different from humans. They belong to a certain audience and if built and nurtured correctly, they will live in the lives of their audience for the foreseeable future

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 26th February, 2015

The Preferred Brand

Why Brand Preference matters?

You always think of your competition and most companies position their resources to battle competition. If your Brand was Preferred and Relevant, competition won’t matter, your Brand will matter

Your company will focus its resources on how to serve the customers better, innovate and became more preferred as well as relevant

For example, Facebook is preferred for time spent with family and friends to share stories. Facebook is relevant as a Brand for creating the subcategory of instant messaging, in fact, Facebook is the most relevant Brand on mobile to reach family and friends through messages

Today the world knows that Facebook owns WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps. Both have become ‘must haves’ on mobiles/smartphones. This acquisition has made the Brand more relevant by owning the subcategory of Mobile Messaging

Snickers the candy bar, is preferred when you need a quick meal to hold up your hunger, it’s relevant because it shares two great attributes: Chocolate and Energy

The more you focus on your target audience, the better you perform. Keeping an eye on your competition will drain your resources and your Brand will become irrelevant

Example: Every time we think of the best Airlines in the region we think of Emirates, we think of the service, we think of the luxury and innovative experience. On the same token, as much as Qatar Airways invests in and claims its ‘5 Star’ airline status, the Brand is still irrelevant to a category owned by Emirates

On the other hand, Etihad Airways is focusing more into Premium Luxury Travel, they just introduced ‘The Residence’ for their first class. Now Etihad has created a category and has become the preferred and relevant Brand to High Net-worth individuals traveling first class which Emirates enjoyed having on their Airbus A380s and lost

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 7th February, 2015

SPECIALTY: One of the Laws of ‘The Power of Belonging’

The above image is of Brand names that sell Makeup

  • Sephora is SPECIALIZED in Beauty Products
  • Macy’s is SPECIALIZED in Up-Scale Fashion Retail
  • Sephora is a Destination offering first hand experience for beauty products
  • Macy’s is a Destination for retail fashion (i.e. beauty products could be third or fourth priority in the minds of the customers during their experience)

Specialty is one of the 10 Laws for Brands to succeed in generating/maintaining ‘The Power of Belonging’

What happens when you create a product or service and you want to sell everything? You end up selling nothing! The saying might be old, but it’s true to this day: Jack of all trades, master of none. Focus on your specialty. Be the master of one thing. You can’t be the master of millions

Starbucks specialized in upscale coffee and coffee drinks. If it sold other things, it was because those things (from mugs to music) go well with coffee. It’s all about the coffee experience. Successful Brand Pros are able to let their audiences know they stand for something, rather than for many things, or for whatever they think they might be able to sell. Remember the number 7? That’s a magic number in many cultures, perhaps because that’s about how far our memories go. For some reason we can relate to things in sevens. 7 wonders of the world, 7 Chakras, 7 Heavens, among many others. How much diversity in your Brand your audience can cope with isn’t up to you; it’s up to the audience’s brains. Think in terms of the ‘Rule of 7’ with regards to your Brand as being the outside limit of how far your family of products and messages can extend

Let your Brand stand for something, specialize like Starbucks for Coffee, Lipton for Tea, Xerox for Copy, Al Baik for Fried Chicken with Special Garlic sauce (not burger or seafood), Apple for Digital Lifestyle, Facebook for Social Networking (worth pointing: Linkedin is between Business Networking and Recruiting, so it needs to specialize)

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 22nd February, 2015