The Era of Competitiveness is dead! It’s all about Brand Relevance 

The era of competitive brands is over! 

Each category has strong players from first to third. Today is not about competing but all about Brand Relevance.
In the past, I highlighted the difference between brands and commodities using local examples to illustrate my point. Until today, my region remains stuck in the commodity practice. I pray they evolve to brands soon. 

While design and message are part of brands’ fundamental development, the work becomes irrelevant if the strategic approach lacks foundations that is differential and keeps the brand sustainable. Most advert agencies and design studios discuss brand from design thinking while lacking key fundementals. 
Design and communication are important but only in light of a strategic approach which makes simply more than just logos and fancy taglines. 
Brands need to think of being relevant and stop focusing on their competitors’ strong holds. If you are a CEO or CMO of any company and you can’t “Create Your Space”, you’re doomed. 
Being brand relevant is much greater than being different. In fact, relevance delivers values that demonstrate your attributes during the journey. 
Today’s CEOs and CMOs speak of positioning differently, what does that mean? What is the use of positioning differently if the values remain the same?! Rabea Tea is an example of repositioning without evolving, they failed by repositioning to Lipton’s stronghold.

You are the enemy to your  Personal Brand! 

Fear is the enemy of growth and the best friend of remaining into safety. The fear of embracing trial and failure is the self inflected ego, which threathens growth  and nest in false bubble. 

You own your path everything up to fifteen years of age was dictated to you by family, social and school. You never owned your own thoughts and at twenty all your decisions are based on everyone’s opinion and that’s the heart of fear and extremely  threatens  growth. Fear becomes the pivot of all your actions. 
Tradition is tradition but tradition is not growth, librate yourself from one thousand yours old tradition. These traditions served their times not yours, embrace who you are with all your flaws but stand for the values you set no matter what and no matter who. 

To build your personal brand, you need a great fundamental that serves purpose and growth. You need to have the courage, be authentic, emrace your truth, become fearless and believe in yourself. It’s your vision and mission or else you’ll serve others visions and missions. 

If your heart is filled with fear and doubt, you need external assistance before you think on building your personal brand, confidence is sexy and beautiful


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Outdated Marketers 

Unfortunately, I had many discussions with marketing consultants in the region on Linkedin and offline. 
What concerns me, is that most are outdated with today’s changing environment. Many are still caught in the school of Kotler, seventies and eighties, I have great respect to Kotler but different times require different thoughts and if you failed to adjust you became Irrelevant. 

You can’t bring your outdated school of thought and shove it down today’s generations throat, that’s crazy and that’s the current nature. 
My suggestions is update yourself, go read, attend workshops, volunteer for international practice. If you can’t upscale yourself, you can’t help the company that’s close to lose its existence. I also suggest most of you to upgrade your thoughts on brand, it’s minimal or basic knowledge that you possess. 
If you can’t define the terms, then you’ll fail to understand what comes first, second or follows. 
You can’t just use your P&G experience or other multinationals in the region, that’s tactical and hardly any strategic approach which seems obvious for most work  delivered.

Saudi government is unconventional and private sector is conventional. 

Here is a prediction! 
The government in Saudi is developing very fast and hiring top local calibers. On the other hand the private sector, the partner in change is moving at a turtle speed. 

Those who will remain as is, are as good as dead by 2023 


If you don’t evolve within this coming two to three years with the changing foreign investment policies in the kingdom, you’re as good as history. 

Start with the fundamental change, some need transformation others evolution but if it’s not today, it’s never. 

procrastination, fear and lazy minds are the enemy of change. 

Leadership and love in one basket! 

Unfortunately the definition of leadership in our part of the world is self consumed, coated with envy, greed and exploiting short term opportunities that abuses the rights of generations in our region.
It’s not only management that excel the progress of players and employees but the set culture that serves both the purpose and goal. 
What I just shared here in words, to our management leadership in the region are words to others are light to move forward or bring change. 
If you can’t eradicate the existing mindset in the region across all, no vision will ever come to reality because it takes people to bring change not technology.

Strategy Vs Tactical, all get it wrong!

The reason why many companies go through trial\error and invest so much on tactical because they think tactical is strategy. Once they understand the value of the road map, then they invest in strategy.
Clearly it’s a mindset problem! Change is inevitable 
Case Examples
Apple built on long term strategy with clear vision. Key words are innovation, simplicity, selecting market place and employee collaboration which is the heart of Apple’s culture. Apple stuck to the vision and delivered key missions, which lead Apple to disrupt key industries using technology. On the other hand Microsoft under the previous CEO, felt threatened by Apple, instead of focusing on revisiting their outdated strategy, they resorted to tactical approach & replicated Apple’s great values.
Rabea Tea in Saudi Arabia one of my favorite case studies, we should all learn. 
Rabea Tea did select a market segment but was confused between strategy and tactical, business and brand strategy lead repositioning strategy not marketing. They approached the repositioning strategy with tactical thats why Rabea today depends on tactical spending to move products of the shelves.
majority in the Middle East remain same size after decades in business because they lack strategy or they think tactical is strategy.

Personal Branding vs Personal Brand 

Personal Brand Vs Personal Branding. ( let’s get the basic right first before we parachute to fame)    
Most people even professionals get personal brand and personal branding wrong. I understand that both terms are interchangeable but both play different roles. 
Personal Brand is your core, the values you are, your core truth of who you are. Personal branding is the activity you carry to deliver the values and your story to all stakeholders. Branding is constant and timeless but you must remain authentic. 
I recently saw a post here on Linkedin and someone said “ Your personal branding”, no! The core is your “personal brand” that’s who you are, personal branding is the relationships you create. 
If you plan to search google on the term, read what experts share not wikipedia. Wikipedia relies on volunteers and not subject matter experts. 
Be careful what you read, if we can’t get the basics right, certainly we won’t be able to build a lasting brand.