Theory is great!!

Dear CEOs and Founders,


I know most of you do not like theories or theorists but allow me to shed some light on some pressing issues. Further discussion of these issues is essential so please participate and engage.

In any great organization, top management is usually made up of theorists and visionaries while middle and bottom management are packed with practitioners.

Set the case

In the Middle East generally, all levels of management are only practitioners. Therefore, the overarching attitude is short-sighted and limited to the scope of day-to-day deliverables.

What comes first: the the concept and theory behind the idea or the product? What comes first: the idea of the business and theory behind the business idea or the manufacturing plant and office building?

These are pressing questions but often left unanswered. Let me be the first to answer.

First, you need the idea, theory, and rational and well-strategized plan before you place a brick in your plant or buy an office building. Second, you need to look at the human capital and culture that will affect everyone, top to bottom.

So long you parachute to the bottom-line and skip all the necessary steps, your business will be focused on short term results, which is the status quo of business in the Middle East.

Before you exhaust your budget on the supply side of the business, you need to determine the demand first and how you will plan to allow your values penetrate on the short-, mid- and long- term.

Remember, Rome was not built overnight and certainly not even the most basic idea.

Rational thinking!

All biblical’s are theories sent from god and we practice everyday, what makes your business any different?  You lack Confidence  and belief, so how do you expect to succeed?

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