Own It!

For the past two decades the most common word among professionals in Branding and Marketing is Differentiation, well it’s obvious with the current cluttered market Differentiation alone is not enough. One of the most important element in ‘Create your Space’ is Ownership. Yes! own the space, the dominance is what your Brand needs

Today most brands share almost everything, even if you look close at a few of the categories such as beverages, dairy, frozen food or mobile communication. Brands are led to propose constant price reduction to influence engagement. If you own your space, you will maintain leadership and Brand Affinity

Brands such as Starbucks and Apple created the space and own the space, they’re beyond Differentiation, they’re the reason and the purpose why consumers and users connect to them without the need to propose price as an influential factor. Consumers, users and customers are more aware of the values each Brand brings for the category

When values are shared then categories are shared. Consumers, users and customers are left with options and these options could be of any value. Brands are about values and how those values, if they’re unique, manifest with the target audience to create great affinity

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 Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

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The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 30th June, 2015

Something to think about

Uber, the little App on your smartphone is in 57 countries and makes more revenue than most rental car companies in major airports across the world. When you come up with a great Business Model, you need a great Brand to sustain the proposed value. Business strategy and Brand Strategy are inseparable

To ‘Create Your Space’, you need both knowledge and expertise to revolutionize the market. Today Uber brought a new meaning to transportation and how we move from points A to B, Uber has evolved the Taxi experience

In few months from now Saudi will witness a new incoming transportation app named ‘Honk’, third to enter the game after Careem and Uber. Interesting days ahead of us, time to ‘Create Your Space’ or fold

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 Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

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The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on June 29th, 2015

‘Create Your Space’

Soon I’ll reveal a Branding and Marketing strategy entitled ‘Create Your Space’. Every Brand can create it’s own space and revolutionize the category because in today’s competitive world, dominance is the word of the market

Brands such as Apple, Facebook, Google (Search), Starbucks, HSBC are great examples of ‘Create Your Space’. Every market space requires it’s own rules to guide the strategy and every strategy must be different to sustain growth and manage leadership

‘Create Your Space’ is an Evolution and Revolution strategy for those that wish to lead and not compete

Yes don’t compete, lead. I look forward to meet those that wish to make a difference and evolve from the repetitive ideas that every Brand shares in the Middle East

‘Create Your Space’ brings values you own in the hearts and minds of your customers. Today many of the local FMCG brands share common values and benefits and that drives tight competition and requires enormous amount of Communications budget. If you ‘Create Your Space’, you’ll eventually not only own the category, you’ll set the rules for the category

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 Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

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Brands do flirt! Part 3

BISON flirts with Code Red

In 2004, almost every energy drink brand in Saudi Arabia followed the tradition of Red Bull packaging (Silver and Blue) so to the general audience it meant Energy Drink. Since Colors do communicate in Branding, it was decided that in order to compete with the local giants such as Bison (a local Saudi Brand), Differentiation on three different fronts was needed: Product (Name, Ingredients, Packaging), Price and Channels of Distribution

Back then, I worked on developing the Brand and strategy for a local Energy drink called Code Red along with Full Stop agency, the primary points I suggested to my client were that in the development phase:

  • 1st thing to do is to Differentiate the Taste (Product)
  • 2nd is to break away from the prevailing Color culture of Energy drinks i.e. Silver and Blue (Packaging/Brand/Color Identity)
  • 3rd is to choose a name that will create a simple understanding to the public (Branding by targeting the right psychological plane of the Target Audience which translates into action)
  • 4th is to improve Distribution channels from lower trade to upper trade since Code Red is a Mass Market Brand

Naming the brand away from the common Energy drink names and imagery such as of a Bison, Bull, Horse or Cows, it was decided to name the brand ‘CODE RED’. Since 2005, Code Red spent less than $ 20,000 on Advertising , today it’s one of the leading brands in the Kingdom with market share of 34%, while others brands such as Bison, Bugsy and others made efforts to replicate the identity of CODE RED (Red and/or Black), either briefly or on a permanent basis

This success story is a result of Brand Fertility

P.S. I never did advise my client to Advertise but they did so once on their own by securing a billboard in Jeddah at a cost of SR. 800,000 ($ 213,000). That was the first and last time Code Red ever advertised on their own

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 Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

Saudi Market and Branding

Commodity Yes! Brands No!” is the mantra of the Saudi Market, unfortunately

The Saudi market is Commodity-driven (Price) and not on Brands’ Desire. Over the years, Multinationals have used local markets within the region as their Trading Forte and introduced basic forms of Marketing such as the Marketing Mix and Advertising which is why today we have Commodities instead of Brands

We have consumers who are nurtured to be Product Quality and Price Sensitive rather than nurtured to follow their desire for a Brand which is why Saudi products will always suffer from an increase in the price bar due to shopper habits in the Kingdom i.e. Commodity-driven (Price), not Brand Exclusivity

Over the years Companies in the region have used tactical strategies to create Product Awareness rather than implementing Brand Desire strategy and the way the status quo prevails, it doesn’t look much promising

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 Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

My Mind Predicts…

Within the next 10 years Facebook messaging will take over Emails. Furthermore, the number of social media users will most likely equal the population of the entire Asian continent. Facebook will maintain its position as the largest outlet of Social Media and instantaneous communication

Social Media’s interactiveness, one on one and channeling will be the number one source of reference and trust for consumers to relate their Brands with. Public Relations, as an industry, will flourish thanks to Twitter, while traditional Advertising, as an industry, could hit the slumber, but what will top them all is The Power of Belonging on Social Media.  The Middle Eastern social media users will grow in numbers and might even reach to 50% of the regional population in areas such as North Africa and the Levant, also witnessing steady growth are the Gulf States. The leading saleable industry from the Middle East on social media will be companies that root their marketing in Social responsibilities due to the current changes and public demands. On the global front, the following industries will flourish enormously on social media: Education, Apparel, FMCGs and Entertainment

Let’s take the Banking industry as an example. It will change its image from Conservative to Liberal specifically on their spending outlooks. The change will also be on products and services, which would include the fall of the ‘Grand Pa Joe’ as a logo. If the CEO is a social media addict and smart to follow the trends then consider seeing pictures of more relatable logos on several funds. The Credit card market will witness astonishing growth in the Middle East, while the ecommerce industry will witness substantial growth. The regional Financial industry such as Investment Banking will suffer to capture the new generation of audience unless they follow the current trends and believe in Marketing

The cell phone users on Data packages will double in numbers and we will witness an enormous decline on landlines, but the question still remains: would the landline become extinct? All regional newspapers and magazine will head online and print copies will be at minimal, some might even just disappear with the wind. I might sound ‘off the wall’ to you right now, but reality will demonstrate what I just said, so catch the drift before it’s too late

Oh, one more thing, PayPal is now fully operational in Saudi. Our foresightedness will change the region and a new generation of proactive minds will lead our Brands to be consumed by global audience. I’m lovin’ it!

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 Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com

Misconceptions about Social Media and Marketing

I often find or run into people that tell me that they are Social Media Marketers, I like that because it creates Specialty. The most important thing to ascertain is that whether you’re Social Marketer or not, you need to understand the principles of Marketing and how Brands operate

Social Media is a very strong platform but again people seem to fail into the same misconception of the offline world using Advertising as Marketing. I would persuade these focused Social Marketers to move away from the misapprehensions of being Advertisers to Marketers. Also to encourage a true experience online to the brands they are Marketing and not just Advertising, the word spreads online a lot faster than offline and the Brand needs to create constant interest and momentum. Clicked Advertising does create awareness but instantaneously and the intended audience could walk away from the experience if the message or the visual are not compelling. There is a whole a lot of difference between Social Media, Marketing and Advertising, for clarity purpose all Social Medias and their links are the fast growing platforms for Marketers to draft the proper Brand Marketing strategy for use, if not then the result will be a colossal BLUNDER!


If you are Social Media expert of tools and usability and you wish to be a Social Media Marketer then you need to merge the two thoughts of Social Media and Marketing and that would also require a strong insight on Marketing and how Brands are to penetrate or else, you will be fired in no time.  Remember if you’re online, you’re still selling to the same human that you met offline, so the nature and habits are the same just the experience is different

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 Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on AskBaaghil.com