CAREEM and You’re There

What can we learn from Careem?

Careem is a mobile app to hire a chauffeur-driven car service. The app operates in most cities of the Gulf countries, as well as in Pakistan and Egypt. A brilliant idea similar to the US Brand Uber that also launched in the region, recently. So coming back to my question: What can we learn from Careem (i.e. its Brand Promise)?

  • Careem’s Business Strategy is crystal clear to passengers, travelling from one point to another through mobile app booking
  • The Business Strategy requires a Focused Brand with great Values. Careem’s customer experience starts from the moment the customer books a car online till the drop off
  • This leads to 2 types of experiences for the Customer/Passenger: Digital (the mobile app) and the Service (Chauffeur-driven Car)
  • Careem’s promise ‘And You’re There’ is simple yet precise and requires humans with basic skills and good behavior to deliver the experience. Great example on how Careem came up with a promise that balances across all touch points with minimal threats to the Brand
  • Careem can manage the Digital promise but not chauffeurs and/or cars. They’re 3rd party service providers but Careem was able to to train and share the Brand Values to ensure that the Brand Promise is a reality for their customers
  • If economy cars are not available to book, Careem ultimately finds the solution and sends Business Class cars
  • Careem’s Brand Promise struggles in areas such as King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh (a distant pick-up point within the city’s parameters). Hardly any driver is available in the area for a late night arrival and waiting for them could take up to an hour. It is in such locations, the Promise ‘And You’re There’ fails leading to frustrated users/passengers

Careem is a Focused Brand with great amount of simplicity. The Brand is perceived as some-what affluent. While Careem suffers from distant touch points, the company still manages to keep the promise intact

This is the difference between those that think of Brand as a promise to thier audience vs those that think of brands as mere logos used for Billboard/Out-door Advertising

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 31st December, 2014

Zain: Not a Wonderful World

Zain the Mobile service provider in Saudi Arabia possibly had a chance, in my opinion. However there are various influencing factors out of their control which restrict their success within the Saudi Market. For starters I do not think the management at Zain has sufficient knowledge about the market reality and their market standing. From a Branding and Marketing perspective Zain has probably over promised on services such as including phenomenal 4G offers with well thought out communication to influence users, to switch to their service. However they remained inadequate and failed miserably. When Zain was first introduced in Saudi Arabia they suffered from bad network which is one of the most important Values of any cell phone company which they should have calculated and tested prior to launch

Other factors that limit them or will limit them, what they can or cannot do:

  • If Zain wishes to be a low cost carrier, that would be impossible since the regulators would see that as a threat to the local carrier
  • If Zain decided to enter a particular segment of audience or even tried, it would be impossible as it would narrow down the company’s opportunity making it almost impossible for the company to sustain itself
  • What can Zain to do to turn things around? Evolve from their current Business Model? I find that hard as prime stakeholders would consider that a threat (Cell phones are tightly regulated even on Prices)

Zain needs to think smart and fast; they need to focus on getting themselves out of their over-stated turmoil. Their user confidence is already low and declining further, and the only reason why cell phone users would use Zain is either to find advantage over Price or network, both of which require Zain to develop a solid and long lasting ground on

The Telecom industry in Saudi Arabia is watched closely by regulators (CITC) leaving network providers with very little room to maneuver competitive advantage

Each of the service providers are known for their unique single strength, for instance: Mobily is well known for its Data Strength. While Al Jawal by STC is known for its excellent network coverage. Zain is left out from any unique strength other than the previous promises that failed with users’ experience

Brand’s should be very careful in their Promise vs Proposition. It is not the Product or the Service that creates the miracle instead it is everything else that comes with them such as the People and the Brand. I hope that Zain’s management realizes the opportunity in the Kingdom and reconsider all possible changes for the coming years

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

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 10th June, 2014

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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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