Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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But the strength of Brand UAE may come as a surprise to some, given that marketing efforts are largely carried out by individual emirates.

“There does not appear to be very much done at the federal level,” says Mr Campbell.

“But there’s an awful lot done at the emirate level: Dubai spends heavily on its brand, so does Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and some of the others are starting to do that as well.

“If you’re a tourist and you say you’re going to the UAE, people may say ‘where’s that?’ But if you say ‘I’m going to Dubai or Abu Dhabi’, they say ‘oh right, Dubai,’” he adds.

The Brand Finance rankings – which use six key data sources including the World Economic Forum and IMF – draw in statistics across a range of categories, most of which apply at a federal level.

But some may query the significance of Brand UAE as a whole – given that some emirates are more in the global public’s perception than the whole.
Charles Wright, a principal at the global branding agency Wolff Olins, who previously ran the company’s office in Dubai, says he is surprised at the Brand Finance findings.

“Dubai is more famous than the UAE. I suspect the Burj Khalifa is better known internationally than the country,” he says.

But he concedes that, “among people who know, the UAE is well regarded.
“A beacon of moderation and stability in a turbulent region. But I doubt if many ordinary citizens in Europe or the USA have a clear impression of the UAE.”
But John Brash, the founder and chief executive of Brash Brands, which has an office in Dubai, says both the country as a whole and individual emirates contribute to the UAE’s overall image.

“The UAE is in a unique position: the nation in its entirety gets assessed for this exercise, yet at the same time, individual emirates are also building their own identities,” he says.

“Brand Abu Dhabi is going from strength to strength, and with last year’s ‘Brand Dubai’ launch, our two largest emirates are putting huge efforts into the way the world sees us …
“In addition, increasing global awareness of successful homegrown brands such as Emirates and Etihad plays a large part in the way we’re seen as a nation of achievement.”

But while Mr Brash says that Brand UAE is perceived globally as “dynamic, daring and luxurious”, he advises that it is important to broaden its appeal further.

To grow the UAE’s brand, it must be more inclusive and not as focused on five-star luxury, Mr Brash says.

“The next wave of UAE development needs to ensure we keep a wide appeal, that it’s not all concentrated at the top end.

“[And] also, do more to promote our unique history and culture. There are beautiful hotels and beaches across the world, yet the heritage of the Emirates is unique,” he adds.

“Make these changes, and the UAE as a nation brand can only grow stronger.”

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