Egypt can leverage brand loyalty says expert
Dubai, December 31, 2009
Egypt can enhance its overall economic performance by promoting world-class local brands and leveraging brand loyalty, according to brand expert BrandCentral.
With the sheer size of its population, Egypt has been recognised as the largest and a truly authentic consumer society in the Arab World, creating the kind of environment wherein competition thrives and consumers have a real choice, said Ibrahim Lahoud, director of strategy and brand communication, BrandCentral.
The same competitive environment also serves as an ideal breeding ground for developing world-class brands, especially since the Egyptian market has thousands of brands that are only waiting to stand out, according to Lahoud.
Helping local manufacturers and business organisations cultivate brand loyalty among the country's millions of consumers, will help create powerful local brands that can compete internationally and reduce the Egyptians' reliance on international brands.
"Egypt has always been the focus of most industries as it is the largest, real consumer society in the Arabic speaking world,” Lahoud said.
“It is one of the oldest economies too. The one thing that is still missing in Egypt is a culture of branding within the local business community. Brand loyalty is not yet well established in Egypt, which is why Egyptian consumers are loyal to very few local brands that enhance Egypt's image. In reality, there are thousands of brands in the market that are waiting to shine," he added.
Egypt's consumer market is dependent largely on price or on various benefits being offered by certain products, which is, strictly speaking, not brand loyalty, Lahoud said.
In this system, clients can easily shift allegiance to a new brand if the competition offers a better price or a new product. Nonetheless, Lahoud pointed out that it expects a gradual paradigm shift as Egyptian businesses are now increasingly appreciating the long-term, strategic value of branding.
"Based on our experience, there are several businesses that are pushing for reforms in their branding strategies. Somehow, the market is realising how important branding is, not just as a visual manifestation, but mostly as the expression of the business organisation's soul and philosophy, and as a powerful instrument to get closer to the consumer's heart," said Lahoud.
"BrandCentral's work with various local business organisations has achieved tremendously positive results,” Lahoud continued.
“As a brand consultancy and design communication firm, our goal has always been to help local businesses create brands that are truly relevant, emotional, perennial and act as vehicles for values and attributes that their businesses stand for. Furthermore, our clients appreciate the fact that we are an Arab company that identifies with and understands the Arab market. We are here because BrandCentral truly believes in the long-term potential of the Egyptian market," added Lahoud.
He also pointed out that the value of branding becomes even more apparent in the aftermath of the global economic recession, as consumer spending trends now favour the more reliable, tested and proven brands that give greater value for money.
"Smart marketers know that in order to make money, they have to spend money. Where do they spend that money? The answer is branding,” Lahoud noted.
“If brands that are currently suffering from the depression had been thoroughly developed much earlier, they would have certainly enjoyed a huge competitive advantage during the economic squeeze.”
“The fact is that in bad times, nobody spends on trial and error; instead, we consumers spend on reliable, tested and proven brands. This illustrates why creating wonderful, memorable and visible brands must be a top priority for any business entity whether it is during a boom time or a downturn," concluded Lahoud. – TradeArabia News Service