an image of pencils displayed creatively dubai

Take a look at the Dubai skyline and you’ll see cranes on the move again even the long awaited tram is near finished (dare I say it). Malls are full to bursting with shoppers. Construction and retail growth, two economic bellweathers here in Dubai, are on the up. All of which has got me thinking…

With a sense of renewal in the air, there’s a real opportunity for local brands – and international players with a strong local presence – to renew their communications and ‘reset the clock’ with consumers. Now that liquidity is beginning to flow once again, and its effects are trickling down into the real economy, I believe that there’s a genuinely different and more connected way of doing things…

So, if you’re reading this as a marketing or brand manager – in fact anyone who makes selling their business – here’s a new manifesto:

1. Honesty rules
A fundamental consumer connection – and the root of brand trust – lies in honesty. Being straight (and straight-up) in your offers and promotions, and living up to your promises, is a must-have in the post-crash world. Remember trust is not a given; it must be earned, and often only in the long term.

2. Demonstration drives reputation
Declaration is one thing. After all, it’s easy to tell your customers how wonderful you are. But proving it, day in day out, by demonstrating your commitment, is what genuinely drives belief. Make your day-to-day ‘proof points’ readily apparent in your service proposition.

3. Think (and act) long-term
Nothing engenders consumer loyalty like a commitment to the long-term; yours and theirs together. Consider life beyond your next promotional period – like a loyalty programme or a cumulative promotion. Or reward your existing customers (and not just your new ones) with better deals on your other products and services.

4. Get Social
To connect more tangibly, you need to be where your customers are, and to be there with credibility, timeliness and relevance. So, if you believe that a social networking presence would enhance your communications, it needs to be an ever-evolving one, not a static billboard with last month’s press releases…

5. Be seen, not herd
Following the herd is so Noughties. Instead, developing a leadership position (based on real-world proof-points, not puffed-up arrogance) will help you stand out. Leadership is having the confidence to take a risk and be different.

6. Rediscover your creative mojo
To refresh your brand’s external presence, call in your agencies and shake things up. Challenge them to a duel. And ask them to do better.

7. Craft your message
How you say it is every bit as important as what you say. So consider what you’ve been saying all these years… and then say it differently. Ask yourself whether your communications style – your ‘tone of voice’ – is genuinely engaging.

8. Seek new platforms
Apply the same thinking to what you say and how you say it to where you say it. Consider new places to reach customers – everywhere from the mobile in their pockets to the shopping trolleys they push.

9. Press the flesh
Nothing beats the sight (and sound) of your customers in real life, and in their natural habitat (ie the shops). So get your brand out there and encounter them in all their glory. Enhancing your experiential marketing presence, if it’s done in the right way, can score you extra points for relevance.

10. Join the dots
And finally, connect it all up. And make each new way of reaching your customers feed off the others, in a virtuous and joined-up circle, with a single, clear and unambiguous message.

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