How Brand Dubai retains its spark

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How Brand Dubai retains its spark

Dubai - The city has grown exponentially in just three decades


Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Sat 10 Dec 2016, 8:47 PM

Last updated: Sun 11 Dec 2016, 8:45 AM

A city as a living brand. Building, flying, walking, speaking, and doing. Dubai the city. Its events, products and services have carved an identity that many modern cities can only dream of. It is being spoken about in the same breath as more established cities like new York, London, Singapore and others. Indeed, it is a brand new destination that provides a breath of fresh air from older hot spots.
The burden of legacy does not apply here. Doing it the best way matters. Brand Dubai has grown exponentially in just three decades, and as expo 2020 draws closer, the city is going all out to woo the world. Two years ago, his Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice-President and Prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, set up a new tourism body to establish offices in key cities around the world. The plan was to embed 'Brand Dubai' in people's minds, create a space before 2020. Authorities in the city hope to attract 20 million visitors a year in three years. This is expected to rise to 25 million between October 2020 and April 2021 when the mega event is staged here.
How did Brand Dubai rise in such a short time span? Three elements sum it well. Passionate people, great products with a global connect, and popular annual events like the Dubai shopping Festival and Dubai duty Free tennis. The city embodies a rich character with a pioneering spirit, a commitment to innovation, the pursuit of excellence and prosperity, while embracing vast cultural diversity. So what does Dubai as a brand mean to people, corporates and marketing gurus, locally as well as in global markets?
Emaar and Emirates are household names across the world. There are events like art Dubai, Dubai music week, Dubai Drumming, Dubai Property Show, Global Village, Dubai Food Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, and many more. People relate to these events. They connect. They belong. People want to be proud of their place of origin, and brand provenance gives consumers a filtering mechanism for choosing products and services by projecting ideas of dependability, reassurance, and authenticity
As such, there is an opportunity for businesses and marketers to position locations as brands and treat them as assets; creating the image of cities, cultures and experiences through products and services. On the world stage, Dubai is recognised as being one of the most developed, and fastest growing cities.
When asked to describe Dubai, often people will cite landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab or the Palm. They are all representative symbols of progress, innovation, excellence which contribute to the city's sense of wonder. Ramesh Menon, CEO & Creative Director, brandform, says: "adding the tag 'Dubai' to your brand name is a great way to communicate volumes about your brand in the shortest possible time.
Brand Dubai already comes with a story that's hugely successful. Adding 'Dubai' to a brand name associates it with quality, credibility, innovation, commitment and opulence. It also serves other purposes - for example, we work on a brand called the Dubai Property Show - an event that takes developers from Dubai to London, Hong King and Mumbai.
With Dubai being part of the name, it signals clearly who should be exhibiting (and why). To visitors at these international locations, the tag 'Dubai' already establishes reasons why they should visit."
Over a period of time, any brand is only as good as the promises it delivers. At the core of Brand Dubai is the leadership's clarity of vision and the government's commitment to deliver. This 'vision delivered' story when repeated successfully - time after time -has created a brand of extraordinary value and universal appeal," adds Menon.
Endorsing a similar sentiment, Jennifer Watson, founder of Bloom Branding, said : "A brand needs to give its audience something to identify with, in order to stand out from the crowd. Irrespective of the sector, brands need to remain relevant to their target audiences and achieve meaningful differentiation from their competitors; and this must be sustainable.
"We can say that one of the most powerful concepts in branding is that of provenance, and using a brand's geographic origin or heritage to build its identity is a way to begin telling its story. Looking across sectors, we have several examples of brands that have integrated "Dubai" into their name. In aviation, there is flydubai, in leisure and entertainment, Ski Dubai. We have Du in telecoms, Mai Dubai drinking water, and Dubizzle."
Established in 2013 as a fashion promotional agency and based in the UAE, Runway Dubai has successfully developed one of the leading fashion media event in the Middle East region.. Modupe Omonze, founder, Runway Dubai, said: "I strongly feel that having 'Dubai in The Runway Dubai brand shows its affiliation with the city and its true qualities: especially in the fashion industry. As a fashion brand which promotes culture, the city Dubai attracts people from all across the world. We chose Dubai because by default, fashion brands have to include the name of the city. It is the brand's identity."
Mai Dubai, the water brand, is hailed as classic local brand by industry experts as one that is synonymous with the identity of the city. The unique red colour in the corporate identity of Mai Dubai symbolises vigour, vividness, happiness and prosperity. The design of its bottles were inspired by Dubai's modern architecture.
Prakash Kumar, an independent brand consultant, said: "Mai Dubai, water has been an exception I guess. In a category where the brand defied all brand logic to shift labeling color from conventional blue to red and add Dubai to its brand. Within a short span of time, the brand is seen wide across restaurants and cafes as well as resonating well with the local populace. A good example of positive brand association with brand DUBAI."
Kumar said: "The rub-off and pride only comes about when one travels the world and in engaging conversations bring about your place of belonging. Brand Dubai needs no introduction. People as far an wide in remote villages of USA, who might have never seen NYC and Times Square still have a jaw dropping expression when they hear about Dubai. Across the world, Dubai brings about positive affinity and vibrations of a place that does what is impossible. So brands wanting to gain a quick of take, might think of adding a suffix DUBAI to their existing brand name

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