Brand UAE is making waves and inspiring other countries

This country innovates constantly, and in a globalised world, nations should be viewed as commercial brands who compete in different sectors

File photo
File photo

By Tarik Alhassan

Published: Tue 11 Apr 2023, 10:38 PM

Successful nations build their brands by consistently communicating a positive narrative that appeals to diverse audiences from all over the world. Researchers, governments, and academics have paid more attention to national branding efforts in recent years, and the practice has evolved to become an important national sustainability tool.

A nation’s internal brand-building efforts include the formulation of policies, improving the quality of life, drafting regulations, building infrastructure, empowering people, focusing on culture and history, while also growing the economy. Externally, communications, marketing, branding, and advertising activities promote the brand’s identity and strengths. This is mostly used to attract tourists; however, it is also effective in showcasing the brand’s core value. Today, nations compete plainly as brands, specifically in economic areas such as product of origin, exports, tourism, investment destinations, and the recruitment of talented immigrants.

A nation's brand is comprised of various pillars, one of which is the vision of its leadership. Smart leadership communicates policies, regulations and development data effectively to a wider audience. The UAE is a stellar example of successful nation brand. It has grown to become not only a global leader in several fields, it has also inspired the entire Middle East by charting a new road to peace and prosperity.

The UAE is the first Middle Eastern country to "break the Western monopoly," as described by Andrew Campbell (2021) from Brand Finance. The country’s outstanding efforts placed it in the world's top 11 global brands (Brand Finance, 2021) ahead of the US and the UK. So what are the pillars on which the Brand UAE is built on? I would say vision, communication, and innovation. The unique vision of the Emirati leaders and the consistency in policy puts the country in a happy place. The country’s branding communications efforts are both internal and external. Internal communication is directed at the private and government sectors, and the people. They get feedback in order to keep policies updated, attractive, and competitive. External communications relies on utilising conventional and digital platforms to communicate the nation’s liberal, hospitable and innovative streak.

It’s important to note that the UAE has achieved much in just two decades in terms of infrastructure and trade. When times were tough, like during the pandemic, the country showed resilience and was able to control the crisis calmly and put the economy on the path to an early recovery. The Dubai Expo was a success and it is now busy hosting sports, and arts events. The UAE has a Minister of Happiness, and is taking a big leap into space. And did you know that it is the first nation in the world to print its brand logo on its currency (the new Dh1,000 note)?

This country innovates constantly, and in a globalised world, nations should be viewed as commercial brands who compete in different sectors. Hence, branding extends beyond products, corporations, or individuals. A nation’s brand narrative can create "fans," who are tourists, immigrants, and investors.

Finally, what inspires Brand UAE? Without a doubt it’s the leadership who have empowered the people. The leaders have a zeal for development that stems from their long term vision of what a model country should be. There is new thinking and ideas emerging from the UAE, which has also lifted the Middle East’s branding as a whole. - The author is a marketing expert

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