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Making scents: Abdulla Ajmal on taking his fragrance firm into new markets. 34 February 2011 – Issue No. 195



World News



Aujan returns to Mindshare. BPA reaffirms UFI link. Medialeader gains rights to represent Al Watan. Hotels’ app launches in Arabic. OVAB sign-up signals regional ambition. Dubizzle now available in 14 countries. Karl Wolf stars in Close Up digital campaign. Lipton focuses CSR on women in Saudi Arabia. Dunhill unveils new global creative. Four Communications bags bgb. SkyHigh joins Canada’s Communic8. Online insurance offering from AXA. NPD from Henkel Arabia. Marketing moves and much more around the region.


Sephora Americas launches Glee nail range. UK celebrity tweeters cautioned over undeclared, paid-for product mentions. Star Gold shines over Nigeria. JC Decaux expands Waitrose footprint. Starwood drops Pepsi for Coke. A record year for Audi worldwide. Growing taste for premium chocolate boosts Callebaut sales. Tribal Fusion opens in South Africa. Luce named H&K global COO. VisitBritain hands M&C Saatchi global marketing campaign.

Q & A


Standard Chartered’s head of group branding, Susan Ho, on why the bank is really here for good.



Contemporary Halal choices are rooted in authenticity-seeking

motivations, such as provenance and eco-ethics.

CLIENT SERVICING: Play nicely now…


Are some clients and their digital agencies ganging up against their creative cousins asks Aprais’s Mark Bibbings.

Cover story


GMR Exclusive: We hooked up with Effective Measure to launch Bridal Attraction 2011, in depth research on the key influencers and media consumption habits among highly brand conscious Arab brides-to-be.

Sector Analysis Telecommunications


Last year was not without its challenges for the region’s teleco sector. Did any country in the Middle East make it into the 2010 Digital Economy Rankings? Kuwait’s Zain grabbed most of the headlines, but was it for the right reasons? Demand for Arabic Apps is growing dramatically, says new study. Telecos and sports sponsorship prove a winning combination. How have the old incumbents fared in the new, post-monopolistic GCC? How can service providers prevent churn, our guest author thinks he has the answers. We report from the recent Saudi ICT Conference in Jeddah. Plans revealed for the region’s largest RCN. Plus, latest PARC analysis and Sekari SEO monitoring.

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52 Sector analysis: Telecommunications MediaquestCorp. Dubai Media City Al Thuraya Tower 2, 24th Floor United Arab Emirates Tel: +(971) 4 391 0760 Fax: +(971) 4 390 8737 Reproduction in whole or part of any matter appearing in GMR is prohibited by law without the prior written approval of the publishers. Opinions expressed in GMR do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers and editorial staff of the magazine. The publishers do not hold out any guarantee as to its accuracy, neither do they indemnify any loss arising through use of the information. All dollar prices ($) are US dollars, unless otherwise specified. All marketing data is subject to confirmation. Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai

GROUP MANAGING EDITOR Siobhán Adams DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR Precious Jasper de Leon SENIOR SUB EDITOR Elizabeth McGlynn SUB EDITOR Salil Kumar ART DIRECTORS Sheela Jeevan, Alvin Cha, Aya Farhat CONTRIBUTORS Alex Malouf ADVERTISING: MEDIALEADER United Arab Emirates Tel: +(971) 4 391 0760

Saudi Arabia: Ghassan A. Rbeiz Europe: S.C.C Arabies 18 rue de Varize 75016 Paris, France Tel: +(33) 01 47 66 46 00 Fax: +(33) 01 43 80 73 62 Lebanon: Beirut, Lebanon Tel: +(961) 1 202 369 Fax: +(961) 1 202 369

PUBLISHED BY: Medialeader FZ/MediaquestCorp FZ Europe: S.C.C Arabies, 18 rue de Varize 75016 Paris, France Tel: +(33) 01 47 66 46 00 Fax: +(33) 01 43 80 73 62

CO-CEO Alexandre Hawari CO-CEO Julien Hawari CFO Abdul Rahman Siddiqui Managing Director Ayman Haydar General Manager Simon O’Herlihy Creative Director Aziz Kamel Distribution & Subscription Director JP Nair, Marketing Manager Maya Kerbage Tel: +971 4 3757527 KSA GM Walid Ramadan Tel: +966 1 4194061 Lebanon GM Nathalie Bontems Tel: +961 1 492801 North Africa GM Adil Hamed-Abdelouahab Tel: +213 661 562 660 France Sales Director Manuel Dias Tel: +33 1 4766 46 00

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Al Barq paves way for regional chapter Last year was a tipping point for DOOH, OVAB chief says

Optimistic. Andrew Wood (left) and Florian Rotberg expect a more vibrant market

UAE European OOH industry body OVAB – the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau – is hoping to form a MENA chapter following admission of its first Middle Eastern member, AD Media Digital Out-of-Home (AD Media DOOH). AD Media DOOH, whose brands include Al Barq Digital, will be working with OVAB to raise awareness and produce regular research about the sector. According to Florian Rotberg, executive board at OVAB Europe, 2010 was the tipping point for DOOH in general, with secondgeneration players joining the market. “DOOH infrastructure has to be replaced every four to five years as displays and media players run out of life,“ he told GMR.” The second-generation

DOOH players are profiting from the experience of the past five years. “It took a long time to educate media buyers about the advantages of DOOH compared to traditional OOH. Now it is also possible to sell time and event-triggered ads on a larger scale,” Rotberg said. “Other second-generation DOOH market entrants are JC Decaux and Ströer, established OOH players that were reluctant to step into DOOH on a larger scale in the past.” He added that, according to PQ Media, the total EMEA OOH sector in 2004 was valued at $9.6 billion, of which only 10 per cent was DOOH. By 2009 this had risen to $10.51 billion, of which 18 per cent was attributed to DOOH. “It’s clear that what is of the highest importance is

demonstrating, consistently, the impact and benefits this medium delivers to advertisers, brands and the consumer,” said Al Barq Digital general manager, Andrew Wood. Asked if the initiative was UAE-only, Wood told GMR that it needs to be MENAwide. “It won’t work unless we have multiple partners.” Rotberg added: “We are working on getting more members on board to have enough for a local chapter. But in the meantime, OVAB will show presence in the region with networking events and education programmes aimed at media buyers and brand owners.” OVAB is also launching a MENA version of its Digital Signage Business Climate Index, due out next month. The Al Barq network is installed at Dubai Festival City.

Lipton ‘inspires’ dialogue among women in KSA Saudi Arabia Unilever Lipton recently organised a monthly panel in Saudi Arabia as part of its CSR programme. The  Inspirat iona l  a nd Creative Dialogues brings together women from different generations and creative groups in the kingdom, fostering dialogue about women’s achievements in social and personal causes, despite social, economic and educational barriers. Allowing interaction between the speakers and attendees, the initiative kicks off in Jeddah, and reaches out to several Saudi cities. It will be focused on three

topics: setting examples; understanding reality; and future awareness. Speakers include Saudi women in both the academic and professional field, who are active in public service and developmental programmes, including media personalities, businesswomen, artists and photographers.

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HotelsCombined launches app for Arabic users MeNA Hotel price comparison site has launched an iFindHotels version 1.31 for iPhone and iPod Touch, an update that enables full support and browsing, in Arabic, of its hotel price comparison app. The app connects to and compares rates from online travel sites and hotels directly.

With integrated mapping, smart sorting and filters for search results, users can search for hotels anywhere around the world to get the best available rate, complete with local currencies. Having recently launched, the addition of Arabic to the iFindHotels application underlines the commitment to the growing Middle Eastern travel market, a company release reported. Hichame Assi, head of Strategy and Online Marketing for, said: “We’re excited to be the first to have a fully functional app in Arabic and look forward to the continuing expansion of HotelsCombined. com in the Middle East region, which is fast becoming a key global travel market.”

BPA strengthens UFI regional presence Middle east BPA is reinforcing its partnership with Paris-based International Trade Fairs Union (UFI) as its certified auditor of events and exhibitions for the region. Through the UFI Approved Event scheme, BPA publishes data on attendance and exhibitor levels. In July 2010, UFI strengthened its audit rules so that UFI Approved Events around the world audit at least every other edition (for annual shows) or every edition for shows organised less frequently. For organisers joining UFI and seeking the UFI Approved certification, the first two editions need to be audited. Last year, BPA audited UFI events in Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Syria, as well as in Africa. “As the forces of globalisation continue, it is inevitable that international marketers will prioritise face-to-face me-


strength in numbers: Data on attendance and exhibitor levels is key

dia in emerging markets as they introduce themselves to new territories and customer bases. Deciding which show, when and at what scale to exhibit, is a huge challenge to companies unfamiliar with new territories,” says Stuart Wilkinson, MD EMEA for BPA Worldwide. “The UFI Approved Event scheme acts as a safe marker for direct exhibiting companies or organisers of national pavilions (who are typically investing public funds), need-

ing to filter and select a best practice show at which to exhibit. It raises confidence in the marketing investment selection process.” Kuwait-based Ibrahim Al Khaldi is the regional manager for UFI. In separate, but related news, Aspen Aman, business development manager, Middle East, BPA Worldwide, is to take up a commercial and operational role at Saudi newspaper Al Jazirah’s new office in Dubai.

Owned by luxury conglomerate Richemont, Dunhill has launched a new promotion campaign for its SpringSummer 2011 collection. “the Voice” features three British personalities for the first run of the campaign: broadcaster Sir David Frost, violin virtuoso Charlie Siem, and artist and author Harland Miller. the company is planning three campaigns. the initiative changes Dunhill’s communication, with the products taking a step behind the brand philosophy.

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1833 VW Golf 2011 Gulf Marketing E


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Aujan returns to Mindshare with $14 million account Company raises budget by 25 per cent to boost Iran, Iraq, Syria and Egypt markets MENA Saudi drinks company Aujan Industries has handed its $14 million media planning account to Mindshare following a competitive fiveway pitch. The win, which comprises online and offline across the GCC, Levant, North Africa, Iraq and Iran, sees Mindshare reclaim the account, which moved to Initiative in 2004, before going to latest incumbent, Media Insight, in 2006. Media Insight merged with MediaCom last year. Aujan, whose brands include Rani, Barbican and Vimto, called the review last November citing imminent expiration of the contract as the reason.

Mindblowing: Aujan was very impressed with the high standard of pitches

Ahmed Shaboury, head of brands marketing, Aujan, said the standard of presentations from all the agencies had been high. “We were happily surprised,” he tells GMR, adding that the media budget had

been raised by 25 per cent, compared to 2010, to cover increased activity in the priority markets of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Egypt. Aujan president and CEO, Kadir Gunduz, says in a press

release: “We adopted a very transparent process for the pitch with clearly identified selection criteria. The submissions were of top quality and competitive. This made it hard to make the call, but a decision had to be taken based on overall parameters. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the media agencies that took part in this process for their hard work, passion and dedication, and wish to congratulate Mindshare for the win.” Aujan declined to specify the agencies that pitched. Both Mindshare and MediaCom are part of WPP’s media investment operation, Group M.

Medialeader inks Al Watan representation deal Partnership to boost newspaper’s advertising sales across international markets

Huge potential: Alexandre Hawari (left) and Hatim Hamed Mouminah. The deal covers on and offline media.

Saudi Arabia Medialeader has become the sole media representative of Al Watan newspaper across all major international markets, excluding Saudi Arabia. The agreement, which also covers www.alwatan. com. sa, was signed by Alexandre Hawari, co-CEO, Medialeader, and Hatim Hamed Mouminah, CEO, Aseer Establishment for Publishing & Printing, which publishes the Saudi-based newspaper. Al Watan claims a circulation of 210,000.

“We have chosen Medialeader to help us tap a growing list of advertisers who want to exploit the huge potential afforded by the Saudi market,” says Mouminah. Hawari adds: “We will provide advertisers from all over the world the opportunity to target consumers and businesses in Saudi Arabia, a country cited for its continuing economic growth and future prospects.” Medialeader is a member of Mediaquest Corp, the publisher of GMR.

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Four buys bgb for cash and equity UAE Indi agency Four Communications has acquired travel and tourism PR and representation agency, bgb, in a cash and equity deal. Bgb, which reportedly has a combined annual fee income of $4 million, has been renamed Four bgb. The agency will join Four Communications’ PR, public affairs, digital, sponsorship, media and marketing practices under the Four Com mu n ic at ions  Group umbrella. Now in its 20th year, its client list includes Etihad Airways, Visit Wales, Club Med and Wyndham Hotels. Four Communications was launched in 2001. It has had offices in Dubai since 2004 and in Abu Dhabi since 2007, from which it operates across the Gulf region. Four bgb will be developing a specialist travel and tourism brand in the region this year.

Unilever taps Wolf to promote Close Up Ambition to make the largest collaborative music video ever

Discreet distance: Digital keeps core brand positioning culturally acceptable.

MENA Unilever Arabia has signed Lebanese-Canadian R&B singer Karl Wolf for a digital campaign to promote its Close Up dental brand among the region’s youth. The global brand positioning of Close Up, which equates fresh breath with inspiring physical proximity between genders, had to be reworked for the Middle East. The ‘Get Fresh, Get Close’ campaign was developed by Lowe MENA and Weber Shan-

dwick MENA. Fans are invited to record freestyle  soundbites  on www.closeuparabia. com in an attempt to make the largest collaborative music video ever. Aside from sending audio clips online, specially built recording booths have also been set up in malls and “hangout hotspots” across the GCC. All the recorded soundbites will go into the final version of the single.

These ‘freshness tags’ must be  vocal expressions such as rap or beat boxing that will then be mixed with Wolf’s vocals and re-arranged to create the video. Ten entrants will be selected to perform with Wolf in the video. They will also get the chance to appear with him on stage. The fans will also receive a video of them performing with him, which they can share with friends, encouraging them to vote. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being used. “Obviously, Twitter and Facebook provide support to the microsite, but it means children can get involved with Karl Wolf and the brand. Additionally,  the  ground activities mean they can physically interact with the brand and get close up,” a spokesman told GMR. Finalists will be selected next month.

New-look Dubizzle goes live in 14 MENA countries MENA Online classifieds firm Dubizzle is now live in 14 countries across the MENA region, with listings available in Arabic, French and English. In line with its regional expansion strategy, the UAEheadquartered company has undergone a redesign, following extensive user testing.

Launched in 2005, the site continues to offer free membership and now counts more than one million unique visitors and more than 45 million page views on a monthly basis. The company is the brainchild of American entrepreneurs J.C Butler and Sim Whatley.

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Sky High teams up with Communic8 UAE Dubai-based Sky High Advertising has partnered with Canadian internal communications specialists, Communic8 Consulting, which operates across the North American market. According to a press release, the deal allows Communic8 to broaden its regional client base while offering Sky High a foothold in the US. The partnership enables both firms to bridge the gap for their clients between internal corporate strategy, internal communications, and the external brand and its reputation. Fahd Khater, managing director of Sky High, said: “Communic8’s expertise in ensuring that internal brand values live and breathe through their client’s organisations is part of the sustainability model that our partnership is based on. Their capacity to transform entire organisations gives us the basis on which to build a strong brand.”

URBN GETS ENGAGING MENA Dubai-based media firm URBN has partnered with social media marketing company EngageSciences, which allows brand engagement with consumers across multiple social media platforms and monitors what people are saying about a brand. Launched in 2010, URBN was founded by Eamonn Carey and Conor Purcell and is chaired by Nurain Jashanmal.

AXA offers home insurance over internet Initiative makes product “more accessible” and “cost-effective” UAE AXA Insurance Gulf is making its home insurance, Home Comfort, available online. The initiative makes the product more accessible and cost-effective, AXA said. Alexis de Beauregard, chief officer, Marketing and Retail Products, said, “Home insurance in the UAE has a very low penetration. Some 95 per cent of home owners in the UAE do not have home insurance because it is not a mandatory requirement. “However, more and more people are looking to insure their homes, and we have enhanced our product to meet the varying needs by providing flexible options along with the convenience of buying the product online.” Customers can buy the product from any part of the

Good cover: Alexis de Beauregard

world. They can receive a quote within a minute without any obligation to buy. Buyers also receive a five per cent discount. “Comprehensive does not necessarily mean expensive – the new home insurance covers the policy holder, his home and family for less than

AED1 per day,” added de Beauregard. All documentation is submitted digitally, with an added ‘Slab-based Sum Insured’ criterion, where the consumers may mix-andmatch their policies as per their requirements. And with online services, there is no need for policy holders to amend or endorse their policies if new content is added to the household during the validity period, provided it is within the single article limit and the total content value does not cross the selected slab value. AXA Gulf is the largest international non-life company in the GCC. It operates from 12 offices region-wide with a gross written premium of $445 million.



Henkel innovates in homecare sector GCC Henkel Arabia has launched two more products within the GCC’s homecare category – Persil Gel and Combat Bait Gel. Although the company’s overall share of the KSA detergent market is only four per cent, it is growing ahead of global rates at 30 per cent year-on-year, according to GM Memosh Khawaja. Speaking at press conference to launch the new lines, Khawaja added that Henkel Arabia dominates the re-

Liquid assets: Memosh Khawaja

gion’s liquid detergent sector with 55 per cent share, which it says is the fastest growing subcategory. A major TV campaign comprising five TVCs will support Persil Gel during the next 12 months.

Combat Bait is a nonaerosol insecticide that lures and traps cockroaches and other insects. It eliminates them completely, including those that are beyond reach or not visible. Educating consumers is a key focus of the marketing campaign, so instore activation is a major element. The product is listed in 100 outlets across the GCC. A website will launch in April and SMS messages will remind consumers when replacements are necessary.









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Marketing Moves

2011 01

Saudi-based daily newspaper Al Jazirah has appointed Aspen Aman to head up its Dubai office. Aman previously worked at BPA Worldwide as business development manager ME.

Planning function as part of Mindshare services. Pound has more than two decades of international marketing and consulting experience and has held senior leadership roles in Mars, Kraft and Unilever across different territories including Europe, North America and MEA.

Andrew Pound is now the regional director, Strategic Business Planning, for Mindshare. 11 advert FINAL FOR HeGMR is Half now page responsible for officially launching the Business

Leo Burnett MENA has appointed Bechara Mouzannar as chief creative officer for Middle East PRINT.pdf 12:17:26 PM and North1/12/11 Africa. Mouzannar was regional executive creative


director at the agency. He is taking over from Farid Chehab, Arab Ad’s Man of the Year 2010 and co-founder of H&C Advertising, which partnered with Leo Burnett in 1981. Chehab will remain honorary chairman and adviser to the MENA management board. With more than two decades of experience, Mouzannar has worked on The Hariri Foundation’s Khede Khasra and Johnnie Walker Keep Walking campaigns. He was ranked the 29th best executive creative director worldwide, by the 2009 Big Won report – the first time an

executive creative director in the MENA region has been ranked among the top 50. Robin Smith has taken up the newly created role of regional creative director at OgilvyAction MENA, a brand activation network of Memac Ogilvy Group. He was previously OgilvyAction Dubai’s creative director, and was part of the team that developed ideas such as BP Visco’s Dustvertising campaign and the launch of Pond’s Age Miracle in the region.











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World News

Star strikes Gold in Nigeria’s TV Nigeria Star recently launched its Bollywood movie channel Star Gold in Nigeria, following a distribution deal with Pay TV operator, HiTV. HiTV is one of Nigeria’s major Pay TV providers. With more than 30 channels, it offers a combination of local and international content – including Indian and Arabic – to its 30,000 subscribers.

Bouquet offering: Sumantra Dutta

The four-year-old operator also enjoys a presence in other parts of Africa, Europe and the US. “We look forward to working closely with HiTV to bring subscribers more TV choice from our highly rated bouquet of South Asian channels,” says Sumantra Dutta, Star’s country head – MEAP. Star Gold will be available on premium bouquet for $23 a month. Founded in 1991, New Corp-owned Star broadcasts more than 32 channels in 10 languages, reaching some 300 million people in 65 countries across Asia and the Middle East. It is watched by 120 million viewers every day.

Brand-endorsing tweets in UK probe Celebs can earn up to $10,000 for mentioning products UK Celebrities endorsing brands through tweeting or blogging may face censure by UK consumer watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The organisation is to launch an investigation into celebrities who use their online presence for endorsements without stating their relationship with the brand, reports UK newspaper The Guardian. Late last year, The OFT ruled against Handpicked Media, a PR firm which paid bloggers to write about its clients. Handpicked was found in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The OFT

cited non-disclosure of paid endorsements as ‘deceptive’. “The internet plays a key role in how people purchase products and services and the importance of online advertising continues to grow. The OFT has bolstered its expertise in this area and is taking targeted action to ensure the law is clear, increases business compliance and empowers consumers,” says Heather Clayton, senior director of OFT’s Consumer Group. Twitter endorsements are big business in the US. Kim Kardashian, for example, who has 5.6 million followers, can earn up to $10,000 a tweet.

“A year ago, celebrities were wary about their reputation, about selling out, but when they saw how easy it was to earn up to $5,000 a tweet, they flocked on board,” says Arnie Gullov-Singh, CEO of, a company which pairs celebrities and companies. The US Federal Trade Commission and WoM Marketing Association, however, have issued guidelines on paid testimonials prompting some celebrity tweeters to include the hash tags #spon or #paid for, when they receive payment or free products and services. Despite The OFT’s actions, plans to launch in Britain.

JC Decaux expands Waitrose footprint UK JC Decaux has expanded its network at UK multiple retailer Waitrose by a further 20 branches, bringing its total to 104. The expansion followed the addition of 15 new stores in March and a 100 per cent increase in the brand count carried year-on-year, with clients from a wide range of new categories targeting the upscale Waitrose shopper. Waitrose sales have benefited from new research from Decaux that shows a brand benefits from a sales uplift of +20 per cent during a campaign and a 10 per cent uplift after the campaign finishes. In addition to showcasing premium FMCGs, Waitrose 6-sheets are attracting new

Step forward: JC Decaux UK adds more stores

clients, including Smeg, a first-time advertiser on outdoor in November 2010, and home-cooking brand Charlie Bighams. New categories include: tourist destinations (Turkish Tourism, Disneyland Paris); financial products (Master-

Card and Investec Bank); eco-friendly clients (Ecover, Cadbury Fair Trade); and cinema releases. Decaux won the Waitrose contract to manage and develop 6-sheet advertising in 2007, following a highly competitive tender.

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W o r l d N ews

Glee -inspired nail range launched USA Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Sephora Americas have launched a limited-edition collection of nail colours for ‘Gleeks’, fans of the phenomenally successful TV show, Glee. The launch coincided with the special episode that followed Super Bowl XLV on Fox.

Tip-top: The Glee-inspired collection

The ‘Sephora by OPI goes Gleek Chic’ collection is available exclusively at Sephora’s 270 outlets in Canada and the US. A multiplatform marketing campaign – including instore activation, national magazine advertising, a spring catalogue feature and digital – supported the launch. The promotion also included a Facebook competition, ‘Nailed It! Gleek Out Photo Contest’, inviting fans to upload photos of themselves in Gleeinspired looks, plus a ‘Hide and Go Gleek’ Twitter contest. Glee has a strong fan base among 18 to 49 year olds. It has generated one platinum and two gold albums, and more than 18 million song downloads – the record for the most titles on the Billboard Hot 100 by a non-solo act.

Audi breaks own yearly sales record More than one million cars sold worldwide, all-time high in US Germany Audi AG sold 1,092,400 cars worldwide in 2010 to record its best year in terms of sales. In China, the company sold a record 227,938 units, while in the US it broke the 100,000 mark for the first time. “We have set an historic sales record in the US market, while achieving the best earnings in the country in a long time,” says Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the board of management for marketing and sales at Audi AG. The group said the Chinese market saw demand grow faster than expected. Audi delivered 227,938 cars in China in 2010, 43.4 per cent more than during the previous year. In December alone it delivered 18,186 cars. In Germany – as expected – the new Audi A1 helped

Overtaking: Audi sold 227,938 units in China last year

the group close the year on a strong note. With 23,950 units, Audi sold 36.4 per cent more cars than during the same period in 2009. Sales figures for 2010, with 229,157 units sold, were slightly above the results for 2009, despite the impact of the scrappage bonus.

December sales in Europe were about 52,200 units, up 18.2 per cent versus the same period in 2009. Last year it sold 647,600 cars in the region, making it Europe’s bestselling premium car brand, said the firm. The Middle East recorded 6,300 unit sales, up 12.5 per cent over 2009.

New markets boost Callebaut sales Europe Emerging markets helped boost 2010 Q1 sales for cocoa company Barry Callebaut, but Western Europe and the US continue to show mixed results. The company posted a 5.6 per cent rise in volume sales in the quarter ending November 2010, with 383,222 tonnes. But currency winds were not in its favour, and while revenue in local currencies was up 14.2 per cent, in its reporting currency the rise was just 4.9 per cent, to $1.58 billion. Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut, says: “Where-

Taste of success: Sales up 5.6 per cent

as emerging markets again showed gratifying GDP growth rates, the economic environment in western Europe and North America was mixed, but still better overall.

“We are particularly pleased with the growth of our gourmet business, our performance in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific, as well as the positive momentum of our cocoa product sales to global customers.” The company has a four-year volume target for 2013 of six to eight per cent. It plans to accelerate growth of its gourmet business, while developing the emerging markets it recently entered, including Russia, China, Japan, Mexico and Brazil.

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World News

Luce is named H&K’s global COO UAE WPP-owned PR agency Hill & Knowlton has named Ken Luce as global COO, reporting to Jack Martin, global chairman and CEO. Luce will direct the firm’s growth strategies and best practices for client services, marketing and HR, reported a company press release. Most recently Luce was president, global client management, at Weber Shandwick.

Collaborative: Ken Luce

“I look forward to collaborating with the teams on new and enhanced programmes to continue to grow the firm’s global business, practices and sectors, always with an eye to stellar client service and results,” he says. Luce has served as a guest lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the US. He was also chairman of the organising committee for the Big 12 Championship football and basketball events. Luce is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Decoding India’s digital behaviour Indian market not given due attention, says MEC chief India MEC India has released its Decoding India’s Digital Behaviour report. The study, which covers consumer interaction with traditional portals, search, social networking and mobile, found that search is the most popular activity online. Search, it said, is becoming integral to the consumer’s pathway for planned purchases. More than half of online consumers do not recognise that text links in search engines are, in fact, paid search advertising. Social networking is the second most popular, replacing emails as the preferred method of communication for almost 50 per cent of internet users. Entertainment is ranked third, with music and mov-

Preferred route: Search is the most popular activity online, study reveals

ies the most popular online entertainment activities. Shubha George, COO MEC South Asia, says: “We introduced the Paid Owned Earned media structure last year. Building on this, we have conducted a sizeable study to understand consumer’s behaviour in the online world and how and where they are interact-

ing with Paid, Owned and Earned media.” “With 63 million internet users and 70 million active GPRS users, I believe India’s substantial digital population is often not given the attention it merits,” George adds. The study, part of MEC’s Food For Thought series, covered 16 cities, with 1,200 people taking part

UK tourism body invites M&C Saatchi UK VisitBritain has handed M&C Saatchi $159 million to promote the “period of exceptional opportunity for tourism marketing” across the globe. Events include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The campaign, entitled You’re Invited, which launches in May, aims to convey a warm welcome, inviting people to visit and discover Britain for its events and beyond, reports a press release.

Welcome: $159 million campaign

The firm is said to be working pro bono for the initial five months of the contract and will cover social media and development, campaign monitoring and research strategies, as well as digital.

UK prime minister David Cameron recently announced that British companies such as and P&O Radisson Edwardian had pledged contributions to the campaign in light of a 34 per cent budget cut for VisitBritain during the past four years. VisitBritain marketing director, Laurence Bresh, says: “Recruiting M&C Saatchi for this account underlines the scale of our ambition to produce the best tourism marketing campaign that has ever been mounted by a host nation around an Olympic Games.”

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BIG SPLASH! What FP7 did when they were faced with a brief of gigantic proportions When a client comes with the request for an odd-sized ad in the paper because he wants to ‘stand out’ agencies don’t even break a sweat while resizing the ad to a pretty standard 40x60. But what does an agency do when the client calls and says ‘Guys, we have just acquired the sole sponsorship of a 53x13 m wall above the aquarium in Dubai Mall, and you need to brand it!’ Well, FP7 did a bit more than just scratch their heads. According to Spiro Malek, the Account Director on the account, when their newly acquired client EmiratesNBD first briefed them they were merely expecting simple branding projected onto the wall. But the creatives, like always, had other ideas. Amr Aly, one of the Art Directors, says, ‘That’s a high visibility area, we just had to get the Aquarium to advertise for us. Somehow.’ ‘Even bigger challenge than designing that mammoth space was to link a bank with the aquarium,’ puts in the Alaa Demachkie, the Senior Art Director, especially when the client was eager to have his core brand values up on the wall. ‘It is the biggest indoor advertising space in the UAE, we had to make it stunning – or face ridicule’ says Kamlesh Shankar, Senior Copywriter. So they started at the bottom – which was the aquarium – and created an above surface living panorama that blended harmoniously with the life beneath it. Then inserted the bank’s values seamlessly within the ‘natural’ view on the top. Voila! Job done. Client ecstatic.

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But that wasn’t the end of it. Aya Shedid, Account Manager, says, ‘the colossal artwork took 45 days of total production time, with five days of retouching in Brazil, 12 days of pasting by 15 workers, and countless sleepless nights’. Guess it’s all worth it when your work occupies the single largest indoor space in biggest mall in the world! It’s not everyday that your work gets the opportunity to be viewed by close to 40M people from across the globe!* *Visitor statistics from Dubai Mall website.

1/26/11 3:43 PM



Standard Chartered’s Susan Ho gets all emotional about the bank’s Here for Good campaign. She speaks to Precious de Leon. SUSAN HO assumed her current role in 2007. She is responsible for driving Standard Chartered’s brand strategy and agenda globally. Her remit includes corporate advertising and sponsorships, corporate identity and internal brand-building initiatives. Ho joined the bank in 2000 and has held a number of positions in Hong Kong, Singapore and London, including management of the bank’s websites, consumer banking marketing, executive assistant to the group CEO and head of the Creative Industries Group in wholesale banking. A native of Malaysia, she has also pioneered film-financing projects on behalf of the bank, including Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower, John Woo’s Red Cliff and The Weinstein Brothers’ Asian Film Fund.

Ho most recently spearheaded the bank’s new brand strategy, Here for Good, which centres on sharing stories of heritage, relationships and longevity. Prior to banking, she worked in advertising for Wunderman, Young & Rubicam in New York and Foote, Cone & Belding Asia Pacific. Ho is also an accomplished pianist and holds a degree in piano performance, as well as marketing. How did the Here for Good campaign start? Standard Chartered is 150 years old. We started in India and China, which, coincidentally, are two of the largest growth markets in the world today. We’ve also had footprints in Asia and Africa for a long time, and we’ve been in the Middle East for about 90 years.

Although, we’ve had successive record levels of performance in terms of profits and income in the past decade, we’ve had a long history of not being forthcoming with our own story. But about three years ago, we looked at our financial performance and where we were as a company. We felt it was time to grab the opportunity to position ourselves for the future. Since 2008, at the start of the economic crisis, the financial industry has been living in what I’d call the most extraordinary times. There’s been a real de-levelling of banks and a general mistrust of banks by consumers. At the same time, though, Standard Chartered continued to deliver record profits, so we felt there was a window of opportunity to do something different

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and differentiate ourselves. That was really the genesis of what we’re doing. For the first time, there was an appetite within our board and management to define our ambition, mission and strategy. Considering we’ve not been as well known as other banks, the strategy was simple: to significantly increase awareness of the brand. Is the Liverpool FC four-year sponsorship part of this strategy? Yes. Even though it’s the EPL (English Premier League), it’s one of the strongest brands in the world. The deal allowed us to reach more people around the world, as the team has more than 130 million fans. About a fifth of the world’s population watches football. It’s still early days. But since the launch in July, I’m told the Liverpool-Manchester United game was one of the most watched in the world. The game and the highlights, which were aired repeatedly, got more than one billion views. I’m also told, anecdotally, now that we are the sponsors, more fans from this region are buying Liverpool merchandise, compared to when the team was sponsored by an alcohol brand. In a way there’s been renewed audience appeal in the region. What are the elements of the brand promise? Once we create awareness, we need to introduce who we are and what we stand for. The last time we had a tagline, it was the 1970s. In parts of Asia, we are associated with “big, strong and friendly”. That was our tagline back then, and there’s still a strong connection. Forty years on, we launched what was probably the largest thing for our brand. We wanted our existing and potential customers to know that, to us, ‘Here for Good’ was more than a tagline. The test for us is delivering this brand promise through our services and products, and in our own behaviour. That’s one reason why I’m doing this trip. We ran a brand clinic, talking about some challenges we face with a brand promise like that.

Trustmark: Chris de Bruin (left), head of consumer banking, Standard Chartered, and Arif Armiri, CEO, Emaar Retail. The bank installed a 24mx60m banner at the Dubai Mall ice rink, reportedly the largest indoor ad in the Middle East.

Was the brand promise developed internally or through an agency? We’ve been working with our agency partner, TBWA, for at least six years now. The process of coming up with ‘Here for Good’ started about three years ago, in collaboration with the agency. It takes a long time to build a brand. And to build a great brand, it takes working on it yearon-year. It’s not just about what represents Standard Chartered today. It’s going to have to live for the next 20 to 30 years, so it’s got to be relevant for the long term. Did you hold off the unveiling due to the crisis or did it really take three years to launch? It did take that long, although there was certainly an opportunity, given our financial performance, to project ourselves for the future. When the financial crisis hit, however, we went at a slower pace because there were other things to think about. But by 2009, we realised it was important to crystallise what we stand for. We first looked at understanding what our customers think about us. Results show customers feel our USP is in: our financial performance, our heritage and our understanding of our markets. Basi-

cally, the fact that we are so uniquely positioned in the emerging markets. You’ve branded Dubai Mall’s ice rink. Can you talk about it and other such plans? We installed a 24mx60m banner over the rink, the largest indoor ad in the Middle East, along with 20 dashboards around it. We also offer discounts every Tuesdays and Fridays: 50 per cent for credit-card-holders and 25 per cent for debit card-holders. We’ve also branded Reel Cinema’s suite No. 12. Every Saturday, priority clients are invited to watch movies for free. The suite remains branded throughout the week. At the moment we are only working with Emaar Retail, but we are looking at other collaborations. What about vying for potential customers? There are two components to the brand strategy: First is rolling it out internally. We have close to 80,000 people globally and the first priority was making sure that internally everyone knows what Here for Good means. In 2009, I presented the idea to our board and spoke to the management teams. In January 2010, it was launched to our top

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Storytelling: The bank breaks away from its low-key communication style and jumps into a seemingly open communication with customers

There’s been a real de-levelling of banks and a general mistrust by consumers. 800 executives during the annual meeting. And, finally, we rolled it out to all our staff. Externally, we launched the ad campaign in early April through TVCs, billboards, print and online. This was a breakthrough project, because prior to this our ads were in blue and green washes. You can imagine the internal discussions that went on about veering towards black rather than our signature green and blue marks. But we wanted to do things differently, and give our trustmark prominence. One of the things that really surprised me was how the TVCs went viral. In the first month of the launch we had more than 40,000 YouTube hits – more than any other Standard Chartered video. These were four 60-second films, based on one script and directed by non-commercial artists, who used elements of their own craft to illustrate the Here for Good story. Austrian design typographer Stefan Sagmeister shot the global version, creating words out of visual elements. Ethiopian

filmmaker and artist Ezra Wube created an animated story about the progress in Africa by merging his more than 900 paintings. Chinese film director Tian Zhuang Zhuang uses the symbolism of trees and city life to represent the bank’s heritage and longevity, while Jordanian documentary producer Sandra Madi tells a story about commitment to generations of customers. What about the rest of your online strategy? We continue telling the story on our website. Ultimately, we need to prove we’re here for good. Saying it is one thing but demonstrating it is another. We’ve already created a microsite, which is populated with stories that serve as our testaments. But there are times you buy into the brand promise and it’s not executed at ground level. This is why one of the big transformational things that is happening within the bank internally is a big exercise on customer service. And it will take time. It’s not going to change overnight.

Regionally, there are a number of deals and products we’ve launched to demonstrate how we are helping clients, especially considering this region acts as a conduit between Asia and Africa. This includes our Islamic banking brand, Saadiq. Speaking of Shari’ah products, an Islamic brands index last year said banks had the least trusted Islamic brands. I would hope we’ve earned our credibility through our commitment to customers. I think, though, that there is a general mistrust of the banking industry. But I’m hopeful we stand out from the pack, as we’re not a new player, having been in Malaysia for a long time and gaining experience there. Any expectations for the next two to three years? I would like Standard Chartered to be top-of-mind for a bank brand and have a deeper connection with our brand. We’d also like to make the most out of the Liverpool deal. Our dream is to see Standard Chartered admired as a brand. Thank you. It was a pleasure. n

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Th pa To br ci

Th GM xx


Brand engagement

GMR’s exclusive research shows that while brides in the region are looking for the unconventional, brands are still looking at the traditional. So why the mismatch? Precious de Leon finds out. While the mother of the bride remains the most influential person/key influencer when choosing brands and services for the big day, nearly half (48 per cent) of brides in the GCC rely on online content, such as blogs and forums, for planning, products and services for their wedding. Bridal magazines are next at 34 per cent, followed by TV shows such as Al Atheer and Perfect Bride at 24 per cent, and social media at 18 per cent. Media consumption for this niche audience is just one of the key insights to emerge from a regional study on brides’ attitudes and behaviours by Effective Measure (EM, conducted exclusively with GMR. Bridal Attraction 2011 surveyed women in the GCC who are: to be married in the next 12 months; planning to get married in the next three years; or, have married in the past 12 months. “In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, 19 per cent say they relied on information from social media “to a great extent”.

“Clearly there is scope for traditional bridal magazines to publish content online with a social media twist for brides-to-be seeking recommendations and learning from other brides-to-be,” said Brendon Ogilvy, VP Digital Insights, EM. As part of separate research, SMG’s Business Compass research director, Racha Makarem, illustrates how Emirati brides approach the event, indicating a move towards online. “Today’s bride starts planning for her wedding the day her father marital arts

Score: EM’s Brendon Ogilvy

Inspired: Business Compass’ Racha Makarem

gives approval for the marriage and the two families agree on the dowry and the budget,” she says. “The groom is responsible for financing, while the bride decides what and how she wants to spend the wedding budget.” “There is very little last-minute planning, and most of the brides claim to know what they want, seeking inspiration mainly from other people’s weddings, wedding fairs, catalogues, and recently, via the internet, searching for additional ‘original’ ideas that would make her day one of a kind.” So what are the implications for brands? Well, it could mean a share of the $3 billion global wedding sector. In the Middle East, particularly, weddings are big business. “The UAE, for example, is an imageconscious society. This is the most important factor in putting together a wedding that reflects the reputation of both the bride and the groom’s family,” says Makarem. Average wedding budgets in the region vary, mostly according to nationality and

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Dressing up: The contemporary Arabic bride is keen to balance modernity with traditional values

Good news for travel consultants and dress makers, not so great news for wedding consultants… economic brackets. Qatar’s annual wedding show, IWED, reports weddings in the country cost around $50,000. In the UAE, The Bride Show indicates Emirati weddings cost an average of $82,000, while western couples in the UAE spend about $20,000. “The budget for an Emirati wedding is considered to be one the highest in the region. Coupled with the increasing number of expat weddings held here, the GCC has turned into a lucrative market,” said Daphne Cota, exhibition manager at IIR Middle East for The Bride Show, which is being held this month in Abu Dhabi for the 10th year, and in Dubai next month for the 14th year. The Sharjah Wedding Show reports that UAE nationals spent $20 million for their weddings in 2009, noting that eligible Emiratis are offered up to $19,000 marriage grant from the government. However, Business Compass’ Makarem says that Emiratis are “choosing to spend

less money on weddings these days, opting to save as much money.” “Qualitatively, we met with a wedding planner for nationals, and she said it varies. However, mid-upper class families claim that a ‘decent’ wedding can cost between $82,000 and $109,000,” she continues. The agency has worked on research specifically on brides in the UAE for an undisclosed client. Meanwhile, Bridal Attraction 2011, which polled Arab expatriates and nationals in the guest commentators

Lucrative: IIR ME’s Daphne Cota

Focused: UM’s Zubair Siddiqui

GCC, found that 12 per cent have budgeted or plan to allot more than $100,000 for their wedding, while more than four out of 10 say they have spent, or intend to spend, more than $50,000. The bride in focus Makarem paints today’s Emirati bride as individualistic and modern, while still being respectful of her cultural roots. WoM and peer recommendations still play a key role. “While she welcomes and embraces temptations of the modern world, she is still keen on striking the right balance between traditional values and her needs as a contemporary bride. She tries to be creative and unique and claims to having spent most of her teenage years dreaming and crafting what would be her perfect day.” Brides are now also exposed to more options online, and are more assertive in bringing these elements together. Media spend Although brides are researching heavily online, this does not reflect in the media budgets of wedding-related companies in the region, as traditional media still takes a substantial share of spend. From a global perspective, some bespoke agencies have come up with a

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© Corbis


The big day: The budget for an Emirati wedding is considered to be one of the highest in the region

Emirati weddings are valued at an average $82,000, while western couples in the UAE spend about $20,000… social media angle to their positioning. Propose PR in London, for example, has a Facebook page that offers wedding companies tips on how to communicate with potential clients online. This is in addition to the offline marketing services they already offer. In the region, however, traditional media are still a key focus for weddingrelated ads. “Newspapers are the key medium for spending, followed by magazines. And, between them they account for almost 95 per cent of the total spends for wedding venues and among wedding planners,” says Zubair Siddiqui, MD, UM Dubai. In 2010, wedding venues and wedding planners spent $2.7 million across the Pan Arab and GCC regions. Wedding halls and locations spent $1.7 million and planners spent $964,000, according to IPSOS. “While the category is active throughout the year, the key months, which show increased spending, are the summer

months. In fact, March, May and July in 2010 showed the highest investments,” he adds. “Since planning the location/venue of the wedding is a key decision that needs to be made by the families, the process starts at least six to nine months prior a bigger slice of the cake

Wedding Day & Happy Day, a Lebanese chocolate franchise, has opened its third branch in Dubai’s Emaar Gold and Diamond Park. Aside from its base in Lebanon, the store has a second branch in Riyadh. Under a franchise agreement with Relinra Chocolates & Gifts, the store provides personalised wedding/event invitation cards, decorated chocolates and other sweets.

to the big day. It is for this reason that advertising for weddings shows a peak in the summer/early summer.” IPSOS also breaks down the media spend allocation in the region to 39 per cent in Saudi Arabia, 16 per cent in Qatar, 12 per cent in Kuwait and 11 per cent in Oman. Pan Arab media and the UAE stood at 10 per cent each, while Bahrain is at three per cent. Trends and influences Knowing there’s a big wedding budget in the region and that online is where women are going isn’t enough, however. Speaking to different sources, GMR identified an emerging trend of wedding consultants being hired in the region. The extent of their importance and influence in decision-making is, however, arguable. “Wedding planners are in right now,” says Cota. “While traditionally family members help in organising, brides are opting to outsource this responsibility to wedding planners.” Our study sees hiring consultants is fairly recent. Most brides, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, put securing the honeymoon as their main priority (73 per cent), followed by the wedding dress (70 per cent), then jewellery (44 per cent).

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bridal attractioN 2011 audience share (%)

raw figure

engaged to get married in the next 12 months (%)

got married in the past 12 months (%)

thinking of getting married in the next 2 to 3 years (%)

77 93 39 56 26 29 44

19.23 34.62 7.69 19.23 7.69 11.54

29.41 26.47 8.82 11.76 2.94 11.76 8.82

5.00 26.67 21.67 20.00 8.33 10.00 8.33

how much is, or was, the budget for your wedding? up to 5k $ between 5 to 15k $ between 16 to 30k $ between 31 to 50k $ between 51 to 80k $ between 81 to 100k $ More than 100k $

21.15 25.55 10.71 15.38 7.14 7.97 12.09

Š Corbis

Name the three brand categories associated with weddings from the list below that you ďŹ rst think/thought of when planning your big day? hotel venue honeymoon package flights for family food and drinks spa and wellness Jewellery fashion for wedding party Wedding dress hiring a wedding consultant

31.32 65.93 21.98 25.00 9.62 42.58 23.08 63.19 7.14

114 240 80 91 35 155 84 230 26

19.23 76.92 23.08 19.23 7.69 38.46 38.46 53.85 7.69

44.12 64.71 26.47 29.41 5.88 55.88 20.59 73.53 8.82

33.33 83.33 20.00 18.33 21.67 46.67 28.33 68.33 3.33

29.41 35.29 2.94 11.76 11.76 8.82

23.33 43.33 3.33 6.67 16.67 1.67 5.00

What is/was the most important factor in choosing the right brand/service for the event? Price Quality Personal recommendation reputation of company good value for money image of the company you deal with Proven track record/experience

17.86 49.18 4.40 5.49 16.21 2.47 4.40

65 179 16 20 59 9 16

23.08 42.31 7.69 3.85 11.54 3.85 7.69

Apart from the bride, who had/has the most influence in what brand/product/service will be used for the event? the groom Mother of the bride sisters or brothers inlaws friends Wedding consultant other specify

20.05 28.57 9.07 12.64 13.19 3.85 12.64

73 104 33 46 48 14 46

11.54 26.92 11.54 26.92 11.54 3.85 7.69

23.53 32.35 11.76 20.59 2.94 8.82

15.00 26.67 13.33 11.67 21.67 11.67

What media resources did/do you rely on for information/help/tips on wedding planning/products/services? bridal magazines online content social media networks tV programmes other specify None of the above

33.52 48.35 18.41 24.18 14.56 17.86

122 176 67 88 53 65

46.15 38.46 15.38 34.62 19.23 19.23

35.29 44.12 26.47 26.47 5.88 11.76

41.67 53.33 31.67 33.33 6.67 16.67

To what extent did/do you rely on brands to promote themselves to you through social media? (ie Facebook ads according to Facebook status changes) to a great extent 19.51 71 23.08 17.65 26.67 to a moderate extent 42.31 154 38.46 52.94 45.00 Not at all 38.19 139 38.46 29.41 28.33 Are you the main user of the device you are accessing the internet with now? i am the main user i am not the main user

74.73 25.27

Source: Effective Measure, 2011

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La Prestige: A honeymoon in Europe is considered very prestigious by Arabic couples

There is a movement away from bling-bling to elegant and simple… The wedding party theme and hotel venue shared fourth place on the checklist, with 30 per cent. “Interestingly, for the UAE and Saudi Arabia, out of the 14 category options they could have selected, a wedding consultant was the lowest category chosen, at seven per cent. Good news for travel consultants and dress makers, not so great news for wedding consultants,” says EM’s Ogilvy. And while certain tasks may be delegated to consultants, influence on what brands to use may be growing, but hardly significant right now. “Brides still want to be involved in the details. Wedding planners are mostly consulted to provide different themes. They make it more possible for the wedding to be a memorable, prestigious and oneof-a-kind event,” says Cota. If not the wedding consultants just yet, who gets to pull the most strings? Brides in this region rarely make wedding decisions by themselves. Mothers play the biggest role here. But who comes second is between the groom and the bride’s friends.

From a general regional perspective, the groom follows in distant second place at 20 per cent, with mothers holding top rank at 29 per cent. The bride’s friends are third with 13 per cent. In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, however, while the bride’s mother remains the main influencer at 28 per cent, her friends have a slight advantage at 18 per cent over the groom, who stands at 17 per cent in third. In the end, though, the bride still has the final say in the details and, according to our study, brides across the region look at quality foremost (49 per cent) as the most important factor when choosing a service or brand for their big day. Price (18 per cent) and ‘good value for money’ (16 per cent) are the next two most important factors. “Quality is crucial in the mind of a bride-to-be, tempered by their ability to pay for it,” says Ogilvy. What to watch out for Other emerging trends include a shift in preferred honeymoon destinations. Cota

says there has been movement from travelling Asia-bound, as couples in the Middle East choose to go to Europe. “It’s for the prestige that’s attached to having a honeymoon in Europe,” she explains. Another emerging trend is the toning down of styles and themes. “There is a movement away from bling-bling to more elegant and simple themes that focus on a better and more memorable experience for the guests,” says Cota. So with last year registering 2.18 million weddings around the world and the wedding industry expecting continued growth at 20 per cent per year, there’s a lot of room for businesses to cater to the region’s brides. n About the study Some 368 women across the GCC participated in Bridal Attraction 2011, conducted online in Arabic. The majority were from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and about 50 per cent were between 21 and 34 years. Nearly 30 per cent were either senior officials or professionals, with 60 per cent holding a tertiary degree. The survey was conducted by Effective Measure for GMR.

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The GMR Interview

This is the year Ajmal Perfumes will transform from a local product into a fully fledged brand with international potential, Abdulla Ajmal tells Siobhan Adams. fantasy cv Born: February 5, 1973, in India Marital status: Married Qualifications: MBA with a specialisation in international relations First job: A sales representative at United Colors of Benetton in the UK Career high: Winning three FiFi 2010 Awards Career low: Not a single low at this point in time. Since it’s a family-run business, learning has been fantastic in the work place as well as at home. We have been growing ever since I joined the business, only having to slow down during the global downturn Fantasy job: CEO of a high-end watch company Hobbies: Fishing, desert safari, beach barbecues. I love anything to do with the great outdoors.

So, all in all, a good 12 months, but, after a cheery, hour-long conversation with Ajmal at the company’s Dubai HQ late last year, one is left in no doubt that 2011 will hold much more. Following his FiFi triumph, Ajmal said, in a company press release: “Throughout our 60-year journey, we have continuously strived to strike the delicate balance between our ethnic ethos, modernity and innovation.” He continued: “As a progressive brand, we have carved a niche positioning as an ethnic chic brand that is versatile enough to evolve with the times, while remaining relevant and identifiable to our consumers.” The ‘corporate speak’ tone of the statement belies his jovial, often sardonic demeanor. His personal communication style is casual, direct, animated, and he’s great fun, too. In fairness, though, it’s probably difficult to phrase “ethnic ethos, modernity


Last year proved something of a landmark for UAE-based Ajmal Perfumes. The 60-year-old, family-run business managed to maintain its average annual turnover of $200 million – no mean feat given the prevailing financial climate. In May, the company, which has offices plus 140 outlets across the GCC, also opened its first branded outlet outside the Middle East, in Kuala Lumpur (KL). Meanwhile, third-generation Abdulla Ajmal was voted VP of the Fragrance Foundation Arabia, the Middle East Chapter of the global Fragrance Foundation and organiser of the inaugural regional FiFis – the international fragrance awards. And it was at the regional FiFis in Dubai last December that the 38-year-old, Mumbai-born, UK-educated, deputy general manager was on hand to collect three top awards: Arabian Prestige (male), Arabian Popular Appeal (male) and Mono-Brand Retailer of the Year.

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Scents-ibility: Ajmal wants to revisit plans to open a branded outlet in London, then the rest of Europe, which he hopes will eventually pave the way to the US

…we are not forecasting a huge increase in sales. We’ve budgeted for a five per cent increase, but we are spending more… and innovation” any other way, and it’s a very precise summation of the corporate strategy. And it’s a strategy that is being reworked to propel Ajmal from a regional manufacturer into a significant player within the global fragrance market, which Euromonitor International forecasts will grow by three per cent this year to $35 billion. “We’re moving from a trading or selling organisation into a marketing organisation,” he emphatically declares. “We’re converting Ajmal as a store into Ajmal as a brand.” The Ajmal story began in the early 1950s in Assam, India, where founder Haji Ajmal Ali started trading in the lucrative oudh industry. Derived from the essence of agarwood trees, oudh can take up to 20 to 40 years to harvest, cost many

thousands of dollars per kilo and is a defining characteristic of many Arabic fragrances. As the demand for oils and fragrances made from oudh grew, so did Ajmal, which went on to become one of the major suppliers to the region. Today, Ajmal has evolved into one of the GCC’s most highly recognised, local companies. It exports to 32 countries, primarily across the region and the Far East, with a small presence in select European countries, including Spain and France. Looking ahead, Ajmal says: “2011 is going to be a very exciting year for us. We are not forecasting a huge increase in sales. We’ve budgeted for five per cent increase, but we are spending more and we are experimenting more. For example, we are going into digital media in a big way. We’re going into e-space in a big

way.” At the time of writing, somewhat unfortunately, I admit, the precise details of spend allocation and strategy were still being finalised. “All I can say is that even our conventional communications are going to show a huge shift in how we used to do things,” he said. “Obviously that includes media that existed, but which we never really paid too much attention to because all of our peers were focusing on the same selection: dailies, Arabic, magazines and so on. “We’ll continue with conventional media, but refocus more towards experiential, especially during peak times of the year.” (Some 45 per cent of global fragrance sales occur in the last month of the year.) Ajmal doubling its marketing communications budget from the customary six per cent of turnover is another certainty; it could even stretch to 14 per cent. “We are going to experiment with different kinds of media,” he continues, emphasising that traditional won’t be jettisoned completely. Both TV and radio

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Top notes: Abdulla Ajmal (left) receiving his award from Carlo Tedeschi at the inaugural FiFis last year

will be utilised, especially the latter as Ajmal feels the formats are becoming increasingly more engaging. “Some of the talk shows are getting pretty bold, even in the Arabic language sector. The listeners call in, they’ve got bold comments to make – not just men, women as well, so the involvement is very high.” Digital, instore activation, radio and a revamped print selection of magazines will be the chief beneficiaries. The reworking of the media plan is in line with the deconstruction of the brand architecture, which is currently a work-in-progress and which, of course, is crucial to evolution from product to brand. Pivotal to the entire project is the core brand positioning, ‘ethnic chic’. “We don’t say Arabic, or oriental or modern,” he reiterates. “‘Ethnic chic’ is our defining point and we want to differentiate ourselves and reach the next level of definition. Our tag line is, ‘Crafting Memories’, which is one way in which we are doing that.” The large-scale project is being worked

mainly inhouse. Marketing specialists have been especially recruited, while creative agency IKON and PR firm Golin Harris are on hand to help with executional direction. Another crucial step towards genuine brand status is international retail expansion. Part of this will be via distributorships and agency distribution, but the main priority is setting up branded outlets outside of the GCC. Last year saw the opening of the first of two such outlets following an extensive retail refurbishment programme by London-based Portland to present a more modern, less Arabesque ambiance. Or, as the company puts it: “Reflect a delicate blend between the brand’s ethnic chic image and its modern and progressive outlook.” Some $50 million have been allocated for international expansion and the retrofitting of the existing stores network. So far the company has pumped $1 million into opening a boutique in Kuala Lumpur’s upscale retail centre Pavilion, which, as well recruiting new consumers

through the local population, also taps into the country’s 24 million tourists, of whom 285,000 are Arab nationals. A second outlet opened in August in Al Safat Plaza in the summer resort of Bhamdoun Al Mahata, some 35km from Beirut. The move heralds a $2 million investment into the Lebanese market. Another store is due to open in Downtown Beirut later this year. These outlets will benefit from the summer influx of Gulf Arab holiday homeowners in Bhamdoun, as well as high brand awareness among the large Lebanese expat community in the GCC. Ajmal reports that both outlets are trading well. He added that the KL store has exceeded expectations, citing its starring role in the Pavilion Christmas promotions. “Imagine Ajmal being part of a Christmas promotion,” he says, with more than a hint of incredulity. It’s strong evidence that the brand is increasingly establishing its wider international credentials, he feels. But the road to international markets has not been entirely smooth. Plans for a Central London site have been shelved, which delays attainment of Ajmal’s ultimate goal, the US. As he explains, much as the east represents huge, and immediate, profits, it is the US that offers the largest opportunity in terms of sales – and the only feasible approach to that market is via the west. “We want to start with London, then move into mainland Europe, Frankfurt, Paris and Milan, because at the end of the day you want to be in the US. Americans love to see London, Paris and New York. So when we say we’re coming from Europe, the acceptance is far higher than with ‘the whole Middle Eastern problem’,” he adds, faking an American accent for the last phrase. “In the east we are growing. In the west, however, we have found that every time we look we find the retail scene hasn’t really picked up since the recession, so we are waiting for things to look up a bit. “When we did our homework, we realised it wasn’t as if we were getting any

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An oudh to the east: Western perfume houses such as L’Oreal, Tom Ford and Jo Malone have all created Arab-inspired fragrance ranges

Everyone is talking about oudh nowadays. concessions in terms of rents or rates or wages or anything just because there is a recession. And the locations we were looking at were at prime locations in central London to begin with, so it’s not the best time for a new brand to walk into an environment like that.” Given the circumstances, would the concessionaire approach through luxury departments – Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges – not prove a viable entrée? I ask. “We want to open a flagship store first, that’s our approach, after which we’ll go through concessionaires and shopin-shop concepts.” While he concedes that it’s a less conventional route, Ajamal says it will help carve a smoother route in the longer term. “It’s going to be easier to sell to the large retailers but, apart from that, we’ve always been strong retailers. It’s some-

thing we understand very well, so that’s primarily the reason.” The other reason, he adds, is the amount of marketing dollars it would take to launch what is an unknown brand in the west. He’s cautiously optimistic, however, that the London store will open later this year. “I’m crossing my fingers for 2011. We’ve got everything ready as such. We’re just observing to see if the consumer turnaround is happening.” Other cities will hopefully follow in the next six to seven years, until destination USA is finally reached. Recession aside, there are other factors working in Ajmal’s favour. Key among them is the current vogue for Arabic-styled fragrances. Once regarded as too heady and cloying by many, the heavier scents have suddenly found favour among western consumers. Witness the recent spate of luxury

and premium fragrance houses that have been dabbling in more Oriental-inspired ranges, notably: L’Oreal’s Armani Privé , La Collection des Milles et Une Nuit; Tom Ford’s Private Blend Arabian Wood; and Oud Wood, Jo Malone’s Cologne Intense Collection, a “quartet of fragrances honours some of Middle Eastern perfumery’s most venerated ingredients,” so reads the PR blurb. Then there’s the somewhat funkier Juliette’s Got a Gun with its Midnight Oud. “Everyone is talking about oudh nowadays,” he says. “It all helps us in making consumers more accepting of a brand like ours. “On our part we have played a role in trying to make Arabic fragrances more relevant to western consumers, partly through our new retail, which is not typically Arabic.” Despite this, it’s well known that western consumers, especially in the US, overwhelmingly prefer lighter, fresher, more subtle scents, to such an extent that heavy fragrances can become a workplace or restaurant issue.

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“They can be very offputting to consumers in the US,” Ajmal concedes. “But there will always be a minority who will like this sort of thing and will wear it, probably in the evening.” The Middle East’s reputation for intense fragrances is also partly due to local consumption habits, not just ingredients. “Everyone in this part of the world is a perfumer. Our consumers have been mixing their perfumes for decades. Most of the older women in the household made their own oud mixtures.” As the heaviest users in the world, Arabs apply perfume, on average, five times a day, compared to the world average of twice, morning and evening. “That’s why our average consumer will buy three to five bottles at a time, one for home, one for the office, one for the car, and so on.” In fact, nowhere else in the world do consumers include fragrances as a basic domestic expense, along with food, clothing, utilities and school fees. Good for sales, but as Ajmal points out, it has the adverse impact of commoditising a category which, everywhere else in the world, resides mostly within the luxury segment, albeit at entry level. “The definition of luxury is now being questioned worldwide. Every third person has a Louis Vuitton bag or is wearing a Lacoste shirt.” Even yachts and private jets are now so accessible they’re not considered luxury anymore, he continues. Art and charity, he says, will be the new luxury. “It’s knowledge that has become the new luxury, whether you can have that conversation at the party. And again, the current quest for knowledge or, less prosaically, storytelling, works very much in Ajmal’s favour. As the display of discernment through storytelling as distinct from overt badging becomes a key consumer motivator, greater value is placed on provenance and heritage within the purchase decision. “They don’t necessarily fall for the marketing anymore,” Ajmal points out,

Agency roster Creative, media and branding: IKON PR: Golin Harris Company creds Founded by Ajmal Ali in the early 1950s, Ajmal Perfumes is a multi-million-dollar, familyowned business now steered by the second and third generation. Ambience enhancers such as oudh, dakhoon and room fresheners account for 20 per cent of its total turnover. Ajmal Perfumes is the only regional perfume house authorised to issue Quality Certificates on behalf of the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization, and the only one with its own nose, Nazir Ajmal. In 2004, it opened a $10-million plant in Dubai that can produce 50,000 bottles a day. It is a key supplier of raw materials to many international brands and helps them incorporate natural and oriental ingredients into their fragrances. It has more than 140 outlets in the GCC and 1,200 dealerships and stockists in 20 countries. And travel retail is growing; channel and listings to date include eight duty free locations and seven international airlines.

which can only be music to the ears of GMR readers. “When I say marketing I mean just the communications,” he says hurriedly. “I’m talking about beautiful models and the like. “Consumers are no longer swayed by that. They are more educated and they want to know more about the ingredients, and that’s what’s benefiting niche brands like us. “They want to wear something a little more selective, individual. They want to purchase the history, they want to purchase expertise,”Ajmal adds. Despite the strong narrative DNA, he is candid enough to admit that he is no longer certain if Ajmal still qualifies as a luxury brand.

“I am willing to actually relook at the definition of luxury and perfumery and ask if we really do belong in the luxury segment.” Premium, he feels, is a more accurate definition. As we conclude, Ajmal hints about plans for something major on the horizon, but he can’t say what it is just yet. He would only reveal that this announcement will be so big that “we will then be truly, truly everywhere. In terms of benefit and visibility, it’s huge. “Yes, today we have a name, but that’s the thing. We feel we should be considered a brand, so when people ask ‘what are you wearing?’ You say, ‘oh, I’m wearing an Ajmal’.” Now, that is an interesting story. n

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halal life

badge of Honour

Halal products and services have evolved beyond Shari’ah compliancy, into a coherent, issues-led brand philosophy.

Keeping it real We investigated ‘Halal’ through the lens of ‘human experience’– our global planning philosophy, which enables us to deconstruct the zeitgeist by simplifying human understanding. We found ‘Halal’ is actually rooted in three distinct, yet interconnected, counter-trends – Localism, Provenance and Eco-ethical. These counter-trends are an antidote to rampant globalisation, which has led

to mass commoditisation and sameness in our culture. Consumers are increasingly seeking alternatives to mainstream brands. This growing desire for realness and authenticity is manifested in these counter-trends. It’s the combined forces of these that are driving ‘Halal’ products. Fallen flat


With a 1.57 billion-strong global Muslim population, and most of them coming from what we call the ‘next 11’ emerging economies, it’s clearly a force to be reckoned with. Much has been said and written about the explosion of Halal and its immense potential, but not much about what really makes it tick and how it has become such a big cultural phenomenon.

Copycat: Mecca-Cola was less successful because consumers viewed it as a cheap imitation.

No logo Contrary to popular belief, ‘Halalism’ is no longer just about Shari’ahcompliance. It has gradually evolved as a brand philosophy representing a set of values. This explains why we are seeing this ideology transcend seemingly unrelated sectors, such as lifestyle, travel, and even cosmetics. It’s no longer adequate to stick your ‘Halal’ label or logo on your products. This was true in the first wave of Halal when we had offerings such as MeccaCola and Beurger King Muslim (Beur is French slang meaning Arab, used for second-generation North Africans in France). Interestingly, these originated in countries without a predominantly Muslim population. They did not succeed in the long run, primarily because they used religion











T F in

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as a superficial badge and clearly did not understand the value of brand-building. Consumers viewed them as cheap mimics of established global brands. We are now witnessing the second wave where brands are embracing Halalism to the very core. There’s an increasing commitment from companies to embed Halal in everything they do – right from supply chain and product development, through to communications. Today corporations need to start living the values propagated by Shari’ah – honesty, respect, kindness, transparency, community, purity, etc. As said earlier, today’s consumers are demanding these values from brands. Research has identified ‘New Age Muslims’, or ‘Futurists’, as an influential consumer group, as they are young, progressive and, more importantly, value ethics in their brands. They are individualistic and seek

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to align their lifestyle with Islam. Hence, they use global brands but seek ethical alternatives rooted in their own religion. I find it interesting that values which Shari’ah encourages are emblematic of mainstream CSR-friendly themes, such as organic, fair-trade and going green. This takes us back to the point I made in the beginning about Halal being manifested in key trends such as localism, provenance and eco-ethical. This all begs the big question: Can Halal break into the mainstream? Third wave The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. I strongly believe this is what the third wave of Halal will be all about. And this

presents itself as one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the near future. There is already evidence of this taking place in some sectors. HSBC Amanah is one example. Amanah is HSBC’s sub-brand to make itself relevant to Muslim consumers. What’s interesting is that a large portion of its customer base in Malaysia (a country with a Muslim majority) is Chinese, a nationality that seems attracted to the distinctive ‘halal’ offering and not so much to the Islamic element. Islamic banking, by nature, is co-operative and propagates profit-sharing, as opposed to interest. It’s the ethical values and set of beliefs that Halal is rooted in that makes its proposition universal. In

Research has identified ‘New Age Muslims’, or ‘Futurists’, as an influential consumer group.

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halal life

Right ingredient: The key reason behind Chicken Cottage’s success is that the brand has positioned itself as ‘local’

…they used religion as a superficial badge and clearly did not understand the value of brand-building… that sense, Islamic banking is no different from mainstream banking. Banking is perhaps an easier sell, but what about ‘closer to home’ Halal food brands, which have quintessentially targeted Muslim consumers. Here I cite the example of Chicken Cottage – a Halal fast food chain from the UK. Now this may seem like a KFC me-too for Muslims but, in reality, Chicken Cottage has become hugely popular among non-Muslims. The key reason behind its success is that the brand has positioned itself as ‘local’ and toned down on its ‘Halal’ lineage in its communications. Non-Muslims tend to believe Halal is not relevant to them and this stems from their ignorance of the concept. The strategy seems to have worked and the brand has expanded to seven countries, including Saudi Arabia. A parallel universe For marketers who are keen to build their brands around the ‘Halal’ values,

there’s a lot of inspiration available in our related worlds. There are some great global case studies of brands that have built themselves around a single-minded belief system. My favourite is Waitrose – the UK retailer that has redefined itself around the ethical paradigm. Waitrose has a long-term holistic approach to ethical sourcing. It has been a pioneer of organic and fair-trade offerings; there are as many as 3,000 lines instore ranging from fruit to chocolates. The latest is the world’s first fair trade cola, Ubuntu Cola, sourced from Malawi, where 15 per cent of the profits go to Ubuntu (South African for humanity and kindness) Africa programme. Not content with that, Waitrose has also launched the Waitrose Foundation to improve the lives of the farm workers, wherein a percentage of profit is given back to the community. The fair-trade ethos is also carried through at a corporate level. All Waitrose employees are assigned the title of partner, co-owner

of the business, and entitled to a share of the profit – à la Halal. Final word Much of this will sound familiar to brandbuilders of today in the context of Halal. It’s evident that the values Waitrose stands for are similar to what ‘Halalism’ embodies. Embracing these universal values and gaining a holistic understanding of the Muslim consumer will help brands herald the third wave of Halal – its mainstreaming. Only then will it unleash its true potential. Reaching that stage, however, demands a cultural shift from corporations involving continuous learning and adapting over time. Only a handful of big companies have trodden this path successfully. Nestlé is one example and a role model for doing this with utmost conviction. It was a pioneer in Halal marketing, having caught the wave in the 1980s when there was little commercial awareness of the issue. We are now in 2011, so prepare for the second, and much bigger, wave of Islamic branding. n

Mohit Lodha associate media director, SMG Dubai

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client servicing

Play nicely

The evolving relationship between clients and specialist digital agencies, while maintaining existing ones with their creative cousins, demands a new set of rules, says Mark Bibbings. The challenge posed by digital agencies to mainstream ad agency networks is an industry staple of discussion. Headlines such as “Network agencies decline as digitals grow,” “Is this the year digitals come of age?” and “Will digital as a separate agency channel soon cease to exist?” appear in B2B journals around the world – week in, week out. It is the hot topic and digitals are the hot agencies. The impact that the rise of digital is having on the sanity and confidence of client marketing teams worldwide, however, is far less analysed. To admit that the digital arena is confusing or frustrating is like admitting you are

out of touch. To acknowledge that, in digital, the tasks of leading the development process, understanding agency fees or demonstrating the success of activity are all far from straightforward management challenges is seen almost as an admission of failure. Digital communications can, therefore, all too easily become the “emperor’s new clothes”, with all sides colluding to talk it up. Surely, it should be permissible to admit digital activity is still relatively new, represents an ongoing journey rather than a destination, and will inevitably involve mistakes? Given this, it is pertinent to ask why the management of digital agencies is

such a headache for clients, and what can be done to make it easier. Here are my suggestions to navigating the process based on Aprais’ experience. Find an architect, not just a builder The initial challenge is finding the right agency for your needs. That often means facing the problem of identifying exactly what you need. To employ a housing analogy, you may think you need somewhere to live. Maybe it is a villa, maybe an apartment. And you may go out with that broad brief. Before you know it, you are being sold a hotel apartment time share. Whoa. How did that happen?

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In digital, the market is over-fragmented and the agencies over-specialised. Just as when building a house you need plumbers, electricians, plasterers et al., so it is with digital. There are myriad niche companies, some of which specialise only in certain areas, such as web design, SEO or viral marketing, and will not run end-to-end digital marketing campaigns. Plan for “Launch and Live” not “Launch and Leave” Marketing departments have to be reconfigured so that digital agencies, and the campaigns they create, are actively and constantly monitored. It is no longer possible to work feverishly towards a campaign launch deadline, then stand back and wait to see its impact. With interactive, the fun starts on the “go live” date. So to get the most out of their interactive communications, managements need to allocate more time to the activity. Given that most marketing departments have fewer resources than in previous years, this is an obvious source of tension. Accept digital will take marketing to scary new places Digital agencies inevitably take companies away from the tried-and-trusted. The problem is you, and the agency will not always get it right, and failures feel more obvious in digital than they do in traditional channels. Brief a vision, not a tactic When seeking to find an agency, clients often brief digital agencies too narrowly – treating them merely as executional partners – and then wonder why they have a creative burnout as the agency fails to understand the brand and its key consumer insight, and shows the client round after round of near-miss work. In all fairness, digital agencies can also be guilty of mistaking implementational wizardry for strategic relevance. Strong strategic leadership is all the more essential here and has to come from the client marketing team.

Role play: Marketing teams have to be reconfigured so digital campaigns are constantly monitored has the potential to cause...infighting between newcomer digital suppliers and the client’s existing agencies. Be a ringmaster, not a coach The newly emerging model of brand communications demands collaboration, not just integration. This is particularly important because digital has the potential to cause added unrest and infighting between newcomer digital suppliers and the client’s existing agencies. This is not the fault of the digital agency. But it does help explain the client’s headache factor. To a greater or lesser extent, all the traditional agencies sitting around the table will believe they also have the right and capability to deliver digital solutions. So when a digital agency comes along, your ad agency, media agency, relationship marketing agency, etc, will resent the digital team and think: “We can do

that.” And they may waste their time and your money trying to prove it. The above scenario underlines the need for marketing departments to be the strategic ringmasters, uniting a multi-disciplined team around well-defined objectives, and being clear on everybody’s roles and responsibilities. An increasing number of our clients around the world are including the ability to perform in cross-team collaboration as criteria in formal assessments of their agencies. Clients realise the instruction “Play nicely together” is no longer enough. Ease analysis paralysis Genuinely proving ROI can be difficult, and there is no shortage of data from digital activity that can be used

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client servicing

Growing up: Digital agencies are only just coming of age in the region

…clients often brief digital agencies too narrowly – treating them merely as executional partners… to calculate return on particular marketing investments. Putting digital in its wider communications context and understanding what success looks like in absolute terms are hard. It is not a question of whether, relatively speaking, Banner Ad A worked better then Banner Ad B, but whether banner advertising was a cost-effective option among communications alternatives. To solve this particular headache, it can help to have a culture of “live and learn”, which believes in trialling digital and accepts that campaign results can be assessed, but not measured perfectly. Pay enough… but what is “enough”? Given the sector’s immaturity, and the fact some agencies have come of age after being acquired by larger commu-

nication groups, while others remain small and independently-owned, differences between agencies are only to be expected. But this compensation confusion is not a reality that client-side procurement departments will readily accept. Thus it can develop into yet another headache for the marketing executives. Again, the answer is to trial various solutions. Have a structure that is a mix of results and time-based compensation, such as a base retainer with topped-up project fees – one of which is purely results based. Learn to trust the agency and your gut instincts. Is the agency staff giving their all? Have they done good work and gone above and beyond the call of duty? Do claimed hours look right? Factor in bonuses for good working

practices, and work with the agency, not against it. Ultimately, accept this area may be a judgment call. As a result of all of the above factors, successful digital agency management requires a mixture of clarity of purpose, risk-taking, instinct, and trial and error. It is a mix that traditional marketing departments have not had in their DNA for many years. But it also explains why, much to the creative ad agencies’ concern, some digital agencies are beginning to get very, very close to their marketing clients – they have gone from being suppliers to partners. When you have explored, learnt and succeeded together, it creates a bond that makes the inevitable growing pains seem a price worth paying.” n

Mark Bibbings partner, Aprais ME, Dubai

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S e C T O R A N A LY S I S

TeLeCOMMUNICATIONS Connecting the dots across the region’s telecom sector shows a fractious future ahead. ICT overview Kuwait sails steadily Saudi plays catch up Incumbent rules Sporting chance Mobile app-portunities Connectivities Safety net Digital economic status SeO rankings PARC analysis PARC data

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Cross wires

© Corbis

Clare Dunkley recalls a testy 2010 for the GCC’s telcos, as competition hots up and the battle for 4G continues. The GCC telco sector expected a quieter year in 2010. All six states’ mobile markets had opened to competition, reducing licensing activity, and the scope for consolidation seemed limited – the last major regional deal being Q-Tel’s acquisition of Kuwait’s Wataniya in 2007. But it was not to be. Last year saw many major developments, while the increased competition created more news, thanks to the inevitable spats between incumbents and newcomers, and the frenetic roll-out of products, services and promotions. The most surprising development of the year was the reversal in fortunes of Kuwait’s Zain. Under its long-time CEO, Saad AlBarrak, the firm had expanded across the Middle East and Africa, hoping to become one of the world’s top 10 telcos by subscribers by 2011. Zain, however, fell victim to the impact of the financial crisis on its biggest private shareholder, the Kharafi family, and the multiple companies in which the Al-Kharafi Group has an interest; and on the telco itself which, under Al-Barrak, had spent liberally and become highly leveraged. Last June, the telco’s operations in Africa – regarded as an area of high growth potential – were sold to India’s Bharti Airtel for $9 billion, forfeiting 42 million subscribers. The development was not unexpected. Then, in November 2010, Zain signed a preliminary agreement with the UAE’s Etisalat – formerly its chief GCC rival in terms of overseas ventures – to sell a 46 per cent stake in the company. Since the Kuwaiti operator owns 10 per cent of its own stock, this would give the stateowned Emirati telco a controlling share.

Fading ambitions: The once-mighty Zain saw a reversal in fortunes last year as the Kuwaiti telco was forced to sell its operations in Africa to India’s Bharti Airtel for $9 billion, losing 42 million subscribers in the process

“Zain is a well-run company that occupies the pole position in many of the markets in which it operates, including Sudan, Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan,” Mohammed Omran, chairman of Etisalat, said at the time. As of late December, however, the deal was in doubt, as one of the shareholders, the Fawares Group, filed a lawsuit in Kuwait to prevent Zain opening its study in contrasts

Out of office: Ex-Zain CEO Saad Al-Barrak

Optimistic: Etisalat’s Mohammed Omran

books to Etisalat. The once all-conquering Kuwaiti giant is now looking at a very different future than what Al-Barrak – who resigned – envisaged. The deal’s wider ramifications: Etisalat would be forced to sell Zain’s Saudi Arabian mobile licence – since the Emirati firm holds the second licence through its Mobily subsidiary. Q-Tel is the favourite to acquire the operations, as it is eager to expand overseas and has the funds. The only potential obstacle is the history of political tension between Doha and Riyadh. Batelco may also be interested given the close ties between the two countries – state-owned STC was the only bidder for Bahrain’s third mobile licence, awarded in January 2009. Batelco, however, lacks Q-Tel’s financial clout, so its overseas expansion has been limited.

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New revenue stream: Data services through smartphones such as BlackBerry and iPhone offer potential

...opportunities for inorganic growth by the GCC’s major telcos will be limited in 2011... Q-Tel’s eagerness to expand, and its acquisition of Oman’s second mobile licence, has been driven partly by the new competition in the home market, signalled by the government’s decision to award the state’s second mobile licence in 2007 to a consortium led by Vodafone, and the launch of the UK telco’s operations in 2009. About 76 per cent of Vodafone’s 2009 revenues were via international operations. Nevertheless, the regulator – ictQatar – was tested in 2010 by a dispute between the two players. Q-Tel signed a partnership agreement with the UK’s Virgin Group to rollout the youth-orientated Virgin Mobile brand in Qatar, offering highly competitive mobile and internet services. Vodafone complained that Virgin Mobile products were offered with no indication of the Q-Tel link and, therefore, in reality, a third operator had entered the market, although the terms of the second licence precluded no further licences for at least three years. In a display of independence, ictQatar agreed with Vodafone. Consumers had

been “misled into thinking that Virgin Mobile was a new operator or service supplier in Qatar”, it said, adding that Virgin Mobile services were represented by Q-Tel to the public between May 13 and 18 “in a manner that misled or deceived people about who was providing the services”. Beyond the Etisalat/Zain and related Saudi deals, opportunities for inorganic growth for the GCC’s major telcos will be limited in 2011. Syria is due to auction a new mobile licence; Iraq will seek a fourth operaPhone pals

Party line: Dr. Saad Al Barrak CEO and MD, Zain KSA (left) and HRH Mohammed Bin Saud Bin Naif Alsaud, Chairman of Connnect Saudi Limited during the FRiENDi mobile package launch

tor in Q1, although the slow progress of governance there casts doubt on the timing. The focus, therefore, is likely to turn to increasing market share and average revenue per user (ARPU) in existing markets. Accordingly, Gulf firms are investing in ever-more-sophisticated technology to their youthful and affluent consumers. Data services through smartphones such as the BlackBerry and iPhone offer potential – although the relative infancy of regulation in the region was evident in the UAE’s temporary BlackBerry ban. Voice calls now account for much less mobile phone usage, and internet via mobile is a particularly strong area for ARPU growth. Operators in all six GCC countries offer 3G services, and both du and Zain Bahrain are trialling 4G technology. While penetration exceeds 100 per cent, internet usage is a maximum of 88 per cent in Bahrain and 38 per cent in Saudi Arabia. The figures also offer potential for the development and extension of fixed-line services, interest in which has lagged that in mobile phones since the start of liberalisation. Quality, not quantity, will be the watchword for the GCC’s telcos this year. n

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Kuwait’s telco turmoils

Communications sector dominated by Zain’s woes in 2010, reports Alex Malouf.

The past year in Kuwait’s telco sector was dominated by Zain’s fall from grace as one of the largest, if not the largest, mobile operator in the Middle East. The company, which had previously vowed to be a top-10 global operator by 2011, did an about-face in 2009 when it decided to put its African assets up for sale. By June 2010, Zain had sold its Zain Africa operations to India’s Bharti for $11.7 billion. As predicted by analysts, the initial sale led to more problems for Zain. Its long-time CEO, Saad Al-Barrak, resigned before the completion of the sale, following disagreements with the board. In a final twist, Etisalat confirmed it was in talks with Zain to buy a control-

ling 46 per cent stake in the group. The news led to Kuwaiti shareholders fighting the takeover, and even for Kuwait’s parliament to threaten to bring down the government over what it saw as a foreign takeover of a national asset. The troubles surrounding Zain have allowed Kuwait’s two other operators to push ahead with their expansion. National Mobile Telecommunications Co, or Wataniya, as it’s also known, pushed on with its regional expansion with preparations for an initial public offering in Palestine following the launch of services there in November 2009. While the QTel-owned company saw its revenues decrease in 2010, its expansion hasn’t let up, with further deals finalised with an investment

consortium for an additional 50 per cent shareholding in Orascom Telecom Tunisie, or Tunisiana. Wataniya already owns 50 per cent shareholding in Tunisiana. Saudi Telecom-owned Viva, the third operator in Kuwait, concluded a $270 million financing arrangement with Huawei to expand its network. The deal enabled Viva, which launched in September 2008, to grow its capacity and upgrade to the latest technologies using equipment from China’s largest telco vendor. With takeover speculation still surrounding Zain, and with both Viva and Wataniya set to grow, 2011 looks set to be anything but dull for the country’s communications sector. n

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Hanging on...

Andrew White asks if the old GCC incumbents are losing their grip on consumers. The Gulf’s telcom sector has long been the domain of government-owned single operators: STC, Etisalat, Zain, Batelco, Omantel and QTel. That is changing, however, as a host of newcomers have arrived on the scene, each hungry for a slice of domestic subscribers crying out for choice – and competitive services. Gulf regulators have, to varying degrees, liberalised their respective markets; there are now 15 mobile operators alone in the six GCC nations. “How are the new players doing? For the most part, very well,” says Irfan Ellem, a telecoms analyst at Dubai-based investment bank Al Mal Capital. “They have worked hard to establish themselves, and now they are being rewarded for that effort.” Du, which launched in February 2007, has since eroded the market share of in-

cumbent Etisalat, offering mobile services as well as internet and pay-TV services in some of Dubai’s free zones. “We think we have gained the respect of our customers – a customer base that now stands at over four million subscribers, which is 37 per cent of the market,” du COO Farid Faraidooni tells GMR. Alongside du are new arrivals Mobily and Zain in Saudi, Zain and Viva in Bahrain, Wataniya and Viva in Kuwait, Vodafone Qatar, and Nawras in Oman. And they are all fighting hard to secure customers who had been used to living under a monopoly. “When you introduce a new player you go down one of two routes,” explains Ellem. “You end up in a cosy duopoly, as we’ve seen in Kuwait with Zain and Wataniya, where prices are still high, not a lot happens and there is only a slow

decrease in price. Or you go the way of STC and Mobily, and Etisalat and du, where, yes, it is a duopoly, but in no way is it cosy,” Faraidooni continues. “There is competition there and if you look back at the average revenue per user (ARPU) before Mobily and du were launched, it was much higher than it is now, which shows it is having an impact on pricing to the benefit of the consumer. “You talk to most consumers and they’ll say it’s still expensive, and that’s true compared to markets like the US and the UK, but it is coming down.” At du, Faraidooni points to a wide range of product and service launches, each accompanied by ad campaigns and special offers, which have kept Etisalat on its toes. “This year we introduced ‘Surf, Talk and Watch’ – broadband up to 16 times

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faster for both home and business customers,” he notes. “We also upgraded our network to support mobile broadband speeds up to 42.2Mbps, launched the UAE’s first 3D channel, and introduced the ‘One World One Rate’ plan, which simplified international roaming tariffs in the country.” If innovations such as high-speed mobile broadband and 3D TV are a far cry from the services du offered upon its launch, then perhaps that is to be expected – and reflects a new phase in the company’s attempts to gain market share. “When du came in it was perceived that its network wasn’t as strong as Etisalat’s, which was true – as a newcomer you’re not going to have national coverage on day one,” Ellem says. “It was targeting low-income workers as a low-cost player, but now that has changed, in that they now have a decent network, are going to be sharing infrastructure with Etisalat on fixed-line services, as well as mobile services, and are targeting higher-spending customers.” Having established a base and built its foundation on low-income subscribers, the company is leveraging off that to target high-cost postpaid customers, who typically spend more than prepaid customers. It’s a business model which will give pause for thought to other Gulf telcos, and one dependent on the strength of the brand. “Our brand is extremely important to us, and we are working continually to increase the alignment between our business and our brand,” Faraidooni says. “Our efforts are proving fruitful – our brand health scores have been increasing steadily over the past two years, and in terms of brand personality characteristics, people continue to see us being innovative, responsive, trustworthy, caring and providing great value.” In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, Mobily has taken a different route and focused on technology. Soon after its launch the Etihad-Etisalat consortium offered state-of-the-art smartphones as well as

Tough competition: du has challenged Etisalat’s market share in the UAE

high-speed broadband and mobile internet services, and now it has more than a 40 per cent market share, according to CEO Khalid al-Kaf. “Mobily didn’t come in to shake up the incumbent directly,” Ellem says. “They decided to look to the future of telecoms, and they saw it in mobile data – that’s what they’ve targeted and they’ve done very well because of it.” The future of Gulf telecoms will depend on newcomers as much as the old guard, particularly with regard to pricing. With incumbents jealously guarding their margins for as long as possible, they are taking their cues from the pricing strategies of the smaller players – and Gulf customers will hope that the new boys don’t lose their bite. “The incumbents are price-takers, not price-makers,” Ellem explains. “Du, for example, will come out with an offer, but then a few weeks or a month later Etisalat will come out and offer the same deal, or something to compete with it. “There hasn’t been that much direct competition, as it’s all been done through special offers and promotions, things like that. But the overall effect has been that prices have come down.” n

music to ears Music fans in Qatar can hear about the latest releases from their favourite artists and “Live it First”, with the launch of “Backstage” from the QTel Group and Universal Music Group. According to a press release, Backstage offers unlimited music downloads for mobile phones and PCs. With the tagline “Live it First”, Backstage customers get exclusive material ahead of release and the chance to meet artists backstage, attend recording sessions, and win VIP concert tickets. With subscription via SMS, PC or WAP and for a minimal flat-rate monthly fee, customers can access unlimited downloads from an international catalogue of more than 130,000 tracks. Subscribers will also receive 10 tracks of their choice every month, which they can keep forever. QTel Group plans to roll out the service across its footprint via Nawras in Oman and Wataniya in Kuwait. Backstage also offers unlimited access to two of the region’s Arabic labels, Melody and Mazzika. The initiative is supported by an ad campaign running on Pan Arab TV and music channels.

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Modernisation required

The Saudi ICT Conference and Exhibition highlighted the challenges for the future. Sarah Abdullah reports from Jeddah. Reiterating the need for modernisation, while at the same time offering meaningful solutions to the challenges within Saudi Arabia’s telco sector, was high on the agenda at Saudi ICT in Jeddah last year. On the first day of December’s conference, expert panels were formed. In session one guests included Raed Kayal, CEO of GO Etihad Atheeb Telecom, Samir Matbouly, VP Enterprise Business Unit, STC, and Cameron Rejali, Managing Director Product, BT Wholesale. Matbouly gave the keynote address. “Every month, some 40 million people join the existing 4.7 billion global mobilephone users at a rate of nearly 500 million people a year,” he said. “Today, some two billion people are connected to the internet and this is forecast to exceed four billion by 2015. And every 18 months, the capacity of the world’s international fiber optic cables is

doubling to support the ever-increasing internet traffic,” Matbouly said, adding that now is the time to upgrade networks and become part of the 21st century’s wave of technology. Following the address, panelists discussed the existing infrastructure and need for modernising it to deliver world-class services. They pinpointed the contributions that companies can call for change

Key point: Panelists at the conference agreed that the infrastructure in Saudi Arabia needs to improve quickly

make to Saudi Arabia’s vision of economic development over the next 12 months. “The revolution will be an unprecedented phenomenon that will create a complete new ecosystem of opportunities, only to be fully revealed and understood in the near future,” Matbouly continued. On day two, panelists such as Sulaiman Al Zahrani, from GO Etihad Atheeb Telecom, said one of the main factors influencing the modernisation of ICT infrastructure is the constant changing of services and market needs. “In Saudi Arabia, we know that the market is changing day by day. At the same time, the kingdom is working to introduce services at competitive prices for the first time – and this presents challenges,” Al Zahrani said. The biggest problem – echoed throughout the conference – was the challenge of introducing state-of-the–art services

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on the go

GO Telecom has revealed its latest digital voice product “GO Terhal”, introducing the concept for the first time in Saudi Arabia. The service provides a range of features including the ability to transform any smart device (iPod Touch, iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab) to a phone device to make local and international calls and receive calls FOC, with a special number from GO starting with 08111. “GO Terhal” can be downloaded free of charge from any of the popular App Stores such as iTunes App Store, Ovi Store and Google Android. Raed Kayal, acting chief executive of GO Telecom, described the initiative as a significant step for both the company and Saudi’s telco sector. “Our aim is to fully utilise our advanced infrastructure and increase the number of subscribers as every internet user inside or outside the Saudi Arabia is a potential customer, regardless of their internet service provider.

and products without an up-to-date ICT infrastructure. For this reason, Al Zahrani said, Saudi Arabia has committed to investing $5.3 billion to building its ICT infrastructure over the next few years. He said GO Etihad Atheeb Telecom’s target market may be small, but the company has taken a giant step forward. “We are trying to introduce services that would interest consumers as well as SMEs, and are looking to the larger enterprise market in the future,” Al Zahrani added. Another challenge to delivering ICT throughout the kingdom is the lack of solid information of timelines and when services are to be available. Responding to this, Mohammed Al Jasser, general

manager of key account sales, STC, said: “In short, SMEs’ consumers and enterprises are all waiting for the sector to grow and provide the services they need to do business within the kingdom.” Al Jasser said he expects more growth in the enterprise sector this year, despite the economic setbacks of the last two years. “2010 was difficult for the telecom buyer because the global financial crisis limited government expansion. We have grown less than anticipated, but are seeing a way to accelerate growth in 2011,” he said. Al Jasser confirmed that STC conducted business by transforming its business model from individual to a more integrated market.

“We are changing the way we do business everyday to come closer to the customer, and although a lot has been done in the past three years as the sector is now, we have not reached where we want to be, as it takes time. But it can be accomplished,” he said. Al Jasser said that over the next year there will be more focus on opportunities in bundles and integrated services and cloud computing services to offer to verticals such as education, health and SMEs. In addition, there is a trend for smartphone users to experience tremendous growth in the services market. “Growth in the overall Saudi ICT market was 1.7 per cent, compared to two per cent globally,” he said. Al Jasser added that over the 12 months, STC has enjoyed a strong position in the Saudi market. But instead of sitting on its laurels, the company is offering integrated services and improving existing services for customers. “The challenge remaining is that enterprises are looking for fast, better services, and if a service provider can show them that they can deliver, case closed. In this case the provider would be able to dictate services and relate to large enterprises,” Al Jasser said. Answering a question from the audience on how competitive the Saudi market is, Al Jasser said it is starting to become competitive – more so in the consumer sector than in the enterprise sector because of a lack of geographic reach in the region due to the infrastructure and high costs, which have meant many cannot afford to compete in the enterprise market. “Bottom-line is this: Something must be done now in order to modernise the current ICT network, because customers that are to come in the near future to live, work or set up businesses in Saudi Arabia will expect the services to be there, in the same way we have grown accustomed for utilities to work and… just be there,” he concluded. n

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GCC telcos are determined to score with domestic and foreign subscribers through sports sponsorship. Increased competition in domestic markets is driving Gulf telco giants to new territories in the search for revenues. To smooth the way, they are aligning their brands with some of the biggest names in sport, through record sponsorship deals and partnerships. Leading the field is STC. It has secured deals with two of the biggest clubs in football – Manchester United and Real Madrid – and is counting on that exposure to break into lucrative markets. The five-year United deal, signed in 2008, was reputedly worth almost $20 million. It was STC’s first deal with a non-Saudi club, and gives Saudi football fans access to unique mobile phone content, including player interviews, goal replays and match reports.

All STC’s business units have full use of the club logo and players’ photographs in marketing campaigns, and United stars such as Rio Ferdinand in Arabic-language TVCs. The club visited Saudi to play a highprofile, friendly game against the national team, but the real exposure for STC comes at Old Trafford. The 70,000-seat stadium now has STC branding, which is seen by tens of millions of fans around the world every time the Manchester giants play at home. Announcing the deal, STC chairman Dr Muhammad Al-Jasser, said: “The partnership will significantly raise our global profile since the club has a huge fan base throughout the world, and a strong following among football fans

throughout the Middle East, and especially in Saudi Arabia.” It makes perfect sense when one considers that STC has spent billions of dollars on foreign expansion into territories including Asia and Africa. Late last year STC revealed that it earns around 30 per cent of its revenues from foreign subsidiaries. And, as it faces greater competition in its home market, where securing sponsorship deals with local football clubs helps telcos retain customers in an increasingly competitive market, the operator is looking to replicate the same success abroad. “People are fanatical about football in [the Gulf] region, and to have an association with a big English Premier

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© Getty/Gallo Images

League club undoubtedly helps get the company profile up,” Irfan Ellem, a telcos analyst at Dubai-based investment bank Al Mal Capital, tells GMR. “The telcos are targeting a regional audience, offering special deals and services, and they are associating themselves with a product that everyone knows,” he continues. “At the same time, they are targeting fans in new markets – football is huge in this region, but also in Asia.” Al-Jasser was at it again in November 2009, when he announced a deal with Spanish giants Real Madrid, which gives STC promotional and PR rights, and access to the club’s advertising platforms, including perimeter advertising in the world-famous Bernabeu stadium, Real Madrid TV and STC also has the option of bringing Real Madrid to Saudi Arabia for a friendly game. “It’s a sweet deal for our subscribers and raises STC’s profile worldwide,” said Al-Jasser as he stood on a stage with Saudi’s Prince Saud Bin Nayef Al Saud, as well as Madrid superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Mahamadou Diarra. “This is a strategic partnership that extends STC sports sponsorship into the GCC and all the way to South East Asia.” STC also has deals with Italian soccer club Juventus and Saudi teams Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Shabab, Al Itifaq and Al-Nassr. And it’s not the only Gulf operator to gun for the beautiful game: UAE’s Etisalat in 2009 signed a deal to become the official telco partner of United’s Abu Dhabi-owned rivals, Manchester City. Fans are now able to access a mobile service with live news feeds, video-ondemand, mobile downloads of images, ringtones and wallpapers, player profiles, and breaking news. They are available in both Arabic and English. “Companies such as STC and Etisalat have done their research, and that research is pointing towards the Premier League as well as Real Madrid, Barcelona and teams like that,” says Ellem at Al Mal.

On the ball: In November 2009 STC signed a deal with Spanish giants Real Madrid

It’s a sweet deal for our subscribers and raises STC’s profile worldwide... “They want to get their brand out there, and this is certainly one way of doing it.” Of course, it’s not just the giants of European football that are attracting cash from Gulf telcos looking to differentiate themselves from ever-increasing competition, both at home and abroad. In Bahrain, incumbent Batelco has sponsored everything and everyone from local rally drivers to the recent Bahrain Animal Production Show, to which it pledged $80,000 in order to offer visitors wireless services, a stand selling products and services, as well as special offers on internet, BlackBerry and selected mobile packages. Competitor Zain, meanwhile, sponsored a string of sporting events and the Muharraq Club football team, with which it is working to raise awareness and funds for children with autism.

In Qatar, newcomer Vodafone has sponsored charity events as well as local basketball and rugby teams, while incumbent Q-Tel is sponsoring the AFC Asian Cup and Asian Champions League, as well as Brawn GP, the 2009 Formula One World Champions – positioning itself in front of an audience of approximately 600 million people who tune in for each race. “While [incumbents] have had a very strong share in domestic markets, they have spent overseas and taken stakes around the region and in Africa and Asia. STC and Etisalat have done it all over, while QTel is taking a big interest in South East Asia,” Ellem says. “They know their market stake at home is shrinking and they are under more and more pressure, so they decide to expand overseas – and sponsorship is an obvious aid to that.” n

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Sponsored by


App-ly now

Demand for Arabic-language apps is growing, study reveals.

According to a recent study of more than 7,000 Gulf internet users, 61 per cent use mobile apps every day. Furthermore, 53 per cent of users downloaded a free app last year, while 18 per cent paid for one during the final quarter of 2010. “Internet via mobile is growing rapidly in the region, and apps are an extension of that,” says Brendon Ogilvy, VP of Digital Insight at Extreme Measures, which conducted the survey in partnership with Spot On Public Relations. “In many cases, particularly if you look at news content, apps are a very well defined and well encased way of consuming content. It’s all funnelled into the app and designed to give a better user experience with that mobile device, as opposed to through a regular browser or website.” Early adopters in the Middle East have already embraced the Symbian platform, used by Nokia smartphones, while Google’s new Android system

is tipped as the platform of the future for apps in the region and beyond. But both platforms are sure to find themselves host to an increasing number of Arabic-language apps. “There’s a real trend towards developing Arabic-language content, and so there’s no question we’re going to see a lot more Arabic-language apps coming on to the market,” Ogilvy says. “In my view Egypt is leading the charge to satisfy this huge appetite.” According to the survey, 49 per cent of respondents use mobiles to go online, and 53 per cent plan to buy a tablet device – such as the Apple iPad – within the next three months. Of those 53 per cent, 30 per cent say the chief reason is because of the apps available for tablets. “This shift will be driven by apps, as well as the wider screen on tablet devices,” Ogilvy says. “It’s the main reason for the youth in the region to make the change, and

that again will fuel the demand for more Arabic-language content.” Another fundamental driver of demand is social networking. According to earlier surveys, 77 per cent of Middle East internet users are on Facebook, while 79 per cent of MENA internet users spend up to three hours a day updating social networks. Currently, an estimated 99 per cent of tweets are in English, but 54 percent of users in the Middle East are Arabic speakers – meaning there’s a market that has yet to be tapped. “Apps are predominately used for social networking, and as more social media sites adopt Arabic-language facilities, use of apps is going to soar,” Ogilvy says. “Sport, too, is clearly a favourite pastime for the youth in the region, and most football sites that have launched apps have received a huge amount of traffic. Sites such as Eurosport Arabia have seen a large take-up from their apps.” n

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better connection

A new cable network project will enable internet access for two billion people in the Middle East.

Seven operators, including Etisalat (the UAE), Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Jordan Telecom, Mada and Zain (Jordan), Syria Telecom and Superonline, a Turkcell Group company, are building the Middle East’s longest terrestrial communications infrastructure along a 7,750km roundtrip route. The Regional Cable Network (RCN) project was signed by the seven operators late last year in Ankara. Starting from Fujairah (the UAE) and passing through Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Amman (Jordan) and Tartous (Syria), before reaching Istanbul (Turkey), the project’s fibre optic cable line will cover the Gulf region for the first time through a uniform infrastructure.

Some 3,875km in radial length, totalling 7,750km with its round trip routes, the RCN will become the region’s longest terrestrial fibre infrastructure between Fujairah, one of the busiest nodes for submarine and fibre cables, and the west. Consortium chairman and executive VP Carrier & Wholesale at Etisalat, Ali Amiri, said the RCN would be unmatched in terms of speed, quality, ease of upgrade and reliability, and that the dual fibre lines would cross five countries and intersect in five cities. The infrastructure would have the ability to provide 12.8 terabits per second, he added. With an investment value of $500 million, the fibre optic line will be operational from Q2.

“The demand for intercontinental connectivity continues to grow at a remarkable rate. The region’s governments are encouraging investment in new technologies to bolster the performance of their national economies. Operators are deploying next-generation networks for fixed-line and wireless environments which, in turn, allow an increasing volume of services to be provided to more consumers,” Amiri said. “These factors, as well as the growing technical literacy of the local population, and availability of rich, local content are driving the demand for more capacity.” n Copy supplied by Corporate Communication Department – Etisalat

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Catch all

A triple-ply safety net is the best defence against churn. In today’s telco sector, acquiring potentially high-value customers can be expensive. According to industry analysis, on average only 20 to 30 per cent of a telco’s entire customer base generates revenue and is profitable. In addition, the sector experiences an average 30 to 35 per cent annual churn, with only 25 per cent of the acquired customers staying with a provider after a year. Churn is creating a chasm in companies’ balance sheets, and creating a loyal customer base is critical. Rather than having one single initiative to address customer retention and growth issues, organisations should construct a set of three safety nets to minimise churn: customer experience manage-

ment (CEM), total relationship loyalty, and churn prediction and prevention. This strategy becomes more important as competition and price pressure increase and products become more commoditised. Once customers are acquired, a telco must use CEM to keep them satisfied. Proactively managing the customer experience is a key delivery vehicle of a company’s brand promises and, therefore, allows it to either keep or break its promises to customers. According to research, companies with a branded CEM approach achieve higher customer satisfaction and retention rates. No organisation, however, can offer a flawless experience to all customers all of the time. There will be service

delivery failures, and some customers will slip through that first safety net. A compelling Total Relationship Loyalty (TRL) programme, that engages customers, will catch many of those who fall through the net. Customers experiencing a loyalty programme relevant to their lifestyles are less likely to switch as long as they are earning relevant rewards. Research shows engaged customers (with high redemption rates) are less likely to switch operators. However, even the best loyalty programmes do not engage all customers. The industry average for a loyalty programme is to have more than 60 per cent of the operator’s customers enrolled, with about 50 to 70 per cent redemption rates.

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Safety Net One: Customer Experience Management Companies are increasingly realising the importance of managing the customer experience throughout his or her lifecycle, with the aim of turning those who are satisfied into loyal advocates. Telco providers must proactively create the desired experiences and effectively manage them to successfully create long-term relationships. We define customer experience as all interactions that happen between a company and its customers as seen through the eyes of the latter. Our framework outlines how a good experience leads to Return on Customer (ROC equals a firm’s current-period cash flow from its customers plus any changes in the underlying customer equity, divided by the total customer equity at the beginning of the period). The main steps for establishing and implementing the ideal CEM state are as follows: 1. Make a comprehensive assessment of the current customer experience. • Map the customer experience across the customer lifecycle and touchpoints.

© Corbis

But there will still be some churn. This is when the operator needs to be able to predict it and work proactively on retaining high-value customers. Churn prediction and prevention measures allow a telco provider to develop models that assign a churn probability score to each customer, generally with an eight- to 10-week prediction window. The operator would then develop a library of churn prevention campaigns with automated rules based on customer behaviour, customer value, and churn risk. Here we examine each of the three safety nets and look at their critical success factors, as well as areas of impact.

Right approach: Customers should belong to different loyalty tiers

No firm… can offer a flawless experience to all of the customers all of the time.

• Identify moments of truth. • Clearly identify various customer preferences and needs. 2. Design the customer experience strategy. • Establish the vision and guiding principles for CEM. • D esign future state customer experience for all interactions and touchpoints. 3. Implement the CEM strategy. • Identify the gaps between current and future states. • Define and prioritise the initiatives to close the gaps. • I mplement and monitor these initiatives. After implementation, the impact of CEM should be continuously monitored and reported. It is essential to balance costs and benefits incurred in the programme. Establishing a business case and

KPI targets in the beginning is critical to having standards to measure against along the way. Safety Net Two: Total Relationship Loyalty TRL differentiates the customer experience based on customer tiers. It’s a platform from which to communicate to customers about their differentiated privileges, while CEM represents the basis and lays down the fundamentals of the different treatments. TRL goes well beyond mere points-based loyalty programmes in that it helps telcos manage and nurture all types of customer interactions. The objectives are two-fold: to increase customer insight and learn more about them and, consequently, serve them better with customised rewards; and to develop and strengthen customer relationships, further engage them,

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Sponsored by



Relationship-building: It is important to manage customer experience throughout his or her lifecycle

...even the best loyalty programmes do not engage all customers. and engage them recurrently. TRL is composed of three pillars: 1.  Customers: Different customers should belong to different programme tiers. They can be tiered based on their value to the organisation and also their lifestyle. 2. Products and services: Products and services are the core programme rewards; they can also be the main drivers for customers to earn points. TRL can guide different marketing strategies – for example by offering upsell as rewards. 3. Channels: Channels represent other forms of rewards and allow the expansion of loyalty engagement across all customer interactions. TRL can contribute to a successful channel strategy by designing earn-andreward rules to drive desired customer behaviour related to channel usage.

Safety Net Three: Preventing churn Managing churn is challenging for providers, but retaining highly profitable customers can prove to be even more arduous. Such projects require organising and analysing huge volumes of data that are often difficult to access and consolidate. Many organisations simply lack the ability to support the complex data mining and analytical tasks that are essential to combating churn. Churn hits most when a customer churns before the company can earn back the investment it incurred in acquiring him or her. It is critical, therefore, to identify and retain profitable customers. In telecommunications, there are two different types of churn: 1. Voluntary: when the customer initiates termination of the service contract. Most telcos find that the major stated reasons for churn include price,

quality, network coverage, customer service, and image. 2. Involuntary: when people are churned for fraud, non-payment and underutilisation. The best way to manage this is to determine who is likely to create credit problems and prevent them from subscribing in the first place. After defining the extent of their churn, telcos must develop a strategy to predict and prevent it from happening. This should begin with using analytical models to understand customers’ propensity to churn. Using historical analysis, telcos can create reliable predictions of future behaviour. In addition, telecoms must implement an end-to-end retention programme, which entails not only churn analysis, but also strategy and action development, deployment and continuous monitoring. n

Mounir Ariss partner, Peppers & Rogers Group UAE

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Knowledge Zone Partners



Sponsored by


Tapping into the market

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt are the top regional countries in 2010’s digital economy rankings. The UAE is the top-ranked Middle Eastern country in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) technology benchmarking study, Digital economy rankings 2010: Beyond e-readiness. The country is placed 32 – up two places since 2009 – in the “digital economy rankings”, previously known as the “e-readiness rankings”. Saudi Arabia (which dropped one place to 52), Jordan (51 in 2010; 50 in 2009)and Egypt (57 both last year and in 2009) are the other regional countries on the list. The study shows that individuals and organisations across much of the globe now connect to the internet and telecom

networks on a regular basis, and “connectivity” is no longer an exclusively rich-world luxury. The 70 countries in the rankings are considered “e-ready”. The study’s title reflects the gradual shift of countries’ digital priorities from simply making ICT available to the population to maximising its use for economic and social benefit, says the EIU. To make better use of the rich applications and services now available, access to the internet and teleco networks must be of increasingly high quality. That’s why the rankings model now assesses the quality of countries’ broadband and mobile access

(based on existing fibre and 3G connections), in addition to their prevalence. This addition has affected the fortunes of the top-ranked countries: Several in Europe and North America suffered a decline in their scores as their high-speed networks are in need of further development. Asian nations that invested heavily in next-generation networks, on the other hand, moved up the table. However, according to Denis McCauley, EIU’s director of Global Technology Research: “Strong digital development requires concerted action and progress across many fronts.”

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Economist Intelligence Unit digital economy rankings 2010 2010 Rank

2009 Rank


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

2 1 5 10 3 4 8 7 6 11 9 16 19 13 14 22 18 17 12 15 20 21 23 25 24 26 28 29 30 31 34 33 32 35 38

Sweden Denmark United States Finland Netherlands Norway Hong Kong Singapore Australia New Zealand Canada Taiwan South Korea United Kingdom Austria Japan Ireland Germany Switzerland France Belgium Bermuda Malta Spain Estonia Italy Portugal Slovenia Chile Czech Republic UAE Greece Lithuania Hungary Malaysia

Most of the other top-tier countries boast, along with high degrees of connectivity, stable business and legal environments; strong educational and cultural drivers; supportive government policies; and, partly as a result of all the above, active and growing use of digital services by individuals and businesses. Key findings Nordic countries excel This year Sweden dislodged the perennial “e-readiness” leader Denmark by a narrow margin. Finland and Norway are also among the top six digital economy countries in 2010, the former advancing six places, mainly on the strength of improved performance in indicators measuring the use of online services. Asia top Taiwan, South Korea and Japan all advanced in the rankings, partly due

2010 score 8.49 8.41 8.41 8.36 8.36 8.24 8.22 8.22 8.21 8.07 8.05 7.99 7.94 7.89 7.88 7.85 7.82 7.80 7.72 7.67 7.52 7.47 7.32 7.31 7.06 6.92 6.90 6.81 6.39 6.29 6.25 6.20 6.14 6.06 5.93

2009 score 8.67 8.87 8.60 8.30 8.64 8.62 8.33 8.35 8.45 8.21 8.33 7.86 7.81 8.14 8.02 7.69 7.84 7.85 8.15 7.89 7.71 7.71 7.46 7.24 7.28 7.09 6.86 6.63 6.49 6.46 6.12 6.33 6.34 6.04 5.87

2010 Rank 2009 Rank 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70

37 36 39 41 40 42 43 44 47 45 48 46 49 52 50 51 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 64 63 62 65 66 69 67 68 70

Country Latvia Slovakia Poland South Africa Mexico Brazil Turkey Jamaica Bulgaria Argentina Romania Trinidad & Tobago Thailand Colombia Jordan Saudi Arabia Peru Philippines Venezuela China Egypt India Russia Ecuador Nigeria Vietnam Sri Lanka Ukraine Indonesia Pakistan Kazakhstan Algeria Iran Azerbaijan

2010 score 5.79 5.78 5.70 5.61 5.53 5.27 5.24 5.21 5.05 5.04 5.04 4.98 4.86 4.81 4.76 4.75 4.66 4.47 4.34 4.28 4.21 4.11 3.97 3.90 3.88 3.87 3.81 3.66 3.60 3.55 3.44 3.31 3.24 3.00

2009 score 5.97 6.02 5.80 5.68 5.73 5.42 5.34 5.33 5.11 5.25 5.07 5.14 5.00 4.84 4.92 4.88 4.75 4.58 4.40 4.33 4.33 4.17 3.98 3.97 3.89 3.80 3.85 3.85 3.51 3.50 3.31 3.46 3.43 2.97

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2010.

to high scores – relative to the rest of the world – in broadband and mobile “quality”. Their high fibre density, for example, is testament to these countries’ ability to execute on their digital agendas. More affordable In 49 of the 70 countries ranked, the monthly fee charged by the main broadband provider amounted to less than two per cent of median monthly household income in 2009. This was the case in 42 of the 70 countries in the 2009 study, and only 33 countries in 2008. Affordability has advanced strongly in developing countries such as Vietnam and Nigeria. Divide narrowing Where 5.9 points (on a one-to-10 scale) separated the top-ranked country from the bottom in 2009, the gap narrowed to 5.5 in 2010.

This is partly due to the model changes which, in “raising the bar”, have had a larger dampening effect on the scores of top-tier countries than on those further down. When looking at broadband affordability, however, lower tier countries are making up ground, added the EIU. n About the study Data used in this article is sourced from the EIU’s Pyramid Research, the World Bank, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and others, including UNDESA country scores from its “e-participation index” (from the UN e-government survey). For more information on the methodology, please refer to the white paper’s appendix. Digital economy rankings 2010: Beyond e-readiness is available at

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Sponsored by

Š Corbis


Searching for the SEO

Mobile paves the way in SEO, and telco should pay attention to the basics.

The telco sector has traditionally been innovative, blazing trails in call centre management, CRM and online marketing. During our research into the 10 most searched keywords in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, we found that a lot of effort had been spent on Social Media Content and very little on Search Engine Optimisation – SEO. The majority of keywords with the highest number of searches were mostly mobile-related. This human behaviour favouring searching for information on mobile solutions or mobile phone brands does not come as a surprise if one considers that mobile penetration rates in the two countries are among the highest in the world, with Saudi at 165.5 per

look again

Point scoring: STC and other Saudi telcos did not mark as highly as their UAE counterparts.

cent and the UAE at 193.5 per cent. (Source: Arab Advisers Group Report September 2010.) What was surprising, however, was that even with low competition in these markets, the telco operators did not do as well as expected when it came to rankings. In the UAE, Etisalat and du were far ahead of their Saudi counterparts, ranking among the top 10 on average across the keyphrases. Etisalat had a far better average rank than du. In Saudi Arabia, the two main operators, STC and Mobily, showed much poorer results. Mobily was the most searched keyword in and STC was

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© Corbis

third, which shows high brand recognition – the majority of searches are for brand names. If searched for directly, the brand sites of Mobily and STC would come somewhere on top. However, their average position is significantly lower as they rank so poorly for other generic keywords. In the case of STC, it didn’t even rank in the top 10, even with its own brand name among the top 10 keywords, which were analysed for the purpose of ranking the sites. It’s a strong indication that STC relies far too much on its brand recognition and misses out on the opportunity to attract to its site visitors and potential customers who have searched for more generic keywords, and not just the brand name. Social media sites featured prominently in the search results, as did Further investigation identified Google’s page on Mobile Applications. The high performance in Saudi Arabia and the UAE of social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter confirms the lack of welloptimised content, and is an indicator of how developing social media content is a vital component of any SEO strategy. If optimised correctly, social media content can rank for keywords where the current brand sites do not. All this does beg the question: If resources can be spent on social media content, then why can’t a little be spent on an SEO strategy to increase the ranking of the main brand website? n

Lee Mancini head of Sekari SEO Dubai

Top 10 Keywords & search # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Keyword (UAE) mobile iphone etisalat black berry blackberry du voip 3g wifi blackberry bold

Local Monthly Searches 301,000 246,000 246,000 246,000 246,000 110,000 60,500 33,100 33,100 27,100

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Research conducted on Top 10 keywords with the most searches last month based on local results from

# 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Keyword (Saudi Arabia) mobily internet stc i phone iphone mobile black berry blackberry skype phone

Local Monthly Searches 550,000 368,000 368,000 301,000 301,000 246,000 246,000 246,000 201,000 110,000

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Research conducted on Top 10 keywords with the most amount of searches last month based on local results from

# 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Coverage 100% 70% 70% 60% 60% 50% 50% 40% 40% 40%

Average rank 4 18.14 26.86 17.17 24.33 22.60 24.20 8.75 10.25 10.75


Performance data based on Results show the top 10 performing websites, which, on average, have the highest rank and the most coverage across all 10 keyphrases in natural search results in

# 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Coverage 100% 70% 70% 60% 60% 50% 50% 40% 40% 40%

Average rank 7.30 16.57 12.50 17.67 18.67 15.20 11.50 13.25 16.75 17.00


Performance data based on Results show the top 10 performing websites, which, on average, have the highest rank and the most coverage across all 10 keyphrases in natural search results in Source: Sekari SEO 2010

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Sponsored by

© Corbis


Telcos on top

Telcos topple governments to become the big spenders in 2010. The top spending sector in the region, Telco, sharing 17 per cent of the total measured ad spend, is undergoing speedy reforms with rapid infrastructure and technological changes. The sector is transforming with an increasing number of players in the region, some of whom are preparing to extend their roles in the global arena. The mega deal between the sector’s biggest spender, Zain, and India’s largest telco, Bharti Airtel, created headlines around the world last year. The sector spent $1.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2010, compared to $1.13 billion during the same period in 2009, a healthy 59 per cent increase. According to recent data, the total spend reached $2.34 billion for 2010. The sector focused heavily on communicating via Pan Arab Media, which reaches multi-markets, as spending more than doubled at 109 per cent during the period. At the same time, the region’s major markets are in the red, suggesting that

local market spend flowed towards Pan Arab Media. Pan Arab Media shares 78 per cent of the total spend, with the rest allocated to other regional markets. Egypt is the top spending market, but lost 32 per cent in the first three quarters of 2010. Kuwait ranks second, gaining 33 per cent in the same period. Other market spending variations are: Saudi Arabia, which dropped 24 per cent; the UAE, down nine per cent; Qatar, up one per cent; Jordan, down 18 per cent; Oman, which rose 30 per cent; Bahrain, up 55 per cent; and Lebanon, which fell 83 per cent. The sector relies heavily on television to communicate its messages, and the share of TV surged 87 per cent in 2010, from 69 per cent in 2008. TV spend rose by 80 per cent between January and September in 2010, versus the same period in 2009. Newspapers, however, plummeted to eight per cent after a nine per cent drop during the same period. Magazine and radio share is one

per cent each, while outdoor stands at around three per cent. The top three telcos in the region are Zain, Etisalat Egypt and STC. Zain ranks first with TV and newspapers in the league of top spending brands. du is the top spender on magazines, while Etisialat Egypt is the biggest spender on radio in the region. Telcos replaced government as the top spending sector in the region in 2010, and are likely to further consolidate their position in 2011. The ad spend is calculated on media rate cards and does not account for incentives and discounts that advertisers may avail from media owners. The period covered was January-September 2010. n

Shaharyar Umar analyst Pan Arab Research Centre, UAE

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CATEGORY: Telecommunications Millions US$1803

Markets Ranking & Media Split (000 US$) Television Rank Market Name & Abbreviation 2008 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

%Var’n 2010 YTD


Pan Arab Media PAN 423,665 669,229 Egypt EGY 145,844 183,196 Kuwait KWT 23,800 86,592 Saudi Arabia KSA 69,858 67,656 United Arab Emirates UAE 38,772 50,482 Qatar QTR 13,974 29,130 Jordan JOR 13,136 17,596 Oman OMN 8,173 6,206 Bahrain BAH 3,817 3,817 Lebanon LEB 10,428 12,016 Other Markets** OTH 5,831 6,180 Total AGCC & Pan Arab 757,298 1,132,100

1,400,364 125,368 115,029 51,204 45,883 29,344 14,427 8,054 5,926 2,029 4,985 1,802,613

109 -32 33 -24 -9 1 -18 30 55 -83 -19 59



%Var’n YTD


1,394,233 56,941 96,419 3,177 12,252 652 1,830 237 808 1,184 1,319 1,569,052

111 -48 51 -48 -19 -47 -41 -48 168 -87 -22 80

138 43,720 15,334 29,380 22,350 8,636 12,299 7,404 3,575 256 2,990 146,082


%Var’n YTD


%Var’n YTD


-41 5,993 -1 2,188 -14 1,819 -23 999 7 1,908 -35 534 -14 298 41 413 40 707 -73 391 -20 230 -9 15,480


-17 0 -65 13,116 -43 1,222 -18 1,949 -12 774 -27 1,623 9 0 -7 0 7 161 2 25 -14 446 -32 19,316


%Var’n YTD


0 23 9,403 12 235 -24 15,699 -32 7,970 168 17,899 0 -100 0 -5 11 -94 173 -5 0 13 51,390



%Var’n YTD -31 -54 -20 -21 35 -100 -100 -65 -86 -12


%Var’n YTD

0 0 0 0 629 0 0 0 664 0 0 1,293




**Other markets: Combined - Syria, Yemen & Arasian

Ranking of Markets & Media Split (000US$) 100%

Category split by market 2%



Pan Arab Egypt Lebanon UAE KSA KWT OMN QTR JOR BAH Others

3% 6% 7%

75% 50%


25% 0%

Total GCC LEV PAN EGY KWT KSA UAE QTR JOR OMN BAH LEB OTH 1802613 1658565 144048 1400364 125368 115029 51204 45883 29344 14427 8054 5926 2029 4985







SPLIT BY PRODUCTS – 2010 All Markets 1%


Advanced telephone Misc public com Gas and power

2% 2%

Pan Arab Media 66%



Telephone comp Communication N

GCC Markets 58%


Advanced telephone Misc public com Gas and power





66% 38%



Telephone comp Communication N

Advanced telephone Communication N Gas and power

Telephone comp Misc public com

Levant Markets 9% 10% 12%

Telephone comp Advanced telephone Gas and power

Misc public com Communication N

TOP BRANDS – ALL MEDIA (000 US$) – 2010 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Brand Zain Etisalat Egypt STC Mobily Mobinil Vodafone du Etisalat Telecom Egypt Wataniya Telecom Mobc Q-Tel Viva Te Data MTN Orange Link Dot Net Fast Telco Space Toon Mob. Vodafone Qatar

Pan Arab Media Value 120,281 96,506 84,898 82,581 79,635 59,689 42,399 37,577 36,877 33,692 27,796 24,804 18,715 12,490 6,942 6,058 5,372 5,000 4,196 4,016

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Brand Zain Etisalat Egypt Mobily STC Mobinil Vodafone Mobc Telecom Egypt Etisalat du Wataniya Telecom MTN Te Data Space Toon Mob. Link Dot Net Rasgas Co. Qatar Gas Q-Tel Bahgat Wataniya Mobile

GCC Value 76,760 68,447 65,553 63,427 56,828 33,781 27,796 20,471 17,732 15,562 14,194 6,193 4,436 4,196 3,583 3,312 3,112 2,619 2,338 2,184

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Levant Brand Zain STC Mobily Etisalat Egypt Mobinil du Etisalat Vodafone Wataniya Telecom Mobc Q-Tel Telecom Egypt Viva MTN Fast Telco Te Data Space Toon Mob. Vodafone Qatar Kems Rasgas Co.

Value 116,293 84,702 82,573 68,447 56,893 42,302 34,204 34,182 33,692 27,796 24,804 20,471 18,715 6,193 5,000 4,436 4,196 4,016 3,954 3,751

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Brand Etisalat Egypt Vodafone Mobinil Telecom Egypt Te Data Orange Zain Umniah Etisalat Link Dot Net Egypt Gas Town Gas Short Numb Taqarob MTN MTC Touch Car Gas Syrian Telecom S Alam Al Phan Mada

Value 28,059 25,507 22,742 16,406 8,054 4,656 3,988 3,825 3,373 1,789 1,379 1,371 1,230 768 749 746 594 580 391 368

Source: PARC

GCC & Levant

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CATEGORY: Telecommunications Advertising Expenditure for Top Products (000 US$) 2008 – 2010 (Jan - Sep)

Millions US$ 433

Media Split %

2008 2010 2009 Advanced Telephone Services ATS 265,463 522,799 978,347 Telephone Companies TEL 422,085 533,489 725,820 Misc Public Communication MPC 21,568 19,395 39,764 Communication Networking Data CND 24,458 31,983 38,698 Gas And Power Co. G&P 10,758 12,591 15,600 Others OTH 12,966 11,843 4,384 Total 757,298 1,132,100 1,802,613

%Var’n Y10/09 87 36 105 21 24 -63 59

Sh% 54 40 2 2 1 0 100

2010 Media Split %

TV 99 74 79 68 56 25 87

NP 1 16 14 23 38 48 8

MG 0 1 2 5 5 26 1

RD 1 2 2 2 0 1 1

Top Brands 2010 (000 US$) OD 0 7 3 2 1 0 3

CN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Product Growth 2008 - 2010 (000 US$) 1200000











OTH 0%








Newspapers Television Magazines Outdoor Radio Cinema









Overall Media Split Analysis (000 US$) Media

Value 521,706 143,744 19,014 20,374 51,554 906 757,298

Television Newspaper Magazine Radio Outdoor Cinema Total


Sh% 69 19 3 3 7 0 100

Value 871,631 161,124 22,788 17,145 58,250 1,162 1,132,100


Sh% 77 14 2 2 5 0 100

Value 1,569,052 146,082 15,480 19,316 51,390 1,293 1,802,613



87 8 1 1 3 0 100

Var'n % 2009/2010 80 -9 -32 13 -12 11 59

Monthly Spend Analysis (Millions US$) 2008 – 2010 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Total Jan










2009 87 100 115 122 119 127 130 151 181 1132

2010 131 126 158 166 178 174 153 444 273 1803



Overall Media Split 2008 – 2010

Total Category – Media Split % 1% 3% 87%

(000 US$ - Semi Logarithmic)


2008 61 70 66 75 77 79 80 78 171 757




150000 100000 50000 0



Newspapers Television Magazines Outdoor Radio Cinema

2010 Television Radio

Newspapers Outdoor


Var’n % Y10/09 50 26 37 36 50 37 18 195 51 59

Television Top Spenders Rank Brand 1 Zain 2 Etisalat Egypt 3 Mobily 4 STC 5 Mobinil 6 Vodafone 7 Wataniya Telecom 8 Telecom Egypt 9 Mobc 10 Etisalat

2010 101135 84453 70834 64843 64328 45357 30098 29573 27796 22865

Newspaper Top Spenders Rank Brand 1 Zain 2 du 3 STC 4 Mobinil 5 Etisalat 6 Vodafone 7 Etisalat Egypt 8 Mobily 9 Telecom Egypt 10 Q-Tel

2010 13241 12359 12339 9983 9767 9075 7635 6109 5561 4617

Magazine Top Spenders Rank Brand 1 Zain 2 du 3 STC 4 Mobinil 5 Etisalat 6 Vodafone 7 Etisalat Egypt 8 Mobily 9 Telecom Egypt 10 Q-Tel

2010 13241 12359 12339 9983 9767 9075 7635 6109 5561 4617

Radio Top Spenders Rank Brand 1 Etisalat Egypt 2 Mobinil 3 Vodafone 4 Etisalat 5 Zain 6 STC 7 Vodafone Qatar 8 Q-Tel 9 du 10 Telecom Egypt

2010 2467 1946 1763 1184 976 970 871 752 543 487

Outdoor Top Spenders Rank Brand 1 Q-Tel 2 du 3 STC 4 Mobily 5 Zain 6 Mobinil 7 Vodafone 8 Etisalat 9 Etisalat Egypt 10 Vodafone Qatar

2010 16195 6485 5818 4975 3982 2802 2658 2144 1769 1605

Source: PARC *Please note figures throughout this section are rounded up.

Product & Abbreviation


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Spring Consumer Festival KIF Date: February 23 to March 5 Venue: Kuwait International Fairs Ground T: +965 2 5387 100 W:

Event of the month

Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Mgmt IIR ME Date: February 26 to 28 Venue: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dubai T: +971 4 3352 437 W: The average cost of an Emirati wedding is $82,000, according to The Bride Show organisers, who expect more than 14,000 people to visit the event in the UAE capital this month. Last year, 57 per cent of the visitors confirmed they were interested in the products and trends introduced during the show, while 48 per cent said they intend to approach some of the exhibiting companies for their wedding requirements. The three-day event also caters to women interested in fashion, luxury and the latest styles. Global and regional fashion houses will showcase haute couture designs, abayas and sheilas, fashion accessories and beauty products. The Abaya Design Awards, sponsored by Henkel’s Persil Abaya Shampoo, will also be held. The Bride Show, Abu Dhabi IIR ME Date: February 2 to 5 Venue: Adnec, Abu Dhabi T: +971 4 3364 227 W:

February 3rd Annual Food and Hospitality Expo 2011 BECA Date: February 8 to 10 Venue: Bahrain Intl Exh & Convention Ctr T: +973 17 5588 26 W: World Cards and Payments Summit 2011 Fleming Gulf

Date: February 14 to 16 Location: Dubai, UAE T: +971 4 6091 555 W: Middle East Exclusive (The 8th duty free, travel retail and luxury goods exhibition) Channels Exhibitions Date: February 20 to 22 Venue: Dubai World Trade ctr T: +971 4 2824 737 W:

March Festivalworld Middle East Epoc Messe Frankfurt GmbH Date: March 7 to 9 Venue: Dubai Intl Convention & Exh Ctr T: +971 4 3380 102 W: Playworld Middle East Epoc Messe Frankfurt GmbH Date: March 7 to 9 Venue: Dubai Intl Convention & Exh Ctr T: +971 4 3380 102 W: AJWEX – Al Ain Jewellery & Watch Exhibition Al Bader Exhibitions Organisers Date: March 14 to 16 Venue: Al Ain Convention Ctr, Abu Dhabi, UAE T: +971 3 7666 780 W: Commercial Vehicles ME Streamline Marketing Group Date: March 7 to 12 Venue: Dubai Intl Convention & Exh Ctr T: +971 4 4475 357 W:

Gulf Print & Pack 2011 F&E Ltd Date: March 14 to 17 Venue: Dubai Airport Expo T: +971 4 2867 755 W: Global City, Abu Dhabi Reed Exhibitions Date: March 15 to 17 Venue: Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi T: +971 2 4446 113 F: +971 2 4443 768 W: Big Boys Toys 2011 Artaaj Exhibitions Date: March 16 to 19 Venue: Adnec, UAE T: +971 2 4490 011 F: +971 2 4490 808 W: Iraq Health Expo 2011 Expotim Intl Fair Organisation, Inc. Date: March 18 to 21 Venue: Basra Intl Fair Ground T: +90 212 3560 056, ext 1663 F: +90 212 3560 096 W: Saudi Travel and Tourism Investment Market (STTIM) 2011 Riyadh Exhibitions Company (REC) Date: March 27 to 31 Venue: Riyadh Intl Convention & Exh Ctr T: +966 1 2295 604 W: Motexha IIR ME Date: March 29 to 31 Venue: Dubai Intl Exh Ctr T: +971 4 3352 437 W:

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GMR | Feb 2011  

For the past 17 years Gulf Marketing Review (GMR) has been the most authoritative and reliable information source for marketing professional...

GMR | Feb 2011  

For the past 17 years Gulf Marketing Review (GMR) has been the most authoritative and reliable information source for marketing professional...