News and Insight (English)

The Role of Branding in the World of Tech

As the tide of ICT development sweeps the Middle East, and indeed the world, brands must move with the times—modernising and evolving to befit their newest offerings. And that is where we come in.

When we began our work with the Saudi Arabian Government’s Ministry of Interior, the GCC country was precipitating a technological renaissance—leading the way in e-readiness and digitisation in the MENA region. And, as the biggest ICT market in the Middle East, the country was investing in its vision of becoming a key driver of smart solutions.

Therefore, we set about modernising the Ministry of Interior’s e-service, Absher; a new addition to its online presence that relied on out-dated but culturally important branding.

We knew the importance that a contemporary feel would impart, allowing and encouraging customer engagement and seamless communication. Yet, we still employed the provenance of the government
entity—retaining its authentic identity.

Absher became authentic enough to retain overall brand equity; modern enough to embody its technological nature; flexible enough to prepare for any growth. A brand galvanised for the future.

Now, in the throes of shrinking oil revenues, projects like Absher have showcased Saudi’s stalwart dedication to ICT investment, identifying the sector as a cost effective solution for government and commerce alike.

And, despite challenges around data security and actual human capital required to realise a future of growth— Saudi Arabia is delivering innovative technology and brands that are redefining the region’s e-future.

In an ever-changing world of evolving technology and impending digitisation, it is vital that we understand our role as a branding agency. We must be ready to built brands that harness the modern aesthetic required of contemporary offerings, whilst remaining mindful of innovations to come.

We must remain flexible, imaginative, insightful and of course—fun.

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Hospitality in the Post Airbnb World

Airbnb. The name has sent shudders down the spines of every hospitality group across the world for the whole of 2016. However, Airbnb are now diversifying, suggesting that their revenue is beginning to plateau.

Airbnb. The name has sent shudders down the spines of every hospitality group across the world for the whole of 2016. However, Airbnb are now diversifying, suggesting that their revenue is beginning to plateau.

With this in mind, it’s worth looking at exactly how Airbnb has redefined mainstream hospitality. Here are our top three takeaways:

1. Hotels have increased efficiency, and the ones succeeding are offering it to customers

The lower end of the market has been most effected by the startup’s disruption. It is now cheaper, quicker, and nicer to stay in a spare room than, say, a travel lodge or holiday inn. While hoteliers offered ‘no frills’ service, Airbnb offers home comforts at an even lower price.

In response, we have seen is the emergence of ‘efficiency hotels’ - brands that make the most of its space for the best experience. Take the citizen M brand. The open lobby space combined with smaller rooms not only reduces room rates but gives a sense of energy. Budget hotels should take note, as this model is here to stay.

2. Dynamic conversation with owners have made hotels more transparent

One of the lesser noticed shifts caused by Airbnb has been the democratisation of hotel reputation. In the past, it was star rankings made by a single inspector that defined the value of a hotel. Now, with the Airbnb model, people are becoming increasingly wary of these generic rankings. Potential guests are now more than happy to start a conversation themselves online.

However, with this new challenge comes new opportunity. Hoteliers now gain more information than ever before to understand to build a brand with. Even the Savoy, London’s most iconic hotel, have taken note. Every review published by a guest online gets a thorough, response from a member of the team. Feedback is integrated into the hotel’s experience, and the Savoy stays on top of constantly shifting demands.

3. Brands have to offer more than a location, but a lifestyle

The largest fundamental change to hospitality caused by Airbnb is to give a point of view on place. These are the new lifestyle brands for hotels, ones that contribute as much to your experience outside of your room as inside. The Starwood Group have this position down to a tee with the ‘design hotels’ portfolio.

With the new year in mind, we would recommend every hotelier uses the seasonal break to have a think about their customer experience. If you find any problems emerging or questions about where you can add further value, feel free to give us a call.

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Celebrating the rise of a Nation

Representing the virtuous unification of the UAE’s seven, distinct Emirates – UAE national day is a time to respect the rise of this nation and its citizens, whilst celebrating its continued prominence and success on the international stage.

Historically, the UAE’s strategic geographical location curated an epicentre for trade – creating a community of likeminded individuals whose visions were pioneering and inspired.

Now, its contemporary, futuristic aspirations have seen continuous strengthening of ‘brand UAE’, helping it garner international traction in an ever changing, modernised world.

The past 45 years have seen this powerful federation evolve from a mere nation into a world-renowned centre for business, tourism and retail. A renown that was typified by Dubai’s successful Expo 2020 bid, which saw it recognised as an innovative and modern destination with limitless offerings to the international community.

For us at Brash, the UAE has been our springboard to the global market; a platform that has allowed us to reach out to an international base of clients. Our determination strengthened by a nation’s march into the future.

And we are proud of our part in the UAE’s rise. From working on Al Zorah in Ajman or Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, to City Centre in Sharjah and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – our dedication to this great nation is unshakeable.

The UAE’s electric passion for elevation continues to serve as an inspiration – and has helped us to galvanise our values of relentlessness, boldness and fun.

Now, as we continue our own journey of innovation, we are proud of this country in which we were born; and it still reminds us that the sky is the limit.

Happy 45th National Day, UAE!

Image Credits: Skydive Dubai

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