Branding for the local market

Najla Moussa
5 Min Read

CAIRO: The world-renowned Superbrands Organization, an independent arbiter on branding, has named El Gouna as Egypt’s 2006 Superbrand.

Branding has become the single most important tool when it comes to the success or failure of brands.

“The most important asset with which a company can control and shape its destiny lies in the strength of its brand equities, because the relationship between the brand and its share, sales and profits is absolute and direct, said Mike English, director of Superbrands Middle East & North Africa, in the Superbrands Egypt 2004 publication.

In an article entitled, “The Importance of Branding – Can It Really Make a Difference? by Charles Fuchs, Fuchs states that while consumers do not think about the importance of branding, they unconsciously go with the brand names that have become synonymous with their everyday life. The impact of a name, according to Fuchs, reinforces the importance of branding when we promote businesses. Fusch sites Nike, the athletic shoe company, as an example. According to him, when consumers hear the name Nike, they think of athletes and “Just Do It, the brand slogan that shot Nike to the top of the industry.

For local brands, a brand slogan such as Nike’s will not be as successful simply because a local brand lacks the geographically high visibility that global brands possess. However, a local brand can play on its ‘localness’ and understanding of local culture to create a brand that customers can be loyal to.

In developing nations, where local brands can be found by the dozen, the key to survival lies in creating a brand that the customer will pay a premium for over time, despite competition.

“You can globalize the product, but you can never globalize the consumer, said Tarek Nour, chairman of Tarek Nour Communication, in Superbrands Egypt 2004 publication. “A global Superbrand is for everyone in the world, but a local Superbrand was made for you and me.

Superbrands Organization, founded in London in 1994 by Marcel Knobil, aims to identify the best performing brands within their respective markets in the 55 countries in which the organization has launched its program. It honors local brands that have used innovative means and local culture to keep up with continuous market changes and sometimes, fierce competition.

“Brands are not very different from people. Some are normal and some are superstars or Superbrands. As with people, much effort, time and money goes into building a brand’s character to ensure it becomes an important member of the community, said Ashraf Naguib, chief commercial officer, Markstri, in the Superbrands’ Egypt 2004 publication.

Even countries are beginning to use branding as a way to attract FDIs. Thanks to the prime minister’s famous slogan, “Egypt is open for business, which he uses to conclude every speech, the country is strategically branding itself as one that is ‘open’ for investments.

Brands that are awarded the prestigious “Superbrand title must successfully possess the following criteria: market dominance, longevity, goodwill, customer loyalty and market acceptance.

In each country, the brand that is selected as the Superbrand, is picked by the country’s Superbrands council, which is made up of experts in the branding and marketing communication industry, and experts from local and international blue chip organizations in addition to the media.

According to Nour, what makes a Superbrand super is its credibility and loyalty to the local customer, which makes its shelf life longer than its competitors.

“A global brand like ‘Hard Rock’ may be known all over the world, but a local Superbrand like ‘Johnny’s Pasha’ will never be beaten locally, said Nour. “And never underestimate the power of culture; ask any lady in Egypt – she would prefer her halawa lady anytime over Gillette for women, he added.

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