A major campaign such as Make it In the Emirates, the new slogan for the unified industrial brand identity of the UAE, and part of the Operation 300bn strategy, can deliver significant returns, branding experts said.
“They [brand identity campaigns] do work if you hit them right and you get that message across,” said John Brash, the founder and chief executive of Dubai-based consultancy Brash Brands.
The Make it in the Emirates brand is an extension of the UAE Nation brand whose aim is to encourage “local and international investors, innovators and developers to benefit from the facilities and incentives offered by the country’s industrial sector”, according to a statement announcing the strategy.
The strategy aims to more than double industry's contribution to the UAE's economy to Dh300bn by 2031, from Dh133bn currently.
Make it in the Emirates aims to create a sense of pride in locally made products, so that the Made in UAE label on a product motivates people around the world to buy it for its superior quality.
Mr Brash, whose agency created the Downtown Dubai brand identity for Emaar Properties, points to the 2012 Great Britain campaign created to promote UK businesses, universities and tourism destinations as an example of the type of results that can be achieved.
It involved a considerable investment – of £113.5 million ($157.2m) from 17 government departments and more than 350 public and private sector partners, which was mainly spent on advertising in 144 different countries.
It delivered a 10-fold return to the UK economy of £1.2 billion, according to Radley Yeldar, the agency that created it.
“It was highly successful. And Operation 300bn could have an even greater impact,” he said.
Make it in the Emirates goes beyond the “quality stamp” approach many nations use when promoting domestic products or industries, said Mr Brash.
“It is a statement of purpose. It invites companies, inspires entrepreneurs and implies success on a personal, human level, as well as an industrial one.”
A successful brand identity campaign “is always supported by a unique, differentiated and authentic story that avoids stereotypes and manages to own a relevant and emotional territory in its consumers’ minds”, said Nancy Villanueva, Iberia and Middle East chief executive for consultancy Interbrand.
“We like to remind our clients that brands today are defined by the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.”
To provide that authenticity, a campaign should have a single-minded purpose and narrative that is communicated across all channels, according to Steve Haysom, chief executive of Dubai brand consultancy Omnia.
“Case studies showcasing people, places, products, innovation, passion, service and dedication would be a great place to start,” said Mr Haysom.
Campaigns such as this also require consistent communication detailing policies, opportunities and regular milestones, said Ramesh Menon, chief executive of branding and marketing agency Brandform.
“What we are seeing here is a ‘movement’ that will change the way the region is perceived from a global capability standpoint. And that takes time,” said Mr Menon.