20 October 2007

OMG Branding

An insight into Oman's manufacturing and ICT sectors
Saturday, October 20, 2007
OMG on Branding

According to Eng. Hamad Al Harthy, Director General of Rusayl Industrial Estate the dictionary definition of branding is: “the act of giving a company a particular design or symbol in order to advertise its products and services,” and this is indeed the topic of discussion for PEIE’s Oman Manufacturing Group (OMG) seminar scheduled for 7:30pm Monday 29 October at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Al Harthy is amazed with how few domestic businesses understand the importance of branding. Indeed, he points out that recent research suggests that many businesses see no reason for investing in design, public relations, web innovation or in communicating core messages. “This is disappointing and something we really need to address,” remarks the PEIE Director General.

How a business, product or service is branded plays a major role in whether it succeeds or fails. “Let’s be honest, a brand isn’t a logo, it’s your ethics and persona. It’s your story. This includes your style of design, your execution of that design, your attitude, your marketing, your internal policies and your business process,” says Al Harthy. All of these influence your brand image. Indeed, according to Ernst & Young, up to 40 per cent of a company's market value is based on intangible assets - the emotional and psychological factors that enable a person to feel comfortable with, and relate to a brand.

Backed by some of Oman’s best known brands including Reem Batteries; Oman Cables; Ericsson; Agility; Omani Marble; Jotun; Videocon; Muna Noor Manufacturing & Trading; Future Pipe Industries; Al Mudhish; Oracle; Oman Oasis Water; and Khimji’s Permoglaze, OMG has been designed specifically by PEIE to bring manufacturers and those connected to the sector closer together.

“Creating the right identity doesn’t happen by accident but takes considerable understanding of target markets, a well-defined competitive strategy and the ability to communicate this effectively. These are the issues the next OMG seminar will tackle,” says Al Harthy.

“Many believe we’re on the cusp of a major shift in how Omani firms think about branding,” comments Mohammed Al Maskari, Director General, Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM). Historically, a brand was seen as a promise that said: “You can rely on what we’re offering because of our brand attributes.” This, in my opinion, is beginning to be replaced with a more customer centric branding where the message is: “I know you better than the competitors and you can trust me to put together the right products or services to meet your individual needs.” This branding paradigm shift is more than evident on KOM where firms have become very image conscious. They’re concerned about how they look, the quality of service they deliver and the messages they send out. ”
Blog contents copyright © 2007 PEIE

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.