Sunday, April 27, 2008

Where Are The Malaysian Brands?

Malaysia may have several brands that recognised in certain parts of the world, but not yet globally. Petronas, Malaysia Airlines and Proton are among the most recognisable brands from Malaysia.
We can see Air Asia brand on the referees' sleeves while watching any EPL matches or billboards during MU's home matches. It is a good strategy which was adopted successfully by Emirates Airlines like Emirates Stadium, home venue for Arsenal. Before that splashing Emirates logo on Chelsea jerseys.
According to a business paper here, a number of brands from the Arab world, especially emerging from the Gulf, have the potential to emerge as top brands globally, media experts believe.
Even though the Arab world has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, very few Arab brands feature in the list of the top brands in the world, according to several studies.
While brands such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Toyota, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Ford, and many others are widely recognised by the average consumer worldwide, Arab brands are only known within the region and need to do a lot more to get international recognition, according to several experts at the Arab Media Forum being held in Dubai.
A few brands from the region, though, do show definite potential to garner global acclaim, the experts agreed. Brands such as Emirates and Etihad from the airline industry, Emaar and Nakheel from the real estate sector, The Arab Contractors and Consolidated Contractors from the construction and civil engineering sector, and Jumeirah Group from the hospitality sector are well-established brands in the region that are promising candidates to emerge as globally recognised brands in the near future.
In this they have the Al Jazeera News Network to look up to for inspiration, which is the only brand from the Arab world to have enjoyed ready recall internationally. A brand poll conducted by online magazine Brandchannel in 2005 found that the Qatar-based channel was the fifth most recognised of all the brands polled. It was in illustrious company, coming in after Apple, Google, Starbucks and Swedish furniture chain Ikea.
This was despite its Arabic name and broadcasting all its content in Arabic – Al Jazeera International, its English version, was launched only in 2006.
Yet, through frequently providing scoops and breaking news from Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq, and its alternative ways of delivery, Al Jazeera Arabic was able to capture the world’s imagination.
In the years that have followed, other brands have emerged from the Arab world and are poised to become household names globally, according to Abdul Aziz M Al Tewaijiri, Editor-in-charge of Al Eqtisadiya and Al Majalla magazines of the Saudi Research and Publishing Company, which also owns publications in Arabic, English, Urdu, Malayalam and Tagalog.
“I went to Canada a couple of years ago and met a lady from South Korea who told me that her dream was to fly on Emirates,” said Al Tewaijiri.
“She told me that she had spoken to friends who flew on the airline and seen the advertising campaigns. The level of service offered by Emirates, both in the air and on the ground at Dubai, she said, makes her want to fly in it,” he said. “When companies from any sector deliver on their promises and provide a different and great product, together with good customer service, it will put the company’s brand on the international stage, no matter where it comes from.”
Abu Dhabi, too, has realised the power and benefits that come from being a brand. It has formulated a strategy to become the favoured tourist and business destination in the Gulf and is investing not only in infrastructure but also in building its brand.
In November last year, it launched the Office of the Abu Dhabi Brand (Obad), devoted to promoting the emirate internationally, complete with a logo to go with all its promotional and advertising campaigns.
Reem Y Al Shemari, General Manager of Obad, said: “We know the power of a brand and it has to be a reflection of what it is claimed to be. The Abu Dhabi brand is the first initiative of its kind in the region, mandated to define and position the emirate on the international map by creating a unique brand identity that can be extended to other areas, such as investment, cultural heritage and social life.”
But to be well-known globally, companies in the region need to increase their visibility in the international media.
Lara, a Jordanian journalist who preferred to be called by her first name, said: “In order to be recognised as international brands, Arab companies need to focus on launching more attractive advertising campaigns.
“People who live in the region already know who these companies are and what services they offer, but the firms need to take their message to non-Arab media outlets that broadcast internationally.”
Some companies from the region are doing just that. Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer Masdar’s advertising campaign brought global attention to the emirate’s plans to build the first ever CO2-free city in the world.
“The Masdar initiative to go for alternative energy was almost on all major TV stations in Europe,” said Lewis Blackwell, Senior Vice-President and Group Creative Director of photo agency Getty Images.
Dubai’s Jumeirah Group has gone a few steps forward in positioning its brand as a recognised name in the hotels, resorts and hospitality sector.
According to Antony Lawrence, Director of Marketing and Innovation at the Jumeirah Group: “In addition to our facilities in Dubai, we have branches in London and New York City. Our customers there are usually people who were our guests in Dubai, where they were impressed by our quality of service and value for money.
“So they decided to stick to the Jumeirah brand in other parts of the world, too.
“We are becoming a globally recognised brand and we have plans to expand to other countries,” said Lawrence.
The region as a whole, however, needs to do a lot more. In a recent ranking exercise of brands conducted by London-based research company Millward Brown, Google stood first among a list of 100 global brands, with Standard Chartered Bank occupying the last place.
The other brands in the top five were General Electric, Microsoft, Coca Cola and China Mobile. Compared to the 2005 report by Brandchannel, Apple, which had come first in the earlier report ranked seven.
Ikea, which had come third, ranked 86 and Starbucks, which was fourth, ranked 56. However, the Top 100 in the Millward Brown ranking did not include a single brand from the Arab world. Indeed, the region was not even covered in the survey.
With the emergence of innovative and ambitious companies in the Arab world hungry for international recognition, that future most certainly will come soon.

Antara Dua Akhbar Mingguan Kepunyaan UMNO

Mingguan Malaysia membesarkan berita sensasi perkahwinan artis. Seakan begitu penting sekali untuk tatapan rakyat terutama bangsa Melayu yang dikatakan oleh pemimpin UMNO dalam krisis ketuanan yang hilang.
Membaca lapuran mengenai 'monorel tidak jadi?' membayangkan yang kerajaan pusat memang berniat negatif. Apakah tidak mungkin kerjasama diberikan oleh kerajaan negeri untuk faedah rakyat. Mungkin yang tersirat, tiada lagi habuan untuk pemimpin UMNO/BN dalam projek seperti monorel ini sekiranya dibawah selian kerajaan negeri dibawah PR.




Manakala Berita Minggu lebih rasional dan nampak lebih matang dengan memaparkan krisis makanan dunia. Tentunya jauh lebih penting dari dua artis yang tidak dikenali berkahwin.

Kedua-duanya kepunyaan UMNO, parti yang sedang juga dalam krisis kepimpinan. Dimanakah prioriti dua media perdana yang masih bertahan hanya kerana tiada lesen akhbar baru diberikan untuk pasaran nasional dalam bahasa Melayu.
Selain itu isu keris dan maruah Melayu menjadi paparan Berita Minggu. Manakala Mingguan Malaysia nampaknya tidak begitu peduli dengan 'Maruah Melayu' yang diulas Timbalan Presiden UMNO sendiri. Mungkin Najib tidak lagi masuk dalam geng pemimpin yang boleh ditonjolkan dan artis kahwin lebih penting.

(Ini tidak kena mengena dengan cerpen saya keluar dalam Berita Minggu hari ini...di sini)

Where The Streets Have No Name (in the UAE)


Till now in the modern era of 21st century, there is no proper address in the UAE. The best way to locate the building or villa is by certain landmarks which in proximity. There are street names but only 'visible' for major roads such as Sheikh Zayed Road (SZR), Emirates Road or Al Khail Road. The rest is just like U2 song, 'Where The Streets Have No Name'.

Confusions are unavoidable and sometimes hilarious. When they say, let's say like my villa, villa no 55, behind Emirates Co-op, Twar 3, it does not literally mean as simple as that. It could be a few kms behind and not exactly behind the mentioned landmark, most of the time out of the range.

But so far, we have to live with that idiosyncrasy and surviving the ordeals of locating the destination. The first rule, do not take the guide on landmark literally and have a bit of wild imaginations. Google map sometimes helps but the ground reality is different from the satellite images.
The best steps are to have ample time to be lost and keep your mobile handy, especially if it is your first trip to that destination (such as a friend's new house somewhere in Ajman...).

Read this news today:

ABU DHABI // The capital is to get a new address system to help everyone from residents to postal workers and emergency services locate streets, offices and houses quickly and logically.The system, to be designed with the help of a Norwegian company, should replace the traditional Middle Eastern method of identifying locations by their proximity to landmarks or intersections – plus a bit of guesswork and luck – which can make finding an address a frustrating experience.

Juma Mubarak al Junaibi, the director-general of Abu Dhabi Municipality, said the new system being developed should “eliminate misunderstanding” with respect to addresses and street directions.
The aim was to give all areas and streets unique names and logical and sequentially structured numbering, Mr Junaibi said in a statement issued in response to a query by The National.Norplan, a Norwegian company that specialises in urban planning and development, was selected as the consultant for designing the system after a tender by the municipality, the statement said.

Implementation of the system would begin by the end of the year or the beginning of next year, said Tor Overli, Norplan’s manager for the project. He said the company was preparing to start work, and the assessment and design phase was expected to be completed by October, but it was too early to say what the new system might look like.“We don’t know what will be implemented but it will be either an implementation of a new addressing system or upgrading of the existing one,” Mr Overli said.

Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council has established an Addressing System Committee to oversee and approve the project.“Over the next months, representatives of all stakeholder groups will be invited to contribute to the development of the new system.” The main challenge would be getting the public to use the addressing system once it was implemented, Mr Junaibi said.
“Any system, regardless of how good it looks on screen or paper, is worthless unless it is adopted and used by the public. An important part of the project will therefore be to design a campaign in order to make people aware of the new addressing system” and to ensure they understood its importance.

Mr Junaibi laid out the “guiding principles” for ensuring the new system “will be useful for residents and visitors to Abu Dhabi”.The first was that Abu Dhabi’s areas and streets should have unique names and logical numbering.The system should be simple to learn and remember, accurate and unambiguous, and easy to pronounce in Arabic and English.It should be flexible for extension to new developments and changes in existing areas. And it should be cost-efficient and implemented consistently throughout urban and rural areas, Mr Junaibi said.

Clark Beattie, a geographic information systems consultant, said Abu Dhabi had a “nice, orderly grid” street network with well numbered main streets but there was a need for a more “user friendly” system for interior streets.“In other cities, which have the same sort of grid pattern, it’s pretty easy to set it up so you know exactly where to go,” Mr Beattie said. Every building in Abu Dhabi municipality is numbered and sectored, but the green street signs which give a sector, zone number and street number are not commonly used and building numbers are not prominently displayed. Instead, major intersections and landmarks are used.

Mrs Beattie, who worked on a street addressing system in a rural town in Manitoba, Canada, said improving the street addressing system was critical for Abu Dhabi.

Dari Berita Minggu Hari Ini 27 April 2008

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