Saturday, October 20, 2007

OMG on Branding

According to Eng. Hamad Al Harthy, Director General of Rusayl Industrial Estate (pictured) 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. ”

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