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When a Brand’s a Place or a place is a brand? Where? The brand Who? An emirate on the Arabian Gulf that started out as a small trading post Now a modern city that aims to be in the same league as NY, London and Paris Fastest growing economy in the world (17% in 2004; double that of China)

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when a brand s a place

When a Brand’s a Place

or a place is a brand?


The brand

  • An emirate on the Arabian Gulf that started out as a small trading post
  • Now a modern city that aims to be in the same league as NY, London and Paris
  • Fastest growing economy in the world (17% in 2004; double that of China)
  • 80% of population are expatriates, only 20% are nationals
  • Tax-free haven
  • Home to every multinational corporation on the planet
  • Cultural makeup is very diverse: Arab, English, Russian, Iranian, Filipino, Indian, Australian, Kiwis, American, French, etc.
brand personality
Brand Personality
  • Ostentatious

Man-made Palm Island

Tallest bldg in world

Tallest hotel in world

Only 7 star hotel in world

brand personality5
Brand Personality
  • Slow down? Who?! Me?!



Main street in Dubai

brand promise

These first few charts are great, they tell me just what I need to know about the brand, could maybe be a little less, but basically fine.

Brand Promise
  • No compromises on your life

Upward mobility

High-class living

Stable economy

Cheap fuel

High salary


International cuisine


Low interest rates

Relatively cheap real estate properties

Warm weather


Did I mention TAX-FREE?

target audience
Target Audience
  • For the sake of this project, I’ll focus on just one of the many archetypes you would typically find in Dubai:

The live-hard-die-young-I-own-a-Porsche-and-you-don’t-Rayban-toting-Dolce-linen-pants-walkin’-with-a-top-of-the-world-swagger-stay-out-all-night-socialite

current relationship with dubai
Current Relationship with Dubai
  • Dubai makes it possible for me to live out the lifestyle I always dreamt of living…
current relationship with dubai9
Current Relationship with Dubai
  • …but couldn’t in my home country because:
    • My country has a per capita income of just $100 per month
    • My country is war-ridden
    • A studio apartment back home costs more than I would make in 2 life-times
    • It’s usually below -10C on a good day back home
ways to develop relationship
Ways to develop relationship
  • The ingredients of any strong, healthy relationship:

Know what really drives your partner:

    • Dubai government to conduct research into needs and motivations of current population (especially the TA specified in this presentation)
    • Based on research findings, come up with proposals that further enhance the brand relationship e.g. research could tell us that our TA miss certain aspects of their home country. Proposal: bring that part of their home country experience to Dubai
some examples that have already taken off

This is good. Putting examples of something that already works is smart.

Some examples that have already taken off

Irish themed pub with live music

and lots of Guinness

Middle East’s first and only indoor ski dome

ways to develop relationship12
A solid relationship requires a healthy dose of love and lust.


Dubai is doing a good job on this front – what with sexy new real estate developments (tallest building, underwater hotel), A1 racing (Formula 1 but with a twist), gold plated hotel bathrooms, sexy nightclubs, affordable convertibles

Ways to develop relationship
ways to develop relationship13

Dubai needs some more work here. People live here, but they don’t necessarily LOVE living here.

First step: find out ‘where is the love’? (qual research)

Second step: Inject the love

Recommendations: more cultural outlets (such as the Dubai Film Festival – already a world-class venue), more community building activities (such as Dubai World Cup horse race)

Remembering all the time that our TA loves to be seen out and about.

Ways to develop relationship
Propose marriage

Currently expats remain expats forever. You can never become a citizen of Dubai even if you wanted to. There are extenuating circumstances for a few (those who have lived in the country for 20+ yrs and are incapable of returning home)

For the brand ‘Dubai’ to be fully embraced by its TA, it must be totally owned by them


Reco: immigration with the possibility of becoming a full citizen

Because what better way to own

‘Dubai’ than to be able

to proudly say:

‘I live in Dubai.

I work in Dubai.

I party in Dubai

I am a Dubaiyan’



thank you

There are smart strategies in here. It’s better about Dubai than it is about the audience. You’ve not given me anything very deep about them, nothing beneath the surface of the cliché. I’m sure what you’re saying is right but you’ve not brought the people to life for me, you’ve not made me understand them or care about them.

Thank you!