Localizing the global

We know that changing opinions is hard, almost impossible in some cases, because our problem is not a marketing problem, it’s a human problem. There’s a lot we can learn if we simply look at behaviors rather than numbers.


Charlie Munger says, "If economics isn't behavioral, I don't know what the hell is.”


We think that what we say people will just believe it, because WE think it’s right, it’s an attitude that we have, obsession with control, because that’s how things were done in the past– in advertising at least, people were pinned in front of their TVs and whatever come out this device they just believed it, things are a little bit different now, things simply changed, we changed.


We can’t influence people’s opinion just because we said so, it’s not because our brand is not genuine, it’s because every brand is sayiing the exact same thing.


Luke Sullivan said: In a business where we all try to avoid clichés; a lot of people buy into this cliché-as-lifestyle. I can assure you it is illusion.”


Here’s an advice, next time you get a brief with a basic target group information don’t start working straight assuming that this is enough to tell you who your customer, not all girls wear pink and not all rich people wear suits, and simply showing a man wearing a Kandoora does not make your ad “targeted”.


We need to try and understand who we’re talking to, as humans, not only numbers, figures and personas, we live in a world where people want proof with numbers, clicks, sales, impressions, test drives, footfall,you name it. If you work in a marketing or advertising, before getting anything signed off, you probably need to show a feasibility study, ROI and so on, and I’m not saying it’s not necessary I’m just simply saying, you need to look at the bigger picture sometimes, forget the ROI for now and Focus on the ROE (return on emotions).


If you’re trying to start a business in the region I can only advice you to follow these 3 points they hopefully will give you a kick start.


1.     Know your Host.

Think of yourself as a visitor in the region and you want to impress your host, you need to know him first.  The GCC Countries share a common history and culture, yet there are also many differences in terms of social outlook and approach to business, treating all Arabs alike smacks of arrogance, and coming across arrogant is just about the worst thing a brand can do in this part of the world.


2.     Value “emotional value” more than “numerical value”
Invest in your brand – not financially – but where it sits in people’s minds and hearts.
there’s a measure on how fast a car can go and how many people it can carry, but no numerical measurement on how enjoyable the ride is or how annoying it is to find a parking spot.  I think as advertisers we take some of the blame, we spent years pushing tactical messages and following clichés, listening to what the client wants and not what people want, if there’s anything you learn is that neither marketing mangers nor strategist or creative directors make brands, people do.


3.     Find an adjective.
it’s not simple, but you need your brand to stand to one thing, that people can relate to, on a human level. That one word that would be synonymous with your brand, if you ask a friend – not a focus group – to talk to you about cars he will strip it down to you to one word: “I’m going to buy me a Jeep they’re Tough, Porsche they’re fast, BMW they perform” but finding an adjective is tough because like a Dubai parking lot most of the spots are taken, and you either have to take someone else’s spot or find your own somehow.



Although there’s a lot we can say about this topic, and as obvious as it may seem to many, we somehow forget this very important part.


as Plato said: A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”, let’s start our talk with humans before we turn them to numbers.