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How should global brands deal with cross-culture branding in MENA?

04 Jan 2023 1148 Views

By: Omar Alhaza’a – Founder & CEO of Franchise Arabia

The Middle East North Africa region (MENA) population includes people from 21 countries who speak the same language differently, have different accents & slang, different preferences, different behaviors, different lifestyles, and each state has different market characteristics.

This could mean; a positive association in one country might mean a negative association in another.

To succeed in the market, cross-culture branding is something that every global brand needs to tap into, regardless of its size, origin, nature, or level of success in its home country.

Yes, every successful brand should speak with one distinctive voice but with a tailored tone when entering a new market so it can be heard and understood by the locals.  

Brands should conduct extensive qualitative & quantitative market research to understand these various market characteristics. But keep in mind that research alone is not a silver bullet or black box that automatically provides all the answers.  

Conducting effective market research should be treated like looking into a microscope with one eye and a telescope with the other. Do it with a sense of discovery, analysis, and understanding.

Adapt to local preferences without compromising your brand core values. Polish and cut whatever you are offering as if you were a jeweler, no one-size-fits-all approach.  

To get to the region based on assumptions and opinions without completely understanding your target audience’s various worldviews is like trying to play darts in the dark.

Assume nothing. Research everything. Take the time to understand the differences in behavior and trends.

Cultural differences are intensely complex. Local attitudes, preferences, and needs are often invisible to outsiders. Always rely on local trusted experts to guide you through the process.  

The simple act of knowing your audience increases your chances of success. Late in the game unpleasant surprises are less likely when you're rightly informed and fully prepared.  

Let's face it, in today’s winner-take-all world, there’s no room for static brands. You either adapt or fail. The market rewards belong to those who are willing to listen, adapt, and deliver.

Take the time to know your target audiences, then build on their perceptions, preferences, values, and lifestyle.