Vision 2030 has opened up tremendous opportunities for KSA organisations to take their place on the world stage over the last five years.
But, when first impressions are so important, how do you project a brand that connects with a culturally diverse, global audience? How do you convey your unique heritage in a contemporary way? And how can you remain distinctive across a fast-changing digital landscape?
Digging deeper than surface aesthetics
Success relies on connecting your brand to the needs, aspirations and psychological motivations of your audiences. The words and images you use must resonate in their minds. They must feel that you share your purpose with theirs.
But words can be empty if they are not delivered by someone they trust, so the tone and personality you use to tell your brand’s story is important. It must be clear and authentic, spoken with heart and passion.
Above all, you want your brand to be distinctive. It should set you apart from others who tell the same story. It must lead with conviction and clarity. Only then will your brand create advocates in all who work for and do business with you.
Thinking ‘digital first’
There was a time when brands were created and then translated into digital applications as an afterthought. Today, in a world where the primary touch points will almost certainly be online, a ‘digital first’ approach to your brand is essential.
Of course, this raises important considerations for your logo. It should remain crisp and distinctive when rendered on the smallest of screens. And it’s worth considering how your brand narrative and tone will remain authentic in videos and infographics. How will it sound through digital assistants? How will it connect through augmented reality and artificial intelligence? What will the experience be online, in apps, and at virtual trade events and meetings?
Once you have explored the brand digitally, you can confidently translate it into what your audience experiences in the real world.
Creating brand authenticity requires a balancing act:
1. Be distinctive in your organisation’s purpose and personality
2. Be true to your rich and distinct heritage
3. Integrate into the global business community.
Visually, your brand will bridge the gap between the incredibly unique and individual cultures of the MENA region, which celebrate delicacy, nuance and complexity, and global brand dynamics which favour bold simplicity.
It is advisable to include semiotic audience research - the study of shapes, colours and images – as part of the development process, as these can take on different cultural meanings across diverse audiences. Reaching an understanding of these differences can help avoid any unintended miscommunication through the visuals you apply to your brand image.
Tone of voice should be driven by similar considerations. To connect pan-culturally, it is best to speak with clarity, whilst retaining your distinctive personality. At all times you will want to appear confident, but approachable.
We have talked about connecting your brand to the needs and motivations of your audience. To achieve this, your process will need to be grounded in thorough audience research. Not only will this drive the best creative outcomes, it will also help your team to make decisions based on an objective view, rather than personal likes and dislikes.
Equally though, brands that successfully achieve resonance are a true reflection of their organisation and people. Your will ideally represent who you are now, and who you want to be. No matter how appealing your brand, if your people aren’t ambassadors, holding its values and purpose in their hearts, it will be unauthentic.
Involving everyone in your organisation – at every level – in the discovery and development process will create engagement and a passionate shared ownership of the brand you create together. The objective should be to make sure that everyone is able to both understand, and be a living embodiment of your beliefs, aspirations, purpose, ambition and approach.
For your audience, this means that the promise your brand makes through its marketing is realised when they do business with you in person.
Planning for success
We have merely scratched the surface here. At P+S, we use a whole host of further considerations, applications and insights to develop brands for our international clients.
From tone of voice (how you speak to the world) and SEO (how you increase your voice’s reach) to the materials and platforms you choose to convey it all. Getting the right brand message, to the correct audience, at the optimal time, is the key to developing a brand that not only attracts but thrives long-term.
In short, creating and communicating a successful global brand requires strategy, creativity and technology. If you can harness all three, the world is yours.