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How a Branding Overhaul Can Move Your Business Forward

Business

Is your business not attracting the clients you want? Although you might think you have the perfect business idea, that doesn't explain why your growth is slowing, or your target demographics are not being reached. If your business, whether it's a startup or an established company, is suffering from these problems, then maybe it's time for a brand overhaul.


How you brand your company and present it to the public is considered to be the single most important factor in determining business success. How your company looks, feels, sounds and engages with audiences is in many ways more important than what you're actually selling. A rebrand can be just what you need to revitalize a slumping business. Here's how to do it the right way.

Rebranding Done Right

A rebrand is never a magic cure-all for your business. You need to make sure the time is right and that you're going about it the right way. The best way to do this is to follow the lead of some companies that have staged hugely successful rebrands in the last few years, as they have plenty of lessons to teach.

One of the most common reasons companies rebrand is to adapt to shifting demographics, usually in an attempt to attract younger customers. Plenty of household names are still thriving because they managed to successfully inject a little youth into their brand. Take the fragrance giant Old Spice, for example; ten years ago sales were struggling, as the brand struggled to throw off a reputation as an old, outdated fragrance, in the face of competition from younger brands such as Axe. They overhauled their brand with their iconic "Axe Swagger" ad campaign, featuring rap stars, NFL players and famous young actors using the fragrance in a series of sarcastic commercials. The brand took off exponentially as a result and is today one of the top selling body sprays in the US.

Successful rebranding does not just apply to products. Take the UK-wide bingo chain Buzz Bingo, which only recently completely overhauled their brand to become a more trendy, youthful venue. They revamped the logo and completed redecorated many of their spaces, providing more space colour and of course, hipster food staples like fully-stacked burgers and spicy burritos. The move was a huge success, and has since helped spur on a new trend of millennials heading to bingo.

A re-brand could also re-launch your food and beverage business. Take the classic American beer Pabst Blue Ribbon, which only a few years ago was seriously in the doldrums. Rather than going for an intensive marketing campaign, the brand managed to reposition itself as a staple of the young hipster night out, simply by ensuring a strong presence at some of the hippest venues and club nights across the world. With a little help from pop stars like Lana Del Rey, who famously references Blue Ribbon in her song "This Is What Makes Us Girls", the brand has enjoyed its best growth streak in history.

Follow these examples, and you'll be able to move your business forward. Targeting high spending demographics like millennials is a tried a tested winner, so doing your research and learning to connect with them is key to revitalizing your brand.

7min read
Culture

The Middle East And North Africa Are Brimming With Untapped Female Potential

Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.


A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.

The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.

Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")

The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."

This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.

Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.

She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."

Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.

"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei

While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.

Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.

The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."

This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.

Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.