WARC (World Advertising Research Center), the global authority on advertising and media effectiveness, has today released the 2019 MENA Strategy Report, outlining successful key marketing trends in the region, following an analysis of the results of this year’s WARC Prize for MENA Strategy, a search for the best strategic marketing ideas that have delivered results.
Lucy Aitken, Managing Editor, Case Studies, WARC, says: “This year’s entries demonstrated a more robust style of strategic thinking across the region that generated some impressive returns. Following our examination of the results, we have established four key lessons that will help brands achieve a successful marketing strategy going forward.”
The four themes highlighted in WARC’s MENA Strategy Report 2019 are:
1. Strong strategies rely on real stories
This year’s winners used strategies inspired by genuine events.
Grand Prix winner Uber used actual journeys to champion its customers and humanise its service. Byblos Bank from Lebanon showed how older Lebanese people had achieved their dreams in the country, reframing it as a place to prosper. And telco STC delved into Saudi’s past to show that women had always formed part of its story.
Ali Cheikhali, Creative Strategist, Google ZOO, and member of the judging panel, comments: “People care about people. Not brands. But if your brand puts people’s stories front and centre, they might just care about your brand a little more.”
2. New strategies to target parents
Millennials are entering a new life phase: 82% of babies born in 2016 are the children of millennial parents. This year’s winners included case studies that appealed to these parents via a range of different techniques.
Examples include real-estate company Palm Hills Developments which attracted young buyers to its new city of Badya in Egypt.
Aakriti Goel, Strategic Planning Director, Middle East & Africa, Cheil MEA, says: “Millennial parents want brands to keep it real and relevant. As brands create strategies to target parents, they must consider that these mums and dads look – and behave – differently from the parents of previous generations.”
3. Content strategies diversify across MENA
As brands have realised that they can reach people without an intermediary, successful content strategies are becoming more varied across the region.
Examples include Orange Tunisia’s The Hashtagging Grandpa that generated its own set of memes, and Nescafé Dolce Gusto’s Coffee Corners that encouraged people to create their own style of coffee corner in their home.
Jury member Asma Shabab, Digital Business Strategy and Experience Consultant, IBM iX, notes: “Today, the conversation is not about intrusion anymore, but whether your content takes them away from what they are currently consuming.”
4. Driving footfall through strategic ideas
The retail sector faces significant challenges across the MENA region with many businesses successfully identifying and implementing original ways to drive footfall both in-store and online.
Car dealership Al Tayer Motors got its staff to create an art project from old car parts to showcase its dedication to service, and The Big Shutdown from Saudi telecom STC diverted traffic away from its network of stores and towards its suite of self-service apps. The initiative was so successful, it is now being considered as an annual event.
According to PwC, just 2-3% of all retail is online, compared with 10-15% in developed Western markets.
Summing up, WARC’s Lucy Aitken, added: “This year’s winning entries humanised brands, capitalising on the region’s strong heritage of rich storytelling and showed a deeper understanding of the potential gains of investing in long-term strategy.”
A sample of WARC’s MENA Strategy Report 2019 can be downloaded here. The full report is available to WARC subscribers and includes chapter analysis of the four themes with views and opinions from the judges, as well as lessons and summaries – objectives, insights, strategies, results and takeaways – of the winning case studies, and what these mean for brands, media owners and agencies.
A free-to-attend event on the insights and lessons from the WARC Prize for MENA Strategy will be held on 5 November at Hall & Partners in Dubai.