Revealed: Middle East & Africa’s favorite brands
Building brand love is no longer just an option. It’s a need. And it’s a major asset in times like these to continue growth during an economic downturn.
Looking for inspiration that’s not too far from home? Just think of what your favorite brands in the Middle East & Africa are doing right. Or let me walk you through it.
A little housekeeping before we dive into what makes our top brands in the Middle East and Africa so special. You can also jump straight to your burning question(s) by clicking on them below!
- What does brand love mean?
- Why is it important to be loved by customers?
- How can I increase my brand love?
- What are the Middle East & Africa’s favorite brands?
Consumer purchases have been proven to be affected by emotions.
And love is one of the most powerful emotions out there - you don’t need me to tell you that.
When we talk about brand love, though, we think of the emotional relationships between a satisfied customer and a brand. A combination of joy and trust. That sweet spot that once you unlock as a brand, you’re all set.
In our inaugural Brand Love Story report, we analyzed over 700 brands from all over the world using our proprietary AI technology which crawls data from online sources to analyze consumer engagement rate and sentiment on social media, and in the news (with specific weight allotted to brand mentions with keywords related to joy or love).
We also applied the same methodology on a regional level, which allowed me to find out the Middle East and Africa’s favorite brands.
And that, my friends, is what brand love means in the context of our exciting exploration of building brand love in the Middle East and Africa.
Once you pull out all the stops (I’ll show you exactly how to do it) and successfully build brand love, here are some of the ways your brand can benefit:
Price premium - true love knows no cost too high.
Brand loyalty - brand loyalty and brand love are like two peas in a pod.
Brand advocacy - imagine having all your customers as influencers - recommending your brand left and right. That’s what brand love can do. Influencers on steroids!
And that’s why it’s important to be loved by your customers.
In our full report, we break down 11 different key methods that the world’s most loved brands use to gain love from their audience in seamless combination with their brand purpose.
In this blog post, I’m going to focus on 6 of these methods and show you how some of the Middle East and Africa’s favorite brands walked the talk.
Engaging social media strategy
Consumers build strong emotional bonds with their favorite sport teams and events. And the UAE’s Flag Carrier, Etihad Airways, was quick to recognize that and capitalize on it as part of their marketing strategy.
Some of the brand’s most engaging posts in H2 2019 were connected to their various sponsorships, including: F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Manchester City, and Saudi Arabia’s AlNassr FC.
Etihad Airways backs their sponsorship up with powerful CSR and strategic use of influencer marketing too, leading them to a coveted spot on our global list of most-loved brands.
Influencer marketing can too often be included in a marketing strategy as an afterthought without a clear strategic understanding and connection with the brand.
Benefit Cosmetics, however, is a brand that gets influencer marketing right.
One of the signs of a fully thought-out and coherent influencer marketing strategy is having a distinctive brand hashtag that is leveraged by the network of influencers across the globe for a long period of time. Influencer campaigns and influencer engagement will not be effective as one-off endeavors - and we all have a lesson to learn from Benefit Cosmetics in that respect.
The ongoing stream of influencer engagement with Benefit Cosmetics through influencers sharing inspirational makeup tips, tricks, and tutorials drove a lot of brand love in Africa and also led Benefit to have one of the highest net sentiment scores globally.
This was also backed by a powerful CSR strategy that empowers women and girls and echoes positively throughout the brand’s communications - as well as that of its influencers. A true focus on a synergy of values.
Careem is a leading app-based car service in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).
Careem’s rewards program allows riders to donate their loyalty points to a good cause - this initiative created a highly positive conversation buzz for the brand.
A big thank you to everyone that has donated their Careem REWARDS points and supported 12,395 refugees with cash assistance for rent, utilities, food, and health care costs through @UNHCR_Arabic 💚— Careem (@careem) December 21, 2019
Your support has helped refugees live with dignity. pic.twitter.com/0vePoK5uXf
Trend engagement is also one of the key methods of building brand love and Careem provides the perfect example. By quickly jumping on trending events and offering customers special discount codes for the occasion, Careem is able to engage its current customers and acquire new ones. Careem’s marketing strategy also acknowledges the value of being a homegrown brand and understanding the region’s needs as well as the power of a human angle and tone of voice in a brand’s social media strategy.
The culture that Careem built online around their drivers - or as they call them, ‘Captains,’ - is distinctly aspirational, inclusive and empowering, and successfully engages customers to join in the community conversation.
When you think Huda Beauty, you think social media. The brand’s social media presence is lit! That’s largely due to the fact that it was founded by influencer Huda Kattan, who already knows how to engage an online audience and the value this engagement can add to a brand.
GIVEAWAY TIME!!!💥— Huda Beauty (@hudabeauty) September 8, 2019
To celebrate the launch of our new HUDA BEAUTY LIFE LINER, we are giving away 1 YEAR SUPPLY of #HudaBeautyLifeLiner & HOODIE Lash & Huda Beauty Makeup Remover 💖 As a bonus, each winner gets a brand new LOUIS VUITTON makeup bag! https://t.co/auDKTuY2OH
From Instagram and YouTube, to Twitter and TikTok, Huda Beauty has left no social media platform unturned. Huda Beauty’s marketing strategy is taken to the next level with the direct active involvement of the founder and the face of Huda Beauty herself, Huda Kattan.
Whether she’s dropping a new giveaway, product, or a makeup tutorial, Huda Beauty’s audience will be HERE for it, thanks to the brand’s solid, engaging social media strategy.
When HMD Global came to market just a few years ago as the new home of Nokia phones, they had one central idea at the core of their marketing and brand strategy. Providing a memorable brand experience by making modern mobile technology accessible to everyone.
The fixation on customer experience above everything else translated very clearly to positive reception in the Middle East and Africa market based on the analysis we conducted on the brand’s sentiment, engagement, and love-related mentions online.
Customers appreciate being prioritized and are quick to acknowledge brand innovation.
This is really amazing. HMD's @Nokiamobile "software optimization" is really giving commendable results. @nokia_anew @Nokiapoweruser @NokiamobBlog @nokiacamp @NokiaFanss what do you think?— Emerie Uduchukwu (@EmerieUduchukwu) November 14, 2019
Cc: @sarvikas https://t.co/w82kcY5cpJ
If you’re hungry for more content on creating memorable brand experiences to become one of the Middle East & Africa’s favorite brands (and beyond!), download our Global Brand Love Story 2020 report.
We would also love for you to join us for an exciting webinar week featuring a great line-up of your favorite brands and marketing experts.