Franchising and Novou-Consumerism in Middle East

Sep.25.07 | About: SPDR S&P (GAF)

Two things; first among all of the great business concepts of the last few decades the franchise model has always surfaced to the very top. Second, over the next decade the introduction of hundreds of fresh, locally nurtured franchise concepts emerging within Dubai and the Gulf States will set the stage for a great revolution of nouvo-consumerism. So what are the four key factors driving this movement?

Firstly, the places to park new concepts; the current, ever-expanding construction phases in Dubai, UAE, GCC and all over Asia, provide a highly fertile ground for such concepts to nestle in, a home in the newly designed and creatively appointed decors, so that the cute new concepts with the most lavish and appealing ideas would flourish. The combination of creative concepts blended with thousands of newly built access with improved consumer interaction is a very positive sign.

Secondly, the novou-consumerism; the Middle Eastern consumer at large is becoming increasingly fussy and armed with demanding attitudes towards high quality, better services, value and assurances while seeking emotional alliances with brand acceptance and responding to name identity recognition. The smarter and more difficult the customers, the better, resulting in best offerings with more sensible high-profile brand identities.

Thirdly, a global tidal wave of new ideas; the current globalization of the best original ideas parked under globally protected name identities, applying the power of delivering unique selling propositions and making them available in multiple countries and across continents is on the march. All over the world, the race for syndicated/franchised ideas is on at full speed. The question is either whether a country simply gets washed over, or takes a stand with innovative and homegrown counter offerings.

Lastly, the new-name-economy; the sudden realization by serious business players to carve out a 100% proprietary, Five-Star Standard brand name identity with global ownership as the ultimate weapon to market a product or service on the world scene as an essential tool to franchise has finally come to reality.

No single country can withhold a great success and without interaction with other countries. Today, it is necessary to play the expansion game under global standards of trademark protection, armed with a deeper understanding of international rules of image marketing as the new standard. The days of common promotional logo-driven branding are numbered.

Furthermore, there are also major leadership challenges issues in order to harness the advance level of franchisation in Gulf countries for a maximum impact:

1) The creation of sophisticated platforms; to incubate local and original franchise-able ideas, the countries need good practical laws to service the provider and protect the buyers of such projects, and systems to educate and train large groups of people to service this arena. This demands creating institutional bodies ranging from governments, private organizations, associations and universities to all join hands in taking this revolution head-on with a game plan, and the readiness to understand this global phenomenon of the new-name-economy, where a country's wealth is also measured by the power of their global brands and their outreach over competing countries.

2) Acquiring a deeper understanding; global image repositioning issues are becoming more and more critical, slowly shifting the western brands powers to the emergence of newly-created Asian brands with traditions and lifestyles in mind, also giving Dubai and Gulf countries an opportunity to join the race, and take the quantum for new franchise-able identities. These issues also rest with the educational fronts where there is a critical need to train tens of thousands of local front line managers into marketing and branding-savvy personnel, so that in turn, they become instrumental in creating great success stories from within the companies.

The importance of creating a deeper understanding among every front line manager is to adopt standards while appreciating the powers and the role of intellectual property in such a combative upcoming global franchise wars. Thirdly, localization; as an owner-operated-business-occupational activity, there is nothing better than the franchise model. The real success of this concept came when managers became owners, resulting in a high level of loyalty, service and performance which fueled quality control and growth.

Today, in countries all over GCC, finding great occupational activity for the younger population, and to offer them a platform for turnkey businesses is one of the best long-term strategies for the future. To encourage an owner-operated model would involve family type business at the grassroots level and also create a safer environment to carry the business forward and expand into more outlets or other similar models.

Overall, the consumers, franchisee and franchisors are all winners. The real loss is for those young or old dynamic and entrepreneurial businesses that have developed great products and services over time and despite all the ingredients, still remain seriously trapped due to a lack of the image and marketing umbrella of global name identity freely available to expand with confidence under globally trademark-able names and master franchise plans. This is the bridge that one has to cross in order to take that quantum leap.

Historically, the US led the franchise revolution now adopted worldwide creating great legends. Today, in the West with over 100,000 different franchise offerings and turning over a trillion dollar in businesses this model of commerce is spreading its wings fast in GCC and Asia. For example, tomorrow's India alone would easily absorb some tens of thousands of big and small new franchise ideas; locally developed, locally nurtured with international concerns to protection to give them easy access to park themselves anywhere in Asia or around the world. This industry would employ millions and serve hundreds of millions of customers from the well-to-do sector of the growing Indian population. GCC too, is on its way to have hundreds of its own brand new local ideas, designed to deal with local service issues, culture and sensitivities to its taste, style or religious needs. There can easily be thousands of outlets to service its population with dramatic shifts in demographics at play. The local original ideas from GCC too can be further expanded to Asia, MENA and Europe etc.

To fast forward, the players must create the best value propositions, create the best service models but most importantly acquire an absolute 100% ownership of your brand name identity so you can play the hassle-free international expansion game without being embarrassed at each step of trademark conflicts. The strictest application the five star standard of naming will ensure long-term success and earn a hassle-free-global premium positioning. The name issue alone will have the best ideas sacrificed. Study the subject and acquire a deeper understanding, test the waters and aim for the expanding neighboring markets. A nouvo-consumerism revolution awaits.