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Advertising· Branding

City Am Interview with Seven

City Am

Bullets, bribery and billboards are just part of Jasmine Montgomery’s job, says Elliott Haworth in City Am.

JASMINE Montgomery is a lunatic. Her words, not mine. But not your swivel-eyed, skydiving, cross-the-South-Pole-using-solar-power kind of lunatic. Far more  interesting. She’s the Indiana Jones of marketing; an intrepid child of the commonwealth, your average puts-up-bill-boards-in-warzones kind of lunatic.

If one were to make the opposite of a bucket list, Montgomery, founder and chief executive of Seven Brands, has probably lived in, visited, or marketed to the locations written down.

“Our whole strategy is about trying to bring London-calibre brand-building and advertising to the bleeding edge of emerging markets,” she says. “By which we mean, beyond the obvious, beyond Bric.”

5 FEBRUARY 2018

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Digital & Social

Hannah Shore on Influencer Marketing in MENA

Hannah article

Three keys to unlocking the power of influencer marketing in MENA

With Spotify launching its hotly anticipated services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) last week, it’s clear many global brands consider the region a market far too big to ignore.

According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, UAE consumer spend is expected to exceed $261bn by 2021 alone – presenting a massive opportunity for overseas expansion and business growth.

When it comes to marketing, MENA requires brands to apply distinctly different strategies to those implemented in Europe and America to truly get a foothold. Furthermore, the region has also experienced a significant shift from traditional advertising approaches towards influencer marketing. According to research from YouGov Omnibus and BPG Cohn & Wolf, 49% of brands in the region are currently working with influencers.

But for global brands wanting to operate in this region, there are key considerations to be made when considering an influencer marketing campaign. Otherwise, there’s a risk of being cast aside by an increasingly ‘brand disloyal’ consumer, according to McKinsey.

So, what to do? Here are my three key takeaways for unlocking the potential of the Middle East market for your brand.

 

1) Tailor to your audience

Influencer marketing has been a fundamental part of marketing best practice in Europe and the US for a long time now. As a result, we often see global brands and their agencies trying to copy and paste identikit marketing strategies in the Middle East.

What’s frustrating is that this approach pays little to no attention to local context.

The Middle East is populated with more socially conservative societies where family-oriented cultural values are paramount compared to their Western counterparts – this must be a key consideration when planning marketing strategy for MENA.

For instance, content designed for unisex appeal won’t cut it with the majority of Middle Eastern consumers, who won’t be as comfortable with it as they would with content designed to cater to gender role-oriented tastes.

A large part of designing a MENA-effective social strategy comes through authentic content creation. But often, local C-suites more concerned with sales than brand building interfere by demanding an overly-promotional Instagram post, and influencers end up with little creative input.

This can be common in the Middle Eastern market, where a tendency towards the hard sell blocks the artistic and creative freedom that led to the influencer becoming influential in the first place.

 

2) Find the perfect West-meets-East visual sweet spot

Successful influencers and influencer campaigns understand that the key to harnessing their appeal lies in melding inspiration with visual cues and emotions that feel familiar to the audiences.

Popular Middle Eastern influencers like Fouz al Fahad and Huda Kattan – with their 2.5 million and 26.5 million followers respectively – do well because they suggest a global, yet local context through the way they visually express and position themselves to their audiences.

 

A global, yet local context: Instagram influencer Fouz al Fahad poses at a sushi bar for a partnership with Visit Abu Dhabi.

Whether that’s through using modest photos, trialling popular slang, sporting the latest fashions or tapping into the most ‘vanilla’ public discussions, the important thing is that what they do comes across as culturally authentic – and it’ll resonate as a result. That’s what we did when we consulted on social strategy to launch the Bahrain outpost of mega-mall chain The Avenues.

Using six local influencers – three men and three women, all of various backgrounds, including YouTubers and fashionistas – we let them run wild throughout the mall to cover all departments and sectors that the shops inside featured, creating photo and video content and uploading it to social media.

This helped ensure the people themselves owned the launch, rather than just a CEO cutting the ribbon, and drove significant footfall following.

Influencer marketing 2020

3) Language, language, language

One of the big things I’ve learnt in the Middle East is that navigating the maze of language dialects across MENA is critical to deploying an effective influencer marketing strategy. From Kenya and its Swahili-Arabic hybrid Scheng youth dialect, to differentiating between the popularly used Gulf and Egyptian Arabic dialects, there’s a lot that marketers targeting MENA need to be aware of.

To develop content that is effective, creators need to be in tune with how those languages are used by the locals, for example in moderating the use of slang in copy or forming hashtaggable content.

But one of the biggest obstacles is software, which might not be able to understand slang or process the language in the first place. This means brands and their marketing agencies need to support their influencers with locally-sourced translation services instead of resorting to automation, something they don’t have to consider in Europe.

In conclusion, a careful and nuanced approach to influencer marketing in the MENA region is essential to successfully navigate the clear differences and intricacies that characterise the region’s constituent countries.

With 60% of the population under the age of 30 (JCDecaux) and 10% of the world’s Instagram users located in this region alone, insight into what makes this audience tick is key to the next pitch for an overseas brief.

Hannah Shore in Econsultancy November 20th 2018

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Advertising· Branding

Seven Head of Strategy on CNBC

CNBC Interview

Who was the real winner of the Superbowl LII?

Philadelphia Eagles may have won the game, but which brands were the big winners of the Superbowl? Piers Guilar, Seven’s Global Head of Strategy, talks to CNBC about advertising during the Superbowl.

14 February 2018

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Branding· Retail

Seven launches Masoko for Safaricom

Masoko

Seven Brands has worked with its client, Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network operator and pioneer of mobile money payments M-Pesa, to create a brand for a new e-commerce platform to take on regional (e.g., Jumia) and international e-commerce (e.g., Amazon) giants. The platform, Masoko (‘market place’ in Swahili),
focusing on the tech-savvy and aspirational middle class, launched in late March 2018 with a major advertising campaign.
www.masoko.com

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Advertising· Branding

Seven on the BBC

BBC News Interview

28 March 2018

Seven’s CEO, Jasmine Montgomery, was interviewed on BBC Business Live on BBC News. The topic was Seven’s expertise in understanding high-growth emerging markets and the opportunities they present for brands looking to take a step outside their comfort zones.

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Advertising· Branding· Digital & Social· Retail· Youth Marketing

World cup win

Gravity Indoor Skydiving Promotion 2

Bahrain wins bid to host 2018 World Cup at Gravity Indoor Skydiving

Seven Brands is pleased to congratulate our client Gravity, on winning the bid to become the host venue for the third FAI World Cup Indoor Skydiving event.

BAHRAIN 1ST FEBRUARY 2017

Seven’s client Gravity Indoor Skydiving brings home the World Cup bid after presenting

to the World Air Sports committee in Faro, Portugal.

Bahrain is the first Middle-Eastern country to host the global sporting event, seeing off

bids from nations around the world to win the vote of the panel. The 2018 World Cup

event will attract over 350 competitors from 20 countries, supporting Bahrain’s vision

to become a sporting destination.

Gravity is Bahrain’s first indoor skydiving venue and home to one of the world’s tallest

glass wind tunnels. Launched in December 2015, the brand set aspirations to become

an international player within this growing sporting community, attracting professional

flyers around the world to experience their world-class tunnel.

Gravity has been a client of Seven’s since 2014, when we helped to create the brand.

Seven designed the brand strategy, visual identity, retail graphics, social media and launch

of the brand into the market. We continue to partner with the Gravity team to support

ongoing advertising and marketing communications.

 

“This win for Gravity is what we are in business to achieve, helping local brands to compete on

the world’s stage”

JASMINE MONTGOMERY, CEO SEVEN BRANDS

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Branding

A Brand Refresh

WORK SQUARES3

Seven has rebranded the most famous brand in the Arab world, mobile network operator Zain. Over the last ten years we have helped to build this brand into a $2 billion asset.

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