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Hearts on Shelves * Dungeon HARDTHINK (39 pencils | Tue, 2008-04-15 13:42 Hearts on Shelves Written by: Jaafar Hamza Creative Director BlackSheep

Bahrain Neither money nor distance could take me away from her as she has not changed her identity or name. She kept it over the years; I loved her, lived with her and I don't mind spending the rest of life with her; as long as she keeps my heart. She stood out amongst her peers with their bright colours and charming names. My heart didn't fall for anyone but her. I got closer, took her in my hand and asked her to be close to me in …. my shopping trolley. That was my brand; my favorite brand, ever. My relationship with her was not started to let go easily. That is the relationship between a man and the brand, continuous and loyal. When we go shopping, we see thousands of brands. Out of these, we might look for price, quality or name. All these are aspects of love, health, insurance, relationship and memories. All these aspects lead to a purchasing pattern for buyers. Hence, products are moved from shelves and are replaced by other products, and that is what keeps the circle of the manufacturing process, and guarantees consumption and the existence of production units based on that intimate relationship between buyers and brands. Building that intimate relation, not to mention keeping it, is not easy due to severe competition to win consumers' hearts; an aim that is achieved either through legitimate or illegitimate means, not to guarantee purchasing the brand but to make an eternal marriage relation between the two. A relation referred to as "Lovermarks", by CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Mr. Kevin Roberts. It represents the new marketing and advertisement strategy. Mr. Roberts also wrote a book under the same title. Love represents a modern transition that marks the relation between consumers and brands. It is more than purchasing a

product or using a service; as there is a continuous relation in which purchasing and using the product is a sign of "attraction" and "love" between consumers and products, but not the whole relation. What creates this relation is the cooperation between the company, the brand maker and the advertising agency; a relation that can't be attended by the brand itself, nor by the absence of it. Hence, the topical point in the new industry of advertising is all about understanding between "love-makers"; or the brand makers, and the advertising agency. The stronger the relation between these two and the more it is based on understanding and productive and positive give and take relation, the more harmonized their emerging ideas are, hence the seeds of love emerge and grow. When talking about that relationship in local markets, we can see that the concept of love is absent, weak and might be boring in many cases. This is due to the absence of a mechanism to address and search for consumers' hearts, presented by what is called "insight" of the targeted audience on love topic, a matter that is not attended to by lots of companies and advertising agencies. Lots of international market brands took an interesting space in hearts of its fan consumers. It enjoys a continuity of existence in consumers' hearts and minds, due to a strong media policy that doesn't focus on the actual availability of the product or the service alone, but on establishing a life time relationship that is embodied by the market brand and be part of its identity. Hence, its retrieval in consumers' minds is easy and continuous, either for products of low financial value like fizzy drinks, juices and other food products, or products of high value such as cars and cameras, or what is called "Low involvement products" for the first or "High involvement products" for the second in marketing and business terminology. Various global market brands take its identity and existence from the philosophy of life, as long as the marketing rule for the product or the service is based on the concept of changing our life, its recurrent existence will be a matter of time, hence it existence close to consumers is guaranteed. Examples for such are "Nike" which has adopted "Just Do It" as its theme, and "Apple" that with its famous theme "Think Different" The trademark that wins in two important situations is the mark that guarantees its existence in industry and advertisement, "the best trademark is the one that wins in moments of truth. The first one is the one on the shelf, when consumers choose it, while the second is at home, when the consumers use it and enjoy this usage" A.G.Lafley. Director and CEO at international Procter & Gamble.

How about Arabian brands? The interactive relation between brand and consumer lies in three circles; these are quality of the product, smart marketing, and the transfer of the brand mark to a lifestyle or icon "Brand to icon". With the modern technology at hand, either imported or manufactured, Arabian brands are considered high quality brands, some of these lies in the second circle of smart marketing but lying in the third circle has not been achieved yet in an obvious way. What makes local and Arabian brands of a potential and different from other international bands, is the "love" contest and the competition to win consumers' hearts; competition that takes place between a "land" and the "audience" of the local brand, not to mention the international trend to outreach Muslim and Arab markets. This trend comes from global companies and advertising agencies like JWT in USA. I have presented a paper about this titled "Marketing to Muslims: U.S Study" It is not surprising to know that Muslim countries markets represent a no-small percentage of consumption of the whole world consumption, adding to that the consumption of Muslim communities in western countries; Halal food represents a significant percentage in food manufacturing. Manager of "international Halal" exhibition, held in Abu Dhabi last December, Ms. Christine Weaver said that "Halal food market represents a percentage that is about 12% of the international food business. It is expected that Muslims present 30% of the world population in 2025, which means Halal food will present 20% of the world trade in food products, in the future". Based on that input, the existence of Arabian brands, either in food sector, which is dominant, or any other sectors, will not be just demanded, but distinctive in light of the competition from well known international brands. The intense of competition will increase between Arabian and western brands due to two important factors; the availability of technology, and the modern marketing /means for both of them, which is now at hand, and with the existence of experienced advertising agencies. The second factor is "competition" on the "same ground", i.e in the same Arab and Muslim countries, particularly those countries which has free trade agreements with western countries, as its market are open. Despite that, Arabian brands will have various positive points that cannot be achieved without accepting new ideas, while keeping its

identity at the same time. With this duality, hearts cannot only be seized from shelves, but also kept and retained for many years. This is because these brands basically present a part of an identity and a culture. The strength of the brand is that it becomes within in the matrix of intellectual and cultural behaviour for consumers. This is what Arabian brands own, while western peers miss. Is it possible after all that hands will be raised confidently and subconsciously to embrace Arabian brands and pick them from shelves" (١) (٢) simple