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06/10/2008

Consumer Tech in Egypt | Branding and Marketing

Like politics, all marketing is local. However, it seems that this is becoming less true all the time, as global brands find their place in local markets and some local brands expand globally.

Technology brands are finding their way around the world with increasing velocity. As networks get built out, consumers seek out the most innovative appliances and applications with which they can access and take advantage of these networks.  It's one of the reasons that consumer technology markets are so complex...each market develops in its own way but draws on a global pool of products, applications and brands.

In trying to understand the development of these varied local markets, one needs to be able to understand a variety of different, and sometimes oppositional, market forces. 

The three mobile players in Egypt have different brand positions which are instructive in this regard.

  • MobiNil, the only Egyptian brand of the three ("nil" = "Nile"), is a joint venture between the Egyptian multinational Orascom Telecom and France Telecom's Orange. The branding is local but with a strong evocation of the Orange brand with its global connotations.
  • Vodaphone on the other hand (which is also a JV with Telecom Egypt), retains the branding of its UK-based parent.
  • Finally Etisalat, the newest entrant in the market, retains the branding of its Emirates-based parent with a regional flavor that may appeal to the Egyptian market (the name itself means "communications" in Arabic). The company has been competing on a both price as well as emphasizing the strength of its technology (with ads that make somewhat spurious claims of "3.75G").

We could look at the brands of various applications, mobile handsets, computer OEMs and retailers through the same lens. Each has a mix of local and global equity which in aggregate translate to their strength and relevance in the local market. The challenge facing global marketers is how to create local expressions that are are highly relevant to local consumers, while retaining enough of their core attributes that they are "true" and don't dilute the brand.

June 10, 2008 in Branding | Permalink

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