Dubai-based Emirates airline enjoys the best brand image in the UAE, according to a new research report.
Emirates is seen as the best UAE brand by almost half of the more than 1,000 UAE residents (43 per cent) polled by research firm YouGov.
The report, published by Dubai-based integrated communications agency IHC, reveals the Top 10 UAE brands as seen through the eyes of UAE residents, with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad ranked a distant second (seen as the best UAE brand by 14 per cent of those polled).
“Emirates is often lauded as the fastest-growing airline in the world and its rise to become one of the world’s biggest carriers within three decades has happened in conjunction with its aggressive marketing campaigns and, in particular, phenomenal investment into sports sponsorship,” said Ian Hainey, IHC’s managing director.
The Dubai-based airline was also recently ranked as the UAE’s hottest brand with the most ‘buzz’ score by YouGov.
Emirates knocked last year’s leader Samsung off the top pedestal in the latest Annual BrandIndex Buzz Rankings published earlier last week.
Read: UAE’s Top Brands: How Emirates beat WhatsApp, Apple, Samsung http://www.emirates247.com/business/corporate/uae-s-top-brands-how-emirates-beat-whatsapp-apple-samsung-2016-01-18-1.617708
In the latest rankings, telecommunications provider Etisalat came in third (10 per cent) and online marketplaces, Souq.com and Dubizzle, tied with 8 per cent.
Emirates NBD topped the list of UAE banks with 7 per cent respondents seeing it as the top UAE brand while consumer electronics retailer Sharaf DG came in seventh with 4 per cent of votes.
Dubai-based budget carrier Fly Dubai managed 3 per cent of votes and came in at No. 8, pipping Air Arabia on 2 per cent to No. 9 on the list.
UAE University was the highest ranked educational institution with 2 per cent of the votes and rounded up the Top 10.
In the media statement accompanying the rankings, IHC attributed the brands’ positive perception by UAE residents to their marketing spend.
“Money often talks when it comes to building brand image and Emirates has clearly reaped the rewards from its well-publicised plans to increase its communications budget as part of its global expansion strategy to nearly Dh1 billion, including sponsorship, advertising and PR,” the statement said.
“For instance, it feels like the brand is bombarding us with its logo and destinations every time we turn on a televised football match, which is the world’s most watched sport. The roster of payments for sponsorship deals across all sports must be impressive to say the least,” said Hainey.
“The word ‘best’ is of course subjective, but the fact Emirates has almost three times as many votes as its competitor Etihad clearly demonstrates a considerable gap in perception of the brand’s quality and desirability, as it is clearly considered as superior overall,” he said.
Emirates, which has been ranked as the world’s fifth best airline (rated in the world’s Top 100 Airlines 2015 report), launched a $20 million global marketing campaign last year featuring Hollywood superstar Jennifer Aniston.
The campaign is said to have generated over 5.6 million views on YouTube and positive sentiment amongst UAE residents. In addition, a declining global oil price ought to have helped the airline (and its peers) in keeping a lid on ticket prices even as Emirates’ world-class service remains unmatched in the industry.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad too maintains a steady marketing budget (it runs an ad campaign featuring Australian actress Nicole Kidman) and follows at No. 6 on the world’s leading airlines list, just behind its Dubai peer. The airline has plenty of ‘world first’ to its credit, including the recent launch of the 3-bedroom ‘Residence’ in the sky class, with Dh73,000 (one-way, starting fare).
“Etihad’s far reaching global marketing spend, including Manchester City, Formula 1, plus a US major league football, ice hockey, and basketball team, has ensured it comes in second place. It’s also no surprise one of the UAE’s telecommunications duopoly would rank high among residents. However, officials at Du may raise an eyebrow,” said Hainey.
“The rise of the Souq.com and Dubizzle brands is testament to the UAE’s tech sector. These home grown brands have raised their profile up there with the big budget players and are clearly reinvesting considerable marketing budgets into brand awareness. The results speak for themselves and they remain top-of-mind for online marketplaces in the emirate, with both now expanding their models into other countries. Neither of these companies have rested upon their laurels, and as a resident of the emirate, we see these brands increasingly in daily life – whether picking up a newspaper to read a PR story about the most expensive car sold online or catching a glimpse of their billboards while driving on Sheikh Zayed Road.”