OPINION

Franchising and Nouveau Consumerism in the Middle East and Beyond

Among all of the great business concepts of the last few decades, the franchise model is among those consistently at the very top. Over the next decade, the introduction of hundreds of fresh, locally nurtured franchise concepts emerging in the Mideast will set the stage for a revolution of nouveau consumerism. So what are the key factors driving this movement?

The ever-expanding seas of construction in Dubai and all over Asia provide a highly fertile ground for franchise concepts. The newly designed and creatively appointed homes that are springing up mean an expanding consumer class. The combination of creative concepts along with thousands of newly built homes is a very positive sign.

Savvy Consumers Await

The Middle Eastern consumer at large is becoming increasingly fussy and brand-focused. Armed with demanding attitudes toward quality, service and value, they respond to name identity recognition. The smarter and more difficult the customers, the better, resulting in best offerings with more sensible high-profile brand identities.

A global tidal wave of new ideas is upon us which, combined with branding that takes global protection and ownership into account, means there are a lot of good franchise opportunities on the way. The question is either whether a country simply gets washed over or takes a stand with innovative and home-grown offerings.

The new name economy requires that business players carve out and protect global ownership of their brand identities, the ultimate weapon to market a product or service on the world scene through franchising.

A Logo Isn’t Enough

In today’s global marketplace, 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. The days of common promotional logo-driven branding are numbered.

In order to take advantage of the favorable franchising climate, emerging economic powers such as the Gulf countries must create 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 work in these companies. This demands the cooperation of institutions such as governments, private organizations, associations and universities.

A Sense of Ownership

There is a critical need to train tens of thousands of local front-line managers into marketing and branding-savvy personnel so they in turn become instrumental in creating success stories from within the companies.

Localization is key. There is no better model for owner-operated business than the franchise. The real success of this concept comes when managers become owners, resulting in a high level of loyalty, service and performance that fuels quality control and growth.

Today, in countries all over the Persian Gulf region, the franchise business model is providing occupational activity for the younger population. The owner-operated model creates a safer environment to carry the business forward and expand into more outlets or other similar models.

Historically, the United States has led the franchise revolution that is now gaining worldwide acceptance.

Today, in the West there are 100,000 different franchise offerings that turn a trillion dollars in business, and this model of commerce is spreading fast in the Gulf states and Asia.

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 growing Indian middle class.

The Gulf states also are on their way to a franchise climate formed from hundreds of local ideas, designed to deal with local taste, culture or religious needs.

The Five Star Standard

The players must create the best value propositions and create the best service models, but most importantly they must acquire an absolute ownership of brand name identity.

The strictest application the Five Star Standard of Naming will ensure long-term success and earn a hassle-free-global premium positioning.

Study the subject and acquire a deeper understanding, test the waters and aim for the expanding neighboring markets. A nouveau-consumerism revolution awaits.


Naseem Javed is recognized as a world authority on Corporate Image and Global Cyber-Branding. Author of Naming for Power, he introduced The Laws of Corporate Naming in the 80s and also foundedABC Namebank, a consultancy established in New York and Toronto a quarter century ago. Currently, he is on a lecture tour in Asia and can be reached atnj@njabc.com.


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