Recently we read a very interesting article from Aaron Shapiro the CEO of the digital agency Huge. You may have to sign up to Strategy and Business to read it but the link is here – Brand Transformation on the Internet
What really struck me about this particular article, is that the main point of the article focuses on something that we have been trying to educate the market here in the GCC on for the last couple of years. Realistically, the UAE online market specifically, is maybe 5 years behind the more developed markets of the US, Europe and Australia. It’s not going to take them that long to catch up but for the time being, the market is languishing. Strategies and concepts we implemented 4 years ago for some of our own online businesses, are still seen as alien and foreign to a lot of companies here. Still so many of them are just jumping on the bandwagon of ‘Social Media’ and setting up useless Facebook pages to increase the total Likes. What for? Why are you doing it? we ask. The scary answer we hear all to often, is that ‘our competition has a facebook page with 5000 likes on it. Therefore our Q1 objective is to get 7000’. End of entire strategy!!!!
I really like how Aaron presents the idea of a ‘digital wrapper’ for your business, and the requirement for effectively 2 businesses these days. Your core business and an additional ‘digital wrapper’ business to really make best use of the internet to increase your bottom line. This idea of a wrapper or a filter fits exactly into the direction that the internet is moving. In order to leverage and dominate your market place, you have to become the authority within it. What does this mean? Well you need to position yourself as the only place anyone would need to come, to get anything they need with your particular niche. You become the intermediary for the user and the end solution. Content Curation is one of the methods being utilised by forward thinking companies all over the world, to allow them to become that one stop shop within their niche. If you can provide a filter or a layer whereby me as a user can come and not have to go searching for what I need, I am going to keep coming back to you. As Aaron points out, this is what Amazon has done for books.
Unfortunately here in the GCC, due to how far behind the developed markets we are, some of the strategies and points that are referred to just won’t work. Not least of which is because the infrastructure is not in place here to facilitate a 100% online transaction- that’s for a different post though! So for the time being, we have to abide by what the market allows – in this region it means using the online as a way of building, developing and communicating with your market, and then bringing them into an offline arena, where they are comfortable, in order for any actual transaction to take place .
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