Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cracks in Dubai Brand's Facade -- and Shark Tank

A recent report from Al Jazeera English describes Dubai's attempts to rejuvenate its brand in the wake of negative headlines. Mark Ritson, an Academic and Brand Consultant interviewed for the report, notes that Dubai "stands for modern; it stands for safe; it stands for luxury. Anything it does which is contradictory to that ... runs counter to that perception and therefore does damage to the perception of Dubai." Unfortunate, then, that Dubai's had a rash of bad press lately related to its murky economic prospects and some high-profile tourist destination snafus.

His recommendations for brand refurbishing: monitor brand perception and employ a crisis-management team. It's a short report, but well worth watching, if only to see the blurry havoc wreaked by a leaking shark tank in one of the world's largest shopping centers.

So what steps has the emirate's Brand Dubai office taken to mitigate the damage? Despite the fact that it was established to interact with international media and promote Dubai's image abroad (as reported in the Huffington Post and Arabian Business, among other sources, in June 2009), Brand Dubai declined to comment for the al Jazeera report. But don't imagine that BD is resting on its laurels! Here's a sampling of tweets the office has released over the past week:

Brand Dubai's tweets are short, sweet and steady, but the news that female students are recycling is unlikely to wrest the attention of the international press (or their readers) away from the news that Dubai's stock continues to plummet--or even from soft news topics with as much glamour as last week's marine mall mayhem. Rebuilding Dubai's brand is going to require an emphasis on the values on which it was originally founded. Safety, modernity and luxury are a good place to start.

1 comment:

  1. Typically a city naturally forms due to a busting local population, right? ...the most sensible timeline is population with money THEN city - can't think of other examples of a city being built before the people got there. I guess we learned that a city landscape does not a city make.