This is the stage, it is not exactly ding dong ditch, but the stage is not that far off. Some would state kiddingly “How do you tell the difference between a male door from a female door ? One’s got a ding dong and the other knockers.” Yet the larger truth is hidden here. It is a combination of anticipation and expectation. In market research it is about engagement that engagement is depending on Business Intelligence and most brands have been slacking off, they can no longer tell the difference between what the party lines tells THEM and what the consumers expect. There is a misalignment (not some Miss Alignment). The ITP (at https://www.itp.net/business/uae-consumers-expect-brands-to-get-them-report) gives us ‘UAE consumers expect brands to ‘get’ them: Report’ in this I am referring to places like the Dubai Mall. They are doing a much better job, but they are also vying for attention. That place has more than 1200 outlets and places like Louis Vuitton are vying for the attention of people also seeing Burberry, Armani, Dior, Cartier, Hermes and Prada , all in the same mall. A place that is over 12,100,000 square ft in size, so they need to get it right the first time. You see these places aren’t really competitive for people with a misers purse. When you see a person walking with a shopping bag that might not fit a sandwich, that person is likely to have spend $5000, as such he or she is done for the day. And that mall has 200,000 of visitors a day, as such they need to get on point to get their fair share. Business Intelligence is the currency that assists and here we see “According to the study, a staggering 92 percent of respondents claimed that it’s important for brands to “get” them. These findings come at a time when brand loyalty is plummeting, with 91 percent of consumers surveyed in the UAE (15 percentage points higher than the EMEA average) claiming to be less loyal to brands compared to two years ago. Nearly one in four individuals (23 percent) attribute this decline in loyalty to disappointing experiences.” I personally believe that it comes from the people expecting some kind of engagement, and to be honest, outside of the videos on the Dubai Kids Zone, I have not seen to much engagement. One of My IP solves that, but it is not mean for one shop, it is meant for the entire mall. It is the brands that require to create some level of engagement and to be honest. In all the mall walkthrough videos I have not seen any. You might wonder what that means. You see, the video walker will call attention and thus far, apart from the sensational views that the mall offers, I have not seen any. And my personal view is seen with “When asked about specific expectations, the researchers discovered that 79 percent of the UAE sample population emphasised the importance of brands consistently being aware of their purchasing habits. Furthermore, 86 percent of respondents insisted that companies should remember their preferred communication channel. A staggering 91 percent called for personalised discounts, while 86 percent urged brands to offer tailored recommendations during engagement sessions.” And consider this ‘86 percent urged brands to offer tailored recommendations during engagement’ Now there is debate on how to go about it and I reckon that this is on their marketing groups, but when we get a number like 86% it matter, it matters a great deal. I myself am on the fence, not on what is done, but how it is done.How to do cater to a Muslim population? In New York you set the Victory Secrets line in the open and the people come gushing, that will not work in Dubai. In other versions I prefer to have fun, as such the Mall could do something like below.
Not real people of course, but the heads do not fall into a number, but into a slot with a brand and the ‘winner’ gets a small token from that brand. Perhaps to add a factor, the numbers 5,10,8,5 will be replaced by “Diesel, Adidas, Nike”, “Burberry, Dior, Hermes”, “Prada, Chanel, Cartier” and “Virgin, Sony and Nespresso” the (animated) head falls down the ramp and falls into one slot, then the visitor gets to grab one present from a barrel. An element of surprise and one of excitement. I reckon that line will fill up massively and fast. This is not the only way, some companies have their own way of engagement and they need to dig deep to create engagement, because when a place that rocks 200,000 visitors a day state that 86% of them had a less than great experience, it is time to evaluate what you are doing and the images below show great views, but it is lacking engagement. So why is that? And don’t think it is one shop, Louis Vuitton and Virgin both rock the view, and lack the engagement as far as I can tell.
So how to get the attention?
This is a much harder question, it is how to get them and that has been a life long struggle right from the bat. Customer engagement starts at one point and goes around towards what grabs them and Market Research is about masses, engagement is about that person, as such BI needs to evolve into new areas of engagement and that is the rub, how to go about it? The study gives us “The study revealed that 86 percent of respondents (15 percentage points higher than the EMEA average) considered it important for brands to provide a customer experience supported by the latest technology. Similarly, 85 percent (21 percentage points higher than the EMEA average) expressed their likelihood of being more loyal to a brand that invests in technology to enhance the customer experience.” And yes a TV screen creates more engagement, but at the Virgin Megastore, where were the gaming corners?
Where are the places that interacts with people? It is not merely the best TV or the best screen size, it is what grabs a persons attention and there places like Adidas could benefit by adding a sport element in the store, it could benefit by having a place like Hermes open a creative corner.
Consider buying a pyjama. One of the dreariest acts I ever face, but what happens when you can create your favourite pyjama (optionally in a more privacy setting)? It seems that the Arabic world is all about sports, as such what happens when you get to create your next polo-shirt based on YOUR favourite team? The Dubai Mall sports two Hockey teams, so why aren’t brands using that for more interaction? They might, but I never saw it. If the world of consumers is about engagement, the lack of attempts is equally staggering. You see, one of these walk throughs would have shown something. And it wouldn’t need to be ‘horrific’ like feeding a mermaid to the sharks, but between doing nothing and doing something horrific is quite literally an ocean of sand. So when this all starts with data, how is it captured? How are people engaged in this stream? That is equally important a side to manage correctly and even as I like the article, we see nothing on that. Especially in the UAE where tourism is at an all time high. What separates the local shopper from the tourist? It is not always clear and I believe that Harrods had its own set of problems in the 90’s. And when you have a study that boasts “21 percentage points higher than the EMEA average” I personally believe it matters a great deal, but the first observation is clear, there is seemingly a lack of engagement in the UAE (specifically the Dubai Mall). Oh, and this is not all me, places like the TRO group have been rocking the Omni-Channel Advertising for well over a decade and they have been showing that there is power in engagement. So it is not just me, there are expert voices all over the place, but the larger Market Research and marketing community doesn’t know how to interact in an engaging sphere, as such they do not touch it. Yet that might merely be my view on the matter.
Enjoy the day and take the time to smell your cup of coffee, because that too is engagement.