If you live and work in the UAE, The Brand Foundation would love to hear your opinions on your workplace.

Are you happy with where your office is located? Do you care if there’s a gym on site? How about a creche? Enough eateries near your office? Are you expecting rents to increase or decrease next year?

We’d really love to hear your views, whether you are the CEO, CFO, MD, a manager, senior or junior member of the team.

Our mini survey takes no more than a few minutes and is strictly private and confidential.


Feel free to forward the link to your friends and colleagues.

The Brand Foundation is a Dubai-based branding agency that specialises in the real estate sector. http://www.thebrandfoundation.net


After the burial of Colonel Gaddafi this week – the symbolic end of his 42 year rule, I asked myself: “What countries will emerge from the Arab Spring and succeed in increasing tourism revenue streams and securing foreign investment?” I wondered where Iraq’s place would be within the context of the re-shaping that’s occurring in the Arab world? What I was sure about was that from a nation brand positioning point of view, safety and stability are pre-requisites to success.


In a very short period of time, numerous long-standing nation brands, their symbols, leaders and oppressive values have been booted out by their own citizens. The search for new, unified national identities and renewed values in largely tribal nations is on. Mammoth tasks. For Libya this is a new challenge, for Iraq, not so.


A coherent and unified national identity is vital for the economic success of these nations – for the long-term wellbeing of their people, not to mention regional and global political and economic stability. Crucially, it communicates stability and safety – which by default opens the floodgates to foreign investment and tourism. Apart from those with humongous appetites for risk – who wants to live, invest, work and holiday in unstable regions? Is this not what’s held Iraq back? Regardless of the improved situation on the ground the perception that Iraq is not particularly safe hasn’t changed much. Whether it has or not in reality – I don’t know, I’m talking about pure perception here.


Yes, Iraq’s turbulent history is unique, as are some of its domestic challenges, but its aims going forward mirror those of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Jordan – to increase tourism (or put a new destination on the map) and foreign investment. Tourism is big business, attributing between 1 – 80% of national GDP’s worldwide, hence every government in the world wanting a sizeable piece of the pie.


Recent international news has been littered with images and sound bites about the enormous amount of construction underway (albeit stalled during the 8 month-long revolution) in Libya. The perception is that Libya wants progress and wants it fast – as do all the others.


There is already talk of aggressive campaigns as each nation seeks to position itself as the next big thing in tourism and boost GDP. There’s a race on, a race to re-shape and re-position the aforementioned nation brands. Who will unite for the greater national good? Which governments will seize the opportunities available to them? Who will not or cannot?


Changing perceptions is what nation branding does – and the closer the perception is to the reality the better. Nobody knows who will succeed on the new world tourism front yet, but something worth considering is the appetite size of those in the race.


Iraq isn’t the only nation in the region that’s re-positioning itself now – the competition is on the rise. Come on brand Iraq – take note!


The Brand Foundation is a Dubai-based branding agency that specialises in the real estate sector. http://www.thebrandfoundation.net

This blog was first published in Iraq Business News.

Recently, a client sent us a link to one of their competitors’ websites. He asked: “Why do you think this building is still empty – the brand looks good, the site is informative, the floors are handed over fitted out, visionary architecture, decent facilities management – what’s gone wrong?”

We’d already started investigating this particular building and, likewise the first impressions were pretty good. A great concept, the developer had invested in the branding, commissioned some great photos – complete with stylist input and models. It was packaged stylishly, and up went the website. Then, the developer sat back and waited for the tenants to roll in and sign up to their highly desirable product. It didn’t happen.

Here are a few reasons why we think it went south:

There’s a disconnection between the brand and the reality

The reality and the brand are as far apart as Bengal is to Southampton… and that’s quite a way! The building is pretty much constructed, but the brand was built on the promise of what the tower offers today, not in 2-5 years when the building and surrounding infrastructure was finished. Drive in to the building and you’ll see what we mean. You can’t. It’s impossible to access the car park. The few tenants occupying the building have to park a number of metres away from it, trawl through the sand, and dust down before starting work. Not good.










The premium brand positioning and leasing rates contradict each other

Premium brands command premium rates, regardless of whether you are buying a watch, car or a property – the principle is the same. If a real estate brand shouts about its construction and finishing standards, top notch facilities management, international architecture, etc you wonder why the leasing rates are rock bottom. If the product was a watch, you’d ask yourself: “Is this a fake, will it stop working after a month, what’s wrong with it?” In dropping the prices, perhaps they shot themselves in the foot? Lowered the value of the brand? Given off the wrong signals?

There’s no evidence of a marketing campaign

Armed with their wonderfully crafted product brand, it seemed to have stopped there. The website sits there doing nothing. We suspect the budget didn’t stretch to strategic marketing, or any marketing at all for that matter. Building a product brand and not marketing it is a grave mistake and a waste of money. Unless someone stumbles upon it by chance, who’s going to know about it? In this case, we searched Google for offices to rent in the masterplan – nothing came up apart from a 3rd party listing on page 4.

No construction updates for a year

Another oversight we often see is when real estate developers insist on having a news/construction update page that they don’t update for long periods of time. In this case, a year had passed. SEO issues aside, what message does this give off?

Lack of relevant messaging

This particular real estate brand screams style, style, style. We wonder if it’s a case of style over substance? We couldn’t find a single message within the literature that echoed anything other than style and vision. Largely de-sensitized to glitzy brochures, prospective tenants want to know more these days. Detail is king.

Don’t ignore the context

Although they may feel like it at times, developers can’t complete the work of the master developer. Tell prospective tenants what you are doing to lobby the developer to deliver their part of the deal. It’s a mistake to mislead and paint a rosy picture of a visionary masterplan if it’s still under construction.

Successfully branding and marketing real estate developments is a complex matter that requires a high level of strategic planning on all fronts – a surface-level branding exercise might look good, but lasting success requires a lot more than that.

When we meet prospective clients, we’re always asked: “how can you help us?”

Tell us your story to date – your challenges and successes and we will prepare you a bespoke proposal with your specific needs and budget in mind.

The Brand Foundation is a Dubai-based branding agency that specialises in the real estate sector. http://www.thebrandfoundation.net

The Brand Foundation completes assignment on behalf of Riyadh’s Koden Real Estate (part of Saudi Memaar).


Moon Tower is a luxurious commercial development on Riyadh’s King Fahad Road inspired by the influence of the moon in Islamic culture. Lisa Knight, Founder & Creative Director of The Brand Foundation said: “This has been a great project – a wonderful fusion of Islamic culture and international design standards that runs through the architecture all the way through to the design of the marketing collateral. We are proud to have been involved in such an iconic, centrally located development.”


All of us at TBF wish the team at Koden continued success with the iconic development.


The Brand Foundation is a Dubai-based branding agency that specialises in the real estate sector. http://www.thebrandfoundation.net

The Brand Foundation (TBF) is delighted to announce it has won a significant account to position, brand and market a premium commercial development in Downtown Dubai’s Business Bay.

After a rigorous 4-month selection process, TBF has been officially appointed as the branding agency with whom RDK Investments, an Abu Dhabi based private developer, headed up by visionary businessman Rashed Darwish Al Ketbi will brand and take their luxurious commercial tower to market with.

Testament to TBF’s superior creative and strategic services, TBF’s Founder, Lisa Knight said: “It’s an honour to win this account. The tower has been designed to exceptional standards, and offers multinationals superior efficiency and highly flexible floor spaces in a great location. The level of attention to detail is rare in the real estate industry, and RDK’s boutique, customer-centric approach is a winning one that is entirely aligned with the strategic ethos of TBF. RDK and TBF understands what the market requires today and building the brand with sustainability in mind from the start has been a vital strategic move to ensure its success is long-lasting.”

TBF has awarded The PR aspect of the account to leading, international public relations firm, Grayling Momentum and the leasing component is being handled by ASTECO. The facilities management is being provided as a joint venture between RDK and award-winning British FM services company, MML whose impressive list of clients include John Lewis, Waitrose and the UK’s largest commercial landlord, Mapeley Estates.


The Brand Foundation is a Dubai-based branding agency that specialises in the real estate sector. http://www.thebrandfoundation.net

Business Development Manager(s) with champion pedigrees wanted

Full-time positions

x1 – Dubai, x1 – Abu Dhabi

7,000AED per month + commission

The Brand Foundation, the real estate industry’s specialist branding agency is currently recruiting x2 Business Development Managers whose sole responsibility is to source and close new business deals in the UAE.

The ideal candidates will be consummate professionals with a hunger for an unlimited earning potential. He/she will come with a long list of contacts in the real estate sector and have an understanding of the challenges the industry faces.

He/she must have a can-do attitude with the verve to get out there and bring the deals in. Previous experience selling in the services industry would be a bonus. You will love talking on the phone, and shine at face-to-face meetings.

This role is target-focused and you will be expected to turn leads into closed sales within one month.

You must have;

-Excellent senior level contacts within the UAE real estate industry

-An EXCELLENT command of the English language

-Expert negotiation skills

-The ability to listen

-Polished presentation skills

-The ability to close deals

-Strong time-management skills

-Good organizational skills

Your responsibilities;

-Source new business opportunities

-Close new business deals

-Write briefing documents

-Cost contracts

-Create and manage a leads database

-Follow-up on existing leads

-Submit weekly reports to your line manager

We look forward to receiving your CV!

The Brand Foundation is a Dubai-based branding agency that specialises in the real estate sector. http://www.thebrandfoundation.net

The word ‘community’ is a common part of real estate marketeers lexicon these days.

Marketing buzz aside, what does community mean to you?

Has the reality lived up to the hype?

For better or worse, how has your real estate community enhanced your life? Has it enhanced your life?

We’d be delighted to hear your views as an end-user (tenant or owner).


The Brand Foundation is a Dubai-based branding agency that specialises in the real estate sector. http://www.thebrandfoundation.net

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