Top 10 brands for UAE consumers in 2016 revealed

This year’s rankings explore the major reasons that make these names tick among UAE residents
Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter

10:08 July 17, 2016

Dubai: Emirates airline has earned the most positive buzz among consumers in the UAE this year, knocking off electronics giant Samsung and internet heavyweight Google, a global market research firm announced on Sunday.
With its continued ambitious expansion and creative marketing and advertising, the UAE’s home-grown carrier has topped the 2016 Mid-Year Best Brand rankings by YouGov, which regularly reviews more than 400 names in the consumer market place.
“The past six months saw the airline continue a high profile sponsorship strategy. It also caused a stir celebrating its football partnerships with six clubs and seven football themed aircraft take-offs in one day,” YouGov says.
Taking the second spot is mobile messaging platform WhatsApp, which has recently earned a boost in popularity after opening up its services to businesses this year. Occupying the third position is another tough brand to beat Samsung, which created some buzz in the Middle East with the launch of Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
A clear social media favourite, Facebook secured the fourth place, ahead of Apple in the fifth. Rounding off the rest of the top ten are YouTube, Emaar, Google, Etihad Airways and iPhone.
YouGov regularly measures the popularity of consumer brands using its BrandIndex Buzz score and by asking respondents, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” Each brand was assigned buzz scores ranging from 100 to negative 100, with a zero score indicating equal positive and negative feedback.
Both WhatsApp and Samsung are non-movers in the latest ranking, while Facebook climbed two places higher and Apple slipped one place. YouTube inched up one place and Emaar moved two positions higher. Google, on the other hand, dropped three places, while Etihad and iPhone also slipped two positions down.
YouGov further explains the reasons that make the ten brands tick among UAE consumers:
(1) Emirates
Emirates remains the buzziest brand in the UAE. The past six months saw the airline continue a high profile sponsorship strategy including elevating its sponsorship of the ATP World Tour to premier status. It also caused a stir celebrating its football partnerships with six clubs and seven football themed aircraft take-offs in one day. 2016 also saw the popular airline launch a brand new global advertising campaign aimed at showcasing its inflight experience to consumers.
(2) WhatsApp
xne_150413 whatsapp1
WhatsApp. 2016 saw the highly popular mobile messaging platform open up its service to brands allowing notifications to be exchanged between customers and companies. Dubai Municipality subsequently launched its very own WhatsApp number to receive images, videos or messages from concerned residents which was promoted on Facebook.
(3) Samsung
The Samsung Electronics headquarters in Seoul. Jay Y. Lee is the heir apparent to the Samsung empire
Samsung continued to create some buzz with the launch of its new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphone. Despite copycat reports in the wake of iPhone’s seemingly similar “Shot on iPhone” campaign, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer launched its “Captured on the Galaxy S7” campaign and appears to have successfully engaged consumers in the quality of its Galaxy video footage shot in 4K Ultra HD. The brand also took to print advertising to showcase its new ‘Samsung-Soak out the mess’ washing machine campaign centered around the concept of how easy it is to dirty one’s clothes.
(4) Facebook
The social media giant has been linked to exciting developments in virtual technology with Samsung in 2016 to date and was quoted to have 120 million monthly active users in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in February 2016. YouGov had earlier reported that the social media platform is the most regularly used by 82 per cent of residents in the UAE.
(5) Apple
After the successful launch of its first flagship stores in the UAE towards the end of 2015, Apple chief executive Tim Cook caused a stir in the Mall of the Emirates with a personal visit to the brand’s Dubai-based store in May 2016. Two new Apple stores have also opened at the Dubai Duty Free (DDF) in Dubai International Airport, in 2016 representing the largest-ever Apple outlets in travel retail.
(6) YouTube
Simple is effective
Continuing to increase its user base significantly in the Arab world, not least due to the magnetism of smartphone viewing, it is increasingly appealing to businesses to connect with their consumers. 2016 saw Dubai One TV launch their first dubai ON demand (dONd) channel on YouTube bringing English language lifestyle content to the small screen. The video online platform also launched the first edition of The Lantern, the first award to recognize the most impactful commercials offered by the advertisers in the MENA region during the month of Ramadan.
(7) Emaar
Emaar Properties
A string of exciting developments announced by the property developer have dominated the media in 2016 including The Tower at Dubai Creek which is reported to be 100 metres taller than the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest tower in the world, on completion. Despite the fire-hit Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai hitting the media on New Year’s Eve 2015, the brand’s reputation has not been dented and looks to remain strong with first quarter profits reported to be up 22 per cent in 2016.
(8) Google
Google teamed up with local hospitality business Jumeirah to launch “Jumeirah Inside,” a Google street-view experience that travels through 23 Jumeirah hotels. The brand also launched Ad Words Express with YouTube to help SMB’s in the UAE to start advertising online easily. Women@Google also reached MENA – an employee resource group comprising female Googlers committed to providing networking and professional development and a sense of community to Googler women across 27 countries.
(9) Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways
The airline continues to connect with consumers with the theme ‘Flying Reimagined’. It released a brand new 360-degree fully immersive short film featuring Nicole Kidman in 2016 to provide potential customers with a “real experience”’ of the Airbus A380. The film is part of a comprehensive campaign to promote the piece via social and digital display, with custom Google Cardboard headsets being distributed at conferences and events.
(10) iPhone
Apple iPhone
Apple reported its flagship smartphone sales were responsible for its first quarterly decline in a decade. However the launch of the new iPhone SE in the Emirates together with the re-launch of its global “Shot on iPhone” advertising campaign across 25 countries including the UAE could help the brand create more buzz. The campaign featured photos from the Emirates’ very own residents. With the largest ever Apple outlet in travel retail now also open at Dubai International Airport iPhone remains one to watch for the second half of the year.

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