SMPL Q&A: 4 questions on brands in the age of uncertainty with Zouheir Zoueihed

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SMPL Q&A is a blog feature in which we interview experts on all things relevant to branding, design and simplicity. In this Q&A, we speak with Zouheir Zoueihed, managing director of Siegel+Gale Dubai, about how to manage your brand in this time of volatility. 

This piece is excerpted from an article that originally appeared on Brandberries

How should brands navigate the volatile and uncertain world we live in today?

In the world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), brands and their clients are faced with complex challenges. To differentiate oneself and succeed in this environment, brands need to provide optimism, honesty and simplicity to clients who are constantly inundated with information and are similarly navigating the complex world in which we live. It’s no longer about the surprise of “big idea” advertising, but compassionate and sincere ideas, delivered simply. This is what cuts through the clutter.

What advice would you give to local brands?

Embed simplicity throughout your brand touchpoints. Remove friction and offer fresh brand experiences that engage customers at the right place and time. Create a positive brand experience, and you’ll win customer loyalty.

How does a physical environment reflect a brand’s personality?

Indeed, the physical environment where a brand lives is a key touchpoint for both clients and employees, regardless of whether or not the brand is customer-facing. When designing physical environments, think about the behavior you wish to evoke and how things like furniture, lighting or artwork will impact impressions of your brand, be they positive or negative. For example, the design of your office has an effect on employee productivity in the same way that a point-of-sale experience impacts buying behavior.

There has been an increase in M&A and partnership activity, often between competing brands. How can brands nurture a culture of partnership with competitors while remaining competitive at the same time?

There have been some great examples of brands partnering, despite a competing product, to deliver a better offering for the customer. The iPhone features Google Maps; Apple buys components from Samsung while they compete heavily in other places on patents and products; and BMW and Toyota, as well as Microsoft and Intel, cooperate on technology innovation while competing in global markets. And these are just a few examples.

Similarly, brands often partner on corporate social responsibility initiatives. Pepsi, Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Unilever recently came together to develop a greener, environmentally friendly, natural refrigeration technology. And Tesla gave up the rights to its electric car patents to encourage and grow the industry for a more sustainable future. Knowledge- and resource-sharing often result in innovative solutions that benefit all.

 Zouheir Zoueihed is managing director of Siegel+Gale EMEA. Follow him on Twitter: @zohairhz

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