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Gulf corporate gift solutions industry touches $4bn, says regional expert

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, August 17 - 2008 @ 08:33

Organizations from government and private sectors in the region highly rely on this tactical activity to enhance their corporate communications drive, says regional marketing expert.

“2007 has been a significant year for the corporate gift industry in the Middle East with a total expenditure touching a rough figure of $4bn. There are many gift companies are active in the Gulf, however the majority are merely traders who own neither the expertise nor the willingness to exercise an approach that aligns the gift items campaign to the integrated branding strategy of the clients,”

says Asem Aqtash, Project Manager of Flagship gifts, one of the fastest growing integrated gift solutions providers in the region.

Aqtesh adds at a ceremony marking the inauguration of the company’s third location in Dubai: “Gift items vendors in the region should further coordinate with creative agencies working for the businesses and government agencies in order to develop gifts that work on achieving the marketing communications objective of the clients. Companies are de-marketing their positions when they provide their clients with gift items that don’t convey the corporate messages nor demonstrate their key values.”

Companies in the region are choosing corporate gifts based on very minimal studies. Very few businesses, mainly large multinational enterprises, are taking the debate of selecting their gift items for a campaign or an event.

Aqtesh adds: “It is a two way street responsibility as vendors and clients are underestimating the significance of choosing the right gift that adhere to the companies’ key messages and positioning in the market place. Sometimes, it is junior executives from client and agency side who are managing this process that should be given more weight and time. Marketers who own this tactic should gain more insights about their target audience before committing to a costly marketing campaign. On the other side, gifts providers should illuminate the path for marketers to help them making better-informed decisions for their gift strategy.”

With today’s customers becoming savvier, the gifts strategy needs to be more focused on business outcomes by serving as a catalyst to demonstrate the companies’ values and approach to their wide client’s base. A “one size fits all” approach for corporate gift proves to be not effective. Gift companies should provide gift solutions to the clients to match their marketing strategy. Selling off the shelf items is not enough any more. Businesses must adapt to global business practices and make these practices to the preferences of the Middle East clients group.

Aqtesh concludes: “In today’s fast-paced business environment, the gift market is getting saturated rapidly with new players coming in continuously; however, this industry has to be regulated in a way where high standards of professionalism is maintained. Corporate giftt campaigns shouldn’t be just a tick box in a marketing campaign but a crucial element of the communications exercise.”

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Sunday, August 17- 2008 @ 8:33 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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