Well, it certainly goes without saying that our Middle Eastern market is kind of hard to relate to. If you happen to work in marketing, PR, and/or advertising you’ll get what I meant there! We are a picky bunch of people, and nothing can catch our fancy unless we can personally relate. As there are some companies that failed drastically to launch, or expand, their businesses in the ME, some have managed not only to do that … but also blow the competition out of the way.
Let’s take Applebees for example. They are HUGE abroad, right? The Applebee’s chain was founded by Bill and T. J. Palmer in 1980. They opened their first location in Decatur, Georgia, at the time named T.J. Applebee’s Rx for Edibles & Elixirs. They opened a second location outside of Atlanta, Georgia a few years later, and sold the company to W. R. Grace and Company in 1983. As part of the transaction, Bill Palmer was named president of the Applebee’s Division, an indirect subsidiary of W. R. Grace and Company. In that capacity, Palmer guided the operation from its entrepreneurial beginnings to a full-fledged franchise system. He became an Applebee’s franchisee in 1985.
So, you’d expect them to ace launching their franchise in the Middle East. Well, they certainly did fail to garner the attention they expected in Egypt and the reason why is so simple … they didn’t put into consideration that the people there were already used to their main competitor TGI Fridays.
Applebees launched into the market without knowing that they need to offer something that makes them stand out from their competition, and as soon as they did, TGI Fridays in Egypt did step up their game by revamping their whole menu and by partnering up with a discount card company called Xclusive. Imagine that, you could get a 25% instant discount from everything you order … Since then, no one ever heard about Applebees and they just passed by as if they have never existed.
But let’s not be all about the negatives. Let’s talk about success stories: The One That Holds The Name of Spotify. Son, drop everything you’re doing and hear me preach!
Spotify is the perfect example of how they managed to approach the market and knock the competition out of the way. At press time, with its launch in MENA, Spotify offered local music fans access to a world of new music and genres, as well as giving local artists the opportunity to connect with a global audience of music fans on Spotify and that, by any book, is quite an accomplishment. They were able to do so by providing their target audience exactly what they needed: Music that they can relate to!
For Example, they certainly knew that there are a lot of people that love Shaa’bi music, not only in Egypt but in the MENA region as a whole.So they made sure to offer their users best in class local playlists. As Shaabi music continues to soar around the region, especially in Egypt, Spotify put together the perfect playlist to celebrate this booming genre.
Another trick they did is that they chose an artist that no one would ever disagree on; the Legendary Amr Diab for their campaign (which was off the hook and the ads were just … spectacular!).
As you would probably agree, that consumers really do appreciate a company that understands the obstacles that they face and managed to find solutions to fix it for them. Yet again, that is exactly what Spotify did. With them launching Spotify Lite, they’ve managed to attract the streamers that do use those “so advanced” phones. The application is lighter, doesn’t take too much storage, and is available on both Apple Store and Google Play!
With all that being said, if I had to choose one thing that made Spotify stand out from all of the other music streaming platforms in the market; it would have to be their playlists. Imagine having someone choose the best songs/tracks of that genre you feel like listening to … Not only that but they even have playlists based on your mood and the activity you are doing.
You have to check our their Bedroom Jams playlist … It sure comes in handy (wink, wink)!
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