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Interview: MENA is the next big ‘value’ shopping destination

Splash CEO, Raza Beig

The Landmark Group's CEO for Splash and Iconic, Raza Beig, speaks to Kipp about cashing in on the value retail boom in the MENA market.

August 6, 2012 8:56 by

As mass retail chains, Splash and Iconic are popular amongst the South Asian communities in the MENA market. How do your marketing and advertising endeavors specifically target this consumer segment?
As per our data, in markets other than the UAE our main consumer comes from the Arab and the Expat community. Therefore, our campaigns, both marketing and advertising are very much in line with international trends keeping in mind the Arab sensibilities and overall cosmopolitan audience. Additionally, we also target region specific audiences and adopt ethnic marketing, where the reach is larger and there we employ Radio as a medium.

We look at our campaigns from an international perspective including our Product portfolio, Design, HR practices and all other elements of running our business.  Similarly, when we invest in events we look at iconic stars with an international fan following like Madonna, Metallica, Charice & Amr Diab and we aim to continue with this trend.  While Charice was most popular with the Filipino community and Amr Diab with Arabs, they yet have an international appeal and are larger than life personalities in their home countries. Splash has always been associated with Iconic stars and the Splash Fashion Show and Calendar launch events definitely project an international look, feel and expression.

Within the fashion retail segment, which category of products pose the main challenge in this market? Is there a particular category in which you see more potential, in the near future?
The consumer in today’s day and age in this Region is extremely fashion savvy and aware of the changing trends in the world of fashion. Any not in trend colors, shapes or fabrics are rejected by the consumer instantly and we see this with the product on the rack in stores. Kids and ladies are historically most popular, while the menswear is a growing market, so there’s a lot to be done in that segment. Therefore, there is more potential in fashion for menswear.

The role of social media in fashion retail has taken on mammoth proportions. Although the Middle East has been slower, it is catching on with brands and consumers here. What are your efforts for Splash and Iconic, in this direction?
Both the brands are very active on social media platforms and have strong fan following.  A year ago, Splash had less than 20,000 fans and now we are nearing 100,000 fans. At the same time, ICONIC has a great fan following of 38,000 fans. We are also on Twitter. I have recently started blogging so you can see some of my blogs on the page – As a brand we love introducing cool mediums and Splash TV, a dedicated Youtube channel is one of those. The channel carries video content from the various events and campaigns while at the same time it features 4 minute webisodes on fashion, lifestyle and beauty.  We are also constantly changing the content, interacting with the consumer through activities like competitions and giveaways while keeping them informed on what Splash and ICONIC as brands are upto.

Going forward, what are the key investments that Splash and Iconic will be looking at?
Growth and expansion is an ongoing process for both the brands and having a share in the consumers mind is extremely important for the brands to grow with the expanding market.  ICONIC is all set to expand in the UAE with 4 new stores Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah City Centre in 2012 while we aim to reach the 25 store mark with expansion in countries like Qatar and Kuwait in 2013. At Splash we will be entering new markets while adding new stores in the Region. We will also be coming up with innovative concepts in terms of marketing and branding and with our AW’12 fashion show just around the corner; we are getting ready for the big day, 21st Sept.

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