Brands are Humans, in Disguise

Industry Watch | November 4, 2016 | Guest Article

Crystâl Brand House Hany Ezzat Ritz Carlton

By Hany Ezzat

Have you ever wondered how come we are almost 8 billion people, 8 billion characters, 8 billion experiences, 8 billion stories and no two people are the same. If replicas and copies were part of the creation process, we would have identical/s of you and me somewhere in the world, roaming and being us, or us being them. What would happen if we were replicas of one another?

I guess each of the replicas would fight the other for the right to be Him or Her (Self).

We have been created differently, no matter how many we are, for the purpose of uniqueness and individuality. Each of us born with a unique and one-of-a-kind set of qualities that are special and unparalleled.

One of the many lessons Branding taught me is that the creative process isn’t just a label used in the communication business. Branding & Creativity are a way of thinking. We are in the creative business; in the business of creating Brands by giving them a soul, a spirit that is unique to them.

We spend months looking for what is called the "differentiating" factor that sets one brand apart from another. Usually, and just like us humans, this factor is a unique mix of physical and emotional qualities.

Visiting a shelf, a showroom, a store, etc., one can’t help but come face to face with immense variety but also a sea of sameness. Brands struggling to stand out fighting for the shopper's attention. The truth is, most Brands behave and feel the same. Differentiation is hard to find. Consumers are then forced to pose the question "what is so different about brand A, B, C, etc.?”! It is somehow became the responsibility of the shopper to dig for the differentiation factor.

Similarly, as humans, we find it easy to blend in and find comfort in behaving the same, fearing to stand out so that we are not criticised. Our purpose of being our own individual & different self is defeated. Differentiation is more than a principle of communication and branding. Differentiation is a principle of Life that is the essence of any creative business...cinema, music, art and daily life.

One is truly creative when an idea is born…a differentiating idea..original and simple

We, as brand professionals, are hired for our ability to CREATE....A DIFFERENCE. We try to realise that for ourselves and for the brands we look after, build and create. We are hired for our expertise to see what others can't see…a sense of sight to spot both the physical and emotional engineering that makes one Brand truly different from another...and then, express that through a creative idea that can become a multimillion dollar advertising campaign featuring a celebrity or just a simple mall stand to trigger Brand trial. With minimum (mass) communication, The Ritz Carlton comes to mind as a case in point for Differentiation.

Dubai is a culture of posh hotels competing for the vacations and staycations of thousands each year. Having frequented many hotels in Dubai, I can safely say that differentiation is a destination attained by many but achieved by a few. After all, how star-studded can a hotel get? The number of stars eventually fades in the background and at times, replaced by a loud shout of ultra extravaganza.

The Ritz Carlton tells a different story. The Brand has found and cultivated a mastery in ‘guest & experience personalisation’. By sheer experience, the Ritz Carlton expresses its simple belief that each guest is Royalty and deserves to be treated as one. A belief so strong & alive that you feel it in the air and in the energy of the property. However, differentiation isn’t only emotional for The Ritz. From expecting your stay, preparing for your arrival to anticipating your personal preferences, everything about The Ritz Carlton staff makes a differentiated & one-of-a-kind Brand, just the way it is supposed to be.

Brands are Humans and Humans are Brands. They share a journey & a destination of individuality and differentiation. Both forms reach the highest sense of fulfilment & success when true and authentically differentiated.


About the Author

Hany Ezzat has been living in Dubai, UAE for 40 years. He graduated from The American University in Dubai in 1999 (with a BBA in Marketing and an IAA in Advertising) and has been in the industry for almost 18 years, having worked with a global & local line up of agencies.

Between JWT, TBWA, Team Y&R and a Consultant position with Face to Face, his experience covers global blue-chips like Unilever, Nestle, Coca Cola, Philip Morris, HSBC, HSBC Amanah, Nissan, Infiniti as well as some strong local players such as, Abu Dhabi Airports, Mashreq Bank, IFFCO Foods, Aujan Refreshments, Sahara Mall, Burjuman, Deira City Center and Aldar Retail.

Hany co-founded Crystâl Brand House in 2015 and is the Head of Strategy. Crystâl is a full-fledged Advertising House with an office in Cairo. Hany's ambition is to remain true to the process of creating ideas that minds & hearts fall in love with - building Iconic Brands in the process and working with passionate and dedicated talent.

Hany is also a part-time Hypnotherapist, Teacher, Writer and a Yogi.

UAE-based advertising professional and Co-Founder of Crystâl Brand House, Hany Ezzat talks about the importance of brand differentiation and how one Dubai Hotel uses this to tell brand stories .

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