Steve Jobs once famously said, “A brand is simply trust.” It is this trust that makes consumers return to their favourite brands repeatedly, hence the need for every brand to strive to build a bridge of trust with their customers. The winners of the 2019 edition of Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Awards were felicitated at a special ceremony held at Crowne Plaza, Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) on Sunday. H H Sayyid Dr Faris al Said, assistant professor at Sultan Qaboos University was the guest of honour.
The ceremony was held under the auspices of H E Eng Isam bin Saud al Zadjali, chairman of Muscat Municipality. It was also attended by their highnesses, excellencies, chairmen, managing directors, CEOs and senior officials from 38 winning companies.
Senior representatives of the winners received their awards from Sayyid Dr Faris, H E Eng Zadjali and Saleh Zakwani, executive chairman of Apex Media. In his introductory remarks, Mark Rix, CEO of Apex Media, said that Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Awards recognise the delivery of long-term consistent excellence in products and services, customer satisfaction and value. “We are thrilled to be here today to recognise the very best brands in the sultanate – as voted for by the nation’s public. Over 700,000 votes were cast across all the categories and this high level of engagement is a testimony to the deep bond that people enjoy with their favourite brands.”
Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Awards is a validation of the public trust in a brand and every year this prestigious award is presented to the most trusted brands in the country by Apex Media based on what the general public perceives about the brands they trust the most.
Speaking on ‘branding’, Sayyid Dr Faris said that the results of Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Awards indicate that the brands are doing well in the sultanate with a good level of loyalty. “The general trend across the world, however, is that the brand loyalty is declining. Lots of businesses are sensing that pricing and quality issues are the main causes of this drop in loyalty. But we all know and realise that customer service is a key factor in brand loyalty.”
Talking about the importance of brand relevance, which measures customers’ preference for a brand, Sayyid Dr Faris said, “If your brand is not relevant to consumers, they do not care. So your brand has to be relevant. A brand is neither a logo nor a fancy slogan. A brand is a promise, an experience and a journey and above all a brand is a story. A company’s vision and mission must be translated into the brand. All the customers are important and it is important to speak to your clients/customers regularly, listen to them and activate their emotions.”
Paul Turner, regional director – MENA at Havas People, gave unique insights from Havas’ extensive research into the effectiveness of brands worldwide. In his presentation on ‘Meaningful Brands’, Turner said that customers expect brands to take a stand on causes, adding, “brands that fail to do so will be forgotten. Meaningful brands adopt a genuine brand activism strategy to survive”.
Turner noted that customers’ personal and collective benefits from brands are becoming increasingly important and driving noticeable rises in meaningfulness of brands. On importance of quality content for brands, he said, “Great content drives personal benefits. People are asking for quality content and content can drive business results. But most of the content provided by brands fail to deliver. So to be meaningful, the content has to be tailored to the industry requirement.”