Business & consumer participation in social issues on the rise in the UAE
Source: Edelman , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:18 pm

UAE. Consumer interest in social purpose marketing is on the rise in the UAE, according to Edelman’s 3rd annual goodpurpose® study, conducted in the UAE and across the globe.

More than half of UAE residents believe their responsibility to address societal issues has increased in the past year, and almost 6 in 10 think they have more power and influence to make a difference on those issues compared to five years ago.

“According to the goodpurpose study, when quality and price are the same, a commitment to social purpose can trump design, innovation and even brand loyalty as a sales trigger for UAE consumers” said Allie Holmes, UAE goodpurpose Liaison and Healthcare Lead, Edelman UAE. “In a competitive market, brands are always looking for ways to differentiate their product from the competition, and a commitment to social purpose wields that power.”

But the study reveals something deeper about UAE consumers themselves that might seem counter-intuitive. Three quarters of UAE consumers say they would choose to live in an environmentally friendly house even if it meant sacrificing space.

Almost the same proportion would choose a brand that supports local producers over a designer brand. Even when it comes to their cars, 64 percent of UAE residents say they would choose a hybrid over a luxury marque.

“Discussions about the UAE consumer tend to focus on their affinity for luxury brands and their desire to express their social status through their purchases, but this study shows that the true picture is more complex, said Fergus Clarke, head of StrategyOne Abu Dhabi. “Marketers who rely on the clichéd view of UAE consumers are likely to experience a disconnect with how consumers perceive themselves.”

UAE Trends Not Reflected in Western Markets

Unfortunately, trends in the UAE are not necessarily reflected everywhere. Social purpose marketing trends seem to be reflective of socioeconomic trends in regions across the globe. In bull markets such as China, Brazil, India, UAE, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where economies are stable and on the rise, consumers are more bullish on ‘Purpose’.

bear markets, such as the U.S. and Western Europe, where economies have stagnated or appear uncertain, consumer and business interests in Purpose appear to be stagnating as well.

However, Purpose bull markets seem to be buoying the global average, as brands aligning themselves with causes are not only securing more consumer consideration, but are also earning their dollars and support across the globe.

Nearly half (47 percent) of global consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause, representing a 47 percent increase from 2010. Over the years, since the study’s inception, consumers have taken increased action on behalf of brands with Purpose:

·         39 percent increase in “would recommend” cause-related brands

·         34 percent increase in “would promote” cause-related brands

·         9 percent increase in “would switch” brands if a similar brand supported a good cause

Social Purpose Reengineering Brand Marketing in the UAE

This shift in UAE consumer values and behaviors will likely lead to a shift in business or brand values and behaviors as well.

“UAE businesses are already comfortable with the idea of partnering with a 3rd party to achieve societal good as a way to extend their brand’s footprint and give them license to operate,” says Holmes. “As brands see the commercial value in these partnerships, cause partnerships are likely to flourish here in the same way we’ve seen them flourish in the West. Finding a brand cause is practically a rite of passage for brand marketers in the West, and I think the UAE will follow that path.”

About the 2012 Edelman goodpurpose® study

The 2012 Edelman goodpurpose® study is the firm’s fifth annual global consumer study that explores consumer attitudes around social purpose, including their commitment to specific societal issues and their expectations of brands and corporations. The survey was conducted by StrategyOne in January and February of 2012 and consisted of online interviews in 16 countries among 8,000 adults.

Five-hundred respondents were surveyed in each of the following markets: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The margin of error is +/-1.1% for the full Global sample; +/-1.4% for the Global tracking sample; and +/-4.4% for each country’s sample.

For more information, visit

About Edelman

Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with 63 offices and more than 4,200 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade in 2009 and one of its “A-List Agencies” in both 2010 and 2011; Adweek’s “2011 PR Agency of the Year;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;” and The Holmes Report’s “2011 Global Agency of the Year.”

Edelman was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by Advertising Age in 2010 and 2012 and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), A&R Edelman (technology), First&42nd (management consultancy), DJE Science (medical education/publishing and science communications), and agencies Edelman Significa (Brazil), and Pegasus (China).

For more information, please visit



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