Reviving A Brand For The Next Big Generation: Q&A With Doors’ Reem Sharara
In the world of branding, there are hidden gems. Brands that have withstood the test of time and have been experienced across generations. Published by Nahdet Masr, El Adwaa’ has become a staple Education brand in Egyptian houses. Marking its 50th year anniversary, Doors Marcom & Nahdet Misr have partnered up to launch a new campaign, breathing life back into the brand. The Berries interviewed Reem Sharara, Managing Director of Doors Marcom, to get a peek from behind the scenes.
BB: Can you shed some light on the inspiration behind the new El Adwaa’ campaign?
RS: The story all started with Al Adwaa’ celebrating its 50th anniversary in the Egyptian market, knowing that with such a great heritage, comes great responsibility towards the Egyptian student and the whole educational system. However, this was not the only event taking place. There were so many things happening at the same time; massive research and development efforts, many teams and processes all determined to achieve one goal: Facilitate the learning process through innovatively crafted external books. On the other hand, at Doors Marketing Communications, we realized that we have to approach this “Innovation” promise differently. Being a “Consumer- Centric” agency – as we choose to call ourselves – a creative concept for the new communications campaign was carefully crafted in a way that grabs the consumers’ attention, speaks to them and touches their hearts. We were lucky enough that Al Adwaa’ team were more than happy to take innovation to the next level and translate this in the brand’s message and communication style.
BB: Al Adwaa’ target market group has not changed, the generation itself has. Generation X or the “Millennials” are no longer “the next target generation”. Generation Z, often referred to as the founders or centennials, are the next huge marketing opportunity. Can you give us some insights on Egypt’s new Generation Z? How is the new El Adwaa’ campaign appealing to this generation?
RS: As mentioned earlier, Al Adwaa’ is taking the innovation platform by storm and in order to do this, it had to be supported by extensive research and getting in touch with the target groups. Therefore, deep insights generated from this research were always guiding us with which messages, language and tools to use in the campaign for maximum communication effectiveness. Yes, we are dealing with a different generation – a generation that is always online; kids who prefer to be rewarded with an hour on Facebook rather than be given a toy or candy. Yet, this new generation is still suffering from the old ways of studying deeply embedded in the Egyptian Culture. These deep-rooted problems inspired Al Adwaa’ to voice out the need of Egyptian students for a change in the educational system. Creatively, we featured the culturally famous tools (the slippers, the ruler and the belt) that mothers, fathers and teachers use to force students to study while using them as symbols to rebel against the old methods of education and to clearly state that these tools are no longer working.
BB: When adopting a revival strategy, established brands need to make a strategic decision regarding uplifting their brand identity. Should they adopt a bold/revolutionary approach, out with the old in with the new. Or is the conservative/evolutionary route, retweaking the old while preserving the brand’s original look and feel, the less risky way to go. Being a 50-year old well-established brand in the mind of its audience, How has Doors Marcom approached El Adwaa’ brand identity uplift?
RS: Yes, having a balanced creative campaign was a key challenge. Doors Marketing Communications stepped up to this challenge by again utilizing the innovation platform that Al Adwaa is adopting. We realized that in order to revive the brand while making sure all of our messages get through effectively, this had to happen through a radical strategy targeting Al Adwaa’’s both traditional and digital platforms. By combining both shocking, humorous and informative elements in our messages, we guaranteed that the brand promise remains consistent simply by making Al Adwaa say “ We are proud of our past, confident in our future”
BB: Al Adwaa’ is an Educational platform that targets the young generation, students from elementary to high school, yet the purchasing power remains in the hands of the parents. Communicating with multiple target segments with different characteristics is a tough homework for agencies. Can you talk to us a little about crafting a communication strategy for Al Adwaa’ Campaign that engages the parents and their children?
RS: Again, basing our communications on research findings was simply illuminating. As we discovered that the purchasing power varies widely depending on which education phase the student is in. For example, with younger students; parents are the primary decision maker while with older students; teachers are the decision makers through their book recommendations. Having said so, the power of this campaign was built on its integration using different channels and tactics to keep everyone involved. For example, creating content that will engage parents/teachers with students on social media which turned out to be a success. On the functional side, it was addressed by releasing Al Adwaa’ in bundled packages and offering discounts; therefore making it more budget -friendly for families.
BB: Launching a new campaign needs agencies to dwell in consumers’ minds, digging for the brand perception. What did Doors Marcom discover concerning the brand perception of the Al Adwaa? Is the new campaign an attempt to instate a new perception in the minds of its audience?
RS: Al Adwaa’ has always been associated by both the young and older generations with heritage and long-established tradition. Being traditional does not mean that it is outdated and that is what the campaign needed to highlight. The renewed identity using the slogan “Benaallem we Netaalem ( We teach and we learn)” underlines the fact that Al Adwaa’ will continue to be the ultimate companion for students and will also keep finding ways to innovate and stay up-to-date.
BB: Generation Z has a very short span of attention, therefore brands need to be present on various mediums to grab their attention and engage them. How successful is the brand presence of the Al Adwaa’ campaign?
RS: The Adwaa campaign started with a teaser phase both on outdoor and social media to create high levels of anticipation accompanied by a “Guess what is the brand” competition on Facebook. The brand was then revealed on social media with a series of short films that spoke out to students and their parents. Al Adwaa’ website and social media pages were also filled with articles and summaries to facilitate the learning process. On the other hand a large event was hosted featuring the popular band “Massar Egbari.” To establish a relationship with teenagers who are used to traditional messages and authoritative attitude from all entities related to education. This is how different channels were integrated to establish a connection with the target groups (Students, teachers and parents) through an authentic and engaging content.
BB: Many of the most successful attempts in reviving brands are accompanied by a reposition. Does this new Al Adwaa’ campaign mark a brand reposition as the new education era learning platform? Please elaborate
RS: The fundamental intention of this campaign was to reestablish Al Adwaa as the go-to platform for simplified learning in Egypt stressing on the fact that Al Adwaa’ is continuously innovating and bringing to the market what the students actually need even if they will have to revisit the nature of the product itself (digitalize the books for example) . This already goes in harmony with the massive efforts the Ministry of Education is undertaking to renovate the current Education system that is to be launched in 2018 (as mentioned in the media).
BB: Even more than millennials, Generation Z has higher expectations and is all about searching for value. To appeal to this generation brands must walk away from promotional content to content with value. It’s no longer about what you are selling, it’s about what you can do to help them. Was Al Adwaa’ campaign able to embrace this? What is the value proposition being promoted by the campaign?
RS: Doors Marketing Communications had to dig very deep into the core challenges that students were facing every day in order to come up with a campaign that is authentic, has purpose and connects with students on an emotional and intellectual level. Al Adwaa’s campaign ultimately marked the start of a new chapter for education in Egypt and it will always remain a pioneer in supporting this cause and the first to speak out and challenge the old ways of studying. Since we all do believe that “Studying does not necessarily mean learning”. On the other hand, we witnessed a very high level of engagement on the social media among the students which is the biggest proof that the campaign’s content was able to push all the buttons and make the new generation believe that Al Adwaa’ will remain to stand by them and help them get through tough times.