Gulf corporate gift solutions industry touches US$ 4 Billion says regional expert.

The Gulf market tops the list globally when it comes to corporategift expenditure. Organizations fro government and private sectors inthe region highly rely on this tactical activity to enhance theircorporate communications drive says regional marketing expert."2007has been a significant year for the corporate gift industry in theMiddle East with a total expenditure touching a rough figure of US$ 4billion. There are many gift companies are active in the gulf, howeverthe majority are merely traders who own neither the expertise nor thewillingness to exercise an approach that aligns the gift items campaignto the integrated branding strategy of the clients, " says AsemAqtash, Project Manager of Flagship gifts one of the fastest growingintegrated gift solutions providers in the region.Aqtesh adds at aceremony marking the inauguration of the companyCOs third location inDubai: "Gift items vendors in the region should further coordinatewith creative agencies working for the businesses and governmentagencies in order to develop gifts that work on achieving the marketingcommunications objective of the clients. Companies are de-marketingtheir positions when they provide their clients with gift items thatdon't convey the corporate messages nor demonstrate their keyvalues."Companies in the region are choosing corporate gifts basedon very minimal studies. Very few businesses, mainly large multinationalenterprises, are taking the debate of selecting their gift items for acampaign or an event.Aqtesh adds: "It is a two way streetresponsibility as vendors and clients are underestimating thesignificance of choosing the right gift that adhere to thecompanies' key messages and positioning in the market place.Sometimes, it is junior executives from client and agency side who aremanaging this process that should be given more weight and time.Marketers who own this tactic should gain more insights about theirtarget audience before committing to a costly marketing campaign. On theother side, gifts providers should illuminate the path for marketers tohelp them making better-informed decisions for their giftstrategy."With today's customers becoming savvier, the giftsstrategy needs to be more focused on business outcomes by serving as acatalyst to demonstrate the companies' values and approach to theirwide clientCOs base. A "one size fits all" approach forcorporate gift proves to be not effective. Gift companies should providegift solutions to the clients to match their marketing strategy. Sellingoff the shelf items is not enough any more. Businesses must adapt toglobal business practices and make these practices to the preferences ofthe Middle East clients group.

Aqtesh concludes: "In today's fast-paced business environment, the gift market is getting saturated rapidly with new players coming in continuously; however, this industry has to be regulated in a way where high standards of professionalism is maintained. Corporate giftt campaigns shouldn't be just a tick box in a marketing campaign but a crucial element of the communications exercise."

A[umlaut] 2008 Al Bawaba (

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