Is this a new beginning for ‘Brand Dubai’?

The launch of a media affairs office to look after the brand of Dubai has been announced by the government news agency WAM.

It is the first initiative of its kind in the emirate and aims to co-ordinate the activities of various government departments to ensure that a unified corporate identity for Dubai is presented to all media, both regionally and internationally.

Some observers, such as Gulf News, have interpreted the move as a PR initiative to counter the damaging publicity that Dubai has recently suffered in the Western media. But it will also have a wider role to play in promoting the brand of Dubai. The wording of WAM’s statement, which describes the establishment of “Brand Dubai” is reminiscent of the “Brand Abu Dhabi” project which has been successfully undertaken in the neighbouring emirate.

The Office of the Brand of Abu Dhabi  was established almost three years ago to help the emirate develop and present a cohesive identity across a variety of sectors, including leisure facilities, tourism, finance, infrastructure, residential and commercial development and advertising/marketing.

Perhaps the first signal of a strategic shift in Dubai was the latest ‘Meet Dubai’ campaign for Emirates Airline, which sought to replace the traditional image of the city as a place of iconic buildings and shopping facilities with a more people-centric view.

Sardar Khan, Manager of  Group Advertising at Emirates Airline, told Campaign at the time: “The main objective of the campaign is to generate demand for travel to and through Dubai. The umbrella strategy is ‘Meet Dubai’. We are inviting existing and new visitors to discover an arguably overlooked aspect of Dubai’s amazing story – its people. The world’s attention has been focused on the city’s rapid growth and mega projects, which is perfectly understandable. But Dubai’s frenetic expansion has been matched by the hard work and vision that has gone into making dreams a reality.”

The Dubai Media Affairs Office (DMAO) will be headed by chief executive officer Mona Ghanem Al Marri, who will work alongside government departments, local authorities and non-gonvernment stakeholders.

She told Gulf News: “The establishment of Dubai Brand is part of a general policy to ensure transparency in all aspects in Dubai. It will facilitate greater communication and coordination among different organisations that are directly or non-directly responsible for Dubai’s image.”

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