A major trading hub since ancient times, Bahrain’s growing economy and supportive business infrastructure is designed to help startups flourish. The Kingdom’s diversified economy, business friendly infrastructure, and strategic geographic position as the gateway to the Gulf, provides exciting opportunities for your new startup. 

However, despite connectivity and access to data breaking down borders and making the world a global village, startup founders still need to tailor and localize communications for their target market in order to speak to their audience in a way that ignites, excites and drives consumer behavior. So, if you are looking for a way to communicate your new offering in Bahrain, here are some things to think about that will help you get started on your communications plan and lay the foundation for communication success in Bahrain.

#1 The Who, What, Where and How

Creating an effective communication plan is not rocket science, however it does need some strategic thought to ensure that it supports your overall business goals. As with any communication to be effective, we need to know WHO we are talking to, or our target audience. Secondly, WHAT do you want to say, which is the brand promise or key messaging, WHERE you want to say it, or the channels you will use to convey the messages, and HOW you want to say it –  these are the PR and marketing activations that show your stakeholders that your business activities and are in line with your brand promise, that is, you do what you say you do. 

#2 Young, Tech Savvy & Values Driven?

As a collective society – one where the ‘we’ takes precedence over the ‘I’ -The majority Bahraini market, we could loosely characterize the majority of Bahrainis as young, tech savvy and values-driven. Of course, dependent on your product you would delve deeper into your market segmentation. 

So, here we have millennials, a generation that has grown up ‘bathed in bits’. They have access to data, and they love social media. Research says that 34% of millennials, 50% of which are highly educated, use social media to make purchase decisions.  As a Middle Eastern majority, it is helpful to understand the Middle Eastern culture. We mentioned the collective aspect. In general, Arabs are a tight knit group that are highly influenced by friends and family. 

#3 Get them talking!

Although this can be challenging for brands that do not have an established reputation as a status symbol, it also provides opportunities to expand your market share by using tools such as “word of mouth” advertising -where a seed is planted by agents in target audience groups or by using ‘friends get friends’ reward schemes. If your company has the budget, influencer marketing is extremely effective in Bahrain where positioning your brand alongside a well-known social media influencer, such as Imran Al Aradi or Ahmed Sharif, can fast track your brand awareness and get the social media network working for you.

#4 Define your brand ‘story’ and key messages

Before embarking on a communications campaign, you must be clear about what your brand is all about and what you want to say so that you can start strong and remain consistent in order to build a brand that inspires loyalty and trust. The ‘WHAT’ in a communications strategy requires you to understand your brand ‘story’ and the key messages you will be telling your audience about your brand and its products and services. 

#5 Tell short stories rather than advertise!

Whether we are online or offline, in today’s world we are overwhelmed with information and advertising communications. As such, people have adapted and conditioned themselves to tune out ads, particularly on social media. As a new brand, what can you do? Well, you have to get creative! That means less advertising and more storytelling. In the online space, your brand communications can be delivered as fun, shareable content that tells stories rather than obvious advertising tactics. Short, high quality videos and personalized dynamic email campaigns work best. A few examples of startups that have jumped on the bandwagon of creating short videos are Dalooni and Alrawi

#6 Keep your finger on the pulse! The dynamic, fast and immediate nature of today’s communications means that your communications strategy must be able to adapt and evolve. See what works and what doesn’t and change – and do it a breakneck speed! Use analytics to better understand your audience, monitor reactions through the engagement of your audience, track trends and tailor your communications accordingly, because in today’s world, change is the only constant when it comes to consumer perception and behavior!

Now that you have got the basics down on how to show everyone else how amazing you are, we’re hoping to see you all of your short videos, stories, blogs, and social media campaigns! Make sure to follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a more successful communication plan and reach as many people as possible! 

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Vicky McFarlane

Vicky McFarlane

Victoria McFarlane is a communication strategist, change management professional, corporate culture expert and certified digital marketing professional. She delivers insights gained from her 20 plus years’ experience as a Journalist, Film Editor, Copywriter and Corporate Communications professional. She works with public and private sector clients throughout the GCC and has built an extensive list of top tier clients over the last 16 years. Victoria holds a master’s in leadership & Change Management, is a Certified Digital Marketing Professional and an Oxford Fintech Programme Graduate.

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