“Though blood is thicker than water, a brand needs the involvement and contribution of many to be successful”

The Grid: Talking about creating a brand out of a family business and creating a family out of branding a business, could you share with us, what’s different about building a brand for a family? What are the pitfalls to avoid?

Edward Leaman: What is different about building a brand for a family business is the level of emotional investment the brand has. In a family business one is dealing with family dynamics, and this brings up the relationships between the family members, which have already been created over the years. And so a brand is being built already on the foundations of legacy and heritage, and there is often a great deal of unsaid or unspoken language and behavior in play which can play out well or not so well in the business.

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“The vast majority of these studies are designed from a western-perspective and do not apply equally to our social context as Arabs, Muslims, or to the Middle East or the wider region”

The Grid: In our event ‘Family Firms: Coming out of Denial, Taking Stock and Lessons Learned’, in which you were a guest speaker, there was a lot of interest in the investment trends of families in the Emirates. What do you see as the key areas of interest at present?

Adil Al Zarooni: Education is key for stabilization in any region, with the Middle East being no exception. I naturally start with the United Arab Emirates. It is the most mature market in the region with a lot of institutions providing education services.

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