We’ve just started working on projects in the UAE, with our first commission being in Abu Dhabi and although it’s clearly a different culture to what we are used to in the west, some things have really taken me by surprise.

The biggest shock was that, when it comes to researching property purchases, people tend not to spend a lot of time looking at websites. Our experience, backed up by expat anecdotes, is that internet connectivity leaves a lot to be desired in the Emirates, something that has to be a contributory factor when most marketing sites these days would have had a ‘broadband only’ warning if made 5 years ago.

there is much less of a reliance on email

To add to this there is much less of a reliance on email, with text messaging being the electronic text platform of choice. One of the most significant influences behind this is emails not being considered legal documents, something that keeps fax machine sales buoyant here.

These two factors force us to rethink our traditional strategies when it comes to property marketing with a much higher reliance on deliverables that enhance face to face marketing. This has actually played to our strengths as our most innovative digital marketing has been desktop application based which suits the kiosk environment and the exhibition take away well.

We’re taking an infrastructure limitation
and using it to differentiate our offering.

Background downloading—making use of idle connections allows us to deliver broadband-like experiences in territories with less than optimal ISP offerings. We’re taking an infrastructure limitation and using it to differentiate our offering. It’s easy to get used to superfast internet connections and an internet savvy audience, but although it may feel like we live in a global village, we must adapt our offering to stay relevant to disparate markets.

This is true innovation at its best.