FEME Branding Forum for Filipino Entrepreneurs
Photos by Chris Calumberan
Three branding experts were the guests at the second FEME Forum held last April 29 where more than 50 Filipino entrepreneurs, professionals and community leaders benefited from their presentations and insights. The forum was held at Fiesta Pinoy in Deira.
Giordano Middle East (FZE) CEO and Managing Director Ishwar Chugani explained: “Brands determine in more ways than one – who we are, what we want and who we want to be. They represent our values and beliefs about a company, product or a service. As the power of the brand lies in the minds of the customer, we have to use branding to set ourselves apart from the pack and show our customers why we are better than the others.
The ‘Dugong Bumbay, Pusong Pinoy’ added: “Brands don’t just happen. They are created, nurtured, and maintained.” Giordano started in the Middle East in 1993 and today operates 250 stores across the region.
Illustrado Magazine Editor-in-Chief Lalaine Chu-Benitez said: “Branding is not only a marketing concept that entrepreneurs should apply to their businesses, it is also a valuable tool that they can apply to themselves. At this point in time, when Filipino-owned businesses are just starting to grow, not only in numbers, but also in revenue and market influence, and our kababayans are increasingly gravitating towards entrepreneurship, we should also learn to brand and package ourselves as assertive and quality-oriented professionals out there.”
According to her, the slogan ‘Taas Noo, Filipino’ and the vision of ‘Helping the Filipino flourish – global vision, native soul’ define the substance, style and corporate ethos that has helped Illustrado gain respect and recognition in the Gulf region.
“Our community brand ‘Team Pilipinas’ is currently known for our smiles and our hard work. Let us also develop a brand image of formidability and competitiveness. We all need that,” reiterated Chu-Benitez.
For his part, Edipolo ‘Edan’ Aggarao, a Creative Director of a regional advertising firm, commented: “Branding is the face that represents your business. Branding is not just about the logo, nor the tagline you attach to it. It should reflect your positioning, vision, mission, organizational mantra, the quality of your products, the services that you provide, the social responsibilities, etc. It is the pursuit of wow.”
Aggarao is the founder and the Creative Partner of Q&A Advertising which is now being managed by his wife. He is also a volunteer in a non-profit group where he teaches sketching and drawing to would-be artists.
Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes of the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai and Northern Emirates, challenged everyone to promote the best of what Filipinos can offer in the UAE. He commented: “I further posit that when we believe in ourselves, the rest of the world respects us all the more and understand and accept the Filipino brand and, consequently, we pave the way for the Filipino brand to claim its rightful place as one of the best in the world.”
He and Labor Attache Felicitas Bay of POLO/OWWA Dubai will be receiving a one-way PAL ticket each donated by proponents of the FEME Connect Directory represented by veteran freelance broadcast journalist Rachel Salinel and Dagaz HR Consultancy Managing Director Cristina Calaguian. The ticket for the Philippine Consulate General will be given by The Assistance to Nationals (ATN) section to a financially challenged individual while the ticket for POLO-OWWA will be given to a distressed ward currently staying inside the POLO-OWWA compound. A third one-way PAL ticket will be turned over by Salinel to the CFC-SocDev group.
The FEME Connect Directory is a social enterprise where a portion of its profit is given back to the community. The FEME Forum is an extension of the directory whose second aim is to connect Filipino entrepreneurs with one another to create a network of competencies, talents and skills.
The first forum was conducted on October 8, 2016 at the Itamae Japanese Restaurant owned by a group of Filipinos. The theme then was on ‘Promoting Philippine Business Enterprises’.
The third forum is being planned to take place in Abu Dhabi on the first weekend of June, over Iftar as it would be Ramadan by then. FEME Forum is an extension of the FEME Connect Directory. To know more about the directory visit www.femeconnect.com.