I've spent the last few days in the United Arab Emirates and unlike the vast majority of visitors I actually got out of Dubai where I'm staying. In fact I've visited all seven emirates. Yesterday my friend Paul Keijzer and I hired a car and visited the five emirates north and east of Dubai and we also headed into northern Oman briefly (at the Straight of Hormuz).
The UAE is full of superlatives. Today, thanks to David Haddad, I visited the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building. Later, at Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World (the world's largest indoor theme park), I rode the world's fastest roller coaster (zero to 240 km/hr in 4.9 seconds). I rounded out my day with a few downhill runs at Ski Dubai, the largest indoor snow park in the world.
There are many more winners in the biggest, fastest, tallest, and most expensive categories here in the UAE. It's an important marketing strategy.
Which got me thinking of how beneficial this sort of marketing is. Here I am talking about it, right? So it works. And as I made my way around Dubai, many people asked if I was visiting these "biggest, fastest, tallest" places. Dubai is certainly known for these world’s greatest things. It is an excellent brand image. For now.
Can you top this?
This kind of superlative marketing strategy is tricky because someone can always trump you. Other places have announced plans for taller buildings. Soon, my guess is there will be a faster roller coaster. Will as many people still pay the instant admission fee of over USD $100 to visit the top of the Burj Khalifa when it is the second tallest building? Will they still flock to Ferrari World?
More importantly, when the UAE becomes a country of second bests, will it continually build in order to maintain its position on top of the world? Or can the country safely settle into another brand image?
These are the sorts of important questions all organizations that use superlatives as a marketing strategy need to consider.