• Transform magazine
  • August 20, 2019

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Brand in action: Dubai Airports

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At the crossroads of the world, the Dubai Airports rebrands and launches a group-wide internal initiative to revolutionise travel through the hub location

Who: Dubai Airports

What: Operating the world’s hub, Dubai Airports was little more than a massive collection of brands, individuals and hundreds of thousands of passengers. “Typically, airports tend to be very focused on their airlines and their business partners,” says Matthew Horobin, director of brand engagement at Dubai Airports, “The key was to try and move toward becoming customer-centric.” To do so, the organisation launched consumer brand DXB. Modelled after the airport’s callsign, the new brand is designed to be an experiential, commercial and operational one with both a visual identity and an updated, aligned infrastructure ‘brought to you by DXB.’

Why: Though the new brand includes a colourful, customer-friendly wordmark in bright yellow and blue with an immersive, interfacing ‘X,’ the change has been supported by an intensive internal programme. The airport itself employs 3,500 people, but over 100,000 people work at DXB through partner organisations. Dubai Airports set out to engage this massive audience around a revived consumer brand and airport experience. It did so by focusing on the airport’s sense of place, the spirit behind the brand and the notion of bringing the spirit of Dubai to the world. “Part of launching DXB is formalising that connection with the city and that responsibility. That’s a fantastic way to connect with the hearts and minds of our employees, to say, ‘We are serving our city,’” Horobin says.

How: The rebrand will be rolled out across physical, digital and experiential touchpoints over the next 12 to 18 months. Currently the most visible indication of the new brand is a digital billboard shaped like the DXB logo outside Terminal 3. Unveiled by the Dubai royal family at a launch event in February, the new signage indicates the change that will roll out across the airport, from souvenir shops and content partnerships to wifi services and branded experiences. Even the infrastructure will be updated. “It’s much more than a brand,” Horobin says. “It’s going to be physical infrastructure. It’s going to be experiences. It’s going to be a promise and a spirit that unites the community. That takes us into a different space for us as an airport, for our partners to reappraise us, for our employees to feel like they work in something remarkable and for our passengers to recognise even before they walk through the door – this is different.”