There aren’t that many startups in the region who have really proved their worth beyond very small scale operations and beyond this who have developed a brand with both heart and soul, along with a desire to make money.
One brand that jumps out of the pack is GoNabit, the leading group buying site in the region with operations in 6 markets and another 6 in the pipeline. I spoke to founder and CEO Dan Stuart (@DanStuart) about a couple of recent events that have really highlighted the work they are doing and shown them just how their customers are feeling about the brand.
Mongolian Circus, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Last week in Abu Dhabi they posted a deal for VIP tickets to the Mongolian Animals Circus – Dan isn’t a fan of circus’ but he put his own opinions aside and they pushed ahead with the deal.
As you can see on the page, very quickly the consumers reacted, the first comment coming in just 22 minutes after the posting. At this point, as Dan says “you need to make a judgement call as to whether a few comments on Facebook is representative of the whole consumer base, but in this instance there seemed to be something behind it.” They quickly posted an initial message apologising for the selection and quoting the circus management company saying that ‘the animals are treated well and properly at all times’.
As Dan admits, this wasn’t quite right “we apologised, gave the standard line sent over by the circus and left it at that – not really living the brand, or their opinions.” Still the comments kept flooding in (and not just those on Facebook, but by email and phone directly to GoNabit’s Abu Dhabi office) so Dan stepped in and pulled the deal as well as stating that all profits would go to charity and refunds would be offered. Here the response was great with customers praising the swift actions both from CEO and the brand.
To date they haven’t processed any refunds for customers and this looks to have been one of those occasions that has finally done more good than harm to the brand. Of course the circus can’t be too happy about it, but there are still those who want to see tigers jump through hoops and kangaroos in the boxing ring (it sounds amusing). GoNabit has reassured the market that even though they are a for-profit business, this isn’t at any cost and that they’ll standby certain principles in terms of how they do business.
GoNabit is a UAE-based marketing business that leverages the strength of its loyal user base to source exciting products and services from local businesses at great discounts, creating value for its users, and customer creation for the business. They use strength in numbers and unbeatable values to help buyers and sellers benefit from discovering each other. They connect their Subscribers (they call them “Nabbers”) to cool stuff they can do in their city each day. They operate in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Beirut, Dubai, Kuwait & Sharjah – check out their deals at GoNabit.com and follow them on Facebook.
QR Code Treasure Hunt, Beirut, Lebanon
Not content with this success in the UAE, this week in Beirut (and in partnership with Microsoft and Nokia), the team is running a NabHunt – 5 days and 5 hidden codes. A treasure hunt around the city to find clues and win great prizes including a new Nokia E7. Living true to their digital roots but connecting online and offline purchases even those without a camera phone can participate simply by sending an SMS to a number to reveal the clue at each stage of the journey. Check out the details below and join their Facebook page to be part of the fun.