Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in the UK Market

Executive Summary

This report analyses the environment in which the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) operates with a view of profiling business and marketing sustainability in the UK market. The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank operates in the banking industry of the United Arab Emirates and is currently one of the leading commercial banks. The external branches are located in the United Kingdom and India. From the environmental analysis of the UK market, it is apparent that the bank is well-positioned in the UK market. The bank has a stable mix of marketing, management, and business strategies to penetrate and survive in the volatile UK banking industry since its target market is well stratified within its current business strategies.

Company Profile

A brief history of the company

The ADCB was introduced in 1968 and has grown to be the largest financial institution in the Abu Dhabi banking industry. It is a government-owned firm. The bank has 125 branches scattered across the United Arab Emirates with more than 585 ATMs. The bank has international branches in the UK. The headquarters of the bank is in Abu Dhabi (Ambler, 2009).

Existing markets

The bank actively operates in the UAE and the UK. The bank has a strong interest in funds management, commercial and retail investment financing, and brokerage activities (Ambler, 2009).

Companies’ product range

Specifically, the bank provides mortgage and financial services within the Sheria laws. The Sheria is the Islamic law governing business activities between the bank and its clients. The finance models it adopts include the Ijara. Ijara is a contractual agreement in which the bank purchases an asset from the owner for a defined amount as demanded by the client. Murabaha is another finance model practiced by the company. In this model, the bank enters into a contract with a client following a mutual agreement based on the promise made by the client to honor the pledge (Ford, 2007). In addition, the Istisna’a finance model is offered to private real estate developers. It is an agreement with the client in which the bank erects a premise in line with the particulars defined in the requirement blueprint, which automatically becomes valuable upon completion as per the set deadline (Alder, 2008).

Promotional strategies

Since its establishment, the bank has been at the forefront of offering discounts, after-sales services, friendly mortgage, and customized insurance packages that are tailored towards attracting and maintaining customer loyalty. Specifically, in the year 2011, the incorporation established a 2% mortgage discount to customers who pay their mortgages on time. Moreover, the bank has spent substantial amounts of money on advertisements and other promotional campaigns (Henry, 2010).

Pricing strategies

Due to a fair pricing mechanism, the competition factor has positively skewed to the advantage of the ADCB. With competitive prices for its products and high-quality financial services, this strategy has made the ADCB economically feasible and sustainable, while at the same time winning a greater percentage of the market share. To enhance the achievement of the same, the bank has introduced different price policies which in return attract various types of clients thus creating new market segments. The ADCB product haven has been integrated into the achievement of various organizational goals through multiple pricing strategies for different financial products (Wright, 2007).

Distribution strategies

The physical distribution patterns are with no doubt a critical area of focus. Different distribution channels of the company’s financial products exist. In addition, the use of sales of agents has enhanced the distribution of the bank’s products in the macro and micro-regions of the culturally integrated markets (Roberts, 2005). The bank has an automated supply chain and a strong network of vendor agents that sell some of the products in a partnership agreement.

Current target market

The main clients of the bank are government institutions, business developers, and the general public. The organization has managed to expand its clientele base to 18 countries besides the UAE. The company targets clients who need financial services within the Sheria laws (Travis, 2007).

Country-Based Research: United Kingdom

A brief history of the UK regions

The UK comprises four states which are Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England. The states unite in the 18th century to form the current United Kingdom. In the year 1707, the Act of Union was signed to formalize the union among the four states under the monarchy leadership. The UK covers an area of 94,060 square miles (World Bank, 2007).

Geographical setting

The UK is located in Western Europe and is one of the most economically stable countries. The climate of the UK is characterized by warm temperatures and plenty of rainfall evenly spread across the year. The UK experiences the warmest summers and sometimes very heavy snow in the winter (Travis, 2007).

Social Institutions

Family structure

Most families in the UK comprise of less than five persons per household. The most predominant family structure is the nuclear family. Most of the families are lean and are evenly spread in the urban and rural regions (World Bank, 2007).

Dynamics of the family

There is a change in the age at which most Britons get married for the first time. The age for the first marriage increased. This could be attributed to the postponement of marriage to pursue education and career establishment since the changes in the economy are not conducive to people with dismal education. The family roles are shifting in the UK family as the element of equality in role fulfillment changed the previous perception. As more women become empowered and gain economic independence, the role of breadwinning, raising children, and taking care of other needs have shifted from being the sole responsibility of a man, but to that of either of the parents (Ambler, 2009).

Education

The UK education system is very dynamic and skill-oriented. Nearly 90% of the population has basic education. Currently, those with a college education account for 65% of the population. The government has a series of education policies, bursaries, and programs that promote equality and technical skills acquisition. The sector of education is controlled by the government from kindergarten through to colleges (Ambler, 2009).

Legal System

The laws and regulations set of elements such as trade restrictions could be a turn-off to potential investors in they are unreasonably high of stress. As a legal requirement, businesses in the UK are expected by the regulatory authorities to be tax compliant. The taxes are remitted directly to the government. In the UK, laws on commerce, a certificate of compliance to taxes is issued to a business that remits their returns accurately from which taxes are deducted (Ambler, 2009).

Political System

The closer economic relations in the UK are beneficial to businesses in this region. The country enjoys political stability which is a perfect environment for doing business (Ford, 2007). This is a good assurance for shareholders, both domestic and foreign, that their investment is safe and it is an incentive to them to add even more.

Culture

Cultural Values

The UK culture influences demographic dynamics and defines physical and spiritual interactive traits of its members who are united by a sense of belonging and desire for identity. Subcultures in the UK are unique in practices surrounding language, dressing style, religious affiliation, and philosophical beliefs (Ambler, 2009).

Key Rituals, Symbols, and Beliefs

The main language spoken in the UK is English. Britons prefer politeness and punctuality (Ambler, 2009).

Living conditions

At macro and micro levels, the continuous rise in economic and political balance has ensured a steady portfolio in form of input-outputs in the UK. The systematic and consistent rise is attributed to political and economic policies which have led to an increase in living standards, life expectancy, and employment. Factoring the parameter of the World Bank, the UK has less than 1 million people living below the one dollar per day mark (Ambler, 2009).

Recreational pursuits

There are several private and public parks and recreational facilities evenly spread in the UK (Ambler, 2009).

Economy

The UK offers an economically sound environment that is good for business activity. The World Bank acknowledged the UK as a rich country in 2007 when the country’s GDP hit the $ 1 trillion mark in 2006. The UK economy has one of the highest Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in the world. The country has very low inflation and interest rates with one of the best infrastructures in the world. The UK’s stable economy with the high living standards of her population portends a lucrative market for business performance (Ambler, 2009).

Media

Media items that the ADCB uses to markets its product in the UK

The company uses newspapers, social media, magazines, television, and billboards to market its financial services in the UK market.

Discussion of each media item

Newspapers

The ADCB uses local newspapers because there are more than three million readers each day in the UK. The newspaper advertisements reflect the company’s marketing strategy of reaching clients who need financial services. Apparently, this item is critical in international marketing since many potential clients have access to newspapers each day.

Social media

The ADCB has a fan page on Facebook, Twitter, and a website where different products are advertised. This media item is used to fulfill the strategy of reaching youthful clients who frequent these sites. Social media is important for international marketers in penetrating youthful customer segment that shares a common online culture.

Magazines

The ADCB has a bi-monthly magazine that displays the products of the bank to potential clients. This magazine is free hence an effective tool for expanding the customer base. This item reflects the bank’s marketing strategy of targeting repeat customers through proactive relationship management. Internal magazines are a strategy in international marketing since distributing free copies is very effective in attracting more customers.

Television

The bank has active advertisements on local television channels across the UK. Television has a wide following hence effective in reaching customers. International marketers may use television advertisements to cue the minds of customers on the usability and practicality of different products.

Billboards

The bank has several advertisement billboards across the UK. Billboards are strategic in cuing the minds of potential customers since seeing a similar image several times has the potential of convincing a potential client to try the different financial products.

Individual Reflection

The ADCB has been successful in the UK market since it is a registered business entity that is licensed to operate in the UK. The company remits taxes to both governments as a legal requirement and the funds go a long way to finance activities such as building and improving infrastructure, financing public goods paying salaries buying necessities such as medicines. The bank has spread across the nation, opening numerous branches in all major cities and centers. Given its numerous branches, reliable customer base, and stable market niche, the ADCB has the capacity to offer affordable and reliable financial services to its customers in the UK. This eventually affords its branches the power to lower prices below what the market can offer and in the process win more customers than a new entrant could manage. The bank has endeavored to use its deep reservoirs as a strategy for balancing the supply forces in the fragile financial market of the UK.

The ADCB’s performance in the UK banking industry depends highly on the power of the service users. On the other hand, unreliable and weak purchasing power translates into losses and underperformance. The management has been strategic within their means to ensure that service delivery and quality meets the expectations of customers in the UK market. With many customers looking for good value for their money, quality in service delivery has remained the main basis upon which customers are making their final decision to purchase financial products in the volatile banking industry of the UK. Fortunately, the quality aspect has been internalized in the operations of the bank in the UK. The company also participates in staff assistance programs that are aimed at instilling moral suasion in business. As part of its policy, this institution specializes in customer-based vis-à-vis in line with the Islamic Sheria provisions. As a result, the bank has been successful in appealing to the Muslim community in the UK in need of Sheria based financial services.

Although the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has been a household name in the general banking industry of the UK, the bank has an expanded business portfolio which includes investments in real estate financing, electronic banking service, and asset financing. The expanded portfolio provides the bank with a competitive advantage in the sense that it can still maintain profitable performance even in instances where the retail banking business experiences a poor performance. Through diversification and portfolio balance, the bank has been in a position to survive turbulence in the harsh economic environment characterized by stiff competition and sensitivity to market dynamics. In addition, the bank has spent millions of dollars in the research services department aimed at the creation of attractive financial services in line with customer preferences in the UK market. With continued political stability in the UK, the ADCB is poised to grow and expand even more as many investors are assured of safety in the event that they decide to put their money into the venture.

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