Expo 2020 - LogoDubai with its 2.2 million population and $83.4 billion GDP won the bid to host Expo 2020.  And it achieved the milestone, bidding against the Goliaths such as

  1. SAO PAULOBrazil with 20 million population and a GDP of USD 220 Billion was ranked 33 compared to 66 ranking of  Dubai by  ICCA’s that ranks the greatest event centers in the world.
  2.  IZMIR the third most populous city in Turkey offered great climate had only lost out in the vote for Expo 2015 when Milan won the final vote 86-65.
  3. YAKATERINBURG, the fourth largest city in Russia
  4. THAILAND – Thailand’s bid was removed on 11 June 2013 leaving four competing cities. 

Sao Paulo was eliminated in the first round. Izmir was eliminated in the second round. And Dubai won the bid in November 2013 defeating YAKaterinburg – Russia bid by 116 votes to only 47 votes.   Let’s dissect what are the lessons masked in Dubai’s successful bid for Expo 2020 

  1. POWERFUL THEME: Dubai’s World Expo is held under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”; sticky and easy to understand and it reflects message of uniting the Global community. It has three sub themes, which have been identified as key drivers of global development i.e.   SUSTAINABILITY – lasting sources of energy and water; MOBILITY – smart systems of logistics and transportation; OPPORTUNITY – new paths to economic development.  MESSAGE is  – Create your theme (Mission and Vision bigger than your existence and or cause that your customer can connect with)
  2. ONLINE PRESENCE: Twitter with 161K followers; YouTube; Facebook with 1,205,573 likes and Instagram with 14,650 followers.  ( July 28, 2014) MESSAGE: Get online to connect with Gen Y and multiply your marketing impact.
  3. INVOLVE EVERYONE:    Dubai Expo Team promptly announced three tier partnership to garner support and awareness and they were:
    1. Premier Partners
    2. Lead Partners
    3. Official Partners
    4. Every Dubai Government department is involved in promoting Expo 2020; every business SME or Enterprise is involved.  Administration distributed stickers to display hence the program was and is an instant recall.  MESSAGE: Customers are important but your internal team is very critical to fuel the success.    
  4. TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS AS PARTNERS:  Feb. 2013 Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the body responsible for World Expo visited Dubai.  The committee was visible impressed by the hospitality, country’s robust infrastructure and the level of national support for the bid.”   Dubai visit set the bench mark since subsequent visits were to Brazil and Russia the strongest contender for the bid.  Message: Perception is the KING; treat your customers as Partners.
  5. RECRUIT THE BEST MARKETING TEAM: Dubai expo administration promptly chose six  best Golocal organizations as their “Premier Partners”.  The six “Premier Partners” of the UAE’s World Expo 2020 bid were: Dubai Airports, Emirates Airline, Emirates NBD, Etisalat, DP World and Jumeirah.  These internationally renowned companies magnetised three surfaces i.e Land, Air and Sea.   This galvanised and extended Dubai Expo 2020 bid reach not only local but global as well.   MESSAGE: It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.  Right from the word go chose helpful partners who extend you visibility i.e local and global.
  6. CONNECT: Dubai connected with the world for support.  It had global leaders who reflected support for Dubai’s bid such as British Prime Minster David Cameraon whose video was included as part of the final presentation.    MESSAGE: Its not what you know ;  its who you know.
  7. PROOF OF CONCEPT: Unlike countries that bid for a World Expo to build new infrastructure — such as airports, ports, rail and road transport systems —  Dubai and the UAE have a ready platform on all fronts that was reflected in BIE committee visit to Dubai.    MESSAGE: Show your customer the Prototype, Proof of concept and gain their trust and confidence in you.
  8. ALIGN VISION WITH YOUR INTERNAL PLANS:   May 2013 – Dubai announced Vision 2020 for the tourism sector. The goal is 20 million tourists & AED 300 billion in tourism revenues annually by 2020 through 3 key areas of focus: family tourism, global events & attractions, & Dubai’s status as a business destination.  MESSAGE:  Create an internal mission to support your business goals.
  9. CHOOSE YOUR WORDS: (THEMES) – Guess which theme has a sticky factor ?SAO PAULO – Brazil : “the Power of Diversity, Harmony for Growth.”
    1. IZMIR – Turkey : New Routes to a Better World: Health for All.”
    2. KATERINBURG – Russia:  “the Global Mind.”
    3. Dubai – UAE : “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”
    • Message: Chose your words that stick.
  10. SURPRISE: June 2013: Princess Haya (  The wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai ) spoke  at the general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions, which oversees world fairs. She spoke in fluent FRENCH and English supporting Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020.  Princess Haya’s participation was a closely guarded secret until the moment she stood up. Afterwards, Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary general of the BIE, said he had been impressed. MESSAGE:  Always include a USP element in your presentation make it Unpredictable, Personnel and Special.
  11. FINAL BLOW: HE Reem Al Hashemi, the minister of state and managing director of the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid committee, spoke for 20 minutes in FRENCH and later switched to English before more than 200 delegates from 168 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). The videos also showed clips of British Prime Minister David Cameron who has officially backed Dubai’s.  Message:  Use Lady Luck and principals of influence to support your business.  Principal speeches were delivered by ladies and in French/English. British Prime Minster David Cameraon (Authority)  video was included as testimony of support and confidence.
  12. LEARN FROM OTHER EXPERIENCE: This was not a one day wonder but Dubai Team spent considerable resources in studying the past Expo 2020.   And the journey continues to learn from  upcoming Milan Expo 2015 preparation.

Expo 2020 will be the landmark event for the region  because the journey would bring in technologies, partnership and faces of FUTURE.  The question is would you be the part of Phenomena ?