Ford 2018 trends report underscores how consumers, companies cope in uncertain times

Sheryl Connelly, Ford global consumer trends and futuring manager.
Updated 11 December 2017
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Ford 2018 trends report underscores how consumers, companies cope in uncertain times

People worldwide feel increasingly polarized by cultural and societal changes. More than 60 percent of adults globally say they feel overwhelmed by unrest in the world.
The “2018 Looking Further with Ford Trends Report” examines not only the issues dividing the world, but also the coping mechanisms born as a result of compassion and guilt to heightened activism. According to the sixth annual study, 76 percent of adults globally say they believe their actions can influence positive change.
“There’s no doubt we’re living in interesting times,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford global consumer trends and futuring manager. “Shifting global priorities, rampant political upheaval, and a spotlight on social inequity have upended the status quo and left many feeling disoriented. But out of the chaos and conflict, a new energy and creativity is motivating people like never before.”

Key highlights from the report
l 68 percent of adults are overwhelmed by suffering in the world today, and 51 percent feel guilty for not doing more to make the world better.
l 81 percent of adults say they are concerned about the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
52 percent of 18- to 29-year-old adults say they expect brands to take a stand on political issues.
73 percent of adults say they should take better care of their emotional well-being, and 57 percent say they get less sleep each night than they should.
Top trends for 2018 as listed by Ford include:
1. The Edge of Reason: Global upheaval is evident in everything from politics to pop culture; and, people are responding to these changes in polarized fashion. As divisiveness grows, open dialogue diminishes and the sense of being overwhelmed intensifies. Consumers are hungry for inventive ways to cope and adapt.
2. The Activist Awakening: Thanks to the culture of polarization, consumers are being jolted out of complacency. Conventional wisdom and expectations are being toppled as individuals debate the change we need.
3. Minding the Gap: Worldwide, the spotlight is on inequality. Activists and entrepreneurs are experimenting with new ways to improve access to quality education, increase productive employment, close wage gaps, and provide everyone with affordable access to basic living standards and infrastructure.


Emirates NBD opens branch in Alkhobar

Updated 20 September 2018
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Emirates NBD opens branch in Alkhobar

Emirates NBD, a banking group in the Middle East, has expanded its presence in the Kingdom with the opening of its first branch in Alkhobar in the Eastern Province. Emirates NBD now covers three key regions in Saudi Arabia with a presence in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar. 

As Saudi Arabia progresses plans for economic reform, in line with its Vision 2030, Emirates NBD’s presence builds on the growing economic and trade ties between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Following the establishment of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, the UAE and Saudi Arabia recently announced The Strategy of Resolve, a joint vision for economic development through 44 joint strategic projects within a five-year time frame. 

UAE-based Emirates NBD is the first non-Saudi bank with a significant branch network across the Kingdom. The bank offers retail, private, business and wholesale banking across its network of three full-fledged branches in the Kingdom, in addition to corporate finance advisory, project and syndicated finance through Emirates NBD Capital KSA, the bank’s investment banking arm.

Emirates NBD also operates in Egypt, India, Singapore, and the UK with representative offices in China and Indonesia. 

“Our presence in Saudi is integral to Emirates NBD’s growth strategy as we continue to explore opportunities in the GCC region’s largest and most dynamic economy,” said Hesham Abdulla Al-Qassim, vice chairman and managing director of Emirates NBD. 

“Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a landmark economic transformation and we look forward to continuing to support Saudi individuals and businesses looking for a trusted banking partner.” 

Emirates NBD recently renewed its partnership with the Kingdom’s Kafalah Program, which aims to promote financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the country.

Loai Abduljawad, CEO of Emirates NBD KSA, said: “Emirates NBD’s expanded network strengthens our offering to individuals and corporates in Saudi Arabia looking to invest and trade across the MENA region and beyond. Our superior value proposition, built on the bank’s unique ‘high tech + high touch’ philosophy of offering customers a modern banking experience complemented by personalized advisory services, will enable us to strengthen customer acquisition in the Kingdom as we continue to support the country’s long-term growth and development goals, as outlined in Saudi Vision 2030.” 

Emirates NBD is a leading banking group in the region. As of June 30, 2018, its total assets were 477.5 billion dirhams, ($130 billion). The group has a significant retail banking franchise in the UAE and is a key participant in the global digital banking industry, with over 90 percent of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside of its branches. The bank was declared the “Most Innovative Financial Services Organization of the Year” at the 2017 BAI Global Innovation Awards.