MENA is looking inward thanks to rising national pride and entrepreneurialism.

Whereas in the past Arabs have looked to the West for inspiration, today the Middle East and North Africa region is looking inward, thanks to rising national pride and an emerging entrepreneurial movement. JWT MENA details this shift in its first trend report. Among the eight trends for 2013 is Authentically Arab, the idea that MENA markets are increasingly producing, and consuming, homegrown concepts that are culturally relevant but also internationally appealing.

A study JWT conducted in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon in October and November 2012 confirmed that consumers in this region prefer local over Western products—at least if they are better quality, unique and/or cheaper. But the survey, which polled 1,100 adults aged 18-plus using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, also found that when it comes to quality, fewer than 3 in 10 agree that Arab products are ahead of or on par with the Western world. Arab products rate much higher when it comes to originality (56 percent).

Brands in the region will need to inject globally relevant and desirable parameters upfront (from quality to social consciousness) if they are to see a global spillover. And they should consider partnering with the region’s rising innovators to tap into the growing interest in all things Authentically Arab. To see more recommendations for brands, download the report here.