25 Apr Branding around the community brand concept
With some one thousand theme-based cities being developed at a phenomenal rate here in the GCC, the branding and name identities of such projects become nightmares. In size, they typically range between a few acres to even a single large dwelling.
Now this requires a new definition of the term “city,” so not to confuse the customers with other traditional metropolises.
For example, the introduction of Dubai Media City has become great success story, which extends the concept to its infinite extremes.
But with the emerging jigsaw of cities, it will make it difficult to distinguish among similar, overlapping city themes.
Innovation, manufacturing, industrial, transportation, technology, logistics, or metals somehow overlap too much.
Soon, there could also be Furniture City, Food City, and a Book City parked within People City. A serious battle of image, name identity, and brand positioning rages.
Concept versus word
The city, as an idea, is great. It demands, though, huge acreage and structural development along with other support infrastructure to create a miniature city. The naming concept has serious pre-requisites.
It has to be large enough to create a critical mass about a particular theme, and rich enough for the customer to have serious reasons for repetitive visits.
But the word “city,” itself, communicates something along the lines of New York, Toronto, or Paris. Those are different than tens of thousands of little shopping marts all over the world, named after whatever they seem to specialize in: Sport City, Pizza City, Computer City, Carpet City, Toy City, Silk City, or Gold City.
Normally this term may also be perceived as a large specialty store with good variety, under fluorescent lights and with goods sold at cheaper prices.
So, does this explain why there are so many closeouts and mega-branding failures?
Any generic theme like “Toy” attached to the word “city” will ensure that its identity is lost among the thousands of equally watered-down projects with similar identities. Does this mean that now these cities should be called “Toy Country,” “Toy Continent,” or even “Toy World?” No, but creating a stronger brand is accomplished through building a unique experience for the place.
For example, customers have never experienced a Toy City where they were escorted in long train rides and ushered by gnomes while crossing distances over immaculate gardens, lakes, and mountains with year-round rainbows – all while toys dance around in a scene to the orchestral treat from the Nutcracker Suite.
If you have a super “city” brand, then let the whole world see it. If you have an absolute 100 percent ownership of a brand, prove it.
Today, 95 percent of brands in the GCC do not have full ownership. They may have huge logos, unique designs, colorful executions, banners, and billboards, but as long as there are far too many identical or similar identities all over the marketplace, the issue of 100 percent ownership stays behind.
Global icons like Sony, Rolex, or PlayStation are 100 percent owned, and all over the world there is absolutely no confusion about this whatsoever.
Therefore without an ironclad ownership of the name identity, the entire advertising and marketing is nothing but an uphill losing battle.
Why copy western names when their already famous themes and global icons will eventually make this region nothing but a distorted copy of a loosely disconnected Disneyland?
Finally, the real estate branding in the GCC is at an elementary stage. With intense competition, it is going to jump out from all kinds of generic and dictionary name identities to an advanced stage of proper, world-class corporate nomenclature.
The best approach is play the image and name identity game under the laws and rules of naming. Branding city, no thanks.
Previous articles by Naseem Javed
• Naseem Javed: The “I” of the storm: iPhones, iPains, and iProblems
• Naseem Javed: Is your brand worth billions?
• Naseem Javed: Job hunting the Air Google way
• Naseem Javed: Does your company have an identity crisis?
• Naseem Javed: Branding smells
This article previously ran in Gulf News.com. It was reprinted with the permission of the author.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.
WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.