From the Gardens to Ibn Battuta
So when Nakheel was busy putting the Dubai on the Map(and vice versa), little brother Emaar ran away with all the applause for its matchbox properties near artificial lakes and golf courses - thanks to the entrepreneurial skills and vision of its Chairman, Mohamed Al Abbar.
Futurebrand was hired to resurrect Nakheel as a recognizable brand and were successful to an extent in doing so as they did for Emaar. Aided by limitless marketing budgets and extensive outdoor advertising, people in the UAE finally got to know the company behind all those ‘funny-shaped islands’. But for the international community, Nakheel was still ‘the palm company’ or a sometimes a virtual non-entity as they thought Emaar was behind all projects that happened in Dubai.
Nakheel always had a problem with positioning and associating themselves with their projects. The paranoia they have for negative publicity has lead them to fire their PR agency, Hill & Knowlton and using government influence in forcing the UAE media to refrain from publishing articles against their projects.
How the Gardens Mall became Ibn Battuta Mall
When Nakheel embarked on a unique shopping mall project themed on the travel routes of the a 13th century traveller, they could have got it terribly wrong again; had they gone with the name of ‘Gardens Shopping Mall’ and positioning it as just another mall which made peoples eyes light up the minute they hear names like the springs, meadows, gardens, lilies and all things Keats in the sandlands. Fortunately, someone (apparently from the PR agency itself) had far more foresight and the mall was renamed Ibn Battuta Mall. Not that easy to pronounce and wild theories of people actually thinking IBN is some software company tying up with a local guy fondly called ‘Battuta’ to build a big shopping mall – the name did take them a long way in positioning the brand as it ought to be.
Here are some photos which reflect the architectural details of the mall. Callison Architecture,
Dewan Al Emara and a host of other consultants has done a great job in going a level above a mere imitation.