Chapter 26. Branding of Shopping Centers

Let's talk about branding of shopping centers. Unfortunately, in Russia, there are few successful examples; it seems that not many people want to put much effort into developing concepts, limiting themselves to memorable names.
In my hometown of Novosibirsk, there are a couple of examples worth analyzing: the malls "Aura" and "Gallery". "Aura" has a cool and memorable name, but it is not reflected or implemented in its concept. Some may say, "maybe it's not necessary," but I disagree. Following this logic, fashion, intricate clothing, and design are not needed.
What could "Aura" be? The word itself is taken from esotericism and Eastern religions, signifying the energetic field around a person. The architecture and interior design of the building could have distinctive features of Eastern temples. The mall could have areas with meditative gardens and music that enhances positive vibes for visitors. Many unique features could be incorporated to realize the concept of this name, making the shopping center a unique phenomenon, but the creators of this project missed these opportunities, possibly simply unaware of them.
A similar analogy can be drawn with the shopping center "Gallery," which, in fact, does not even have a gallery. There is nothing that justifies the name of this shopping center; it is just another box with an arbitrary name. In the vicinity of where I live in Moscow, there is a shopping center called "Aviapark," which is a logical name for a shopping center located on the Khodynka field, considering its historical role at a certain period.
But what in this shopping center is related to an airfield or aviation besides the name? Nothing. Nothing in the architecture, nothing in the interior, and nothing in the internal content. Inside the center, there is a huge aquarium that delights visitors. So why isn't it called "Neptune" or "Poseidon"?
In this, I see the limitation of possibilities for Russian businesses in the realities of branding in the last 5-10 years. Empty, meaningless concepts and names detached from their content, lack of communication with customers, resulting in a geography of concrete shopping centers that look like two peas in a pod. This is an area of growth, not a reason for sadness. I am confident that we will soon see interesting concepts that will make people talk about them differently.
I call on business owners to approach their projects more creatively. The success of such projects depends on how much time a person spends in a shopping center. For modern people, this is a way to spend time with family, and the more educational and engaging this process is, the more "foot traffic" increases, and it directly determines the rental cost per square meter.
In the conditions of fierce competition among shopping centers, it becomes crucial where families will spend their weekend. Strengthening the retail offering can be done through additional services in the fields of culture, education, and entertainment, but they can be developed around a specific idea and concept to make it interesting and organic.
A brand book for a shopping center may include the following elements:
Office book: business cards, letterhead, envelope, pen, pencil
Marketing kit: a presentation about the project for investors and tenants
Signage and branded interior design
Promotional video presentation of the project
Souvenirs for visitors
Branded entertainment areas for visitors
Branded merchandise for shopping center staff
Design of packaging for in-house products
Website design and social media presence
Creatives for advertising campaigns

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