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Thread: One good turn...

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    Default One good turn...

    May 4, 2007

    [SIZE="5"][B]One good turn...[/B][/SIZE]

    [B]... deserves a better name? CapitaLand's latest retail project may not be called Orchard Turn after all. SHAAN SETH asks industry players how vital a mall's name is[/B]


    Parents are not the only ones who take pains to come up with names for their kids. Retail developers are also bent on giving their babies catchy, meaningful monikers.

    All eyes are now on CapitaLand's upcoming retail project atop the Orchard MRT station.

    Commonly dubbed Orchard Turn because of its address, 2 Orchard Turn, the landmark mall is part of a $2-billion retail and residential joint venture between Singapore's biggest developer and Hong Kong's Sun Hung Kai Properties.

    But responding to queries from Life!, a CapitaLand spokesman says: 'The brand name of our retail mall, Orchard Turn Retail Mall, has yet to be confirmed.'

    Ms Soon Su Lin, chief executive of the joint venture company Orchard Turn Developments, says the name is likely to be announced in July.

    'We are exploring possible names... The name that we select will be unique and will give our mall a personality and branding that our target shoppers can identify and engage with,' she says.

    Orchard Turn Developments is currently working with a brand consultant, she adds.

    The first new building to emerge in Orchard Road in a decade, the 218m-tall, 56-storey luxury project will also be the tallest along the shopping stretch.

    The mall will take up eight floors - four basement levels and the four floors above ground - while 175 luxurious apartments will occupy the other 48 floors.

    Called Orchard Residences, the first phase of 98 apartments were snapped up at a record average price of $3,213 per sq ft in March.

    The retail mall will have more than 450 stores spread over 1 million sq ft of retail space. VivoCity, Singapore's largest mall, has about 1.1 million sq ft of retail space.

    The mall is set to be completed by the end of next year while the apartments will be ready at the end of 2009.

    Property insiders Life! spoke to are not surprised that Orchard Turn's name is still up in the air.

    'The name was too generic to begin with. I expect a name which will better reflect the mall's unique positioning,' says Ms Claire Cher, senior marketing and communications manager of UOL Group, which owns malls such as Velocity @ Novena Square and United Square.

    Mr John Ting, former president of the Singapore Institute of Architects, agrees.

    'Orchard Turn could be anything. It could be a hotel, a mall. It doesn't conjure up an image in people's minds.'

    He declines to suggest a name, but says: 'It should have something to do with Orchard because this name is well-known and has value.

    'Everyone wants to be associated with Orchard. Even buildings a mile away state that they are within 10 minutes of Orchard Road.'

    A mall's name 'makes a statement about what the mall stands for', says Dr Seshan Ramaswami, practice associate professor of marketing at Singapore Management University.

    'It should add to the brand cachet of the mall rather than just describe its owners or location,' he adds.

    'For instance, a plaza seems to denote a low-end atmosphere while the 'city' in Ngee Ann City or VivoCity brings to mind vastness.'

    CapitaLand's mixed project also makes it unique because there is a need for separate names for two projects under one roof.

    Mr Danny Yeo, executive director of property consultancy Knight Frank, says: 'In retail, the easier a name is to pronounce and remember, the better. But with residential projects, names tend to be fancy so they sound high class.'

    Developers often rope in brand consultants, advertising agencies and focus groups to help christen their projects.

    The process can cost anything from $3,000 to more than $30,000 and can take up to several months.

    Take UOL Group, which paid home-grown branding consultants Bonsey Group and an advertising agency more than $50,000 when developing the name of Velocity @ Novena Square.

    'Advertising agencies are in the creative industry and bring a fresh perspective to the table,' says Ms Cher.

    Industry players tell Life! good names share three traits: They stand out, are easy to pronounce and stick in the mind.

    Mr Ting cites The Centrepoint as a good example: 'The Centrepoint is easy to remember and makes you think that it's the centre of activity.'

    Mrs Jannie Tay, managing director of luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass and president of the Singapore Retailers Association, agrees: 'It made the mall sound more important simply by adding one word.'

    Formerly known as Centrepoint, the mall owned by Frasers Centrepoint Malls was renamed last December.

    Ms Cher says a good name should also convey a mall's selling points, such as brand positioning or a unique experience - what the mall can offer.

    One mall that passed this test is Paragon.

    Dr Ramaswami says: 'It is a nice name that captures the high-end nature of the mall.'

    Others have problems with Ngee Ann City.

    'The fact that most people refer to the building as Taka, short for department store Takashimaya in the mall, suggests that the name was never effective,' says Mr Spencer Ball, design director of British branding consultancy Fitch.

    Then there are those that draw mixed reviews.

    Mr Ting says of Palais Renaissance, home to designer labels like DKNY and Valentino: 'Unless you know French, the name won't make sense. You wouldn't associate it with Singapore.'

    But Mrs Tay feels the name suits its high-end image. 'Palais Renaissance caters to a small niche market so its name is well-suited,' she says.

    At the end of the day, however, the success of a mall boils down to its location, design and mix of stores, says Dr Ramaswami.

    But he notes that the name is 'part of the package and can make a mall more attractive at practically no additional cost'.

    Mr Yeo of Knight Frank believes an Orchard Turn by any other name would smell just as sweet.

    'I think people will head to the mall no matter what it's called because it's in a prime location,' he says.

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    Default What shoppers think of names

    May 4, 2007

    [SIZE="5"][B]What shoppers think of names[/B][/SIZE]


    THE CENTREPOINT

    Opened in: 1983

    Owner: Frasers Centrepoint Malls

    Origins: 'The name came about because the mall is located in the heart of Orchard Road and is the centre of action in this famous shopping belt,' says the general manager of Frasers Centrepoint Malls, Mr Tong Kok Wing.

    When the mall was rebranded in December last year, it was dubbed The Centrepoint 'to reflect its status as one of Orchard Road's longstanding and definitive retail landmarks'.

    Shopper's feedback: 'It still brings to mind the Centrepoint Kids of the 1980s who formed a bizarre visual feast with their neon hair and garish clothes,' says creative director Little Ong, 36.

    WISMA ATRIA

    Opened in: 1986

    Owner: Macquarie Pacific Star Prime Reit Management and Isetan

    Origins: The mall is built on the site of what was once the Indonesian embassy. The latter was called Wisma Indonesia so part of its name was retained by the mall.

    Wisma is Indonesian for 'house'.

    Shopper's take: 'Exotic and foreign; has a nice ring to it and rolls off your tongue when you say it,' says public relations executive Charmaine Ho, 28.

    NGEE ANN CITY

    Opened in: 1993

    Owner: Ngee Ann Development and Macquarie Pacific Star Prime Reit Management

    Origins: Ngee Ann City was built by Orchard Square Development Corporation and Ngee Ann Kongsi, a foundation for Teochew immigrants. The Kongsi owns the land on which the mall sits.

    Shopper's feedback: 'I love it, it conveys a sense of Asia in a Singapore shopping destination,' says businesswoman Michelle Hoe, 26

    GREAT WORLD CITY

    Opened in: 1997

    Owner: Midpoint Properties

    Origins: Great World City is named after the Great World Amusement Park of the 1950s.

    'It is easy for shoppers to remember us because the older generation would usually tell the younger ones that this was one of the places that invoke fond memories and nostalgia,' says a spokesman for the owner.

    Shopper's feedback: 'Unfortunately, it sounds like a bad English translation from a Chinese name,' says lawyer Chan Caijing, 26.

    TAMPINES 1

    Due to open in: 2009

    Owner: Asian Retail Mall Fund

    Name Origins: The address of the site is 10 Tampines Central 1. Apart from the reference to the address of the mall, mall developers wanted to 'highlight that Tampines 1 is the mall to be in; the top-of-the-mind choice for shoppers in Tampines and the surrounding vicinity', says Ms Stephanie Ho, 37, the assistant general manager of AsiaMalls Management, which manages Tampines 1.

    Shopper's feedback: 'It is quite a unique name and gives me the impression that it's on a fast track, being number one,' says property agent Soon Guek Hay, 51.

    WHEELOCK PLACE

    Opened in: 1997

    Owner: Wheelock Properties

    Origins: The mall was previously known as Lane Crawford but was renamed in 1997. A spokesman for Wheelock Properties which owns the building says it is 'a reference to our Hong Kong parentage - Wheelock and Company Limited'.

    She adds that the new name is appropriate in view of the repositioning of the tenant mix. The building used to house the Lane Crawford store as its main tenant, but now has a wider range of smaller stores.

    Shopper's feedback: 'It took a while for me to get used to its new name. Malls tend to be landmarks so a name change needs to have careful thought,' says public relations manager Tammy Teo, 29.

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