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How Dubai Builds Brands

by Mohammed on February 9, 2010

This is the 2nd article of 1212 project. In case you miss the 1st one, read it here: 6 Ways To Destroy Your Personal Brand

I was in Dubai, UAE in 2007 working at a big IT company as a Network Engineer. There were constrictions everywhere and Burj Khalifa (known as the Burj Dubai during construction and renamed after official opening.) was opposite to the company I’m working in and the tower was still in the middle floors.

What interesting in Dubai is the intelligent ways to build a city brand. A city or country can be a great brand, but it takes hard work, discipline, and an attention to details. 20 years back, Dubai was ordinary city in the desert and has nothing to distinguish the city from others but now, Dubai’s brand attract million of visitors monthly looking for employment, tourism and business. The brand create a new revenue for the emirate.

Below are three attributes with two examples for each to demonstrate how Dubai emirate attract the world to its brand and how it keeps the promise of innovation, entertaining and miracles associate with it’s brand. Despite the financial crisis which happened recently in Dubai, it turn the whole world to Dubai through Burj Khalifa.

Behind this brand is a great leader. His generosity and wisdom let  him not associate all Dubai brands to his name but to the city and that’s what keeping Dubai so distinguished. HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum‘s vision goes beyond years, his vision makes the future easier to see.

1 – Tallest

A – Burj Khalifa

The world’s tallest building has been opened in Dubai, UAE in Jan. 4, 2010.  The Burj Khalifa was revealed to be 828m (2,716ft) high, far taller than the previous record holder, Taipei 101. The tower lays claim to the highest occupied floor, the tallest service lift, and the world’s highest observation deck, the world’s highest mosque and swimming pool will meanwhile be located on the 158th and 76th floors.

“This great project deserves to carry the name of a great man.” ~ Mohammed AlMaktoum

B – Rose Rayhaan Hotel

With more than 480 rooms, suites and penthouses, the Rose Rayhaan by Rotana in Dubai is not only the tallest hotel in the world, it is the latest addition to Rotana’s alcohol-free brand.

2 – Largest

A – Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area. It is part of the Burj Khalifa complex, the 20-billion-dollar project has 1,200 shops. The mall attracts more than 750,000 visitors every week. ~ wikipedia

The Mall’s Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre officially earned the Guinness World Record for the world’s “Largest Acrylic Panel”, Its 750 mm thick acrylic viewing panel can withstand pressure of 10 million litres of water used in the aquarium.

B - Dubai Fountain

Its the world’s largest dancing fountain. Set on the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake, the fountain shoots water jets as high as 500 ft (150 metres), equivalent to that of a 50-storey building. The fountain is 900 ft (275 metres) long and has five circles of varying sizes and two central arcs.

3 – Surpass

A – Palm Islands

The Palm Islands are artificial islands (man-made island) in Dubai on which major commercial and residential infrastructure will be constructed. The islands are the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira. They are all is in the shape of a palm tree.

“It takes a man of vision to write on water.” ~ Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum

B – Falcon City of Wonders

This is the project that honors mankind through its various civilizations, a project that could inspire generations about the power of the human spirit. This is where the world will see its past, its present and its future.

In addition to the above incredible examples, there are many projects that being working on and it is the secret what makes Dubai’s brand unique, interesting and promising.

“Most of people talk, we do things. They plan, we achieve. They hesitate, we move ahead. We are living proof that when human beings have the courage and commitment to transform a dream into reality, there is nothing that can stop them. Dubai is a living example of that.” ~  Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum - Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Antonios
Twitter: johnantonios
February 9, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Great summary of the Dubai Brand – it would be interesting to follow through with an article that discusses the effects of the global crisis on that brand, and whether or not Dubai should rethink it’s positioning strategy. Personally, I think Dubai needs to work on making it’s brand more real and sustainable. Dubai to me is like the new kid on the block who wants to compete with everyone in everything to prove their worth and claim their turf, but in dong so, I think Dubai is losing personalization of its brand.
I admire HH Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s vision and determination against all odds, but denial is a businessman’s worst enemy. Ask around in Dubai, the situation isn’t as pretty as the press paints it to be. Listening to your people and their needs is key to your success – look at Twitter :).

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2 Mohammed Al-Taee February 9, 2010 at 2:12 PM

John Antonios it would be interesting to follow through with an article that discusses the effects of the global crisis on that brand, and whether or not Dubai should rethink it’s positioning strategy.

One of the reasons that inspired me to write this article is the crisis, some people thought Dubai’s brand is just a bubble that will explode soon but it proved the opposite. I don’t think the crisis had a big negative impact on Dubai’s brand. What do you say about USA? or What do you say about Japan’s brand?

Japan now have a big concern about its brand just because of Toyota. Its so interesting that high tech country like Japan afraid about the promising and expectations that reside in our mind but you know, its the same as Dubai. They both build strong promises that not easy to destroy or effected by small slips.

The above mentioned brand examples are creating very good employment opportunities so it address the need for today’s people concern but agree it should be a real need and not just for competition because competition for no real need will be just a figure.

As its hard to be position yourself as expert in something, city or county brand has the same difficulty but if they plan it right then it will be good investment.

Great comment, Thanks!

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3 Luay rahil
Twitter: luayrahil
February 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Dubai is a great city, but I have not had the chance to see it yet. I’m hoping to be able to visit Dubai soon. Dubai city became an empire, a symbol of prestige and status, a symbol of richness and disconnect from the general public. I like what they did, and I like the vision of Dubai’s leadership. On the other hand, I would like to see Dubai connect with the people who build it, because none of the people who helped to build it can afford to live there.
Their brand is obvious; prestige, richness and disconnect. The goal was to build all these buildings, but what is next? I’m not impressed easily with tall building and big shopping malls, I like to see that there is a purpose behind it, and if the goal was to build the biggest building ever, congrats you got it. What about the debt, how can they afford maintaining them? I would like to talk more about this subject, and I will in a later date. Follow me on Twitter; @LuayRahil

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4 Mohammed Al-Taee February 10, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Luay rahil: The goal was to build all these buildings, but what is next? I’m not impressed easily with tall building and big shopping malls, I like to see that there is a purpose behind it, and if the goal was to build the biggest building ever, congrats you got it. What about the debt, how can they afford maintaining them? I would like to talk more about this subject, and I will in a later date.

Agree with you, this can be a concern for all people living there but if you see the projects like Falcon city, you will notice that it will attract millions of visitors especially from middle east so people don’t need to travel to Europe or other countries, they can find all the joy near them.

Also, I heard that they plan to host the headquarters of OPEC and UN so the future is a good purpose for all that concern.

Thanks for your great input Luay.

P.S. You can add your Twitter ID in the box when comment so it will link directly to your handle :)

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5 Jane Levington May 17, 2011 at 4:07 AM

The Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest dancing fountain. It has more than 22,000 gal of water into the air at any given moment. Over 6,600 lights and 50 color projectors create a visual spectrum of more than 1,000 different water expressions. The combination of this water forms “The Dubai Fountain”. I wish I can visit this amazing place!
Jane Levington´s last blog post ..Boracay Tourists Inn

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6 Alva January 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
Regardless, just wanted to say superb blog!
Alva´s last blog post ..Alva

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