Ananth A V, Director Oman & India, LuLu Group International shares his thoughts on Oman Avenues Mall winning the Best ‘Cause related marketing campaign’ award in an interview with OER interview
Oman Avenues Mall has recently won the ‘Best Cause-related Marketing Campaign’ at the recently held MENA Shopping Centre and Retailer Awards. Can you share some details about the award and the kind of competition that you were pitched against?
We at Oman Avenues Mall were honoured to receive the coveted Gold Award for the Best “Cause-related Marketing Campaign” – for our Avenues Children’s Garden, at the 2017 Middle East and North Africa Shopping Centre and Retailer Awards. The Awards are presented annually by The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and this year’s awards were held on 31st October in Dubai.
What made the award even more special for us was that, out of 16 competitors in the same category, not only was Oman Avenues Mall selected for the Gold Award; we were also the only one to win an award for a mall within the Sultanate of Oman, for the year.
The competition saw shopping centres and mall owners, developers, management companies, architects and designers, and retailers, vying for the top honours. The panel of veteran international judges sought to recognise the MENA region’s most innovative retail establishments for their outstanding achievements in retail, marketing, retail store design, and development.
What was the idea behind creating ‘Avenues Children Garden.’ within the mall?
The idea was to educate children about the environment. An open-air terrace area of the mall was completely renovated to accommodate a full-fledged garden facility showcasing over 20 varieties of exotic plants in the ‘Avenues Children Garden’. Housed within the garden were 30 planter boxes containing soil and compost that was created by natural composting processes – from food waste collected at the mall itself.
The objective was to engage the senses of the young generation on understanding today’s pressing environmental issues.
How did you go about promoting the Garden and the concept?
The entire campaign was successfully promoted through an integrated marketing plan within the mall and across all communication mediums, for maximum publicity. We also approached schools to visit the ‘Avenues Children Garden’. School children got to see educational videos about environmental issues and they could also take home a small potted plant to grow on their own. Fifty schools had participated in the initiative by the end of March 2017.
Do you plan to come up with more cause-related initiatives in future?
Yes, we are now looking forward to continuing to develop and host community engagement initiatives like this in the months to come.
What does this award mean for Oman’s burgeoning retail sector?
This award is a shot in the arm for the retail business in Oman to set the standards and achieve even greater heights. We are proud that our nation won accolades and recognition, at the MENA Shopping Centre and Retailer Awards.
We expect consumer sentiments to pick up in 2018 including optimism levels of consumers which would lead an increased level of activity in our sphere of operations.
As the next step you will compete at the 2018 edition of ICSC Viva Awards. How do you plan to prepare for this and what are your thoughts on the honour?
With the Gold Award, we now receive automatic entry into the prestigious 2018 ICSC VIVA Awards. The winners will be announced at the RECon 2018 convention in Las Vegas, in the US State of Nevada in 2018.
Meanwhile, we are committed to providing innovative solutions and creative responses to market trends. Understanding community needs and then coming up with relevant initiatives that caters to the need is what we are good at. We look at each project strategically and then embark on it with planning, research, workshops and community insights. We will strive towards being recognised and honoured at the ICSC Viva Awards, as well.