Do consultants add brand value?

Shortly after the announcement of Emaar’s BLVD Heights in Downtown Dubai, I received a call from a senior practising architect to ask whether I knew who had designed the project.

To his disappointment, I was completely in the dark. The information in the public domain included a stirring description of the swimming pool and luxuriously appointed apartments, yet made no mention of the consultants or the contractor involved.

This led us to discuss whether consultants add brand value to a project. We concluded that in the eyes of many GCC developers the
answer appears to be ‘not really’.

There’s no doubt that the mega developers want to use the best consultants in the market, to deliver schemes of the highest quality, but it’s not the top priority to flag them up in a marketing campaign.

Unless you belong to the elite group of famous architects, including Gehry, Hadid and Foster, you’re not guaranteed to get your name in the official press release.

The lamentable fact is that many developers will see more value in shouting about a tie-in with a luxury fashion brand than a respected consultant who may not be known to the man on the street.

It was pleasing to see some developers at Cityscape Global rightfully mention their consultants; for example, Deyaar was clearly proud of signing up OMA, and used the consultant as a selling point for its new Dubai scheme.

But some of the other developers I spoke to at Cityscape Global seemed to talk about their projects as though they’d designed and built them just by themselves.

To any developers that are reading, I would urge you to big up your consultants a little bit more and give credit where credit is due.

I would also like to hear your thoughts on the matter, so please drop me a line, as I plan to explore the topic in a future issue.

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