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Zouk’s closure: Death of a local icon?

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Zouk, the global club brand, is planning its final instalment of the 2014 ZoukOut festival along with a series of farewell parties.These are all in anticipation of the club’s planned closure. This comes as the club’s lease on its premises on Jiak Kim Street expires at the end of this year and the lack of availability of a suitable site for a new home.To alert its partygoers of its current situation, Zouk has also launched an online campaign, While a global club brand, it has built a significant influence with locals, as the campaign pulled in 31,511 votes. Through the petition, the club aims to push for its lease to be extended on Jiak Kim Street until it secures a new venue.In a conversation with Marketing, a spokesperson from Zouk said what ensured the club’s livelihood in Singapore was its branding strategy.The spokesperson said in recent times, much of the emphasis for the brand had been through CRM as well as detailed data analysis for marketing efforts. With the increased focus on digital marketing and social media platforms, the club also recently shifted its view to concentrate on such channels to reach out and engage consumers.“We believe that our longevity is attributed to a focused vision. Our owner and director, Lincoln Cheng’s vision when he started Zouk in 1991 was to push dance music to Singapore and Asia. This continues to be our motto and has been the core of how we execute our marketing strategies and programming,” she said.However, despite its efforts, should it fail to find a new location, this will be the end of the road for Zouk in Singapore.The Singapore Tourism Board is making efforts to save the club, Oliver Chong, executive director of communications and industry marketing for the Singapore Tourism Board, told Marketing. He said the board would continue to facilitate efforts for Zouk to identify alternative locations as “it is an established local enterprise with a proven track record and has helped shape Singapore’s entertainment landscape”.Lawrence Chong, CEO of Consulus, said Zouk had become an establishment in its own right. In terms of positioning Singapore as a fun city, it has become the Singapore Airlines equivalent in the category of clubs globally.“The loss of Zouk would, hence, mean that we as a nation have lost a flagship brand that represents Singapore’s rise as a cool city.“If you were to look at things from an influence perspective, when we compare with other global cities such as New York, London and Hong Kong, then the closure of Zouk is a setback in terms of our cool factor.”Establishments such as Zouk are not easily bought or built overnight, he added. One simply has to look around the local club scene in Singapore to realise the short lifeline of clubs.Lars Voedisch, principal consultant and managing director at PRecious Communications, added that while the closure might affect the brand attractiveness for a certain audience, the Singapore brand overall was built on many other facets.“Singapore has many attractions for different audiences and the public and private sector constantly work on renewing and moulding the Singapore brand with additions. This closure of the club might result in a shift towards certain more mainstream audiences. Nightlife and entertainment brands don’t seem to be in focus for the nation, at least right now,” he said.

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