This is the official blog of the Landmark Group with insights
and stories from the people behind our many brands.

Eat and Live Healthy This Ramadan

The Holy Month of Ramadan is here with us again. This is a time for fasting, meditation, and sharing with friends and neighbors. It is also a time to remember those ailing from conditions that might hinder them from fasting and promote a healthy and holistic lifestyle. It is in this regard that the Landmark Group has launched an e-cookbook in an initiative dubbed the Beat Diabetes campaign. We have launched this e-cookbook as part of the larger 'Beat Diabetes, Eat healthy' campaign to encourage the community to adopt a healthy balanced diet.

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The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that one in every nine adults in the Middle East has diabetes.  According to the IDF the number of people living with diabetes worldwide rose from 366 million in 2011 to 371 million in 2012.

Through the Beat Diabetes campaign, the Landmark Group continues to encourage individuals in the Middle Eastern communities to regularly check their glucose levels for early detection and remedial measures. The initiative has benefited nearly 150,000 individuals in blood glucose testing centers across the region.

In our effort to reach out to all families, we have made this Beat Diabetes e-cookbook available for free in a digital format and can easily be downloaded from our Beat Diabetes Facebook page. It comes with 30 easy-to-make nutritious recipes which will be very helpful to families with assorted cuisine choices such as Arabic, Indian, and Thai. These are great recipes aimed at educating individuals on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet in management of diabetes.

Know Your Body Type - Ayurveda: part 2

According to Ayurveda the human body is balanced in three combinations called the tridoshas (body types) - Vata, Pita and Kapha. Everybody is predominantly a particular dosha (body type), with the other two doshas being present to a lesser degree.

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The three doshas' primary qualities can be tabulated as given below - but this is just an overview.

Doshas

Vata

Pita

Kapha

Elements

Ether and Air

Fire

Earth and Water

Physical

Slim

Medium built

Stocky

Skin

Rough and Dry   

Soft

Smooth and Oily

Movement

Quick

Sharp

Slow

Taste

Sweet, Sour and Salty

Cool, Sweet, Bitter and Astringent

Pungent, Bitter and Astringent

Digestion

Irregular

Strong digestion

Sluggish digestion

Emotions

Enthusiastic, active

Determined, impatient

Patient, even-tempered


When the doshas are in a balanced form in a body the body will function at its best.

For this you need to have a rough idea of what your body type is by picking the best option that describes you, to answer the questions below. For a proper diagnosis and understanding it is recommended that you meet a qualified Ayurveda practitioner. The body type that has been picked the most number of times will reflect your dominant body type.

FIGURE OUT YOUR BODY TYPE?

Ayurvedic-Room-2.jpgWhat is your skin like?
  1. You need to bathe in moisturizer or you are left with scaly skin. (V)
  2. Sensitive and warm (like your best friend) but with a tendency to reddishness, inflammation. It could also be oily. (P)
  3. Thick skinned (no, we are not talking about attitude here) and rather prone to acne. (K)

In terms of physical built, you are...
  1. Thin built, with small bones and prominent joints. (V)
  2. Medium built with a fairly well-balanced body. (P)
  3. Of solid, ample or stocky built with a larger bone structure. (K)

In terms of appetite and digestion...
  1. You have an irregular appetite and are hungry at times and sometimes you are not. (V)
  2. You have a large appetite and digest food quickly. You tend to get irritable if you miss a meal, however too much hunger results in inability to eat anything. (P)
  3. You tend to feel heavy after a meal and have a very sluggish digestion. (K)

Your brain resembles the latest super computer or a rather rusty analog computer...
  1. You are good at picking up new things but things get hazy when it comes to long term memory. (V)
  2. You are blessed with a good memory. (P)
  3. You take your time to assimilate new information, but once you remember something it tends to stick. (K)

Is nap time your favourite time or do you dread it?
  1. The smallest sound wakes you up. (V)
  2. You sleep well. (P)
  3. You are lost to the world once your head hits the pillow. A heavy and sound sleeper. (K)

The weather also plays a role in our body type. Usually...
  1. You don't like the cold. You prefer warm good and drink to cold ones. (V)
  2. You don't like the heat. You sweat easy and it makes you tired. (P)
  3. You don't like humid or damp environments. (K)

How do you handle stress?
  1. It makes you anxious, fearful and / or insecure. (V)
  2. It makes you angry, frustrated and / or irritable. (P)
  3. You tend to avoid difficult situations but are fairly calm under stress. (K)

Your weight is a pointer to many things - emotional and physical. Which best describes you?
  1. You don't put on weight that easily. (V)
  2. You put on weight easily but find it hard to lose. (P)
  3. You put on weight like most other people - over a period of time. (K)

Your attitude is also influenced by your dosha. You are normally...
  1. Creative, enthusiastic, active and somewhat restless. (V)
  2. Determined, impatient, critical, stubborn and easy to anger. (P)
  3. Even-tempered, patient, compassionate and not particularly high energy. (K)

These are some of the illnesses you are usually prone to...
  1. Constipation, anxiety, nervousness and / or insomnia. (V)
  2. Inflammation, hypertension, hypersensitivity (to allergies, rashes, arthritis etc.) and / or aggression. (P)
  3. Congestion, water retention, cystic acne and / or lethargy. (K)

chandy.jpgDr. Chandy George, the Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant at Balance Wellness Club brings over 15 years of experience in the field of Ayurvedic treatments and therapies. His uncanny and remarkable ability for accurate diagnosis (using no other diagnostic tool than his three fingers to  feel your pulse - an ancient process called nadi pariksha) and his compassionate, intuitive skills have helped him treat some of the complicated imbalances with great insight and success.

The science of life - Ayurveda: part 1

chandy1.jpgDr. Chandy George, the Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant at Balance Wellness Club brings over 15 years of experience in the field of Ayurvedic treatments and therapies. His uncanny and remarkable ability for accurate diagnosis (using no other diagnostic tool than his three fingers to  feel your pulse - an ancient process called nadi pariksha) and his compassionate, intuitive skills have helped him treat some of the complicated imbalances with great insight and success.

In his role with the Balance Wellness Club, Dr. Chandy leverages his understanding of  Dubai and the demanding lifestyle it dictates to offer holistic therapies that blend the nuances of pulse diagnosis, Panchakarma treatments, marma treatments, herbal remedies, therapies, rejuvenation and Ayurvedic nutrition. He also offers consultancy on identifying, preventing, controlling, containing and reversing the disease process caused by lifestyle, metabolic, ageing and stress generated disorders.
    
In this series, Dr. Chandy first introduces us to the science of life called 'Ayurveda'. Mention the word Ayurveda and most people will think exotic, ancient, Eastern medicine that is a closed door for anyone but those steeped in its lore. But nothing could be further from the truth. In today's crazy, frenetic life, where ailments and illnesses rear their heads in progressively younger and younger patients, Ayurveda and its lifestyle tips may be of more relevance than ever before.
 
ayurveda1.jpgAyurveda, ('Ayus' means Life and 'Veda' means science) is a form of alternative medicine, which originated in India about 5000 years ago.

Ayurveda doesn't just aim at treating illnesses, it aims to prevent illnesses and preserve life. Its basic premise is that the universe is made up of five elements - air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in human beings by the three 'doshas' or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas ('tridoshas') and this varies from person to person. When the doshas accumulate beyond the individual's desirable limit, the body loses its balance. To regain balance and good health the excess dosha(s) have to be reduced.

In modern times it is quite common to come across people whose doshas are in complete upheaval. They are born with one particular dosha in the ascendant but their lifestyle results in one of the two other doshas becoming dominant with time. These changes mean that they are not treating their body the way it should be and result in physical ailments and emotional problems.

But the change of doshas in one's body can also be sighted in as inane a statement as, "I used to be so calm and patient, but now I snap at everything." This could be your doshas being out of balance. While suppressants and pills will treat your symptoms, they will not necessarily leave you calm; rather they will leave you lethargic and dull. And worse they will not address the basic cause of your problem. Ayurveda however will approach it from the angle of the cause and treat that, thus getting rid of the symptoms and the root cause.

It is understandable for one to wonder - "All this is great but how does this form of alternative and ancient healing apply to me? What is in it for me?" Simple - an Ayurvedic body cleansing or detox, followed by adherence to the basic Ayurvedic tenets regarding your body type will help you deal with everything ranging from stomach bloating, hair loss, body pain and chronic illnesses to addictions, sinusitis, allergies, chipped nails and, the bane of life in the UAE, dry skin. Ayurveda can also help one deal with stress and manage one's anger and extreme emotions of rage or depression.

ayur-veda.jpgEven on a non-medical level, Ayurveda can help one achieve one's best in terms of physical health and well-being. We have all envied a neighbor who can eat anything and everything and not put on a kilo and pitied ourselves or a friend, who only has to look at a buffet table to add a few kilos to her waist. One's doshas has a huge impact on the kind of body one basically has. Understanding one's doshas can also guide one in ascertaining the best time of the day for a person to exercise and the best food for one to eat thus achieving the best body possible.

And while you will not end up with a body like Gwenyth Paltrow's, you will find yourself feeling healthier inside and outside - your digestion would be back on track, your skin will feel smoother and softer, your eyes will look brighter and your hair will glow with health. And no, this is not magic. It is science. Just ask Dr Deepak Chopra, an internationally renowned practitioner of Ayurveda or better still take a leaf out of the books of adherents of Ayurveda - Madonna and Lady Gaga.

Max Burgers: The Sweet Taste of Success

Max is on the move! Max's burgers, a long-time favorite in Sweden and Scandinavia, has partnered with the Landmark Group to launch new ventures in the UAE. We have already opened outlets in Jumeirah 3, on Jumeirah Beach Road, in Mirdif City Centre and in Oasis Centre. Plans are unfolding for dozens of Max openings throughout the region. The 100% family-owned Max brand, voted "Sweden's Tastiest Burger" for 10 years in a row, is now poised for immediate success in the rapidly expanding GCC market.

Max-Burger (1).pngAt Max's we aim to build upon the 45-year tradition that we have established with our commitment to tasty, healthy and environmentally friendly food service. Founder Curt Bergfors, along with Britta Andersson, opened a single food kiosk in the north of Sweden in 1968. Their great tasting burgers were a hit and the business quickly outgrew the little kiosk. Our growth meant we were soon taking on, and winning against, industry giants such as McDonald's. The 2003 addition of our Delifresh menu, with it's combination of flavorful health-conscious ingredients, ushered in a new chapter of the Max story.

With our Max heritage we literally bring a lot to the table. When customers spot our famous blue-and-white décor they know it signifies something special. Patrons can rely on Max to quickly provide the best-tasting, high-quality and freshly-prepared foods in a clean and wholesome manner. Our partnership with the Landmark Group means we have joined hands with a company whose solid regional foundation and remarkable marketing savvy will allow us to compete with global heritage burger brands in the exciting new Gulf arena.

Max-burger.pngMax is innovative and creative. Throughout our entire brand we zealously pursue our mission to provide the best food in a globally responsible fashion. From our industry-first carbon-dated menu labeling to our enviable 100% carbon-emission offset (achieved with our African tree-planting project), along with our award-winning programs to provide employment to persons with disabilities, we are in the vanguard of conscientious business practice. For all the new customers that the Landmark Group will introduce to us we have prepared an enticing array of menu specialties, starting with our signature Max burgers and including wonderful fresh dips and our superb side dishes that include such healthy items as salads, apple wedges and carrots.

At Max we are confidant that working with the Landmark group will lead to prosperity for all concerned and that we will be able to show the world what it means to have a real Max experience.

Cakes and Candy

Based on a dream, Candy Cakes was created in 2006 to bring something special and innovative to the cafe and cake world.

Spotting a gap in the market, the founders successfully merged the concept of a cake shop with the appearance of a sweet shop. With the clever addition of some irresistible coffee, the storybook cafe retreat was born.

candy-cakes.jpg Fast-forward to today and the company's signature range of colourful, sweet-topped cakes is in high demand. People of all ages just love them, for weddings, social gatherings and everything from eighth, eighteenth or even eightieth birthday parties.

Candy Cakes confections make the sweetest treats for family and friends to share. Complete with eye-popping coloured icing and elaborate edible toppers, these mouth-watering novelty cakes will make a special occasion even sweeter.

The creative team lovingly craft the delicious colourful treats, for all ages to enjoy. Whether you're throwing a party for a budding princess or a pirate in training, a custom-designed birthday cake will add something extra-special to a big day.

The concept is simple: fun, playful, bright products within cafes that reflect Candy Cakes' Pop Art style and sweet shop vision. This unique brand sells fresh coffee, delicious cakes and cool shakes.

Splash: the determined teenager turns 20

Thursday 21st March 2013 was an exciting day for the team at the offices of Splash fashions. It marked the culmination of two decades as one of the Middle East's favourite fashion brands: from its humble birth as a single store way back in 1993, its growth through the difficult early years into adulthood, to its success as a mature business that continues to go from strength to strength.

mikky.jpgThe brand can reflect on an exciting journey to get where it is today. Tickets for the now legendary Splash fashion shows are prized items, as these spectaculars have become one of the "must-attend" events in the Middle East. Add to this three limited edition calendars, campaigns that use new technology such as 3D, an international portfolio of brands like Being Human, Lee Cooper and ELLE, plus numerous awards and industry recognition, well... you get the idea.

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The company has plans for yearlong celebrations to mark their 20th birthday, and the partying began with the annual staff event, held at Rixos, Palm Jumeirah. This was closely followed by Retail Employees Day (R.E.D), an event that recognises and rewards the day-to-day contributions of the people who make the Splash stores run so smoothly. These events were just the beginning of a very busy calendar of festivities to come.

raza-beig.jpgSplash launched the Emblem Design contest earlier this year, aimed at creating a dedicated logo to mark the 20-year anniversary. The response was overwhelming, and the winner can proudly see the chosen design featured on the brand's collateral for the coming year. Other competitions and contests are planned that engage customers and get them involved with the company's celebrations.

When the first Splash store opened its doors to the public in Sharjah over two decades ago, who could have dreamed the company would grow into the Superbrand it is today? Some may consider the story complete, but for CEO Raza Beig and the team, this is just the beginning.

Balance Wellness Spa connects with ladies night

The Balance Wellness Spa recently reached out to a key target audience by hosting a ladies night that also involved forming partnerships for the event - which was a real success.

IMG_6264.JPGThe spa, located in Dubai's Oasis Centre, held the get-together along with ila, a British firm that makes all-natural skincare products, and Scene, a magazine with celebrity news and photos, and news about entertainment, shopping and style.

Balance Wellness Spa, which covers 22,000 sq. ft., and has 21 therapy rooms, offers 65 therapies that include techniques from all over the world. The spa also provides customised Pilates and yoga sessions.

Selected Scene readers were invited to join us at the facility for a pampering party featuring the spa's treatments and Ila's products to try, with the magazine providing promotion, photography and media coverage.

The ladies began the night with a refreshing cold towel and a soothing cup of herbal tea to immerse themselves in the spa's relaxing atmosphere. Our guests were also offered a foot massage, which used Ila Body Balm and generated plenty of positive feedback from our guests.
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The lucky ladies, who enjoyed healthy snacks and beverages from Balance Cafe, also received a goodie bag with a copy of Scene, a sample from Ila, an AED 100 spa voucher and more.

Everyone who came out for the event clearly had a great time, and a number of people booked treatments at the spa.

Working with Ila and Scene and creating this event presented an opportunity to connect with the target audience in a way that was fun for the ladies and productive for the Balance Wellness Spa.

What unconventional techniques do you use to reach your target audience?

Home Centre website for our Arabic-speaking customers

Back in October 2011 we announced the launch of our Home Centre website, which was launched in 9 countries: UAE, India, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The site gives customers access to a variety of Home Centre products across many different product categories: furniture, bed and bath, home décor, kitchen and tabletop, and kids furniture. It has been a long journey, but we have evolved since then and become bigger and better for the experience.

arb_homepage.jpgThe site has some great features and gives customers the opportunity to view our catalogue while relaxing at home and, if they like a product, our store locator will spotlight the nearest outlet for them to visit. We also keep customers up-to-date with our new House Proud blog - a go-to place for affordable tips, trends and inspiration to keep your home beautiful, tidy and safe. It also features our latest offers and promotions.

The past year has been busy, encouraging and quite a learning experience for all of us at Home Centre. We've been working harder every day to cater to our Arabic customers - October 2012 saw the launch of our Home Centre website in Arabic.

Make your business count with social media: part 3

Integrating-Social-Media-Monitoring.pngThe social media age provides plenty of new, fast ways for companies to communicate with people - and for people to communicate with businesses. Technology and tendencies are evolving swiftly, but if we know one thing, it's that people the world over are quick to share questions, compliments and complaints directly to companies or publicly.

If your brand does not engage on social platforms, customers can and will dig up your blog or website, or go on public forums to share what's on their minds. Whatever path customers choose and whatever they have to say, they expect responses, too.

So how do we tackle this new reality and use these powerful forms of communication to our advantage? Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and even Zendesk make our lives easier by tracking conversations between companies and customers. Zendesk goes one step further: it also converts every tweet, Facebook post and message sent via companies' websites and online-chat functions into tickets, so companies can manage them with ease.

That power makes it simple to respond quickly to comments and spot trends that might develop, and it's hard to overstate how important that is. Businesses want to know what people like and they need to know what people don't.

In short, it may seem like there are countless messages from all sorts of sources, but it's simple to manage social-media communication - which is at its essence, the critical ability to understand and interact with customers. That's an essential step forward - and rest assured your competitors are working aggressively in this realm - and it can also reduce costs for PR, customer service and even advertising.

There are things to learn, fast-flowing streams of communication to manage and no doubt some surprises to come in terms of technology and what customers will say and do, but the need to communicate and the prospects to prosper from it are too important to ignore.

Emax reloaded - web design made simple

Today, the Web Team is proud to announce the launch of Emaxme.com, the new-look website that showcases the current range of Emax products and services. This is the first of an exciting line-up of digital initiatives planned for the coming year, aimed at simplifying electronics for customers.

Emax_website.pngThe redesign demonstrates the team's commitment to delivering great looking websites, developed with the customer in mind. We've replaced technical jargon with simple language, as part of our commitment to make the complex world of consumer electronics easier to understand. And the new look features carefully selected high-resolution images of the products currently available in the stores.

As well as being visually appealing and easy to use, the new site also contains some helpful features to enhance the shopping experience for Emax customers: buying guides to help visitors compare and select the most suitable products, a store locator to pinpoint nearby branches, and information on the latest offers and promotions. These are simple steps towards building sustainable long-term customer relationships.

The social media revolution, which continues to influence how people interact, has elevated the importance of good customer relations to an unprecedented high. In recognition of this, popular social media platforms - such as Facebook - have been integrated into the site to enable greater connectivity with fans and followers. Customers can now share specific Emaxme.com content with their own networks, extending the site's reach into the region's online communities.

But the company's online activities don't stop there. Customers in the UAE will soon be able to purchase Emax products online via Landmark Group's upcoming e-commerce website. This game-changing "e-tail" store, the Web Team's flagship project, is coming soon to a screen near you.  

It's been an exciting few years for Emax: the company has achieved significant growth, received numerous awards for industry, opened several new stores in the region with plans to further expand operations into other countries. With the company increasingly focused on harnessing the digital aspects of its market presence, the future looks ever brighter.