The role of brands in marketing projects: Peter Chittenden

Peter ChittendenAugust 27, 20150 min read

Given the impact of technology on our everyday life it’s not surprising that any list of the world’s top brands is tech dominated.

If you own a smartphone you might well interact with one of these brands as the first and last thing you do every day, as you check the time or check your emails. As you might already have guessed currently the world’s number one brand is Apple, followed by Microsoft, Google, Coca Cola and IBM, it’s the tech brands that dominate the top 50 brands.

Ikea is the highest ranked brand that could be related to homemaking, however the value of a successful brand is an important part of property marketing. One reason is that as more of us continue to live in cities we are also looking to secure our identity, and where we live is central to this. The branding of suburbs, apartment buildings, housing estates, different states and right on to brand Australia, all of these tie into the essence of our marketing and as a marketing tool and part of the sales path, this topic deserves a lot attention.

House Names to Brand Australia

Perhaps the most common property related brand would be the name given to individual houses, this has been a long tradition in many countries including Australia. While house names might have originally helped the postman deliver the mail, they are a popular part of our residential history.

It does appear, and perhaps not surprisingly, that Australian house names are often associated with the sea, or at least an association with being near to or having a view of water. Some of the more obvious examples include Driftwood, Bay Cottage, Lakeview, Seaview, Waterfront and Seacrest, and at least a few of these have been recycled as names and brands for apartment blocks. I am sure we have all at least seen more than one Seaview or Waterfront apartment project name!

House names and terrace row names are really living history and add interest and colour to many an inner-city suburb across Australia. Then as far as real estate is concerned we have brand Australia itself.

Brand Australia has some both familiar, and some lofty aspirations and these include core values like: friendly people, an attractive natural environment, resources, quality lifestyle, sunny, confident, creative, outward looking and talented, grand and impressive!

In a very matter-of-fact but interesting way, many of these same values are the very attributes that attract offshore buyers to our country and our local property market. Such brand values are almost priceless but they do underscore beyond the dollars and bricks and mortar why we are such a popular market with offshore buyers.

Creating Brand Value

Brands aim to create a personality, brand awareness and it’s an ongoing and complex task. I am not an expert, here my aim is to acknowledge how important brands are in project marketing. For the actual success of projects, in the eyes and mind-set of buyers, for developers and for the marketing agents, we all benefit and can I suggest need strong brands, and this also extends to personal brands. In today’s world a personal brand is no longer something just for a handful of personalities.

I think it’s useful if we tick off some of the key ways any brand is created and sustained. Firstly there is a need to create energy around the process and the wide participation of all team members. Creativity is not something you can buy in a bottle or a neat package, that’s why team involvement in particular with a major project is a good idea. While there has to be a lead taken, to avoid an endless round of likes and dislikes, involving the project team never does any harm and is usually positive.

There are also some well-regarded measures for how the success of a brand is measured and this includes longevity, a brand that is easy to remember, is unique, keeps things fresh, reflects passion and must have consistency.

For buyers there might also be another test. If you happen to live in a block of 100 or 200 apartments you want the brand to be well regarded, in particular that’s important when it comes time to sell.

I Can’t Imagine Living Anywhere Else!

If every buyer we have dealt with was happy to say these words, then in every respect we have doubtless created a building or a new estate with a great brand.

When thinking about a residential project brand, one aim is to create and build the project’s reputation, to humanise the brand and encourage a strong word of mouth connection.

While there are graphic and design considerations, the appeal of a brand should also aim to reinforce key aspects of a project’s lifestyle. Inspiration can come from how potential residents might interact with the environment, for example by having a morning ritual or relaxing at or near home.

The creation of a strong brand that reflects all of the key aspects of a project can have considerable appeal and will also aid social media and can directly help create more web traffic. For larger, longer-term projects this sort of brand awareness has big up-side advantages.

There is also strong synergy between individual project brands and the brand qualities of the developer because the two are intertwined. Strong brand values for any developer will pay off handsomely as they help sustain off-the-plan sales, where the buyer’s trust in the end product is important.

Buyers, the future residents of a building or an estate are not only attracted by brands that represent the height of fashion, the core idea is to create ownership of the project in the most positive light. The brand can also then galvanise and give focus to all aspects of the project.

Gentrification A Good Example

Looking for a good example we need to look no further than how clever branding has been used to re-cast the gentrification of many former industrial areas on the fringe of many of our capital cities.

In areas like Sydney’s south-east entire groups of suburbs have been ‘re-branded’ with a great mix of residential, commercial and social infrastructure and innovative building design to create very desirable areas. The combination of facilities has been important in building the brand in these areas, and new shops, cafes and even supermarkets with extended trading have all played their part. This process of gentrification is perhaps one of the best examples I could use to show the power of brands in our field.

Peter Chittenden is managing director for residential of Colliers International. He can be contacted here.

Peter Chittenden

Peter Chittenden is managing director for residential of Colliers International.
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