Why developers need to update their show homes

James Fenner, Founder and MD of Silk Road, explains why developers need to give their showrooms a makeover.

Property companies are not moving with the times when it comes to marketing suites and exhibitions.

Walk into most marketing suites and you’ll generally see two options: firstly, one with a big model smack bang in the middle of the space, floor plans on one wall, a big screen on another and piles of brochures close by; secondly, it looks more like a luxury hotel but not there’s not a marketing message in sight!

Why can’t it be a blend of the two? Look to the automotive and luxury sectors. They seamlessly blend technology, craftsmanship and lifestyle together. They understand it’s as much about a brand experience as a product one.

People no longer go into a store to find out about a product (as it’s done beforehand online or in situ on mobile), it’s more about, ‘is this me?’ Thinking about goose bumps per square foot will set you on the right trajectory.

“Creating a multisensory experience that immerses guests in an exciting, engaging and meaningful provides a great way to powerfully communicate a brand’s personality. Customers are far more likely to get emotionally involved in your brand if they can be part of an experience,” said Philippa Bowers, Client Service Director, Fisher

Just because it’s temporary is no excuse. Pop up stores, bars, restaurants are becoming commonplace and the expectations for these are high, if not higher, than for fixed retail experiences.

Whilst technology is vital, consideration is also required to how best to portray craftsmanship and care. Luxury brands have latched onto this; Burberry with Makers House and LVMH with Meet the Artisans. It gives people a view into their world and creates excitement and interest around the brand. More importantly, it helps justify the price.

We’re seeing several other trends in retail which aren’t flowing through to property, such as:

The rise of the Exploratorium – giving people the chance to experience the product in a cool environment;

  • In store hospitality – think La Marzocco coffee machine, not Nespresso;
  • Spaces to learn and play – letting the consumer engage how they want to with the product;
  • Controlled disruption – people don’t the IKEA experience when purchasing a home, forget standard flows but guide to the right conclusion ;
  • Encounter culture – what other complementary brands to artists can you showcase to enhance the experience?

Forget lightboxes, forget models; it’s about how to best bring the brand to life. Unlike other marketing tools, a marketing suite or exhibition provides the ability to engage in a meaningful way, creating an emotive, tangible and real connections with your audience.

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