Branding can mean many things to many people. For some it is little more than a name and a logo, something which makes a company clearly identifiable to its customers and is designed to encourage recollection and familiarity. More than that though, a strong brand should elicit an emotional response; it should facilitate positive engagements, convey trust and create desire.
Think of some of the world’s most successful brands. From consumer goods like Apple and Nike, to retailers like Harrods and Harvey Nichols, they all communicate positive connotations that extend far beyond a mere logo. And nowhere is this more important than in property development, where instead of selling houses or blocks or land, we sell a vision and a lifestyle – something which arguably demands the highest emotional investment of all.
There is no doubting the role that a well-positioned and powerfully communicated brand plays in the purchaser’s decision making. Strong branding, aligned with an excellent customer experience, ensures the perception of the brand and underpins the vision which we, as developers, want to convey. It sets the tone for a development, communicating the desired message to potential purchasers.
When Edinburgh’s Quartermile won gold for Best Mixed-Use Development in the What House? Awards last year, it became the first development to win a three golds in this category in the awards’ 35-year history.
It was the icing on the cake for a development brand which is well-known regionally, nationally and internationally. Most importantly, it was testament to our team which has worked incredibly hard to ensure our brand, both as a location and a development company, is synonymous with excellence, expertise and enterprise.
We recognised at the outset that an outstanding brand would be key to attracting residents, investors and commercial occupiers at Quartermile. Instead of focusing heavily on individual properties, we creatively combined and communicated ’the quality’, ‘the life’ and ‘the location’ – making the most of our surroundings and successfully creating a desirable community, the place purchasers want to be a part of.
There are of course some fundamentals of branding in property development. A suitable logo, colour palette and tone of voice to name a few.
Others include a consistent approach across all marketing materials, from hoardings and sales literature to digital communications; a memorable name and positioning, befitting of the location.
However, none of these in isolation will help any of us to sell a home or a place. Instead, they must be intelligently packaged together with a cohesive strategy to showcase a vision which evokes that all-important emotional response.
Do not underestimate the power of branding in property development. Get it right, and you significantly boost your chances of engagement with potential purchasers. Get it wrong, and you can expect to fail.