This week Myra Hotchkiss (Visiting Contributor-Freak) writes about the importance of Real Estate Developers developing a brand personality. Read on!
Branding has only entered the collective consciousness in the last twenty years. Everyone from job seekers using resumes to the services industry using instantly recognized logos to manufacturers using catch phrases brand themselves or their product. Instant recognition the world over has made Coca-Cola, Nike and FedEx the standard to which others must rise. Branding is about more than simple recognition; it’s about identification and confidence. Logos can only carry a business so far. Past that, the business needs to strike a chord in its clientele. This can best be seen in the field of real estate development. These are a group of people seldom seen, but their products are sought after. Experts agree there are specific steps real estate developers should follow to establish their brand.
Developers and Brand Association
Given that branding is about people, it would therefore follow that emotion and psychology is used to influence buyers. Think about belonging to a group of people who “just do it”, belonging to a group who only drive cars with “drivers wanted” as the slogan. Property seekers wishing to belong to a certain group often search for developments offering the value they seek. A study performed by Sunway University College in Malaysia examined how real estate developers wishing to brand themselves could use the components making up the value of real estate to engender brand association in property seekers. The study mentioned that most Malyasian people recognized instantly brands such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and Toyota, so the inference should be that they would recognize the branded real estate developer. The four components, the study reported, were images of the property, the premises, the functionality and their performance.The study said these four facets were how property buyers viewed the developer. This interview with Will Wright at White Space illustrates the study’s description of four steps in branding.
Developers and Brand Awareness
No one will deny that Toyota is a reliable brand. Nor would anyone deny that Nike is trendy or that FedEx is a leader in its field. These and other points make up what the Malaysian study calls property seekers’ brand awareness. Developers branding themselves would come up to standards that don’t come through in a simple logo:
- Attractive investment
- Leader in the field
- Technical ability
The study performed a test among buyers, the results of which showed that the property developer concentrating more on the above branding points as opposed to price garnered the majority of property seekers’ attention. From an architect’s point of view comes an article on LinkedIn, which seems to illustrate these points in the Malay study.
Developers and Brand Personality
As if all this wasn’t enough to incorporate into branding the real estate developer, he also has to worry about brand personality. How property buyers perceive the developer has a lot to do with the sale of his developments. It’s the man who knows “there’s something about an Aqua Velva man” who attracts people who identify with the attraction of a brand. On the other hand, the lady who knows it’s “because I’m worth it” attracts those who identify with the confidence of that brand. See what we mean?
Brand personality includes the tone of the brand, imagination, competence, ruggedness and class. The developer deciding his tone should be friendly and laid back should capture a certain portion of the market. This tends to be younger buyers seeking to remain in place for a while. Imagination we don’t have to tell you about. It’s the developer who can match the imagination in Lowe’s half-papered billboard with “unfinished project?” printed on it or the lady’s face with an open mouth forming the overpass into which a car is driving that will snag a goodly share of the market.
Competence is about “being in good hands” and “built like a rock”.
Competence is about “being in good hands” and “built like a rock”. While these are instantly recognizable slogans, the real estate developer that can instill confidence like that in his buyers has built a heck of a brand. Similarly, the developer that comes across as the builder of rugged developments built to last will capture a hefty portion of the market. Last, but not least, is the perception buyers will have. Shall the developer be classy like actors with an international flavor such as Sean Connery and Sophia Loren, or will he be culturally modern and pop? Some if not all of these traits in branding personality are described in an article by Sanjay Bajaj, a real estate professional in India.
Real estate professionals are one of the last groups of people to jump on the branding bandwagon. It has been previously thought that branding either real estate agents or developers was unnecessary, that grass and buildings couldn’t be branded. However, aren’t the Sears Tower in Chicago and Union Station in Washington, D. C. instantly recognizable? Someone developed those properties. Had they been branded, those developers would be just as recognized as their famous properties.
Branding is more than just a logo and a catchy jingle. It’s about identifying, about instilling confidence and about intuitively knowing what your niche needs. Contact us when you need real estate branding: don’t leave home without it.