Many perceive branding something only for fast-moving consumer goods, such as noodles, detergents or shampoo. Sadly, it seems exclusively built only on advertising and other mass-based promotions. This is a myopic notion of branding.
Looking at the core meaning of this discipline, branding is very crucial to all products or services, especially those that require millions in investment. This is especially true in the real estate industry.
Branding is a commitment that any company or service provider builds over time. It is more than advertising and nice words — it is a continuing experience.
Positively recovering from the recent threat of global economic meltdown, the Philippine real estate market is poised to brush off the dust and dominate the skyline once again. The environment is seen to experience a déjà vu of the highly competitive scenario just before the dip of last year.
Rising from the rubble, property developers and marketers are required to fight back, armed with the necessary tools to stand on solid ground. Previous mistakes and deficiencies should be corrected while the strongest and best practices should be enhanced.
Like precious metals tested in fire, the recent economic challenge should be able to provide us the purest insights on how to tackle the new market order.
Developers’ view of doing business should be reconsidered given changing market behavior, global practices, and most specially, environmental concerns. Building with brick and mortar is no longer enough. Developing projects with relevant value is a must today.
Value is of utmost importance as a brand promise for property developers. It should be a pact written in stone.
Enough with location, location, location. In the past, property developers relied mostly on the product’s location or physical attributes to sell. We build a better mousetrap and expect people to rush and buy it. But this is no longer the case. Current consumer trends prove that property hunters – investors and end-users alike – are more intelligent, more discriminating, and keener on the value that they get for every centavo that they spend.
“Creating value starts with adding value to people’s lives whether by offering them a better home, a better community, better facilities, a better investment, or simply a better business opportunity,” writes Jean Claude Saade in his article on real estate branding posted in brandchannel.com. He is a brand strategist who lives and works in Dubai, where mega developments have recently begun to sprout like mushroom in the desert.
Building a brand is like building concrete structures. It goes through a careful process of integrating value in every aspect of planning, implementing and controlling. And much like these tangible structures, brands – and the values they represent — need proper maintenance and management, too.
The value that matters to the market should be a crucial part of the blueprint in designing, promoting and selling, and maintaining the project.
Branding is a pact of forever. Unlike the FMCG industry, real estate developments require millions of investment. People live in these developments almost their whole lifetime and these may even be passed on to the next generation. Unlike consumer goods, these condominiums, subdivisions or commercial complexes live longer and become more dynamic and thriving in the long run.
Since the trend of pre-selling properties is the mode of doing real estate business today, it is crucial that developers consider the long-term benefits of branding. Buyers rely on the conceptual representation of the project as they part with their hard-earned bucks, and this translates to doing business as a matter of trust.
This is why building a reputable brand name and personality is very important in the real estate industry. It is the long-term trust of the market that nails the buyers to invest in the property development being offered. Reputable brands amount to a sturdy foundation that supports the whole business structure.
Branding creates an identifiable, transferable representation of the company and the projects they build. Given the high risks in investing in a property, consumers tend to compare, check and double check on the developers of the projects they consider buying.
Track record is very important to the buyers since this determines the security in their investments. They check whether these developers deliver their projects according to their promise — turnover date, finishes, amenities, services, and so on. They perceive this as an indicator of whether the developer can keep their promise on their current or future projects that they invest in.
The most successful local developers have managed to create a strong brand through a string of successful projects that they may leverage on in marketing their new and upcoming developments. They do not rely only on mass-based advertising and promotion efforts but on strategic brand management to take a strong hold of the lion’s share.
At the end of the day, what strong real estate branding provides is a better leverage in the future in whatever business environment. It is not necessarily tangible but its value amounts to sure and secure investment to a sustainable business today and in the future.