How branding agencies get noticed by property firms - 7 steps
By Alex Blyth, Editorial Director
Brand design in the property sector has become increasingly sophisticated and effective in recent years, and the events of 2020 will accelerate the trend.
Developers have seen how brand design can help them expedite planning decisions, get community leaders on board, bring down costs, and demonstrate the value of their developments to the communities where they live. More recently, at the start of 2020 the issue for many was how to remain attractive to overseas investors post-Brexit.
And then of course the virus came and changed everything. It’s thrown the market into almost unprecedented flux: prices are surreally at an all-time high but once the stamp duty exemption ends in March city centre apartment blocks will struggle for demand while homes in the shires will need to maximise the returns they can achieve from the city escapees.
It all means that there has never been so great a need for brand design that can help developers communicate the value they offer.
A growing number of agencies are recognising this and trying to find ways to reach those developers and show how they can help with this work.
But there are a large number of agencies in this space. We know — we’ve worked with many of them over the years, helping them showcase their work in the media, articulating their points of difference, and standing out from the crowd.
Here are seven things we’ve learnt in that time. For all the agencies who are keen to make their mark in this sector at such a pivotal moment we hope there’s something helpful in here.
1. Don’t rely on the creative media. Property professionals are far more likely to read their own media, titles like Property Week, Estates Gazette, PrimeResi, London Loves Property and Infabode.
2. You need to give property media a good reason to write about a branding agency. They’re more interested in stories that are newsworthy. Whatever the idea you want to get across, give them a solid reason to run it now.
3. The property media is inundated by people talking statistics and offering graphs. Yet property is about people, and you’re more likely to get traction with publications in this space if you can offer an insight into what makes people tick. It’s not just about buildings, it’s about how people use spaces. Understanding that property is about people and places and has an emotional element means that you can take the story beyond the property media too.
4. Think through how you can offer valuable thoughts on the issues of the moment. For example, wayfinding and signage is more important in Covid-19 times. Property specialists understand how this works — it’s not about gaffer tape on floors but instilling purpose in people.
5. Get your property clients on board. If you can persuade them to talk to the media about how brand has been pivotal to their success it’s far, far more powerful than if you do it yourself. Of course, it’s not easy to do this — you need to find ways to show them how it will be useful to them too.
6. Every publication has a specific readership and every journalist has their own area to cover. If you can develop a strong understanding of who needs what, you’ll be far more able to offer valuable stories to the right people, and so build enduring, positive relationships.
7. Getting into these titles gives you a large, relevant audience as well as powerful third-party endorsement. But the agencies we’ve been able to help amplify that through their social media, email outreach and emerging tactics like webinars have seen the greatest impact. Media coverage on its own has a value but is far more effective when integrated with other marketing activities. As developers themselves become more adept at social media they’ll expect to see the same from their agencies.
Get all that right and you will get the attention of developers, and be well placed to play a role in a sector that will need brand design in the wake of COVID-19 and for many years to come.