Real Estate Branding

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, believes, “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well”. Therefore, one can reason that a company earns a respectable brand by succeeding in great tasks. However, while product quality is important, companies must use unique marketing strategies to masterfully construct a recognisable brand. Imagine walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Sainsbury’s Basic Cornflakes are priced at £0.45 while Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are £2.00. The cereals contain identical ingredients, but the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are priced 1.65 more than Sainsbury’s option because the consumer is purchasing the Kellogg’s brand. Purchasing the brand includes paying for their unique tactics, such as marketing, advertising and packaging.  Branding is increasingly vital for a company’s survival in the marketplace as the influx of competing products of equal quality rises and global products are easily accessible. Simon Clift, the former Chief Marketing Officer of Unilever, says that a brand is a series of contracts between a company and its consumers. Furthermore, branding is not exclusively tools to boost large corporations, but is useful for small businesses too. A business’s brand is its promise of what consumers can expect from the business’s products and services, differentiating this business from its competitors. Entrepreneur states, “Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be”. Social media has altered how consumers perceive brands. Oreo is known for creative social marketing and branding. When the brand turned 100 years old, they utilised their Facebook page to release 100 new Oreo designs for the next 100 days – the first design was a seven-layer rainbow cookie in support of gay pride. As a result of the campaign, Oreo gained over 231 million media impressions from over 2,600 articles, increased their Facebook engagement by 195 per cent and increased their share rate by 280 per cent. Oreo’s 2014 social media campaign, Wonderfilled, utilizes catchy 30-second videos displaying what happens when people get their hands on these moreish cookies. The videos target different audience demographics by featuring hip hop artists, country singers and an adorable little girl with her dad. Additionally, Oreo has 10-second video clips, ‘Snack Hacks’ that demonstrate inventive ways to enjoy Oreos. These shorts can be shared on Vine, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. However, social media can all-too-easily taint a company’s brand. The cookery website Epicurious used the Boston Marathon bombing as a Twitter promotional tool by posting tweets such as, “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!” Branding is focusing on what consumers are thinking and saying about a brand, not solely on quality or price, but the whole picture. This is a goal for Tracy De Groose, the UK CEO for media, digital and communications powerhouse Dentsu Aegis Network. Dentsu Aegis has recently acquired social media management agency Tempero in reaction to brands utilizing social media to manage global brand personas. As our last post mentioned, thinking global and acting local are vital for international businesses. Branding is a significant tool in creating a successful global brand. Tempero has over 160 professionals and strategists that will integrate into Dentru Aegnis. Tempero’s expertise in community management and engagement will strengthen the Dentru Aegnis’s branding development strategies. The Atlantic confirms that the UK has been at the forefront of branding strategy through social media and emotional appeal. This is a major reason why Dentsu Aegnis, a Japanese agency, has chosen its London-based firm as their “centre for excellence” in social media made possible by the Tempero acquisition. De Groose emphasises the importance of using digital and social media to highlight business value, stating “A lot of the time we think of social media as the likes of Twitter and Facebook when actually it’s so much more fundamental than that. It goes beyond platforms. They just help us get there. Maybe it’s time the label social media was changed”. Branding and real estate are not usually combined, but that needs to change. RE/MAX and CBRE are depicted as established, trustworthy global corporations. RE/MAX Canada has enhanced its branding by launching their BeYourCareer campaign. The campaign targets real estate professionals to boost their careers with the company’s unique benefits. Understandably though, most real estate firms and developers don’t possess the branding cache of the products they sell. However, shopping centre real estate giant, Westfield has mastered the power of creating a discernable brand of shopping centres. Westfield centres worldwide are referred to as ‘Westfield’s’, like a vacuum referred to as a ‘Hoover’ or facial tissue as ‘Kleenex’. Peter Lowy, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Westfield malls, states, “We did what others didn’t think you can do, which is to brand malls”. Westfield has created a distinctive visual identity that underpins their brand personality of a luxurious, desirable and contemporary hub for fashion and leisure. The visual image adjusts based on trends and seasons, but the underlying Westfield brand personality, that communicates the company’s values and objectives, remains intact. Most importantly, Westfield maintains a cohesive brand worldwide. Every centre portrays Westfield’s foundational characteristics because Westfield created a consistent, in-depth brand guideline document that is implemented in marketing and communications worldwide. Westfield creatively uses specific social media platforms to target desirable demographics. For instance, In 2011 Westfield Australia selected 23-year-old Gold Coast native, Alyce Cowell, as the Westfield Insider on their Youtube channel and Facebook page. Cowell acts a trustworthy information source for consumers while encouraging conversations on conversations about shopping, smart buys and fashion and lifestyle news. In 2013, Westfield launched a profile on the popular Chinese social media network, Sina Weibo, in order to engage with potential Chinese shopping visitors to the UK, USA, and Australia. During the first six months of the launch, Chinese visitors to The Village in Westfield London increased by 20 per cent and Chinese shoppers’ spending increased by 60 per cent at Westfield Stratford. Westfield Group’s Marketing Manager John Batistich recognizes that, “Digital marketing is essential to Westfield marketing”. Tracy De Groose, the UK CEO of Dentsu Aegis, insists, “Brands need to stop treating social media like a channel”. Westfield Group recognizes that social media attracts consumers, but is not the end game. Westfield is incorporating the digital experience in their centres to create a unique involvement with their brand. Westfield Stratford promoted Pharrell Williams’ new album, GIRL, through a physical installation that interacted with newby consumers through push messages. Visitors that followed the message were led to the installation to entre the letter I in GIRL, rewarded with exclusive access to Williams’ newest music video, song track and links to purchase the tracks. In one weekend, over 1,000 people interacted with the installation.   Taylore Hunt Account Executive

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