January 30, 2015

Building Brands

In a highly competitive condominium market, such as Toronto, the use of branding as a means of project identification has become increasingly important, if not vital, to the ultimate success of the development.

Many people believe that a brand is simply a catchy name and a unique logo and yes, that is part of it, but what the brand of a new condominium, or rental property, really constitutes is the total package of its offering; location, architecture, interior design, finishes, features, amenities, price, and the credibility of the builder; what their values are, what they stand for and believe in.

The first step in developing a successful brand for a building, or for that matter just about any product or service, is to know your market. The old axiom, “if you build it, they will come,” is no longer relevant. Today you have to know just about everything about the people you want to reach, their plans, dreams, aspirations, ambitions, and the requisite demographic, psychographic, and economic data. A particular location may be the touch point for the decision to buy, as may be one or all of the developments’ other brand attributes.

A successful brand is also of vital importance to the investor market. Those people who buy with the intention of renting will find it easier and, possibly, financially advantageous, to purchase in a building that has been successfully branded.

Giving the brand an identity and personality is what we do for a living. With words and pictures we translate and communicate the appropriate brand attributes of the development to the markets we are targeting. The process starts with a strategic plan and then the work and fun begins.

It’s a process that starts with selecting a name. Is it simply the building’s address or is it something else? If it’s a new name, is it a name that has relevance to the market we’re trying to reach? Does it speak to something that’s distinctive to the site or the building? Does it speak to location? Is it unique? Is it memorable? Does it resonate with the people who want to buy and/or live there? Does it have a proprietary value, for the developer or the purchaser?

Next step is determining the personality of the development, the words and pictures that breathe life into the brand. This is the storytelling that captures the essence of the brand.

This story may begin with a positioning line or a visual hook which is expanded and built upon. It may be something that someone said in a meeting… everything about bringing a development to market is a highly collaborative affair. It may be hours of creative thinking and refinement. It may be a flash of inspiration. There may always be more than one approach but there’s always only one best approach.

The final step is putting it all together in a cohesive, unified package that is consistent with the brand, its attributes and personality. A comprehensive program that connects at every consumer touch point from advertising, both traditional and on-line, to signage, brochures, collateral materials, sales centre design and merchandising, the selling experience itself and follow up.

We believe that creativity is the only competitive advantage. This applies to everything relating to a brand’s attributes from the initial site selection, to all elements of the development process, to the moment the project is sold and occupied.

Lawrence Ayliffe, Chairman/CCO
L.A. Inc.

This article originally appeared in the October 11, 2014 issue of New Condo Guide.

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