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6 ways to brand your property

March 11, 2019

By Krista Bourque

Branding can help create an emotional connection to a place

Buildings, like people and products, need personalities. Every property has occupants that choose to live there, do business there, or welcome guests there. Just like the clothes we wear, the places where we choose to live and work are extensions of our own identity. So, whether it’s a residential tower in the urban core, an up & coming neighborhood on the edge of town, or a corporate office in the burbs, prospective occupants need a quick way to relate. That’s where a brand comes in.

125 Summer St., Boston, MA.

Our team works alongside architects, urban planners, and interior designers to collectively create distinct and memorable brands for built spaces. Here are six things we’ve learned while creating brands for properties that work.

1. Understand what an effective brand is, and what it isn’t

Back in the day, people thought of a brand as a logo: the Nike Swoosh, for example, or a color palette for everything from T-shirts to accent walls. Today, we know that a brand is much more than that. It’s an emotional association. And what people feel about you is a culmination of every interaction they’ve ever had with you. In real estate branding, the architecture and design of any space is paramount. But brand is also in the details—in the entry signage, the property name and website, the music in the lobby, the retail offerings at the street level, and even the way guests are greeted.

2. Brand early, brand often

In real estate, a brand can inform everything from how amenity spaces are programmed to what they’re called and how they look. Ideally, clients bring my branding team in very early, often in tandem with the interior design. That way, the team has time to create a collective vision. Once the vision is in place, it’s all about the execution. Every step of the way, we’re using the brand strategy as a benchmark to make sure all stakeholders are working towards a shared vision.

Branding for The Andi.

3. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

We begin our process by understanding who our brand should be speaking to. All those prospective tenants, residents, neighborhood interest groups, and city counselors are our friends. And we want to know much more about them than just their age and occupation. Gone are the days when people are grouped with clichés such as soccer moms or millennials. People are more complex than that. Today, we want to know what motivates our audience, how they define success, and how our property can make their lives easier or advance their goals. Likewise, every property has competitors. Get to know yours—their strengths and their challenges. Of course, we’re never looking to undermine other properties (they’re not really our enemies!), but we are always looking to differentiate ours from the pack. We can’t even begin to do that unless we know the pack we’re running with.

Just like the clothes we wear, the places where we choose to live and work are extensions of our own identity.

4. Like mom always said: “Just be yourself”

People crave authenticity—and they're not easily fooled. A contrived brand does nothing to help your cause. The strongest brands are built on a nuanced understanding of how a particular property is unique and why those unique features will serve your audience on a daily basis. The best brands are reality-based.

5. Know your superpower

Everyone has a super power. That one thing that makes you a force. For Wonder Woman, it’s her Lasso of Truth. For Steve Jobs, it was an exceptional understanding of how people relate to technology. For a property, maybe it’s a roof deck with killer view, a flexible floor plate that accommodates a specific type of work style, or a location that sets occupants exactly where they want to be. Whatever yours is, know it and own it. 

6. Every pixel matters

In residential real estate, 70% of the renter’s mind is made up before he or she even talks to a leasing agent. That means your website, your ad campaign, and your signage (everything that a person lays their eyes on before they enter the building) is critical in communicating the brand. A sophisticated graphic identity is the difference between a prospect picking up the phone or going back to their search results.

  • Krista Bourque

    A creative director and brand strategist, Krista’s expertise crosses many sectors from residential projects to commercial properties and mixed-use neighborhoods.

    Contact Krista
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