Commercial real estate is highly competitive and securing investment can be challenging. Schemes need to differentiate themselves and that demands intelligent branding communicated with total clarity, writes Grant Mitchell, creative design director, Glorious Creative.
But what if you have not yet considered the importance of defining the true benefits and attributes of your project?
Branding can make a huge difference – whether you’re a start-up or looking for a multimillion-pound overseas investment, it’s key to conveying the quality of a future scheme, when it’s still in plan form.
Distinctive branding can support developments, not just in securing that first tranche of funding, but also in delivering stand-out creativity in the busiest markets. Reaching that outcome is an entirely impact-led process, one which supports the achievement of business goals and helps to build trust and confidence with development partners, investors, occupiers and buyers.
For instance, strong branding helped Cole Waterhouse secure forward-funding for their 1st Way Campus in Wembley and achieve £32m of international sales for their No1 Old Trafford scheme in Manchester. A good deal of time was spent to really understand each scheme’s attributes, the target audiences and challenge existing thinking about the development.
There is a significant commercial return to be had from investing in this immersive process which demands time and effort. But it will ultimately elevate your market position and offer a product that taps into what investors seek.
Drawing in investors
Investors want to buy into something unique that supports their ambition for growth. By utilising creative branding, the development’s benefits can be brought to life. A narrative is crafted that provides personality and communicates emotion – and these engagement elements are often lacking in property marketing. A strategically created brand will generate connection with something that’s otherwise intangible.
With No 1 Old Trafford, inspiration was taken from the architect’s vision to understand the development’s purpose, their design principles, materials and colour palettes. From this insight, bespoke symbols were created for the marketing collateral, and it’s proposed these will be integrated into the fabric of the future building, bringing the whole process full-circle.
The branding was distinctively different and finished to an exceptionally high standard – in both physical print and digital formats. It played a pivotal role in helping the client to secure investment for both schemes which are now under construction. Ultimately the brand gave investors great confidence in the potential for the development’s success.
Brands also have the power to give an investor insight into what they’ll experience working with the development team. If the brand communicates high quality and an unwavering eye for detail, then the perceived investment value will be higher. Real Estate Group, Bruntwood, CBRE, Colliers and Parklane Properties are examples of businesses that have really seen the value in this.
Building resilient brands
Arguably there’s little difference in branding aspirational consumer goods or commercial development; the same basic principles apply. Certainly, in markets like China, people clamour for high-end consumer brands just as investors want to fund high-end schemes. It’s behaviour driven by the same thinking, the same desire, the same basic aspects of human nature; with emotional connection at its heart.
Yes, cost is a significant consideration but, given the critical nature of making the first approaches to investors, branding needs to be considered as part of the overall investment, because it is so instrumental in the success of the scheme. You may want to edit the CGIs or update collateral photography as it progresses, but there’s no reason why a strategically planned brand can’t deliver returns over the development’s lifespan.
By building these solid foundations you’ll create a brand which is resilient through future phases of the development, paying dividends down the line and maximising your ROI.
First impressions count, and well-conceived and executed branding clearly flags a developer’s ability to deliver truly high-achieving opportunities to the market.
Grant Mitchell is creative design director at Glorious Creative