What matters when branding new property developments?

by Thompson Brand Partners

Creative Review asked Thompson, Music, SomeOne and dn&co what we saw as the big challenges in branding new property developments and how to approach them.

In the words of our own Nick Ramshaw, “to market something that does not yet exist.…we need to create the impression of what is coming, before it is there.”

Here are our highlights and some bonus, additional thoughts from Nick. You can find a link to the full Creative Review article here – it requires you to register with the website to access.

What are the key considerations when you’re crafting an identity for a new development?

We start with the obvious. Who is the target audience? Is it commercial or residential? What is the competition? How should the development be positioned in the market? What is different about the development? What will motivate the target audience to buy/let?

What does a brand identity for a new development need to do?

For marketing purposes, the identity needs to bring the proposition to life. Sounds simple, but often isn’t. If successful, the identity needs to compel the target audience to be interested and to hopefully buy-in to the development. The tone of the visuals and language need to appeal to the specific audience rather than have generic appeal.

In an often congested marketplace, standout is essential. Standout can come from the design of the development itself, the features and benefits is offers, the location and the identity. Too many identities follow well-trodden paths, which is often a result of design agencies specialising in property work. The agencies re-cycle the same old ideas and fail to create genuinely distinctive identities.

  • Above: An example of our work on the identity for Kirkstall Forge, Leeds.

    What are the most challenging aspects of working on brand identities for new developments?

    The biggest challenge is getting the tone and feel right. Developing a big idea as the root of the identity rather than just employing a visual style. This idea needs to come from the heart of the proposition and the essence of the brand, but it also needs to be something that will motivate the audience. We address this by fully understanding the audience and what will convert them to a buyer.

    We’ve seen quite a few identities for new shops/housing/office spaces that are inspired by the history of the local area…Do you think this is becoming more popular?

    The use of heritage has always been a popular hook for designers. Whether this is for type, names or imagery inspired by the past, it provides a recognizable basis for the identity. When the back story is strong and fits with the development concept, it can be used to position a development in a particular way.

    The downside of using a back story about history is that it can lead to more generic identities. The stories need to be distinctive to create difference, and many history episodes are too familiar to achieve this. History can also create a conflict if the development is technologically advanced.

    Read the full article here, for more opinions including how trends could put you in peril, why more and more development land is being used as event spaces before building even starts and the importance of tone of voice.

  • Above: Bringing the brand to life for Kirkstall Forge, Leeds.

    Read more about our work to this brand new neighbourhood here

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