I would say 10 years ago when the UK was gripped by the property boom and prices were through the roof, the relevance that brand played on selling or developing a property had little significance. The value of property was solely determined by the cost per square foot. While this still applies today, the property sector has woken up to the fact that brand does play a fundamental role in marketing a property and getting a little more uplift.

The perception of property has changed

Where developers have really changed their tact is that they are connecting residences with lifestyle and luxury. This was previously done through location. Desirable locations commanded a price premium and while the property wouldn’t necessarily shout out luxury the surrounding area would.

A brand really comes to life when you can take a business or in this case a property development, beyond what it is they functionally offer. That the value they transfer to someone is psychological and non-tangible. The impression they create in the mind of a consumer. Certain industries have been playing this game for many years. A fine example being the automotive industry where owning a car has gone beyond being a form of transportation but a symbol of status, one that imparts a non-verbal expression of one’s own self.

Lacking imagination

What we are typically seeing with property branding is an overuse of foil blocking techniques in brochures, which is seen to impart quality, the use of abstract shapes to form a logo. Having a logo for a property was never heard of before. Property developments are now being given names, just like brands are, and their identities might be accompanied with their own website and 3D video.  This has moved on a long way the look is much more contemporary and designer.

The trouble with this is that this angle of luxury and lifestyle is so overplayed that it has become a cliché and boring. Take another example the fashion industry, this has a followed a similar path where maybe 40 years ago the argument was made by brands to wear their clothes would impart a sense of luxury or being cool. Now these arguments are more diverse and developed. Alexander McQueen stands for young, British and leftfield, or a Hugo Boss is corporate cool, and American. These brands have taken on more complex associations to seduce. This is the next step that the property market has to take.

Watch this space

What the property sector has done is come a very long way in a short time in pushing brand and emotive communication to sell their developments.  What they have to do now is build more interesting associations to push this game further. While property remains a hot topic not just in the UK but globally I would expect to see smarter and more creative brand techniques applied to this market.