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Placemaking: Real Estate  Branding

Differentiate to create a sense of place.

Setting Expectations Through Real Estate Development Branding

The old adage is to be successful in real estate you need three things: location, location, location. But with placemaking and property branding you can change and control the perceived value of any location by giving it a sense of place that people want to experience.

Placemaking is a form of branding that differentiates and helps tell the story of the location to make it stand out. This can be applied to regions, cities, developments, buildings and even specific rooms. What does the words Penthouse Suite mean to you? Most people have never been in a Penthouse Suite, but they do have some idea or expectation of what it would be like to stay in one. In essence that is what place making is… setting expectations.

To successfully create a sense of place you need to first understand who your target audience is, what they value, and what will draw them to you. Second, you need to build a backstory; A brand story that communicates your brand value and key differentiation points. And finally, you have to identify what mediums to use to get your message in front of your audience.

The real advantage of placemaking and property branding is that it adds value to the property by creating a brand experience. Spaces rent faster and for more money, homes draw a higher price, and sell faster, and cities draw more visitors and have higher resident satisfaction when place making is successfully applied.

For a new housing development or apartment complex, selling needs to happen usually before construction begins. How does a potential resident know they want to live there without even seeing a home or apartment? What draws them in to want to learn more? Building a brand story that communicates a history, theme, concept, or idea of what life will be like living here is the art of place making. This story must be relatable and appropriate for the property. It’s hard to believe that the “King of Car Sales” has a small lot with a run down building, and potholes in the parking lot.

One example is a real estate development we worked on years ago. The property had been used to raise champion Quarter Horses. The owner’s named the property Savanna after the tall grass that grows naturally in the area. The backstory was about living where champions were born. The majority of the streets were named after horses, races, and expression such as champion’s court, and winners circle. These were luxury homes with a message of when you feel like a winner, you should live like a winner.

Property branding requires a deep understanding of who your target audience is, what makes the property unique, and how those two items intersect in to form a brand experience.