Buying a property in recent years has become more than simply a matter of securing a homestead. Urban professionals and well to do buyers are looking for something more than a condo with a nice view.
They are looking for a statement, a story, and something distinguishable!
Megaprojects, for the most part, provide exactly that, or at least they should. Branding has become an important aspect of any project, be it from a developer’s point of view, or a realtors. That is especially true for megaprojects.
An endeavor as large as, for example, Jianwei SOHO in Beijing can’t rely on simple newspaper ads and apartment tours to sell, they need that something extra that comes with a brand. There are several different ways to approach the branding of a megaproject, of which some can be left out or replaced, but all of them are valuable and give the project that much more as far as chances for success go. Some might be too extravagant like VR presentations, or too simple like brochures, it all depends on the market, and the target group.
Knowing your clientele
As is the case with any architectural project, you are essentially targeting a certain group of people for whom the property is being built. Knowing who these clients are, and what they are looking for, is perhaps the most important part in the process of building the brand image of a megaproject. Whether it be a high-rise complex in Beijing, or the first ever sustainable community based district in Dubai, it doesn’t matter, what matters is the lifestyle it brings with it.
When it comes to doing ones homework well in terms of the targeted clientele, the Jianewi SOHO project did an exemplary job. The developers had a clearly defined idea in terms of who they wanted to sell the properties to, and created their whole strategy around that. Their primary audience were urban professionals and mining entrepreneurs from neighboring provinces, so they decided to design office and retails spaces in a way that would appeal to those individuals. The design was minimalistic, with hints of Chinese culture and signature elements, and the fact that the properties were sold out in no time, and that the prices continue to rise to this day, speak for themselves. The architecture, setting, and décor is reminiscent of economic hubs such as New York but with a hint of originality and traditional China. They built their branding strategy around the architecture itself, and the architecture was designed for a specific group of buyers.
Marketing and choosing a medium
This is closely tied to the previously mentioned element of knowing ones clientele. Without that element it would be very hard to build a successful marketing strategy. For example, if the project is intended for upper-middle class professionals good media coverage and a few innovative solutions might be enough, but for something a bit pricier, that just wouldn’t suffice. That’s why developers have started partnering themselves with brand that are not necessarily a part of the real estate world.
Some examples of companies outside the realm of architecture, coming in and giving leverage to developers and designers, would be Versace, Bulgari, and Baccarat. While they don’t exactly have expertise in the field, their brand name serves as a guarantee of quality and prestige, which is exactly what projects for the upper classes are looking for.
Another phenomenon that has become increasingly prominent is that of star architects. Namely, have risen to a certain level of fame within the real estate world that they have earned the nickname “starchitects”. Some names worth mentioning are Frank Gehry , Richard Meier, Robert Stern , and so on.
All of this plays into the lifestyle aspect of owning an estate, and the fact that properties have become a statement in their own right.
Technology and why it’s important
Keeping up with technological advancements has become more and more important in recent years. It has maybe become hard to keep up, but many more doors have opened as well.
Amazing new developments such as Virtual Reality, 3600 videos, and holograms are beginning to change the face of real estate as we know it. Utilizing these to their fullest potential could be especially beneficial to megaprojects due to their sheer size, and the wow factor some of these new technologies provide.
Take VR for example.
It enables a designer to create an entire city block, or even more, and show it to a client in high quality before the first construction crews have even entered the building site.
From exterior, interior, view to anything that comes to mind all with the use of one of the headsets available to us, and with more to come.
This is not only convenient, but also cost efficient and far more realistic, than the conventional methods of presentation. It also shows the client that the company is quick to adapt and up to date with trends in their respective field.
Augmented Reality and 3600 videos are additions that could also be used in unique ways.
As these are relatively fresh technologies they are yet to be completely proven, but from the data available, their contributions are both inevitable and obvious.
All for one, and one for all
In branding projects such as these, no element is more important than the other. They all play an extremely important role in the success of the project, and none may be neglected or done halfheartedly.
Research, planning, and uniqueness are cornerstones of a successful megaproject, and branding strategy.
Whether or not branding a megaproject is important can hardly be debated, as there are multiple studies that have researched this very topic. A report found, for instance, that branded property had an average 34 percent value above their non-branded counterparts, although the amount of increase ranged from 5.7 percent in Jakarta, 45 percent in Puerto Rico to as high as 120 percent in locations such as Dubai (Knight Frank, “Branded Developments”, 2012).
Most numbers tend to agree to a degree with these ones, and even if they are taken with a grain of salt, they are still impressive.
Megaprojects are becoming more and more popular as the demand for what they provide increases. Our job is to tell their story to the world and bring customers experience to the next level – virtually!