Why It Takes More Than Just a Sexy Building to Meet Your Pro Forma in Today’s Market

Contributed by Erina Malarkey, Virtual Marketing Officer

Part 2 of 5 of our Disrupting Real Estate Series

Welcome back to our five-part series on disrupting real estate, covering hot topics in the industry right now like:

At VMO, we focus on three critical factors of every real estate project: the business goals for the asset, the brand image and experience the developer seeks to create, and the built environment where the proverbial brick and mortar comes to bear. Today we will discuss the second leg of the stool—the brand experience.

In a city like Seattle that is currently experiencing 1,000 people moving in each week, it is admittedly easy to believe that simply building a modern, appealing, Class-A multifamily, office, or mixed-use development will be sufficient.

Not anymore.

And it definitely won’t be as the inevitable, cyclical market slow-down comes in the next 12 to 24 months. Especially when you factor in today’s millennials to the equation —a unique and highly different buying class than we’ve ever experienced before—as they become tomorrow’s CEOs, leaders, and decision makers.

A building, no matter how sexy, must also have two things even more alluring and appealing: a brand image that attracts the hearts and minds of target audiences and a brand experience that visitors, users, and tenants enjoy as they interact with and become part of the asset’s community. The seemingly intangible nature of asset brand pull and value can be converted into measurable advantage and gains in the form of increased demand, higher rent rates, faster lease-up rates, better retention and loyalty, and improved staying power against all the new product continuing to be built.

A building brand should be developed with three key factors in mind: most importantly, the target audiences’ profiles, wants, and needs; the competitive set’s positioning, strengths, and weaknesses; and the asset’s key strengths and opportunities. A careful analysis of these three things will give you insight into the strongest brand positioning opportunities. The winning opportunity must be compelling to audiences, differentiating from competitors, and true to your property’s biggest advantages.

Only then will your brand be attractive, memorable, and authentic.

This positioning strategy should also translate into the marketing and physical aspects of your building—the website, broker outreach, leasing office signage, front door design, lobby FF&E, tour and move-in gift, tenant event, promotional programming, and more.

We’ve all been in buildings where a positioning strategy has resulted in a fantastic concept that infuses every single touch point, in subtle and clever ways, and you’re struck by its brilliant cohesion and willing to pay a premium for that experience. Many hotels and restaurants do this extremely well; there’s no reason why commercial office and apartment buildings can’t do this as well if not better.

By creating a one-of-a-kind brand experience you have the opportunity to take your asset to the next level, far beyond the limitations of brick and mortar and into the emotional—a key element of the buying process. But a winning brand experience is just the beginning; stay tuned for our next post about ways to make your property websites even more effective, so you can entice more prospects through your door and convert more inquiries to signed leases.

Have a topic, question, or idea you’d like covered in this series? Email erina@vmo.partners and we’ll add it to the docket.

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