This past month, OZ Architecture Associate Principal Abigail Plonkey shared her expertise in real estate branding and marketing with an audience of residential developers, land planners and representatives from both boutique and master-planned communities.
Abbey began by dispelling a few myths. “People immediately think that branding means a logo,” she says. “When in reality, it’s so much more than that.” Abbey went on to quote Marty Neumeier: “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization.” A brand is an experience, she said, and we as humans respond to brands with emotion. Brand DNA, just like human DNA, defines unique attributes and characteristics of a brand.
There are many reasons for branding when it comes to real estate development, including:
Setting yourself apart
Being different from the competition (not just for the sake of being different), especially in a real estate market, will help you stand out from the crowd, know what and whom you’re up against, and define your offerings in a tough competitive landscape.
Knowing who you are
Knowing your brand will help define your look and feel, what you call yourself, and how you describe your offerings — as well as why it matters.
Creating a sense of place
A unique brand gives a development a heartbeat, sets the tone of the experience, helps attract and retain the right tenants and leads to community engagement.
Achieving a strong return
The return on investment (ROI) in branding can often lead to city approval and community buy-in, investor support, and attracting the anchor tenant. Ultimately it can lead to selling out, getting people to your site and keeping them coming back.
At OZ, we know that good branding is an art, but it also relies on research, strategy and positioning. Good branding is understanding the end user and their psychographics—that is, who the audience is, what they like, what they dislike, where they like to shop, and which other brands they align with. It’s about starting early in the game; branding should start with the kick-off and run simultaneously with the design process. It sets the foundation and defines a roadmap for all future decisions. “It takes a village,” Abbey says, “and a good brand comes from a collaborative approach by the entire team: design, ownership, and all the stakeholders on the project, with input from the community.”
The OZ Architecture Brand Philosophy
OZ Architecture offers client-focused branding services with the philosophy that brand design is more than just your logo or brochure, but rather the three-dimensional experience of your brand and its promise. Driven by cross-discipline perspective, branding considers all aspects of the brand, creating a relevant integration between experience, environment and business. The brand expression can also be conveyed through environmental graphics, signage and wayfinding, print and web communications, brand standards and prototype design.
At OZ Architecture, we are storytellers, graphic designers, visionaries. We bring ideas to life using words and images. We develop brand strategies and framework from which we build the brand’s DNA through naming, identity and visual systems. By collaborating with our clients, we bring brands to life.
Learn more about what we do for our clients at ozarch.com/about/services.