As a design and branding agency, we get a close-up view of today’s cluttered marketplace, and the fierce, ongoing competition for the attention of an overly saturated consumer. Nowhere is this more visible than in Nashville’s exploding housing construction market.
Apartment complexes are springing up like weeds, and new housing developments continue to fan out across the ‘burbs in every direction. In this, the very definition of a hyper-competitive market, we see the power of branding, and the downside of not branding, in stark relief.
Historically, the real estate/development community has been slow to come around to the importance of branding, but that has changed as the market has heated up. Working on two recent branding projects – one a large apartment community and the other a cutting-edge neighborhood development – we got an in-depth look at the Nashville market, and witnessed the impact strategic branding can have on the appeal and the success of a particular property.
Stephanie Darden, whose Orlando-based agency, Prismatic, has focused on the real estate industry, has seen branding take on an increasingly vital role.
“In the development industry, branding is even more crucial to the success of a project,” Darden said in an interview with Urban Land magazine. “It helps us define a piece of land, a building, a vision – as a place. Branding formulates the story of what makes that project different and identifiable – ultimately magnetic – to audiences.”
Timing is everything, and Darden stresses the importance of beginning the branding process long before the first shovel breaks ground.
“The beautiful thing about branding early is that you begin to lay the foundation for a community to identify with and relate to your project,” she says. “Branding helps the general public get to know the personality and promise of their new burgeoning neighbor, and the side effects include public support.”
Over the past decade, property branding has evolved from an afterthought to an essential step in the development process, and today’s savvy builders and developers know that, like the structures they create, a project is only as strong as its foundation.