Branding is everywhere these days. If you can’t “just do it” (Nike), aren’t “lovin’ it” (McDonalds), or can’t “have it your way” (Burger King), you might be living under a rock.
Branding is the idea of a specific product or service that consumers connect with by identifying the name, slogan, logo or design of the company who owns the idea. Ad professionals work on branding to build brand recognition, but also to build good reputations and create a set of standards which the company should strive to maintain.
How does branding fit into the commercial real estate world? There are four fundamental levels in which brand applies to the real estate industry:
• Organizational branding
• Shell and common area branding
• Interiors and workplace branding
• Leasing and disposition branding
Let’s take a better look at organizational branding
To perform an effective job of organizational branding in commercial real estate, branding or marketing agencies need to work collaboratively with the leadership in companies to help them better understand their competitors. They also need to examine their clients and the current trends in the industry. For example, real estate professionals should look at cap rate movements, interest rates, capital stacks and more in order to clearly construct the brand.
Think of it as if you are constructing a building. Take the time to distill the key components of a company’s strategy including mission, vision positioning statement, unique selling proposition, brand values, brand personality and brand promise.
You may feel branding is unnecessary in real estate, but without this complete examination, you can’t create meaningful messaging and a visual expression that can boost your brand. Instead, you will end up with a bland, generic, undifferentiated brand from your competitors. Or even worse, a brand that is not aligned with the goals and abilities of your team.
When correctly perfected, organizational branding can drive huge spikes in the valuation of a company. Brands account for more than 30% of the stock-market value of companies in the S&P 500 index, according to Millward Brown, a market-research company and the same applies in real estate.
Branding is strategy. It is a vital way to position your company as a living business asset so your have a strong identity, are differentiated and have value.
A strong brand delivers significant returns and creates enormous value through its influence on customers (your tenants or buyers), your employees and the capital markets (private investors, REITs, banks mortgage REITs, etc.). They influence customer choice, create loyalty, can lower the cost of financing and raise valuations.
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