The value of brand publicity2nd Apr 2017
In the growing and highly competitive landscape of property development, creating a clearly defined brand proposition supported by the right sales and marketing strategy is an essential component of any new development.
Just look at the growth along the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal and you’ll fully appreciate just how challenging it’s becoming, not only to differentiate your product offering, but also to create brand equity that will last long after the first phase of sales has been achieved. So with the traditional structures of agents and advertising as established conventions in generating that all-important sales momentum, we have to ask: does public relations have a place in the marketing mix of property development, and if so, what is its role?
Understanding the brand’s essence
Brand development and communications need to be underpinned by in-depth research into global macro trends. Fuelled with this invaluable insight, one needs to enter an immersive brand development process that not only informs the brand’s DNA, but significantly influences the layers that the brand’s proposition, identity and marketing communications are based on. Bigger picture thinking that moves beyond just a logo is what we need to aim for. Ultimately we must strive to uncover the brand’s essence, and the result of this process is a powerful set of principles that guides future brand articulation and acts as a reference point, informing even business and strategic decision-making.
Having defined what your brand stands for and what you aim to achieve, an important next step is creating an authentic identity that speaks to these principles and powerfully communicates the brand message. Aligning a creative interpretation of your development to the brand DNA translates into a synergistic expression of your product, backed with the clarity of on-point messaging framed in appropriate extensions that speak to the brand and product at every level. This depth of target market engagement is a powerful conduit through which to create a sense of place for your development. While the old adage of “location, location, location” rings true for property, it also applies to the world of brand communication. Knowing not only whom you’re speaking to, but what you’re saying − taking timing into consideration and the all-important where and how − lies at the heart of successful property development communication.
While it’s all good and well having these meaningful pieces of creativity in place, without an informed and strategically sound plan to work from, you may as well hammer your stake into the ground and hope for the best. For some, this may have worked in the past, but at the pace at which the world and our communications technology are evolving, if you don’t have a strategically considered and holistic communications strategy in place, your risk of getting lost in the mix and losing traction with your target market is significantly amplified.
To put it simply, a cohesive marketing strategy that takes into account who your audience is, the context of engagement, what you’re trying to say, and when and how you’re going to deliver your messages is absolutely fundamental. Working as a collaborative, media planning, sales and public relations form a key anchor of your marketing strategy. At its best, brand publicity creates an understanding of and relationship with a brand that is hard to beat. .
Brand publicity dynamics
I would argue that PR and eventing, often dismissed as the poor cousins of the advertising industry, remain some of the most effective communication practices in the world of marketing. Just by taking the cost per reach that a good piece of editorial can achieve, or the lasting experiential value that an event creates, it’s easy to make a convincing case that PR is alive and well, and adds considerable value to a place-making campaign.
Property development lends itself especially well to the dynamic landscape of brand publicity, for the very reason that behind every door is a compelling, newsworthy and tell-able story. Your engagement with a professional who has the skill, experience, insight and ability to open those doors of opportunity will play a pivotal role in achieving the traction and layering that a strategically based campaign can and should deliver. Woven through a phased campaign that leverages awareness creation and a strong call to action, and aligned to the principles of your brand’s DNA, brand publicity adds the depth of informing, inspiring, managing perceptions and building a brand through providing content that is of value to the media and deserving of the endorsement that comes from leading titles.
It’s not all about headlines
Going beyond the all-important goal of making headline news, PR at its best works hard to foster relationships and create a mutually beneficial dynamic with all your stakeholders. Internal relations are just as important as external communication, if not more so. Taking an inside-out approach ensures you’re all on the same page and ready to present a united brand message, no matter what your role in the organisation.
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