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A lot of thought has to be put into what your development’s unique selling point is - why should people live there?

committing large sums of money in the present economic climate, so minimise the risk where possible. Offer guarantees such as ten year build warranties or pay surveyors’ fees. This also demonstrates confidence in the quality of your build.

parting with their cash. If you believe location to be

causing low sales, you may find your options more limited. However, it is worth revisiting the benefits that your location has and ensuring that these have been made clear to prospects. For example, you may be away from the amenities of the town centre, but have ample secure parking with a regular bus service passing by the door. Also, make sure that the risk

in investment in the development is low. People are particularly wary about

REPEATING THE MESSAGE One common mistake that people make in all areas of marketing, not just property, is an assumption of universal awareness - if they have carried out an extensive marketing or advertising campaign, everyone must be aware of it. But the truth is that we rarely take a message on board the first time we see or hear it, or even pay attention to what is around us. This means that a prospective buyer could walk past your development every day and not even notice it’s there. This doesn’t necessarily imply poor branding and marketing – you may simply not have done enough of it, or may have failed to focus clearly enough on your target demographic.

MATCH THE BRAND TO REALITY Ultimately, your branding and marketing is selling a lifestyle, so you need to ensure that what you are selling matches the

identity that you have created for it. For example, if creating a luxury brand, your fixtures and fittings need to be top quality – it sounds obvious, but it can be tempting to cut financial corners. Use home styling to ensure that your show home really matches what potential buyers want and presents a tantalising taste of the lifestyle that you are selling.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST - BRANDING Which finally leads me on to branding. Hopefully you will have developed a strong identity for your development; not just name and logo, but a whole lifestyle concept. Whatever that identity, whether stylish flats for young professionals, high-end luxury or spacious family living, it should permeate all your marketing materials: brochures, sales flyers, signage, advertising and the website - as well as the external and internal look of the development itself. If sales are disappointing, start

by looking at what you have done so far. Has your marketing been closely targeted? Do you have an accurate profile of prospective buyers? Have you told your target audience enough times about what you are offering? Does your development stand out from others in the area? Have you made this clear

to your target audience? You may feel confident that

you have the right branding, but it’s always worth taking a second look. Start by identifying what works well in your brand, changing only what isn’t working or has become irrelevant. Consider the points raised earlier in the article to help inform any changes that may need to be made to the brand to ensure that you are addressing the real issues - and not simply repeating past mistakes. We would rarely advise a complete rebrand unless things have gone badly wrong. Not only is it an expensive and time consuming exercise, but completely changing the identity will confuse potential buyers and lose what is good about the identity that you have created. Ultimately, rebranding or any

other work that you do to improve trade needs to firstly identify and then address the real reasons for lack of sales or you may simply be wasting time and money. The good news is that,

despite the weak economy, property is still selling. The right development, well branded and marketed to the appropriate target audience at a realistic price should always sell – even in today’s difficult economic climate. 

Buyers will be more committed

to purchase if they feel the house will be nearly maintenance free. Offering guarantees such as ten year build warranties will help convince the buyer that the house is worth investing in

30 | British Builder & Developer |

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