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Young Real Estate Buyers Respond to Thoughtful, Authentic Branding

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the thing a lot of consumer-facing tech (whether that is Uber, smart home equipment, or even a Keurig coffee machine) offers is a better way to do an old thing. Hailing taxis is a pain. Setting up a security system can be a nightmare. Brewing an entire pot of coffee if you just want one is time-consuming and wasteful. The list goes on and on. 

While this makes for a very compelling sales case, it relies in large part on consumers understanding the pain point that the tech aims to solve. Let’s say you’re a marketer working for a platform that makes commercial leasing easier. It’ll be easiest for you to develop business if your prospects have already been through the leasing process and can speak to how clumsy the process really is. 

However, that’s easier in some businesses than others. Odds are, people know how inefficient finding a taxi can be. But for tech that relates to the built environment, it’s not always as simple. Things like home purchases are huge, rare for most people, and involve a lot of emotion as well as rational decision-making. To that end, homebuying platform Reali’s new CMO, Randa McMinn, told me that the disruption from companies like Uber and Airbnb has primed people to accept disruption (and demand a better customer experience), but added that her team has “found success with second-time home buyers and sellers who see great value in our affordable and transparent model.”

In the absence of that, growing a business will likely be left up to the traditional determinants of marketing success. And indeed, the big tech standouts of today seem to be pushing hard for branding, purpose, and storytelling. For instance, Uber has rebranded several times in light of the company’s growth and internal turmoil. And Google has recently put a lot of effort into a unified branding push to tie together all of its products. 

Their efforts are backed up by the research. According to Accenture’s study of UK consumers last year, a full 74 percent say that their decision to purchase or not is influenced by “the words, values and actions of a company’s leaders.” And according to BCG, Millennials respond best to brands that are authentic. Common sense stuff, but seeing the numbers back it up is useful. 

Professionals working on marketing PropTech products and services seem to agree. For her part, Randa said that “We plan to stand out in a crowded marketplace through innovative and exceptional brand storytelling. When you’re dealing with people’s life savings and the largest transaction in one’s life, there are high emotions at stake. We need to make sure we are thoughtful, unforgettable and authentic to develop a deep emotional connection with our customers. With a complex home buying and selling process, we not only have to deliver a great product and service, but also simplify the information into a clear story and take our customers on a memorable journey that inspires them.”

While that advice comes from a platform looking to disrupt the way people buy and sell their homes, it applies to the wider world of the built environment. Every “coolest office” contender embodies branding and storytelling, visually, on every wall, piece of decor, and in the very floorplan. Branding (or perhaps the lack of good branding?) is behind the decision to name apartment buildings things like “such and such Park” or “XYZ Village”, while on the other hand it’s branding that pushes buildings like Chicago’s Aurélien to embrace a theme (in this case, gold; fitting given the property’s Gold Coast neighborhood location and high price).

There’s more than one way to build a strong brand for your business, whether you’re Google, a PropTech company, or an office owner. It isn’t something that has to be the product of big businesses, either. Within offices, building a strong brand, or rather identity, for your team can fit well into project management frameworks like Scrum. If all the world is competition, any chance to stand out should be strongly considered.

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