When they do their grocery shopping, consumers pay attention to labels and brands. Naturally, they want the best product or service for the most reasonable price, and they rely on company names to tell them what they need to know. Now, that idea may be extending not only to the store itself, but to the developers who manage the property as well.
Many real estate investment trusts (REITS) are betting that, by creating a positive brand image in the community, developers will draw more consumers to their properties. Most notably, this trend is cropping up among major mall developers, including Simon Property Group and Westfield Group.
The idea was recently outlined in Simon CEO David Simon’s annual letter to shareholders. In the March communication, Simon wrote that the ultimate goal is to deliver a better product to consumers and retailers, and to be “ready to engage with our consumer to generate more and extended visits to our properties.”
So what does that engagement look like? It’s an enticing environment, expanded services, adaptive technology and a sense of community among consumers who visit the property.
For Simon, this meant adding a “premium” label to their malls, using a consistent color scheme across properties,adding interactive directories and digital storefronts, and even launching a pilot loyalty program with perks for customers. In response, the company had a banner year in 2014, with funds from operations reaching a record level of $8.90 per share. Other developers could leverage similar tools to build positive sentiment around their projects.
In these efforts for stronger branding, many are also considering the power of social media. In fact, recent research shows that 71 percent of brands plan to invest more heavily in the format in the coming year to reach more consumers and build their reputation. By choosing the right media outlets and leveraging valuable content such as sale information or new service alerts, developers could create a following of consumers and support the overall success of their properties.
As Simon Property Group’s Global Creative Director Chidi Achara told Fortune magazine in a recent interview, “If you have this large scale a business, footprint and this many interactions, why wouldn’t you brand it?” Achara argued that over time, consumers would recognize the value in the superior experience branded developers could offer over competitors.
Intelica’s Corporate Solutions Group can help you leverage your brand to add constant and quantifiable value to your properties. Talk to us about how you can strengthen your brand, increase your revenue and lower costs with our effective management and marketing strategies.