Experienced Project Marketer Stan Zaslavsky offers his top seven insights on how to deliver powerful campaigns for marketing off-the-plan development projects.
So you are an experienced property developer or architect. You have a great vision of what your project is going to look and feel like and then go on to implement that vision. But be warned! While vision and imagination can speak volumes, if your supporting 3D perspectives for marketing the project off-the-plan fall flat the end result will be spoiled.
So the million dollar question remains: What separates that vision of the project from a set of high quality imagery that accurately and effectively communicates this vision to the prospective buyers?
Let me show you the top seven factors to improve this gap, if not eradicate it altogether.
Certainly a high level of artistic skill is important, and that’s what makes some of the images coming out of top 3D imagery studios really stand out. However, there are still some simple basics that could make most, if not all, the difference between a photo-realistic and exciting artist impression that will sell, and a 3D image that can easily be identified as computer generated, which will largely be ineffective.
I started off in the property development industry in 2001, having come from an engineering/industrial design background. Initially my experience was gained in setting up and brokering joint ventures between land owners and professional development consultants.
This progressed through to specialising in selling and marketing mixed use residential development sites and becoming a licensed estate agent in 2004, because I felt that in order to really understand the fundamentals of the industry and be effective in my role, I needed to have the highest level of accreditation.
In 2006, an opportunity came up to work from the other perspective and learn what it takes to purchase development sites for clients. This helped me to further understand what a developer has to go through in putting together an effective development project. Spending two years as a buyer’s advocate and purchasing almost 40 projects further added to my experience of seeing what real estate professionals were doing well and not so well in marketing development projects off-the-plan.
As I was working in this field I saw a glaring hole in 3D marketing imagery that was being produced and used by some property developers. So in mid-2008 Eagle Vision Property was established to create effective marketing imagery for property developments and help developers, marketing agencies and real estate agents sell them off-the-plan.
What quickly became apparent to me was that most of the graphic design providers had a background in either architecture or graphic design. Whilst some were really good at graphics or visualising the 3D spaces, there was very little guidance provided to their clients around the marketability of the projects based on the images produced.
Most merely acted as ‘order takers,’ taking whatever the clients said as gospel without further discussion. This initial process quite often led to frustration on both sides. The client’s ideas would be relayed to the 3D designer to implement, but when the result was unsatisfactory it became a ‘back and forwards’ affair until one of two things happened. Either the visual artist eventually got the image right (which quite often took considerably longer than originally expected) or the developer ran out of time or money, and as the marketing had to be presented to the market they just went with the latest iteration of the image.
The resulting delays in the imagery creation process meant both of these scenarios created a domino effect and caused delays in delivery of print and online material which ended up costing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars – not only in lost revenue due to being late to the market, but also in accrued interest on the land holdings by the developers. This further reduced the sometimes already slim profit margins in their projects.
And it’s not that the client’s ideas and suggestions should be taken lightly or ignored. I feel the key is the 3D perspectives provider should be a specialist in marketing-oriented imagery – the key word being ‘marketing’.
By definition from Webster’s dictionary, ‘marketing’ means either (1) the act or process of buying and selling in a market, or (2) the commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer.
From the second part of this definition, the creative side of the imagery is very important. However, what is even more important is how applicable these images are to the local context. How well do they engage the target market and compel them to take further actions, namely getting a prospective purchaser to get in touch with the marketing agents to purchase the property?
What this means is that not only do pretty pictures count, but it’s even more important to have the pictures engaging and attractive to the end buyers!
Insight 1: Strike Your Target
Knowing the target market of your development and styling the project to suit is one of the main keys to success in the marketing of your project. Similarly, not recognising this principle and approaching every project marketing exercise with the same broad brush approach could be disastrous.
Just like baking a cake, you need to know what outcome you are trying to reach. Present your project with the target market identified and catered to. The demographics of a suburb and the nature of the nearby vicinity act as a great guide to how your project should be styled.
By defining your target market you will sell your project faster, as your guidelines will be clear to your suppliers and consultants.
- Style your project to satisfy the demand
- Sell your project faster
- Identify your project’s finish and fit out.
Insight 2: Be Brand Smart
In a world of grey, nondescript buildings and no-name projects, it takes creativity and smarts to make your development stand out.
What does this have to do with artist impressions? When the project has a clearly defined identity, that identity can and should be presented throughout the marketing visuals – whether it’s about embedding the name of the development in the exterior features, or putting a beautiful mosaic inside the entrance foyer.
Each building is unique. Branding is a great way to help shape its identity and make your project stand out.
- Creating a brand for your project will help it stand out in the crowd of grey and nondescript developments
- Name and style of the project create its identity
- Buyers want to identify with a project and its amenities
- Often creative architects will assist in branding the project through external finishes and features
- Having a consistent brand throughout all the marketing collateral presents a highly professional and quality presentation to prospective buyers.
Insight 3: Style Your World
Having all the information ready and picked out can create a level of realism beyond your imagination and speed up delivery. We love working with developers and marketing agents who know what they want rather than those who don’t care that much about what goes into an image. Having the developer really attached to the outcome and quality of the marketing imagery for the project, and being on top of this information, is really helpful. We know what they want and it typically makes for a beautiful set of imagery for the project as the outcome.
- Having clear expectations from the client at the outset creates the right boundaries for the imagery
- Scope of work is easily identified
- We can research and present exactly what the client wants
- Timeframes are shortened as there is no second-guessing about what goes where
- Quality of the ultimate product is at the highest level.