Selling a new way of working
Variety is the spice of life, and here at Bandstand we work with brands across sectors from telecoms to fashion. So when I was asked to speak to property professionals at a recent Profile Networks event, it was a rare chance to reflect on how we approach our work for clients in the commercial property sector.
Property marketing has evolved significantly in the past decade. Time was, a standard brochure and website contained limited, descriptive content. Today, new channels and technologies have impacted on the way we talk about property. Even more significantly, the way we work is fundamentally changing, as collaboration and the flow of ideas become more highly valued. As a result of these changes, there are three key ideas that drive the way we create brands and campaigns.
When WARC analysed the world’s top 100 campaigns for 2015, it found that emotional appeals are increasingly used as a way to drive engagement. Emotion is always a powerful place to start with creative – and this applies to any sector. When we’re appealing to emotion, good storytelling is crucial. Neuroscience confirms what artists and writers have always known – if you convey information using narrative, people are more likely to emotionally connect with it and remember the details. We call it ‘the goosebumps effect’.
So how do we go about building a memorable story? By putting our audience at the heart of it, and making them the hero. Nike’s ‘Just do it’, now over a quarter of a century old, is a story told in just three words. It’s the simplest story there is – hero vanquishes monster. In Nike’s case, the ‘hero’ is us, and the ‘monster’ is whatever’s stopping us getting off the sofa and going for a run.
In the commercial property sector, good storytelling means looking beyond just selling space. We’re selling visionary leadership, growth, potential, status, reputation and more. Importantly, we’re also telling different stories to different people – whether that’s the COO, sustainability officer, CFO or Director of HR.
Popularised by Google, ‘micro-moments’ has emerged as one of WARC and Deloitte Digital’s key marketing trends for 2016. The corporate website has become less important – traffic is down. People now experience brands in environments they trust, like their favourite social media platforms. For example, you’re probably reading this via LinkedIn Pulse, rather than on our website.
This shift has led to a growing interest in micro-moments – our ability to put the right message in front of our audience at the right time. Micro-moments primarily relates to consumer marketing, but it also has powerful implications for the property sector: how can we get useful, more relevant content to the people that need it, when they need it?
Our work for 70 Wilson, a groundbreaking low-carbon building in central London, is a good example. We identified a knowledge gap with agents that meant they weren’t able to confidently on-sell the benefits of low carbon to potential occupiers – our campaign armed them with the knowledge they needed, when they needed it.
Steve Jobs famously defined creativity as ‘connecting things’. As marketers, we aim to create new connections before our audiences do. We observe business trends, and relate these to our audience. Insights and information drawn from different sources can result in better campaigns: we’re not just talking to our audience as customers – we’re talking to them as people, with families, value systems and lives outside of work.
Key connections we’ve been making lately include the move from fixed to fluid… particularly the trend toward agile working, or activity-based working. By understanding this shift, we can respond to it in meaningful ways, and help businesses face the future with confidence.
We’ve also been investigating the growing connections between corporations and the personal, intrinsic values of the people who work for them. By understanding the connections between, for example, office environments and attitudes toward sustainability, or on-site facilities and employee wellbeing, we can show businesses how their choice of workplace affects their ability to attract and retain top talent.
A good example of connection is our campaign for 20 Eastbourne Terrace, one of Land Securities’ key Paddington properties. We explored the connections between modern, regenerated Paddington and the area’s rich heritage of innovation. This connected thinking formed the basis of our creative strategy: Paddington is London’s home for innovative business.