The number one piece of advice that we could give about enhancing and protecting a development organization’s brand is as follows: know your enemy. A brand is a sum of all of the factors that your associated publics think of your organization. In this case, ‘enemy’ is quite a powerful word, but the point remains: if you don’t know who affects your brand, then you will have trouble controlling the outcome regardless of whether it is of top priority or not.
A strong, relevant building brand should be a major priority for a developer, as we have mentioned in our previous couple of posts. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you have a brand. If it is just a couple of logos and a handful of close friends who know your name, you have a brand. If you have an office and a couple of projects under your belt, you definitively have a brand.
To wrap back to our first point, we have created a shortlist of all of the groups of ‘enemies’ that can affect your brand’s outcome. By defining these risks, it will be easier for a developer to protect and enhance a brand by implementing various strategies covered more in depth in our following posts.
This is the third installment in our continuing series on brand enhancement. In this series, we cover the basics of branding, why it is so important to a developer, and how a developer can use several strategies to increase long-term business through their image.
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The first group on the list are the most pressing to a development organization – the investors. Without investments, the whole ship sinks; if you can’t get a dollar to save your life, then that leaves two options: fund the whole project yourself, or start a new line of work.
So, if you fail to return investor money, or are late and short – this affects your reputation. In the future when you are looking for investors, they will remember this fact, and as a result it will become increasingly difficult to find funding.
The flip side of this is that, with a solid, respectable brand, you will find business under every rock and behind every tree. Investors love a safe investment, and that is the ultimate goal of a developer’s brand to the investor.
Number two on our list is the governing body. It could be a municipality, could be the county – for this example we’ll just say the Man. If you anger the Man, the Man will make life very difficult for you – and we can say this with absolute certainty. Permits, minor infractions, an increase in extended reviews – these will become issues if you can even get the project off the ground in the first place.
Examples of how a developer can anger the Man are along the lines of disrupting traffic, disobeying regulations, litigation, and leaving a general mess. On the other hand, officials can be quite lenient with organizations that have a solid and reputable brand. You may find that your projects get streamlined into development faster than ever before.
If the buyer or renter isn’t happy, this affects your name. You want to please the buyer in the long run with the best product they can afford, or you risk bad publicity and potentially litigation. This point comes down to design and suiting a vision to its site and target demographic, so understand the market before you develop your value offering.
The number one forgotten threat by most developers, the community around a potential site can rally against a development organization and shut them down. If you ruin a neighborhood in the eyes of those who live there, then the public will have a negative association with your brand, the likeliness of this happening goes up. Maintaining a good image with the public means making sacrifices sometimes, but it also means that you can avoid pitfalls of a dozen separate kinds across the board.
Since you’ve gotten this far, you’re noticing a pattern of a bad brand being bad and a good brand being good. Just to throw in one bonus category, professional services whom which you may be partnering with, such as contractors, are less willing to do business with someone who has a bad name than one that has a good one – and word spreads rather quickly in their communities of who to avoid.
If you’re reading this, we doubt that you’re the type to not care about your image, but it is worth mentioning.