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Branding the “Brand”

The most common, equally valid question, of my career has been: why bring on a brand agency when I am (developer) paying for a brand name?

Over the years, I have been involved in and managed multiple new mixed-use development projects; a good portion with a luxury flag.

It has been my experience, during this time, that there are certain verities that ingeminate:

1. Every developer has the best site;
2. Developers pay for the luxury flag to operate the hotel, occasionally, with some kind of a service component for the residences;
3. The marketing fees included in the management agreements are not allocated to market or sell the condos;
4. Developers expect, in return, an additional 15-25% mark up over the premium projects in a given market.

Given these typical state-of-affairs combined with the attitudes of the (refined and worldly) affluent clientele with copious choices, today, success lies in the ability to see and communicate the bigger picture and the story-at-large; including:

1. The unique vision of the developer
2. Location as a destination for the affluent tribe, rather than a place
3. Longevity, credibility, quality of the team and the long-term promise of the project
4. The design, service and lifestyle partners that bring together an experience that is above and beyond the experience of the particular flag

In other words, how does the reputation and experience of a particular hotel flag inspire and strengthen the bigger vision for quotidian activities and standard of living. What makes a HNWI feel that this is where they want to invest, not just stay.  Perhaps we think of it in dating vs marriage terms. One may date the hottest women but chose someone totally different for the long term.

Leading hospitality branded residences share three fundamental brand lessons:

  1. Craft a singular narrative that is strongly inspired and fully informed by the hospitality brand
  2. Develop the overall story to be driven by the vision of the developer and the totality of the offering including legacy, quality, reputation, know-how of the local area, amenities, services and, of course, the location itself.
  3. Synthesize: how does the flag and the assets live together in the simplest, yet, most desirable terms