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Why designers need to be 'Placemakers'.
Nov 2018

When a developer stands in the muddy field of a newly acquired site for the first time, they will be thinking about to maximise the profit level of the new development they envision and deliver quality housing. They will be considering the logistics of getting machinery and materials on site. What they probably won’t be doing is thinking about the name and concept behind the site.

This is the story that two or three years down the line is going to help create an aspirational lifestyle that will make potential buyers want to live in the new development and sell the homes. Because if you don’t get the brand positioning right when it comes to marketing, then all the hard work that has gone into building the development will be wasted.

Clearly the quality and specification of the build are the elements that are going to sell these homes. But how do you get the right people through the door (pardon the pun) in the first place?

A good property marketer is a skilled ‘placemaker’. They look for the unique story behind a site and create a destination that people want to live in. Something that makes the brand relevant to the target market. Where some might see that muddy field and bricks and mortar, an effective marketer will see a new community forming and a lifestyle to aspire to.

Before you start designing any sort of marketing you need to spend some time on the site. You need to consider the development, the type of buyer the properties are likely to attract and create a concept to match. Who will want to live there? Is it single professionals or country-loving families? What are the unique selling points to consider – is it the locality to the train station or the closeness to the sea? There is a huge amount of work to be done behind the scenes before you even start putting pen to pad and designing anything.

The positioning of any brand, be it property or otherwise, is absolutely key. When we initially visited Roebuck Park for Rectory Homes, we first look at the main USP’s of the scheme, whether it be its beautiful location, the history of the area or architectural design of the product itself. Once this has been identified we can start to think about our target market and how we can engage them.

Successful brand positioning in today’s complicated and rapidly changing business environment is challenging. How you best communicate your product/service to your target audience is based on their needs, your competition, available channels of communication and the use of eye-catching design and carefully crafted key messages. The marketing and design need to work hard to achieve this to come up something unique that really works.

Creativity is great, but if it isn’t combined with a high level of commercial insight and experience then its designing for design sake. You’ve got to trust your marketing and design team to know how to position your site in the right way to turn marketing into sales. Otherwise, what’s the point? Marketing needs to sell.

Plain and simple.

Nick Street – Creative Director, We are Fred

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