Developing an edge

The tools you need to be a leading developer brand

28 October 2022

Winkreative’s Perspectives series shares our view on brand and business – the changing audiences, emerging trends and timeless tactics you need to understand to stand out from the crowd. In this article, we share six actions developer brands can take to put them at the top of the category.

A growing global population. A finite amount of space. A collective desire for community, wellbeing and a better quality of life. More than ever, the world needs good developer brands. But with so many brands already in a cluttered category, how do you stand out from the crowd – and what does it take to lead the pack?

Many of the principles that leading developer brands follow transcend the sector. Almost all leading brands, regardless of category, pursue a higher purpose beyond profit and use it to drive their actions. They have a clear sense of who they are – brands who have taken the time to define how they want to be seen and perceived in people’s minds, and built their visual and verbal identity from a solid foundation. They put customers at the heart of their business, share their opinions with the world, and take inspiration from others – but know that copycat products, services and experiences lead to stagnation and irrelevance.

Regardless of region, leading developer brands build places that change mindsets, shift perceptions, achieve global relevance and become benchmarks.

So, what are some category-specific actions a developer brand can take to push them to the top?

Place before property

Leading developer brands prioritise creating places – the sum of buildings, businesses, people, nature and all the spaces and activities between – before property sales. It’s a holistic approach that contributes to the longevity and liveability of a project, where every element is considered to benefit the people in and around the development.

Bringing people together

Go beyond simply building spaces. Enable communities to thrive by defining and nurturing a set of activities, attitudes, interests and behaviours within your places.

We like how Argent has regenerated King’s Cross. The area, formerly home to derelict buildings and a wealth of underused space, now draws a mix of art and fashion students, moneyed bankers, architecture fans and discerning tourists.

Leading developer brands prioritise creating places – the sum of buildings, businesses, people, nature and all the spaces and activities between – before property sales.

Plan every detail

Leading developer brands set out a clear and fine-grained vision for their projects – and collaborate with others to promote the policies, programming, industries, businesses and entrepreneurs that will lead to a self-sustaining place.

Mixing it up

Vibrancy is a product of variety – of scale, structure, use, retail mix and programming. Aim for diversity in your places and across your projects to give residents, visitors and all stakeholders a more interesting relationship with your brand.

We like how lifestyle brand operator K11 embraces the eclectic with its creative approach to design and programming. Positioned as an ‘art playground’, K11 collects pieces and sponsors a varied spread of artists, then incorporates their work into shopping, leisure and living experiences. The result is a portfolio of places full of surprises, from the joyful museum retail concept of K11 Musea to the fine-art luxury of their K11 Arthus residences.

Changing roles

Leading developer brands know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to placemaking. They know when to let their masterbrand take centre stage, and when to stay in the background and let the individual brands within their portfolio lead.

We like how Mori Building, a client of Winkreative’s, mixes up the prominence of its masterbrand across its Toranomon Hills and Roppongi Hills integrated developments in Tokyo.

Everywhere is a canvas

The best developer brands create signatures and signifiers within their places and environments – think approaches to landscaping, materiality, or wayfinding – that ensure the brand is present and felt even without its name, logotype or colours.

We like how Swire Properties deploys a natural and tactile approach to materiality across its many commercial office, hospitality and retail projects, for example with Temple House in Chengdu.

The ideas we’ve shared here are just the start. To find out how Winkreative can help you become a leading developer brand, or to get bespoke solutions for specific problems, get in touch with our Business Director, Tom: [email protected].