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ICSC RECon Recap: Sharing news from Las Vegas Print E-mail
Monday, 02 June 2014 11:37

Two weeks ago, we attended ICSC’s annual RECon event in Las Vegas. RECon is the global convention for the shopping center industry and provides huge networking and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals. With over 1 million square feet of conference space and over 33,000 attendees, we covered a lot of ground and a lot of networking. We had over 20 client meetings with clients including Vornado and New England Development and networked with several real estate professionals on future projects. A few of our clients displayed Neoscape work such as:  Federal Realty and Thor Equities.

Here’s a look at our team throughout the conference:

To close out the great week, three of our blog posts were featured on the official ICSC blog during RECon. Check out our posts from Rodrigo Lopez on luxury marketing, mixed-use marketing and why brand storytelling needs to evolve for the mobile age. We’re already looking forward to next year and other regional ICSC events.

 

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The Three Secrets to Marketing Mixed-Used Developments Successfully Print E-mail
Monday, 19 May 2014 12:16

Mixed-use real estate developments have never been more popular because of the proven success that can arise out of combining housing, retail and office space.  But they can be a challenge to market. There are often at least three distinct audiences: people who want to buy or rent a home that checks all of their boxes; shoppers who may already have a lot of choices; and business owners who must balance providing amenities with the price-per-square-foot of their office space.

The good news is it’s not impossible to market a mixed-use development well. And there are many examples of real estate companies that have succeeded. So what are the secrets to success? Here are three tactics:

1.     Be less literal with words and images. Instead of having intensely detailed marketing collateral developed for each type of space, consider approaching the project holistically so that the whole is more appealing than its parts. Think about a higher-level message that could appeal to all of the audiences. For example, at Assembly Row (the site of a former Edsel assembly plant) in Somerville, Mass., Federal Realty chose to use the word “Assemble” or “Assembly” as a key verb or noun in its messaging, while also serving as a double entendre that all of these uses are being assembled together for the greater good.  Creating films or renderings is another way to be less literal. They can be evocative about a vision or a general location, without getting caught up in the details of what an office, apartment or storefront will look like, while providing overarching branding for the site.

2.     Develop an App. Think about your poor salespeople! You have brokers trying to lease office, retail and rentals – or maybe even selling condos. Do they all know the big picture story? Each target will want to know: who is going to work/sleep/shop here? An app allows for salespeople to toggle through various stories, renderings, concepts, floor plans, providing that finer-grained detail when necessary, but also packaged in a way that connects the dots and shows the multiple layers of collateral. Having something tangible is always important in a sale.

3.    Don’t ignore the actual site, even if it’s a dirt pile. That may sound scary, but getting potential customers comfortable with a place is often the first step in making them want to go more often. Even before you break ground, this approach builds momentum through branded events such as food truck festivals, movie nights, concerts or art shows – it is essential when you have the challenge of trying to reposition an area in addition to marketing mixed-used projects.

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The Three Secrets to Marketing Mixed-Used Developments Successfully Print E-mail
Monday, 19 May 2014 12:16

Mixed-use real estate developments have never been more popular because of the proven success that can arise out of combining housing, retail and office space.  But they can be a challenge to market. There are often at least three distinct audiences: people who want to buy or rent a home that checks all of their boxes; shoppers who may already have a lot of choices; and business owners who must balance providing amenities with the price-per-square-foot of their office space.

The good news is it’s not impossible to market a mixed-use development well. And there are many examples of real estate companies that have succeeded. So what are the secrets to success? Here are three tactics:

1.     Be less literal with words and images. Instead of having intensely detailed marketing collateral developed for each type of space, consider approaching the project holistically so that the whole is more appealing than its parts. Think about a higher-level message that could appeal to all of the audiences. For example, at Assembly Row (the site of a former Edsel assembly plant) in Somerville, Mass., Federal Realty chose to use the word “Assemble” or “Assembly” as a key verb or noun in its messaging, while also serving as a double entendre that all of these uses are being assembled together for the greater good.  Creating films or renderings is another way to be less literal. They can be evocative about a vision or a general location, without getting caught up in the details of what an office, apartment or storefront will look like, while providing overarching branding for the site.

2.     Develop an App. Think about your poor salespeople! You have brokers trying to lease office, retail and rentals – or maybe even selling condos. Do they all know the big picture story? Each target will want to know: who is going to work/sleep/shop here? An app allows for salespeople to toggle through various stories, renderings, concepts, floor plans, providing that finer-grained detail when necessary, but also packaged in a way that connects the dots and shows the multiple layers of collateral. Having something tangible is always important in a sale.

3.    Don’t ignore the actual site, even if it’s a dirt pile. That may sound scary, but getting potential customers comfortable with a place is often the first step in making them want to go more often. Even before you break ground, this approach builds momentum through branded events such as food truck festivals, movie nights, concerts or art shows – it is essential when you have the challenge of trying to reposition an area in addition to marketing mixed-used projects.

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Why brand storytelling needs to evolve for the mobile age Print E-mail
Friday, 09 May 2014 09:08

The chief marketing officer of a Fortune 500 company was pleased with the company’s re-brand. There was a new logo, font and tagline, a new website and, of course, a new story about their “new and improved product.” It all looked great on the storyboards in the conference room. It even looked good on the desktop computer screens. And, yes it looked great on billboards and TV ads.

 

But something was missing. Most of their target consumers, those between 18 and 34, were eschewing television and print media, instead relying on their smart phones and tablets for, well, everything. The CMO knew this, of course, but assumed what many do: that mobile marketing simply meant ensuring the company’s website had responsive design so that the same content can be viewed on a hand-held device. She also knew that iBeacon or other forms of geo-location would help in the targeting of ads based on a user’s GPS tracking. But beyond that, she considered mobile just another platform to tell the same story.  That was a miss.

 

Storytelling fundamentals – whether for books, movies or branding — have not changed; the goal is still to engage the audience and make them care about what you are saying. But technology is enabling businesses to engage with consumers in new ways, so much so that by not considering different forms of storytelling for handheld devices, you’re leaving engagement on the table.

 

So here are some principles for storytelling in the mobile age, ones that any CMO could easily implement.

1.       Pare it down.  Every story starts with strong branding, naming, messaging and visuals, but when viewed on the smallest screen, these elements need to be simplified so as to be more clearly understood.  This might mean ensuring that photos of a place or product are crisp and uncluttered.

 

2.       Make it bite-sized. Because people using a mobile device typically are on the go and pressed for time, give them lots of content options but make it all more digestible in small time increments.  Don’t assume they want to navigate a traditional website with multiple pages.  Create layered storylines to tease them. Make them want to come back for more. Or better yet, have them ask for it, like signing up for a 30-second film series.

 

3.       Go nonlinear. Lose the typical chronological flow of a storytelling arc. A non-linear approach can add a sense of intrigue, inviting the viewer to embark on their own adventure, making the experience more interactive and exploratory. When not done well, however, this technique can create confusion. So be sure to do it right and test it.

 

4.       Require interactivity. Offer ways for the audience to become part of the story, such as a treasure hunt using GPS, real time feedback via social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and inviting others to participate in the program.

 

And before we say that this is the end of the story, we felt it was important to mention that the CMO at the top was fiction. But as the Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing once said: “There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.”

 

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3 Ways to Brand a Luxury Building Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 May 2014 08:29

Luxury is an overused marketing term, especially when it comes to real estate. Is there any property today that does not have luxury finishes or offer a luxury brand or luxury shopping experience as its core message?

When the market is saturated with the term, how does a marketer ensure that the concept is conveyed in a way that truly resonates with a potential buyer or user?  This is Neoscape’s challenge.

Here’s what luxury means to us and how we use visual narratives to brand a building as “luxury.”

1)     Multi-sensory and multi-dimensional: Luxury should not be a “one dimensional” concept.  It’s multi-sensory tactile and precise, with sensuality that evokes an emotion. Can you feel the weight of the brochure, are there different textures to show different materials used throughout the building such as the one for 680 Madison Avenue?

2)     Keep it sophisticated, yet simple: Do not try too hard. Luxury is already an exclusive category so the image or film should create an emotion of longing. It should show just enough detail to know you want it, but also allow the imagination to show your specific future in the building or space. In the Mansion on Madison film, it starts by showing the intricate details of the exterior stone building and moves into an elegant courtyard. Once inside, the neutral colors, simple mannequins and minimalism throughout the room show the possibilities of the space.

The Mansion on Madison at the New York Palace from Neoscape on Vimeo.

3)     Mobile experience: Do the materials require another medium to view the marketing assets? Is there an iPad app that explains an elaborate retail experience while reinforcing the subtle nuances that define high-end real estate? Our iPad app for Pike and Rose takes you through the explanation behind its slogan, “Retail’s most inspiring new address.”

Luxury is about the collection, mood and atmosphere. It needs to appear effortless while the level of sophistication behind the messaging cannot be rivaled. To quote one of the world’s most famous designers, Coco Chanel, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”

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Copyright © 2014. Robert Hewitt | Clemson University professor of Landscape Architecture.
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