Can branding build better sales?

Better Homes has rebranded as it looks to position itself as the leader in the property market. Richard Abbott looks at its marketing plans

  • E-Mail
By  Richard Abbott Published  April 16, 2006

Can branding build better sales?|~|Bhome200.jpg|~|Better Homes has embarked on a comprehensive rebranding exercise. But has it worked?|~|It is hard to achieve standout in the crowded environment of the Gulf News’ property section. With Dubai and Abu Dhabi witnessing a real estate boom like no other, the supplement is packed with agents seeking to sell or let their commercial or residential buildings. Many of the ads lack any kind of creative input. But Better Homes decided that it needed to stand out and be heard above the clutter, so it has conducted a major rebranding exercise. As well as introducing a new logo, the 20-year-old Dubai-based company has set up its own publishing division, splashed its artwork all over a fleet of cars, and even commissioned bespoke face towels. Trevor Evans, director of marketing and communication, explains: “We had a perception issue. “We had the house in our logo but we didn’t have any message. There was no real brand. We needed to say something.” It’s hard to disagree. Better Homes’ old branding was a washed out blue image of a house. Sales reps carried no branding at all. Advertising was big, but bland. Hardly befitting of a company that seeks to position itself as the market leader. Evans wants Better Homes to stand out from the crowd, with brand values that are fun and colourful. So the first step was changing the logo — ditching the house logo and introducing a bold magenta. A new slogan sits across all of the company’s services, from landlord services to leasing — ‘better call Better Homes’. Corporate branding initiatives include the launch of two in-house publications, the information-led Property Listings and Better Living, which has a more consumer feel to it. It has also sponsored the Red Tape Explorer book, which is aimed at new ex-pats in Dubai. The company’s website has been revamped and it has sponsored two shows on radio station Dubai Eye 103.8. The aim, according to Evans, is to make Better Homes “top of mind” when people think of property. He says Better Homes does not have an advertising or media agency. It works with Dubai-based Matrix PR for public relations and has an in-house design agency called Medium Rare that produces its advertising copy and signage. The company plans to open a series of boutique offices with High Street-style frontages and has unveiled a fleet of 38 Volkswagen Golf cars branded with Better Homes colours. Here, the company has taken inspiration from UK estate agent Foxtons, which has a fleet of branded Minis. “I don’t believe in traditional outdoor advertising. There are much more effective ways of doing it,” says Evans. It is still early days to say how successful the rebranding has been, but Evans feels the impact is already showing. “We now receive over 230 calls a day to the call centre number. That’s nearly 5000 calls a month,” he says. “This doesn’t include all the many calls that the agents must be receiving to their mobiles directly, which we are unaware of and unable to track. “These are phenomenal results and I’m sure that if even a fraction of these leads are converted to clients for Better Homes, we are heading for absolute and complete market domination in 2006.”||**||Can branding build better sales?|~|Tabb,-Noel200.jpg|~|Noel Tabb|~|Diagnosis Noel Tabb is managing partner and executive creative director of Brandbeat, the branding consultancy division of the Promoseven Networ. The real estate industry is without doubt the most competitive and over-subscribed in the UAE. New players enter the market on a weekly basis and the industry’s media channels are more often than not cluttered and full of copycat communication messages. Needless to say, competing for market share in such a competitive arena can be a daunting challenge for any brand manager. Better Homes’ brand revitalisation is a breath of fresh air to an industry that has long been stagnant and in need of change; delivering its brands promise in a fun, colourful, meaningful and innovative way. The new colour palette of a vivid magenta contrasted with a solid corporate blue leaps out at you in the property section, while street-level signage and outdoor sets it apart from the jumble of property listings that assault us every day. Branding innovations like the new street-level retail concepts and the Better Living publication has brought Better Homes closer to its customers, allowing it to connect on a different level making the brand more accessible. The new vehicle livery not only carries the brand’s new image but through the use of dramatic, playful and eye catching graphics commands your attention and makes you smile. These sort of connections are precious and when successfully achieved create a brand affinity that will last. The new branding system is lively, vibrant, friendly, professional and approachable. Consistent application across all brand touch points has delivered an inspiring and consistent brand experience for all of its customers. In my opinion the brand team at Better Homes has been very successful in taking the first steps in re-positioning the brand as an industry leader. However, there are a few areas that need some attention. The brand promise “Better call Better Homes”. This does not really portray the brand’s multi-faceted new offering and ties it back to the old days of real estate communication. I would like to see something more emotive than a direct call to action to support their new fresh look. Advertising — the corner stones are in place (new look, promise, products, ethos etc) but have not been tied together in a cohesive advertising campaign that informs the public of their new positioning and expresses their new personality. REMEDY Avoid clutter by using colour to stand out from competitors Think of something more emotive than ‘Better call Better Homes’ as a slogan Tie together the various elements of the rebranding into a cohesive advertising campaign.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code