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It’s a real pleasure to be able to get back to blogging and (re)joining the social media space… It’s a place I’ve grown to enjoy. And, what makes this evening’s blog post a little more enjoyable is that I am firmly ensconced in my new living room, looking out to one of the most stunning new condo buildings gracing the Mississauga (Ontario) skyline and a sea of lights against the night sky. On a clear day (doesn’t even have to be that clear), I can see the Niagara Escarpment. We just moved back to Mississauga’s City Centre, and I must admit – we love it!

So, what does any of that have to do with marketing and branding? Well, what I discovered on my journey to move back to condo living is that real estate for condos (and overall) marketing and branding has got to be an amazingly fun, creative gig! Check some of these out (focused on the Toronto, Ontario area – only because that’s where I live):

Merci, Le Condominium (Daniels’ Corporation)
Ice Condominiums (Lanterra Developments & Cadillac Fairview)
California Condominiums (Camrost Developments)

Here’s where I get a little hiccup… This is about someone’s home. Do all these developers and all their buildings REALLY deliver all those amazing things they promise? Luxury, accessibility, amenities… that feeling of “wow”. Maybe some do, maybe some don’t – and that is exactly what I am concerned about.

If you’re making promises about someone’s future home, and you don’t deliver – then what? What’s the recourse? And do you, as a builder even care?

Here’s how it might go:

The purchaser checks out an absolutely amazing condo marketing campaign and decides: “Hey, let’s check it out”. They get blown away by amazing customer service at the showroom (not to mention the luxurious environment and possibly the glass of champagne they just received). “OK, let’s do it!”

The purchaser puts down a portion of a down payment. The balance owing is due at “ground break”, which is when? Well, that all depends – but, in most cases, it’s when the builder has sold at least 75% of the units… and, THAT could take a while, depending on the market.

Fast-forward to moving in –> In some cases, the purchaser will have a nifty little welcome package but that may very well be the last you hear about or from the builder. Now, if the builder did their job right, that’s perfectly fine. But if not – the purchaser has just invested in their home and will very possibly face disappointment. NOT a feeling you wish to encounter upon taking possession of your (promised-to-be-luxurious-and-perfect) abode.

For the record, we LOVE the building we’re in; but the “getting here” was a nightmare!

This is a message to all you builders out there: Not only do you need to deliver the building and all its amenities as luxuriously and well-built as you promised, but you should also consider the partners you’re aligning yourself with. Think about the property manager, rental manager and real estate brokers YOU hire to make the “experience” complete. An experience, in any industry, is a full portfolio of contact points between YOU and your customers, your fans. Each part of the experience is inevitably a reflection on you; too many bad impressions lead to bad reviews. In these times of instant access to the world, my recommendation is steer clear of bad reviews!

Yes, I know that as a builder, you don’t have complete control over every single point of contact that the future owners will have with your building. I think most people know this… but, where it is possible to enhance the long term experience, do it!

This goes back to some basics of marketing: Happy customers will promote you, and will likely repurchase from you. Unhappy customers will tell all their friends and families (and in the world of social media – they’ll also tell EVERYONE ELSE). Your “secret weapon” – in the world of social media, the happy customer tells everyone else too! Leverage it…

BUILDERS – Remember, that while you are trying to (and most likely will) hit your bottom line, you are selling HOMES. Deliver on your promises!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Special thanks to kleach photography for providing the photo