Comment

Commenting on the study, Bostock and Pollitt Chief Executive, David Chapple, said:

Marketing property without awareness of the location brand in which it sits cannot be effective. Accordingly, tracking the evolution of location brands is a vital part of keeping in touch with the attitudes of businesses who want to be based in central London.

It’s fascinating to hear the views of these leading market figures. Perhaps the most striking impression from the research is how complementary the brands of each location are. This distinctness has got to be worth preserving as there would be little point in trying to make the brands more similar to each other.

If I were Brand Manager for London, I would aim to define the values and characteristics of each location and use this as a guide to influence policy. Whilst improving the offer of each location, as this research highlights, it's important to maintain sufficient distinction between them.

In the commercial property business, while there is great concentration on the marketing of individual developments and buildings, the overall brand characteristics of locations is perhaps something that is not captured as well as it could be. However, as this study shows, there is location brand awareness in the business but there is also room for improvement in how that positively feeds into the property marketing process.

Getting into the mindset of occupiers is clearly central to this. The frame of reference of a business decision‐maker born in 1959 is very different from that of one born in 1979. They are influenced by differing values and this differentiation applies as much to property as it does to any other product. Accordingly, it’s essential to keep track on how evolving brands impact on decision‐makers.

That’s the challenge for all of us involved in property marketing. As a consultancy we recognise the importance of both individual building brands and place brands in marketing and our property clients are taking an increasingly forensic approach to how branding influences their strategy.

The research highlights different views as to whether the changing offers will affect occupiers' flexibility over which locations they will consider. Personally, I can see more occupier mobility in the future as factors such as staff preferences and building sustainability become relatively more important whilst at the same time amenities continue to improve in the City and Canary Wharf. This places more importance on individual building brands and the characteristics of micro-locations.

In my mind, this raises the importance of 'brand matching'. That is how marketing needs to demonstrate on an occupier by occupier basis how the characteristics of location brand + building brand = occupier brand.

Property marketing may need to catch up. For example, the research tells us that building quality and efficiency is becoming increasingly important in the City, so can we learn some marketing lessons from the automotive and technology industries?

We hope this study will provoke further debate about how branding influences the property business and how we can capitalise on the intrinsic strengths of London as an international location for doing business.

David Chapple

David Chapple

David Chapple

Chief Executive

Bostock and Pollitt