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Thought Leadership

A place to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends

Strategy

In the blink of an eye, it’s time to start preparing for FY22/23.

 

The new financial year is the perfect time to reflect on the financial year that’s been, assess areas for improvement and implement innovative initiatives to drive further success and growth for the months ahead.

 

If you want to continue delivering a great customer experience and achieving your sales goals in FY22/23, here are some effective resolutions we suggest you implement:  

 

1. Refine your value proposition

What value do you offer for customers? What pains do you solve and what gains do you offer? Why would customers choose your project or product over your competitors’? And why wouldn’t they? Answering these questions and establishing a clear value proposition that’s understood by all members of your business is crucial in order to implement an effective marketing plan. For this reason, there’s no better time to solidify your value proposition than at the start of the new financial year. It will help you to clearly identify what strategies you can implement to really add value for your customer segments.

 

If your project could do with a Value Proposition or a revival to kick off FY22/23, Property Republic has put together a workshop that involves the whole project team, so you are sure to achieve alignment and buy in. Get in touch here.  

 

2. Embrace and enhance your digital presence

Digital solutions are non-negotiable, and their importance supersedes the end of Coronavirus restrictions. After relying on digital platforms heavily for the past few years, you can bet your customers will expect a great digital presence and experience from your brand from here on out. If you’re digital presence needs work, it’s time to prioritise it now. 

 

3. Put your customers first

If the customer isn’t already positioned at the forefront of all your initiatives, they seriously need to be. In a market where customer expectations are rising exponentially (and rightly so when they’re making the biggest purchase decision of their lives), it’s essential that you develop an effective customer experience strategy that covers every touchpoint. 

 

Sales people: you need to make capturing customer data a priority. Ask questions and record information that will help the marketing team make great marketing decisions. 

 

Marketers: you need to own the customer experience in the project lifecycle and utilise external experts to help you deliver market-leading strategies – above, through and below the line as well as at the front line.  

 

4. Deliver clear and consistent communication

Whether internally, or between brand and customer, lines of communication need to remain transparent. Communicating openly, honestly and as often as possible with your customer is the key to establishing relationships based on trust. This is especially crucial when it comes to delivering bad news. For some ideas on how to best communicate bad news – such as title delays – to your customers, read our blog.

 

Effective communication works both ways, so embracing and responding to feedback from your customer is just as important as delivering information to them. This financial year, ensure that you’re providing your customers with an opportunity to provide feedback on your product or service; and be open to criticism. The insights you receive from your customers hold all the answers as to how you can make changes that will enhance the sales process. You can gather this feedback through incentivised questionnaires or surveys that are sent out to your database via email. Communicating with your customers requires minimal investment but reaps wonderful rewards, so it’s definitely worth implementing.

 

Opening the lines of communication within your internal team is also essential to ensure each staff member is working towards a common objective and that your sales and marketing personnel are aligned. If team alignment is something you’d like to achieve in FY22/23, we have the perfect workshop – so get in touch!  

We all know that following through with new year’s resolutions becomes a challenge as we sink back into our usual habits. To ensure your new financial year resolutions stick and maximise growth, productivity and success for your property business, be sure to reflect, reassess and refine your goals regularly.

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Strategy, Workshops

The Property Republic team are often approached to conduct strategic reviews for property developments. Most recently, we were engaged to conduct a strategic review of AV Jennings’ development Lyndarum North to provide a framework for sales success through evaluating the market position, impact of COVID-19 and competition.

 

Utilising workshops, online surveys, desktop research, mystery shopping and builder reviews, we were able to gather highly valuable insights for our client.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the process and outcomes: 

 

Context

 

AV Jennings approached Judi Carr, Director of Property Republic, to conduct a strategic review and provide recommendations for future opportunities while taking into consideration the current and future market conditions with the impact of COVID-19 as the backdrop.

 

AV Jennings is a trusted, community-driven developer with 85 years of demonstrated experience. Located in Melbourne’s highly competitive northern corridor, this masterplanned community has been designed to provide affordable and high-quality housing to meet the needs of a wide range of buyers.

 

As Wollert faces competing developments in the broader development corridor with differing price points and amenities, it’s important for the Lyndarum North team to understand where they currently sit within the market, where they can improve and identify gaps in the market.

 

Challenges

 

Lyndarum North has the potential to establish itself as the most sought-after residential community in Melbourne’s highly competitive northern corridor. Many aspects of creating a great community have been considered, with varying levels of success and expertise.

 

The AV Jennings brand in the north had some equity at the former Lyndarum project but it has been overshadowed by the competitive nature of the corridor and other prominent developers.

 

Primary Goal

 

The primary goal of the strategic review was to provide Lyndarum North with a framework to achieve sales success through evaluating the market position, impact of COVID-19 and competition.

 

Other Goals

 

  • Obtain market knowledge that will help solidify Lyndarum North’s brand reputation and awareness.

  • Achieve price growth aligned with preferred price points

  • Gain valuable insights to capitalise on opportunities, allowing Lyndarum North to realise its potential as one of most sought-after residential communities in the Wollert corridor.

 

Process

 

Market Position

 

1. Workshops

 

Property Republic conducted two workshops with prospective and current purchasers, aiming to establish some key points, including:

 

  • Perception of Lyndarum North in the marketplace and current value proposition and positioning

  • The value placed on the product offering

  • Product requirements

  • Household sizes

  • Jobs, pains and gains

  • Motivations, driver constraints

  • Needs in terms of amenity, community and developer

  • Impact of COVID-19 on income, work location, attending sales office, life in general

  • Thoughts on competitors

 

2. Online Surveys

Two online surveys were designed and supervised by Dr. Marzena Baker, PhD, MBus (Research). A large number of prospective and current purchasers were invited to take part, with participants given an opportunity to win an overall prize plus nominate one of three local charities, to which AV Jennings donated $5 for every survey completed.

 

The survey questions sought to provide insight into:

 

  • Demographics including local and ex-pat purchasers

  • Product requirements

  • Jobs, pains and gains

  • Motivations, driver constraints

  • Needs in terms of amenity, community and developer

  • Impact of COVID-19 on income, work location, life in general

  • Competitor purchase considerations 

 

3. Desktop Research

 

Property Republic conducted desktop research and gathered information, including data that’s publicly available through organisations such as the City of Whittlesea.

 

4. Builder Review

 

Property Republic also reviewed the current builder product, conducted discussions with local builder consultants, major builder principals and sales managers to gain insight into their future product planning as well as any research they had conducted.

 

Impact of COVID-19

 

Property Republic conducted a thorough desktop review of COVID-19 related forecasts and opinions and the provision of Government stimulus and support. It also included information from organisations such as:

 

  • Department of Treasury and Finance

  • Victorian Government

  • University of Melbourne

  • Reserve Bank of Australia

 

Questions relating to COVID-19’s impact were also asked in the customer deep dive workshops and online surveys.

 

Builder partners’ senior personnel were interviewed to garner their views on the northern corridor market in 2021 and beyond.

 

Competition

 

Property Republic conducted an online mystery shopping and competitor analysis of the Wollert, Craigieburn, Mernda and Donnybrook corridors. This was aimed to highlight Lyndarum North’s current and potential points of difference and competitive edge. Some of the things that were reviewed include:

 

  • Social media footprint

  • Initial customer experience and prospect management

  • Value proposition, positioning, product, pricing, and promotion

  • Builder relationships

  • Current and future amenity

  • Sustainability and similar initiatives

  • Project presentation

 

Final report

 

Property Republic provided Lyndarum North with a detailed report that presented outcomes from the prospect and purchaser workshops, online surveys, major builder interviews, site inspections and online mystery shopping.

 

Property Republic highlighted important observations and provided recommendations to help the Lyndarum North Team understand where they sit in the market, develop and refine their strategies and drive successful sales outcomes.

 

Judi Carr was also invited to present the report’s methodology and key findings to senior personnel within AV Jennings and their joint venture partner. 

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Customer Experience

Global CX Trends in 2022: Part 2

 

The Property Republic team recently unpacked the Customer Experience Company’s annual Global CX Trends webinar, which brought together two CX leaders with over 25 years of experience. The panel featured the Founder and Managing Director of The Customer Experience Company, Raj Mendes and Founder of The CX Academy, Ireland, Michael Killeen.

 

Together they joined forces to discuss the emerging trends in the Customer Experience world and provide tips on how companies can turn these trends into opportunities. 

 

Trend two explores the new school of CX that’s emerging.

 

Here’s what was discussed:

 

Over the last 10 years we’ve seen a focus on CX Artefacts: Personas, User Journeys, Archetypes and Personas, and of course, Customer Journey Maps. Journey Maps originate from process engineering and obsessions on topics like NPS for measurement. While both have a place, as we move into a world with greater complexity, traditional techniques and solutions will not cut it.

 

The problems organisations face now are more strategic, and in order to solve them as CX practitioners we need to be true ‘Systems Thinkers’ considering the systems in which the problems exist and their effects beyond themselves. We must expand the source of our thinking, broaden our mindsets, philosophies, disciplines, tools and techniques. We also need to leverage adjacent practices such as human centred design, visual and creative design, strategic design and tap into ways of working such as Agile and Lean Start-Up.

 

CX also needs to be anchored in the right problem solving methodology. Up until now we have seen many organisations increase their investment in CX, but have not reached their goals for a lack of ‘action planning’. While you cannot stay in the planning space forever, with this new school of CX emerging, the focus needs to be on defining the right problem, so you can take the right action and operate better and quicker.

 

The goal is to strengthen our practitioner’s toolkit, where each organisation is better equipped to navigate the world of CX, the ways that they work, the practices they employ and across every facet of their organisation. Ultimately, we need to understand how each plays a part in delivering great Customer Experience.

 

Key considerations for your property business:

 

1. Have you mapped out your customer journey for 2022 and beyond? If not, it’s time to get cracking!

2. What gaps exist within your current customer experience, and how can these be filled?

3. If the market is softening in your region, does your marketing and sales plan reflect how you will achieve market share without discounting?

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Customer Experience

The Property Republic team recently read and unpacked the 2022 Trend Hunter Report to see how property brands can stay ahead of the curve and respond to changing expectations and behaviours. Here are the report’s top 3 customer experience trends, insights and key takeaways your property business needs to be aware of:

 

1. Shoppable experience

Brands create in-person or virtual experiences that consumers can shop in.

 

Trend: Shoppable experiences are the newest way that companies are curating unique branded experiences for customers. These experiences include everything from shoppable hotel rooms to cooking shows.

Insight: Consumers increasingly expect that brands match their lifestyles and social media consumption habits when trying to relate to them. These more authentic interactions breed brand loyalty among consumers.

 

Takeaway: How is your brand creating innovative shopping experiences for customers?

 

2. Shoppable Room

Brands are utilising virtual home experiences as medium for retail.

 

Trend: Companies are launching virtual home shopping experiences to market products during the COVID-19 era. These gamified platforms are engaging with playful interactivity and comfort aesthetics that entertain consumers and also allow for the visualisation of a product in one’s space.

Insight: As government-imposed COVID-19 measures are highly restrictive to brick-and-mortar retail, individuals have turned to online shopping for their daily needs—whether that is because they want to play it safe or save themselves the hassle. Aware of the potentials of technology in virtual environments, many are looking for digital experiences that are immersive and this demand arises from a consumer need for entertaining distractions during a difficult time.

 

Takeaway: Conceptualise an immersive retail experience for online environments.

 

3. One-to-One Retail

Stores serve one customer at a time to give safe, ultra-custom experience.

 

Trend: The retail industry has seen a lot of transformation in light of the pandemic. One recent development is the growth of storefronts or services dedicated to limiting the shopping experience to two people: the retail worker and the customer. This is being executed virtually as well as in person and has the benefits of both safety and full personalisation.

Insight: The idea of personalised, consultant-based services in the retail industry is not necessarily new; however, because it is more specialised and doesn’t maximise employee time, it has historically been a service reserved for luxury big-ticket purchases. This model’s safety benefits make it an attractive option to make accessible for all in the new normal. In addition to reducing face time, one-to-one experiences also grant consumers a relationship-fuelled experience.

 

Takeaway: How will you satisfy the opposing consumer need for experience and safety within the ‘new normal’?
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Customer Experience, Strategy

The Property Republic team recently read and unpacked the 2022 Trend Hunter Report to see how property brands can stay ahead of the curve and respond to changing expectations and behaviours. Here are the report’s top 4 consumer priorities trends, insights and key takeaways your property business needs to be aware of:

 

1. WFH Prosumer

Consumers who are working from home are opting-in for more powerful tech products.

 

Trend: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, specialised tech appealed to prosumers and professionals in the tech sector. Now, these products are becoming more accessible to everyday consumers who find themselves working from home for extended periods of time.

Insight: As many consumers continue to work from home due to the ongoing health pandemic, they are looking for ways to enhance their experience. This is connected to a desire to be comfortable in one’s productivity, while also minimising the risk of common issues pertaining to connectivity and presentation. Succeeding in this allows consumers to feel more confident in their day-to-day and to stay motivated during a difficult time.

 

Takeaway: How can your property brand assist consumers working from home?

 

2. Boomer Tech

Apps that are typically used by younger demographics see a boost among seniors.

 

Trend: With COVID-19 being risky for senior citizens in particular, stay-at-home orders are especially important to keep this demographic safe. Thus, they’re having to adapt just as much as everyone else when it comes to staying healthy and connected with others. As a result, brands that offer online services like virtual exercise and conferencing are seeing a boost in senior engagement.

Insight: In many ways, senior citizens have been hit harder than other demographics when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of being more likely to face serious consequences as a result of contracting the virus, they’ve also been more psychologically harmed by the isolation that’s been imposed on people around the world, particularly those who live in care homes. Thus, those who have the capacity to engage in the platforms that are keeping people entertained and connected are going to be a priority for this older generation as well.

 

Takeaway: How is your property business engaging Baby Boomers, and what more can you do?

 

3. Next Gen Care

Oral hygiene brands are appealing to Gen Z via design and marketing.

 

Trend: Emerging oral hygiene brands are working harder to appeal to Gen Z demographics, with marketing and branding that features youthful aesthetics similar to those of the skincare and beauty space.

Insight: Gen Z has now emerged as the next generation to take charge of pop culture and design trends, and this generation has more diverse preferences and needs that need to be met before they’re loyal to a brand. Everything from inclusion to social media influences this generation’s purchase decisions, and brands are having to adapt to this shift.

 

Takeaway: How is your brand working to appeal to Gen Z?

 

4. Comfort Commercial

Ad campaigns take on more positive and soothing themes.

 

Trend: As the world gradually lifts pandemic-related restrictions, brands are increasingly prioritising “wellness” to help ease people’s lingering anxieties. This includes ad campaigns that focus on comforting and relaxing themes that offer a more positive outlook on the future than what has been seen in the last year.

Insight: Consumer stress has been at an all time high in recent months, with everything from social restrictions to financial upheavals having an impact. As people slowly grow accustomed to life going back to “normal,” they seek out brands that help that process along – whether it’s emotionally, financially, or recreationally.

 

Takeaway: Property brands generally do this well. What post pandemic priorities are you focusing on?
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Strategy

Social media is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. Utilising it effectively can help to propel your marketing goals into action and garner great results.

 

2020 saw more and more brands adopt a solid presence on social media in an effort to be where their customers are – on their phones!

 

So, what will 2021 have in store for property brands in the social media world? Our sister brand, Content Republic, suggests you focus on these four trends:

 

1. Have a strong online personality

 After experiencing restricted human contact in 2020, customers want to interact with brands who can communicate their personalities digitally. In fact, it’s never been more imperative to have a clear, consistent and compelling brand personality.

 

As the world continues to open up throughout 2021, content and property marketers will need to ensure they don’t lose the brand humanisation they created on their social and digital platforms in 2020. Now that customers have engaged with and enjoyed authentic and personality-filled content from brands, they’ll expect their feeds to continue to show it.

 

2. Utilise live and short videos

The rising popularity of applications and features like Instagram Reels, Snapchat and TikTok indicate that audiences, especially the younger generations, will continue to respond well to short, impactful videos. The best part about these videos is they require little to no budget, as there’s no need for green screens or expensive productions. Simply use a smart phone and film against an informal backdrop that’s relevant and highlights your real work environment.

 

Some ideas you can implement today include:

 

  • A live construction update that communicates progress

  • 15-second promotional video on Facebook, promoting an upcoming release

  • Testimonials and interviews with satisfied buyers

  • Walk-through of a new development or display

  • Walk-through of your display office, introducing key sales staff

  • A short video showcasing your project’s different community groups and initiatives

 

3. Have a raw and unfiltered brand presence

Your property brand is more than your product, so ensure that you are communicating what goes on behind the scenes to add an authentic personality. The ideal way to engage on social media is to stay true to your brand and its value proposition. Being authentic can help you form a personal and more meaningful connection with your target market. They want to know the human element behind the brand, so producing relatable and relevant social posts will remain the best way to go in 2021.

 

Remember that the content you produce doesn’t have to be perfect and glossy – raw, relatable and real content that lets your brand’s personality shine through performs well.

 

4. Educate first, sell second

It sells to educate first. The customer journey can be a complex process and your audience wants to know that you’ll support them through every step – especially after the uncertainties experienced in 2020.

 

You need to provide your audience with the information they need to make a confident purchase decision. Identify your target market’s pain points and inform them of how your brand can help solve them.

So, before you start posting sales messages, make sure that you’ve educated your customers first. It’s the best way to provide them with the best customer experience and keep them coming back for more.

 

How will you respond to 2021’s emerging trends?

If your property business needs support re-invigorating and optimising its sales, customer experience and content marketing initiatives to respond to new shifts, expectations and behaviours, the Property Republic and Content Republic teams are here to help.

 

Read more in our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

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Strategy

The best way to create meaningful connections with your customer at every stage of their journey is to deliver consistent and valuable content. And with face-to-face contact limited throughout 2020, many businesses turned to creating content to engage their audience.

 

So, with more and more property brands using content to drive their customer relationships, our sister brand, Content Republic, has listed four important trends you need to be aware of to stay ahead of the competition.

 

1. Have a strong content strategy that involves digital
If there was one thing businesses needed to learn quickly in 2020, it was how to reach their audience in new, innovative ways that didn’t involve face-to-face contact. As a result, we saw a surge in social media and content marketing activities as brands found new ways to be where their customers are (at home, on their devices!).

 

In 2021, we can expect that this focus on social and digital content will keep growing, as brands continue to realise that having a strong content marketing strategy and social media presence is no longer optional – it’s fundamental!

 

More than this, content marketers in 2021 will need to continue to demonstrate and build upon the skills they were forced to adopt – flexibility, nimbleness and an ability to seamlessly adapt to new realities.

 

“Studies on content marketing show that one of the key differences between the most successful and least successful businesses is the use of documented content marketing strategies.”
Neal Schaffer, Chief Marketing Officer – Fractional

 

2. Get behind the camera
It’s safe to say, whether acting as a brand or consumer, we all saw and experienced an increase in live videos on our feeds in 2020. After all, if your customers can’t come to you, then you’ll need to go to them!

Moving into 2021, brands need to be aware that expensive, polished and highly produced videos aren’t necessarily the most engaging. More than anything, customers want to engage with content that is authentic, real, humanised and entertaining.

“The uncertainty of 2020 has taught us the importance of content as a tool for reaching our audience when many of our typical engagement points are closed, cancelled, or unavailable.”

Melanie Deziel, Chief Content Officer – StoryFuel

 

If you committed to delivering live or authentic pre-recorded videos in your social media and content marketing activities in 2020, keep doing it in 2021. Your audience will continue to want to get you know you, your products and services from the comforts of home, and video is the best way to do it.

 

“With 5.11 billion unique mobile users in the world, mobile usage is at an all-time high. And the most convenient content format for mobile is video. Creating live videos gives your users a great mobile experience and it’s convenient to consume.”
Neal Schaffer, Chief Marketing Officer – Franctional

 

3. Be empathic
 Now more than ever, businesses need to be sensitive and listen to what matters to their audience. As customers deal with uncertainty in their daily lives, it becomes necessary to focus on values like integrity and transparency. Also consider how you can respond to, and evoke emotions through the creation of content. By building content around values that matter to your audience, you’ll also create a content strategy that forms an emotional connection with customers.

 

“People want to feel heard and appreciated as an individual and they have the power to ask for that, because there is so much market saturation. Mass media marketing is dead. People want communication at a 1 to 1 level in a manner that’s relevant for them. Especially due to COVID-19, empathy plays a strong role in making sure that customers are satisfied with your marketing and communication strategy.”
Adriana Stein, Director – IDI Consultancy

 

4. Repurpose and recycle
In 2021, you’ll save time and money by having a repurposing strategy for your content. Consider how you can transform one type of content into another. For example, can a 5-minute video be cut down into 10 different 30-second videos to share across social media? Can your product brochures be divided into multiple blogs that sit on your website? Can your downloadable guides be cut up into bite-sized chunks and sent to your database in an email newsletter?

 

Giving your content not only a new life, but a longer shelf life by turning it into different forms, is a fantastic way to appeal to bigger audiences and generate more interest.

5. Prepare for the unknown through innovation
Expect the unexpected; that’s a lesson that 2020 taught the world. But how can marketers realistically prepare for the unknown and the uncertain?

 

The answer? Innovation.

 

Try new things. Break the rules. Fail. Try again. Be different. Be bold. Take risks. Be flexible. Be willing to embrace change even before it’s required. The future belongs to marketers who are willing to adapt long before they need to. In 2021 and beyond, make sure your content marketing activities stem from innovative strategies

 

How will you respond to 2021’s emerging trends?

If your property business needs support re-invigorating and optimising its sales, customer experience and content marketing initiatives to respond to new shifts, expectations and behaviours, the Property Republic and Content Republic teams are here to help.

 

Read more in our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

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