Marketing Strategies

Three ways to position luxury multifamily assets.

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?

In both Boston and New York City, there’s been a huge increase in supply of luxury apartments and condos—and more are on the way. This year, there will be 9,277 new high-end apartments added to the city of Boston’s housing stock compared with 3,223 the previous year, with another 8,000 units expected over the next three years.

New York City is seeing a similar surge in high-end properties. Spending on residential construction is poised to hit a new record high this year of $10.2 billion, up 50 percent from 2013—and, of course, most of that construction is at the high end.

How you market these luxury buildings and amenities is crucial. Because New York City’s luxury scene is very competitive, and developers typically offer the same amenities, one of the few ways to stand out is through marketing, which can include brand identity, website, apps, films, print collateral, advertising, a marketing center, and model apartments. It is all about having a comprehensive and cohesive campaign, giving people various touch points to interact with the story.

Boston developers are beginning to experience the same level of competition and are upping their marketing game. In extreme cases, such as Twenty Two Liberty on Fan Pier in Boston (where the most rarified amenities are a marina and fitness space that continues outdoors), developer Joe Fallon has created an air of exclusive, targeted marketing around the project, which is already 80 percent sold.

When the market is saturated with the term luxury, how does a developer or broker ensure that the concept is conveyed in a way that truly resonates with a potential buyer or user? Here are three ways to use visual narratives to help brand and sell a luxury apartment or condo, before the shovel even goes in the ground.

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. For example, the weight of the paper stock for a brochure conveys information that what the potential buyer is holding is special. For some of the most bespoke buildings, a building brochure may be too pedestrian and an art book about the history of the neighborhood is a better tool. Events should also be specially considered depending on the target audience, which may seem obvious, but often there are wine and cheese-style open houses, which can fall flat. In Boston, many luxury rentals and condos are catering to singles and empty nesters. At the Kensington in Chinatown, one “amenity” comes in the form of programming “mix & mingle” events.

2 Amenities that stand out:

Today, luxury buildings must go beyond the obvious gyms and front-desk concierge services. In New York City, “ultra-luxury” amenities can include rock climbing, wine cellars, yoga studios, fitness facilities with tennis and basketball courts and movie screening rooms. In Boston, luxury offerings are beginning to include doggy daycare, outdoor pools and an occasional rooftop terrace to take a gathering outside. In the competitive market in both New York City and Boston, the newest and most unique amenity within the four walls of a building will help you stand out and attract more attention.

The mobile experience: 

Especially for busy executives and tech-savvy young professionals, an iPad app can be the most effective way to show the layout of the future development or to take a virtual tour of the apartment. “Showing” the property this way can offer what feels like a more personalized experience, with the buyer in the driver seat, a subtle, but important way to make a buyer feel more invested in the property.

So at a time when luxury is a hackneyed concept, finding a way to differentiate one real estate development from another is the most effective key to leasing or selling a building more quickly.

Rodrigo Lopez is the Chief Creative Officer at Neoscape, a creative agency for the built environment.