Hawk & Handsaw


Home Truths - Why property marketing needs a shake-up


It’s November 2016, an old friend calls me as I walk to work. It is her Thursday evening and glasses clink in the background as, in Melbourne, spring has arrived. By contrast, it’s a hazy winter morning here in London. Also in contrast is the request. It emerges my friend has left the world of FMCG branding, which raised us, instead joining the dizzying property development sector.

“Can you create something more thoughtful and interesting than the usual property brands here?” she asks. I had never worked outside of brand packaging and had no idea how real-estate branding worked, but, for whatever reason I agreed.

The purpose of this article is two-fold. Firstly, I intend to discuss the current state of property branding and why it needs a shake-up. Additionally I wish to hint at how we as Hawk & Handsaw go about ‘shaking things up’.

A lot of people, a lot of developments, a lot of property brands…

A lot of people, a lot of developments, a lot of property brands…


The current state of property branding

There’s a lot of humans, in fact, there’s twice as many of us as there was in 1970. And we all need somewhere to live. With twice as many people looking for housing and more people moving into urban areas the housing market has transformed from a few developments in the consumer’s ideal area to a ‘supermarket shelf’ comprised of hundreds of developments and offers. 

However, the approach to branding these developments hasn’t changed. The names of developments are often the street they’re on. The logos are merely the name itself, or an unexplained symbol and the look and feel of the brands follow last year’s trends. 

Property brands are being forgotten more than ever.

Design to stand-out from the crowd…

Design to stand-out from the crowd…


Why property branding needs a shake up

Brands are only ever memories in our minds and property design has not evolved fast enough to create distinction and memorability in an increasingly crowded market. So the reason property branding needs a shake-up is… competition, and while the old aphorism ‘good property sells itself’ is generally still true the real question in the minds of investors and developers should be ‘could this product sell faster, and for more money?’

I can tell you that the answer is ‘yes’ and while having the right product, in the right place is helpful, so too is the communication of such a development. Innovative branding design is the key to putting your hard work in the mind of your audience.

Let ideas drive your property further and faster…

Let ideas drive your property further and faster…


How we approach property branding

Here, very briefly are four tips to creating a more memorable property brand. Through these four methods we’ve found projects gain more interest and faster, leading to quicker sales and the occasional bidding war.

Resist the lure of naming your development after the street it’s on

What’s in a name? Well a lot, frankly speaking. Learn to celebrate the architectural and interior ideas in your project and use them to create a distinct name that lodges itself into the minds of potential buyers driving rapid interest.

Create a logo with unique meaning

A good logo communicates your product’s core message. Avoid the array of giant letters, house shapes, or just words that greet our consumers at the moment. Allow your logo to express the architectural, interior and lifestyle ideas present in the development. Armed with this knowledge sales agents will be able to demonstrate that your development above others has more passion, thought and quality put into it than the surrounding competitors. This produces greater demand for your product.

Have a unique brandworld and use it boldly

Take your ideas into the places where the brand appears, to reinforce it. A thoughtful art style can enrich the branded message while providing large, eye-catching work. All of our projects rely on a beautiful, meaningful brandworld to spark intrigue. Brandworlds can be more effective than renders at generating interest. And when it generates so much joy that people stop to photograph the hoarding, you’ll see where we’re coming from.

Have them at ‘hello’

The power of language cannot be understated in the pursuit to solidify a brand in the mind of its potential buyers. Often copywriting in the property marketing sector is an ‘adjective avalanche’ describing the various features of a home and this is useful but can easily be forgotten. And so lastly, persue meaningful and relevant language for your products.

Embrace distinction…

Embrace distinction…


To conclude

A hero of ours, Bob Gill, expressed that ‘there are no absolutes in design’. This comment at once supports our writing here as we push against industry conventions but it also invites you, dear reader to begin your own thinking about how your products are marketed. How can you mobilise the truth, the passion and the effort that is poured into your products to capture the attention of those who it was designed for? Could it be more beautiful, thoughtful and effective?

How will your work be remembered?

- James Taylor, 25th June 2019

James Taylor