On the eve of Brand, Strategy and Communications group Hoyne’s 25th birthday, we speak with principal Andrew Hoyne about what creates great places and destinations.
How important is design when branding a new property?
By telling a story, differentiating a space and providing a better environment, developers can achieve much greater sales than they ever thought possible. At the same time, they produce better and more sustainable projects that benefit the surrounding community – and boost their own reputation for the future.
People want to feel like they’re part of a place, a community and even, a destination. I’m a fan of mixed-use developments for this reason, because they’ve shown great success in creating places and precincts where people want to live, play and work. And great branding brings this story to life in a compelling way. Going beyond targeting people in the market, but anyone who is inspired enough by the marketing itself, to enquire and purchase at a time when they weren’t even in the market.
One of the many things we do, is try to encourage developers to execute their retail vision now; instead of in two to three years, when construction is almost complete. Developers often see the retail component as a small part of the bigger picture, however we believe early consideration can make a real difference to the overall project. It creates desire and done well is a great selling tool for residential. It also sets a great foundation for future leasing programs.
Build a meaningful place early on and people will want to live there; if the style and calibre of food and beverage outlets and retail brands is the right fit for how they see themselves and how they want to live.
You’re publishing a book on the power of placemaking. Why do this?
I’ve worked in the property sector for many years now. Early on I began to see opportunities where developers could increase their profits, by creating places that are of greater value to the community and improve the overall landscape.
For most developers, this wasn’t the usual path or even a way of thinking. It can take some courage to make the leap into building for a clear purpose, to leave a legacy of good design and a place that people want to live, play and work.
We know what people want and that’s been really clear to us. It’s no longer acceptable to develop a site without thinking about amenities or offering a sense of place so that a community can grow and build value over time.
There are fantastic examples of the power of placemaking in Europe, in particular. We want to showcase the success stories, here and overseas so that developers can feel more supported in taking risks and aiming higher.
My aim has always been to work with great people to do things better. When it comes to building a place where people want to live, play and work, there are multiple perspectives that can add value and ought to be considered.
Sadly, some industries tend to operate in silos. If we’re to create the best possible outcomes and places in Australia, we need to start collaborating.
Urban planners, architects, developers, councils, landscape designers, politicians, researchers, economists and health specialists – they all know what people want from their specific vantage point.
We won’t be able to cater for a growing population by building places that are narrow in scope and audience. It’s not easy but I think it’s an essential paradigm shift that’s needed.
When it comes to creating better places to live, play and work, there’s critical evidence from a number of sectors that says we should be doing better. We know that Australians need to be active each day, not stuck in traffic for three hours. So how do we create places that make this an easy choice for people?We’ve brought together experts and specialists from all over the world to build a blueprint for how to produce better places in Australia. Not just theorists, but people who have achieved real commercial and societal success. It’s a chance to learn from influential thinkers and elevate the conversation around placemaking and how we can do it better in Australia in future.
Do you have a pet peeve when it comes to property?
Apart from seeing poor design and thoughtless developments spring up too often, I find commercial buildings that are left empty, highly problematic. They’re ruinous to fostering a sense of place and can damage the community, from CBD to outer ring.
Why not put together a business plan for the landlords of these spaces and explain there are opportunities they could be seizing – ways to boost the value of their property and also the area. I’ve wanted to do this for a while!When you’re not attracting the traffic to compete with the big shopping centres, and your retail spaces are dormant or empty, you need to be smart as opposed to silent. I’m keen to help owners take action and elicit change.
If owners came together, to develop themes and precincts with purpose, they could increase their revenue and the value of their asset. For me, I want to find ways to commercialise opportunity – not just for the benefit of landlords, for the community’s too. In Australian cities, suburbs and towns, there are far too many run down, boarded up and forgotten retail strips.
There is so much untapped potential in the market. We’re passionate about creating desire in the community and places where people want to be, because this is better for society on a range of levels – boosting our health, the economy, and a broader sense of belonging for all.
I’d love to see more innovation and forward thinking around what’s possible in development and placemaking; a broader and more considered view of how to create dynamic places where people really want to live, play and work.
It’s great to see mixed use developments that deliver a win to the community, better public realms and higher quality execution overall. TOD’s are a good example of this. While they might cost a little more upfront, these kinds of developments attract free media, increase residential sales rates and offer a win-win for all involved.
Instead of focussing on value managing (reducing costs) there should be more effort placed on creating a solution that is going to excite and engage people. When it comes to sales, people will pay more if you give them a compelling reason, a distinct product and create an engaging persona to buy into.
The fact is: great placemaking strategy engages prospective buyers, achieves a higher rate per square metre, which therefore adds to the developers’ gross development value (GDV). It also builds their brand so they achieve a higher volume of repeat buyers, which is achieved at a lower cost of sale. These are just some of the ways developers can achieve higher profit margins. All the while, creating much better places for people to live, leaving a lasting legacy they can be proud of.
Andrew Hoyne is the Principal of leading property marketing and branding agency, Hoyne. Since its establishment in 1991, Hoyne has grown to a 60-strong agency with studios in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and clients and projects extending across Australia and beyond.
With a profound belief in the power of place, Andrew has played a significant role in helping international and regional developers to position, brand and market recognisable landmarks and developments across Australia; from residential towers to new mixed-use, master-planned communities and public precincts. He is the author of numerous books exploring suburbs and destinations across Sydney and Melbourne and is currently writing a book on placemaking due to be published in 2016.