This morning at MIPIM, our CEO, Chris Oglesby, spoke on the Liverpool stand about importance of place branding in attracting investment. Brand is a sum total of a business, its purpose and reason for beings. For Bruntwood, every interaction we have with our customers and the driving force behind helping to make our great city regions greater.
Building a consistent and credible brand is integral to how people think about you, whether you’re a business or a city. It’s a consistency of experience that builds in layers and creates brand ‘advocates’ willing to speak positively about what you offer. This, in turn, builds authenticity and attracts the customer, staff and visitors. And, it’s what brings them back.
Bruntwood first witnessed the power of this in the early 1980s when Founder, Michael Oglesby visited the States. American property companies took a customer-centric view that hadn’t been seen before in the UK, and built it into their proposition and branding. It strongly aligned with how Bruntwood was doing things, but not necessarily how we were talking about ourselves. It became clear that by putting our driving force - our customers - at the heart of our ‘brand’ and our story, this changed the conversation and the way we were viewed.
We continued the build the brand through gut instinct, but about 7 years ago we decided to take a moment to understand how our brand was perceived externally. But unfortunately there was a disconnect, as people thought we were a corporate property giant, which wasn’t who we felt we were. Following that work we continued to dial up the positive aspects of our brand but we also needed to be sensitive to the negative perceptions. It led to a change in our tone of voice, how our staff dressed and us talking about the work we do in the community more, which had previously been hidden. We’re about to undertake a new brand perception project to see how far we’ve come.
As a company we recognise the power of brand and storytelling, and in some ways this is this a factor for us when deciding on the potential of a new city move. Of course, there is the general economic landscape to consider, but when a city has a clear identity, this to us is a sign that the powers that be in the city, not just the city council, are all singing from the same hymn sheet. They recognise the value and opportunity that comes in working together, so their city is seen as more than the sum of its parts. By doing this it creates something special. For us, as a potential investor, it’s a clear sign that this city is going to be more open to innovation and willing to commit time and energy and effort into developing buildings or land or places into something meaningful that positively impacts upon the lives of its citizens. It’s a sign we have shared values, which is always a good indicator as to whether you’ll work well together.
Find out more about our involvement at MIPIM here.