Tapping Into The Reasons Why We Buy
Anyone who knows me knows that I am happiest on the water, in the water, around the water – see @lightninglaurin on Instagram for proof. You’ll notice I was recently out on the old paddle board; windy, cold and rough as it is on the Pacific Ocean in November! Still… it’s my ultimate happy place. It’s where I can think deeply for a sustained period of time (anyone who knows me also knows that I tend to have the attention span of a flea!).
As I was dodging rogue waves, I got to thinking: why is it that some people seem to think what we do at Verv is mystical and esoteric – and not really worth the money we charge? We put in a great deal of thought and effort to pump out our fantastic work (yep, I’m biased). We don’t throw darts at a board to select our projects’ logos. We don’t grab from a hat to get the proposed project name. And we certainly don’t have “make website” or “create signage” buttons on our computers.
What we do is spend copious amounts of time figuring out the intricacies of real estate, interpreting neighborhoods, gleaning the direction of design and architecture, understanding our clients’ visions and objectives, and thoroughly analyzing potential buyers for our current projects.
Even more important, we question sales teams, talk to resale realtors, delve into market feasibility reports, and broaden our horizons in the constant desire to better understand why people buy big-ticket items. What are their motivations? What is the mindset? How can we generate even better branding and marketing to make our projects even more successful?
This stuff takes time. It requires a sense of wonder, a desire to evolve, and the drive to do things better.
The Big Question: WHY
When we ask consumers about their real estate choices, most will mention location, design, quality, cost, and product type (mid-market versus luxury). But if we dig a little deeper, what really drives these major decisions?
Most of our choices in life are informed by the powerful narratives we tell ourselves about who we are, how we should live, what we believe, what we should look like. These are innately emotional motivators. And guess what? Research suggests that the decision to purchase high-value products (like real estate) is overwhelmingly emotional.
Your prospects’ buying behavior is a direct result of how they believe your brand delivers the emotional benefit of owning or renting your real estate product. Notice the word brand – not logo, not brochure colour.
It’s easy for us to understand the market, the building, the neighborhood – these variables define a large part of the marketing direction for any project. But if we want to push pricing, push absorption and generate greater lead qualification, we need to find the emotional drivers. This is the hard part. What are our prospects’ subconscious identity myths? What are their personal narratives about self-identity, perceived ideal self, social affirmation, and other deep-rooted convictions about who they are and what they believe in?
Truth of the Identity Myth
A good friend of mine who happens to be a creative director got me thinking about buyer behaviour using the parallel of high fashion. What makes a person want to pay thousands of dollars for haute couture? Is a $3,000 Tom Ford suit really worth that much more than the $700 Brooks Brothers alternative? It’s definitely not our rational mind that makes these purchasing decisions – which is not to say that high-end purchases are irrational!
Sure, the Tom Ford brand itself is a huge driver. But more important, that suit and that brand affirm and help solidify the unconscious creation of “self” – the stories, questions, and visions we all have. The high-fashion brand’s promise creates a visceral connection between the buyer and the brand. And that connection becomes the buyer’s truth.
But how can we create these connections between your project’s brand and your most valuable prospects? Again, that’s the hard part. How does your project make potential buyers feel secure, successful, proud, content, confident, young, invincible? Will their friends think they’ve “made it”? Will their families be more proud of them? Will they reaffirm their identities as smart investors? How will your potential buyers feel when they purchase a part of your project? That is the magic.
Defining the Magic
At Verv, our mandate is to create cohesive branding and marketing campaigns that accomplish three extremely important objectives:
1. We define and market the fundamental parameters of the project: the neighbourhood, architecture and design, amenities and more.
2. We ensure that our brands reaffirm the subconscious narratives of our target market – supporting their overarching “sense of self” and helping define who they are.
3. We elicit an emotional response from potential buyers – pride, joy, excitement, self-respect, freedom, vitality, achievement – so they can feel a strong emotional connection to your product.
As an industry, we need to be thinking more deeply about the very powerful, very personal emotional drivers that influence each and every decision in life – especially the decision to purchase a home. This allows us to move beyond mere commodity, and accomplish so much more.
Yes, it takes longer than throwing darts at a board, or picking a brand strategy out of a hat. It’s an involved process, and it is one of the defining reasons why Verv is not some bargain-basement branding and marketing agency. Our process is much more involved and intensive. But the outcomes will amaze you. And nobody will be more inspired than your buyers.
In the next post, we’ll talk about real life examples of how we put this philosophy into action. In the meantime, give us a call to discuss the intangible details of your next project!
-Ryan Laurin, President