Branded residences: selling a “lifestyle, not floorplans”

There is no reason why more universal and accessible brands cannot stake their claim in the branded residences realm, says Sectorlight's Richard Stevens

Branded residences are becoming a prominent feature of Dubai’s evolving skyline.

We are starting to see more non-hospitality brands enter the market, hot on the heels of fashion brands who spear-headed the trend which included Armani, Cavalli, Karl Lagerfeld, Bulgari and Franck Muller.

As competition increases, brands entering the sector will need to ensure stand-out and they can only do this by creating an offer built on their absolute uniqueness and authenticity.

They need to embrace their brand essence. It’s the most valuable differentiator in the race for attention.

Brand relevance always transcends brand and has the potential to convert non-followers into a loyal tribe.

How a brand curates a lifestyle brings it into the homes of so many more. It’s the chance for a brand to show off its attitude through design and experience that makes a physical statement.

Expressing more attitude, less product

This is how non-hotel brands are acting as challenger brands, with their expertise in expressing a core attitude and identity rather than a product.

Look books replace brochures. Digital experiences become more than a landing page. This is lifestyle, not floorplans.

Interestingly, In the eyes of high-net-worth individuals (the current target audience) print is far from dead. An exceptionally crafted brochure makes the experience palpable.

It’s something to sit down and engage with, traces that capture attention and tell a story.

Digital can do it too; audio and visuals play the same heartstrings as our memories.

The cautionary elements

Automotive, fashion, jewellery can all deliver exceptional distinct design, but key to the success will be how they package up the physical space, architecture, and amenity mix, so they are not just regarded as simply wrapping themselves around a new apartment tower or villa development.

A brand known for its outstanding manufacture, quality and customer service must deliver the same superlative standards and consistency within the built environment, and that may not be an automatic guarantee when it’s part of a collaborative effort with a third party.

Richard Stevens –  Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Sectorlight

A different kind of “luxury”

So far, the type of brands extending themselves into the branded residences sector are regarded as luxury, appealing to High-Net-Worth investors, but there is no reason why more universal and accessible brands cannot stake their claim in this realm, with their own form of “luxury” becoming the proposition.

For example, a tech brand known for its everyday life app management, where “time” is the new “luxury” could really innovate the living experience.

I can envisage how “the experience of the brand” will take a more crucial role in developing a concept for the development, with brands aligning themselves with activities associated with their location.

Perhaps we will see Breitling or Range Rover pursue a real estate venture out in the desert.

Or maybe we will see a Nike residence of active life-styling with running tracks on the roof and smart tech on the owner’s wrist, controlling both their wellness and their home.

By Richard Stevens –  Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Sectorlight