The brochure. It used to be that no real estate development project, regardless of size, could launch a sales campaign without one. Some developers felt they needed several brochures. While others felt a single and simple brochure would suffice.
Is that still true today?
Today, all of the information inside a brochure can also be found on your project website; which only makes sense as we know that no one is going to buy real estate without first finding you online. Information-heavy websites now have the role in the communications campaign that we used to assign to the brochure. It is the central pivot point around which all other efforts revolve, and it is the place consumers turn to for information about us, the facts, the features and all the other information they need to make an informed decision about what we’re selling.
Which brings us back to the brochure. If websites are now providing us with all of the information we need and want, what is the role of the brochure?
Personally, I think the brochure still has a vital role, but like many of the traditional marketing tools we were so familiar with, its role has to be different. It’s a decision about polar extremes, really. You need to decide which end of the spectrum you want to land on.
On the one hand, a brochure can provide MORE information than your website. It can be a source of long stories and deep information that no one wants to read online; more like a magazine than a brochure.
On the other hand it could be a tool that’s more about the “poetry” of your real estate project. The piece that sells the emotion of the offering, and truly encapsulates the vision, the hopes, the dreams and the fun that (I hope!) is part of your project.
A magazine or newspaper approach can help consumers understand, and feel part of, your project. They become privy to more than just the basic features and amenities. They have the opportunity to savour the information because, regardless of how convenient the web is, it’s much easier to read a long story on a printed page than on a computer screen.
As for the poetic approach, the brochure becomes something that sells emotional engagement. A resort development collects scenic shots from the surrounding area and prints a coffee table book. A series of walking trails published as maps help prospects to connect to the wooded areas around a building site. A scrapbook of thoughts and profiles of area residents who will become your new neighbours. And so on.
Regardless of which brochure approach you subscribe to, remember the intangible communication of brand personality that a brochure can also provide. The combination of paper and font and binding and colour and printing techniques can tell a potential homebuyer a lot about your project. If you are planning to use a brochure as a tool in your marketing campaign, make sure it is doing the job it is best suited for. And think carefully about the role of the brochure in the context of the other channels you have chosen to employ.
Every aspect of how we build real estate project brands and communicate with our clients is due for a rethink. Brochures are just one example of a traditional tool that needs to be rethought.