MIPIM 2016: How interactivity will change property marketing

Every place, building, masterplan needs a strong point of difference. Can interactive and immersive experiences deliver this?

28.03.16 | Opinion

By Scott McCubbin

MIPIM Illustration Blog

From the beach terrace of the London Club to the crowds gathering outside Caffe Roma on the croisette, what’s become clear at MIPIM 2016 is that competition is increasing. Market analysts have discussed in great detail the 54,000 £1m homes planned for London, questioning the sustainability. To succeed in this environment means ensuring that each ‘product’ - place, building, masterplan - has a strong differentiation. It’s our view that Interactive experiences can provide that differentiation, and here’s why:

 

  1. Immersive technology has gone mainstream. When a developer stops you in your tracks to tell you that their son has a VR headset you know you’ve crossed a line in terms of acceptability. He may have made the point of explaining that it “isn’t as good as yours”, and it clearly doesn’t have the content we’re producing, but the learning to take is that in 12 months this has become a more accessible and understood piece of kit. The speed of change in terms of perception is very fast and this has to be noted.

 

  1. VR has still got a feeling of ‘new’. Very few places or properties have adopted this technology although those who do rave about it. Typically, we were standing, chatting with one contact at the London model when he launched into a mini VR tirade “There’s some real tosh out there in virtual reality… most of it is” (or to that effect). When he saw what we were doing he was genuinely surprised. Good quality VR content is pretty impressive, you remember it, you talk about it. It means that our two pieces for developer Almacantar ensured they had strong stand out in a busy market. They took the VR content we created on their foreign investment trips for Centrepoint and Marble Arch, displaying the views from the top of the towers at prestigious events with iconic titles like Tatler and Vogue, everywhere from Dubai to Hong Kong and New York. They sold their first phase of Centrepoint in days. This developer was ahead of the curve.

 

  1. Interactivity can help you reach a wider audience. People have become a little obsessed with VR in our sector, and understandably. We love it. When we first started looking at it a couple of years ago we wrote about the potential - how the renders had finally reached a good standard, but there’s more to interactivity than VR. Our work for Greenwich Peninsula was focused on creating an interactive world online. Users could move around the 150 acre development, to see the floating running course, zoom into a district, click on 360  view, watch a film. Creative Review heaped praise on "an engaging vision which... is highly inventive”.

 

  1. Interaction is engaging, and engaging is memorable. It sounds like a pretty dumb and obvious point to make but consider how un-engaging it is to stand in front of a model and some pretty graphics at MIPIM or in a marketing suite. People want more nowadays, fueled by social media, there’s a culture and demand to be involved and at the heart of the action. Traditional one-way relationships are dated, so let people play their part.

 

  1. Playable and fun doesn’t mean infantile. Property development by nature is a very conservative, risk averse sector. It can stifle progress in terms of reaching out, but playful doesn’t mean childlike or unsophisticated. We need to consider who we’re talking to, and our audience is not always a mirror reflection of ourselves - fun can be differentiator and it is important.

 

  1. Technology could be part of your proposition. If embedded and it’s authentic it can be a core part of your story, your brand - it says a lot about who you are, what you are; future facing, with an appetite for the new. It can excite audiences and reassure investors, not frighten them off.

 

Illustration by Andras Ferenczy, Uniform

 

 

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