do developers really understand branding?

3 mistakes and 3 truths

The fact is some developers really understand branding but most, including many of the bigger operators do not.

I would argue that while they might think they understand branding, like so many business people they think branding is about:

  • Attracting customers.
  • Names and logos.
  • Branding campaigns.

I would argue that in fact branding is about:

  • Building value.
  • Engaging purchasers
  • Authenticity

Communication attracts customers while branding increases the perception of value. Branding determines what the market will pay.

Names and logos mean what we make them mean. Effective branding is all about reflecting consumer needs in all aspects of the product, pricing and communication.

Branding should be effectively reflected in all aspects of the product, pricing and communication. Personally I see no reason for branding campaigns.

I would argue that all communication should be retail in nature (although not necessarily price focused) highlighting the value through brand messaging and engaging purchasers by highlighting what actually attracts them, as opposed to what the developer likes about the project.

I would argue that more effective branding that that which I generally see around Australia can:

  • Boost sales prices
  • Accelerate sales rates
  • Reduce marketing costs

Further to this I would argue that effective branding starts with:

  • The customer
  • The product
  • The competitive advantage

Effective project branding involves

  • Understanding your customer and not relying on gut feelings and intuition.
  • Developing a product that does and can be seen to address identified needs.
  • Establishing and demonstrating what sets the project apart from others.

Further, I would argue that the competitive advantage needs to be:

  • Demonstrable
  • Tangible
  • Communicable

All three of these criteria and relevance can be readily met, but rarely are, often leading to higher costs and lower returns.

I would argue that people do not buy land, or indeed houses. People buy dreams based on perceptions which are in turn created by effective branding. Communication gets the brand out there and the packaging of the product confirms the initial perception.

It does not start with the advertising campaign or the design work that the advertising campaign builds on.

How much value is your brand adding?

Is your branding reducing marketing costs?

Are you accepting satisfactory returns that are well below the potential?

I would argue that the answer to the third question here, is all too often – YES.


  1. Understand the market before defining the brand and don’t rely on intuition
  2. Define the product as part of the brand – the two are inextricable
  3. Build a tangible competitive advantage into the brand – it will save you money

This issue will be discussed in more detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK –

D. John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing and communication. Visit his blog –

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