It’s July, and the property market is heating up along with record temperatures across the UK. Not only that, but after a prolonged period of house purchase absenteeism, younger property buyers are beginning to poke their heads out of the bunker and are thinking about buying their first house.
Google’s 2014 Consumer Survey unearths some interesting property related insights, key trends and behaviours that Millennials demonstrate when it comes to shopping around for a home. The big hitters are there of course – mobile, social and video – but so too are some nuggets of insight that any serious property marketer should be paying close attention to.
Given the undeniable shifts in consumer behaviour, and how younger buyers are using technology – we must re-examine how we are communicating with them. Property brochures for estate agents and developers, like everything else, must move with the times.
So how do you create a property brochure for Millennials?
What makes it different from property brochures you may have created in the past?
Let us explore the ways.
It’s more than a property brochure, it’s a culture… a future life
It’s no secret that Millennials are tuned into social responsibility and prefer to do business with ethical companies. This trend is driving a resurgence of the high street, with new independent and local businesses popping up every day to provide organic, locally sourced, bespoke and hand-crafted goods and services.
When younger buyers are conducting research into buying a house, not only are the local area, amenities and transport options important, but so too is the culture of an area. For estate agents and developers therefore, a property brochure for millennials must emphasise what an area has to offer in terms community, culture and life outside the four-walls.
The local organic supermarket, vintage furniture store, cycle paths and cafe culture are big sellers. Where before, your property brochure may have emphasised only schools, parks and transport links. A well designed 25-35s brochure needs to speak to the imagination, show the life and spirit of an area in order to hit the mark and separate your property from the competition.
“Compared to other buyers, millennials care more about aspects such as neighbourhood, school district and high-speed internet-ready homes” – Google Consumer Survey, April 2014
There are many ways to convey a ‘feeling’ of an area within a brochure, not least through the brochure copywriting and by mentioning nearby points of interest that Millennials may be looking for. But also through the visual language of the brochure. Millennials (not just millennials of course) are frequently very design-savvy.
The nature of work now means many millennials work in technology, design, start-ups, creative ventures – and as such, they have a heightened appreciation of design, beautiful fonts, style, cultural references, uniqueness and character. All of which should be considered when creating the brand and look of your property brochure. Your property brochure should reflect the aesthetics of your prospects, not just their basic information needs.
A Picture of Property Brochure Possibilities
“People searching for “small house” show a spirit of DIY independence. They are 3x more likely to search for gardening, 8x more likely to search for woodworking and 4x more likely to search for knitting.” – Google Consumer Survey, April 2014
Your property brochure is a canvas, but the secret to creating a truly exceptional brochure for young or first-time buyers, is to allow them to paint that canvas with their imaginations. Traditionally, property brochures may have included a photograph of the exterior, a few of the inside, a floor plan and some text. All pretty standard. But by virtue of the limitations imposed by photography, there are only so many ways you could present your property. It is what it is, right?
New Avenues in Creative Property Brochure Design
With the new tools and techniques offered by CGI (computer generated imagery), your property can be brought to life in unique and interesting ways. Property CGI allows us to create many variations of a property, with an endless variety ways to combine technical accuracy with ‘meta’ ideas and inspiration. The flexibility and creativity provided by property CGI in brochures gives you the power to create customised versions of your brochure for specific demographics and target markets at the touch of a button (almost!).
Perhaps one set would be styled in a clean form, and another could include CGI elements that give a different sense of what is possible with the property. The possibilities are endless, and crucially, by using CGI, they are also cost-effective to create.
Inspiring Property Brochure Themes and Variations
“Eschewing flashy styles and cookie-cutter designs, people are looking to fill their homes with one-of-a-kind character and personality. So, rather than buy what everyone else has, they’re gravitating toward vintage furniture. Google Search data shows there’s more interest in “vintage” and “antique” than any other styles in the furniture category.” – Google Consumer Survey, April 2014
The spirit of independence doesn’t end at the local area and culture. Millennials are design-DIY enthusiasts and are thinking about interior design very early in their house hunt. Favouring uniqueness, character and personality in their homes, your property brochure could (should) include inspiration for interior design ideas. Inspirational hints, tips and ideas can be overlaid on base imagery that allows the property to shine, but also provides ‘meta’ information on ways the buyer could ‘paint’ the canvas, as it were.
Again, we can see how CGI can come into its own. Using interior CGI models of vintage furniture, lamps and soft furnishings your brochure can be customised many times over to appeal to different buyers. You could create themes from Modernist to Art Deco, Bauhaus to Contemporary – use different stylings on different areas of the property, or combine them into a collage of design moods and ideas to spark the imagination.
Brochure and Brand Consistency
With the rise of mobile, search and video, Millennial buyers are using a new arsenal of tools during their property hunt. Brand and design consistency has never been more important. For buyers who get information across a variety of mediums and platforms, the need to be consistent your marketing across all media means the difference between standing out from the crowd, and becoming another shooting star, beautiful for a moment, then gone into the ether.
Brochures for the Digital House Hunter
By ensuring your brochure works across print, web, mobile and even video, you are better placed to stick in the minds of your prospects. Estate agents and developers have to go beyond the “brochure (check), listing (check), done!” mentality, and towards a property marketing strategy that brings offline and online marketing together to engage and communicate with buyers across platforms, and over long periods of time.
“New home buyers place emphasis on virtual tours and videos showcasing properties and communities.” – NAR/Google Digital House Hunt Survey, 2013
iBrochures should be considered, and embedded on your website allowing the buyer to leaf through by swiping pages. These 21st century brochures can include property videos and animations, 3D interactive maps or floorpans and content. They are a living, breathing version of your print brochure, and by utilising the native capabilities of the web, can create unique and memorable experiences for prospects that can deliver remarkable standout from the crowd for property marketers.
“More and more house hunters are relying on their smartphones to stay competitive. In June, mobile phones accounted for 27% of total searches related to buying a home—up 19% since last year.” – Google Consumer Survey, April 2014
You’ve heard it before, and we’ll say it again, mobile is key. Make sure your property website is optimised for mobile and tablet (often referred to as ‘responsive design’), and that your brochure is available to download and can be shared by email and social media. Ensure names, addresses and telephone numbers are consistent across all marketing collateral, and that your brochure is optimised for digital so that links, email addresses and social sharing are clickable.
When it comes to marketing to Millennials, the bar is high. We must ensure that property marketing tools and techniques keep pace, and the property brochure is no exception.
What next? Have a look at our property brochure design work