Essential Elements to Working with Creative and 3D Agencies for Your Project Marketing Collateral

As property developers move from building small townhouse projects and up to apartment developments, they start encountering greater marketing complexities than before and often seem to underestimate the impact that branding and creative elements can make to a project, aside from 3D visualisation imagery.  From our own experiences of some clients asking if we could organise these elements for them internally, we’ve found that it only works to a certain extent, as time and other resource constraints come in to play and compromise the ultimate result for the project.

Typically, these property developers have come from completing a number of townhouse developments, which have mostly sold through local real estate agencies with minimal 3D imagery and basic print collateral (2-4 A4 page brochures). However, as their appetite grows to acquire and develop larger density sites, because suddenly the competition gets tougher at this higher level, online portals like realestate.com.au and similar are no longer enough to market their project successfully.

Also at this level, developers often start to look at specialised project marketing agents who ask them for branded marketing collateral – something that opens up a Pandora’s box of possibilities to marketing development projects. From websites and social media campaigns, through to printed and digital brochures, display suite hoardings and paper media banners – the options for property developers are almost limitless.

Enter Creative Agency Recommendations

At this point, the project marketing agent often recommends to look into branding and creative agencies, where costs for average marketing campaigns – aside from the required 3D visuals – can start to look like telephone numbers. That high cost can be a shock to project marketers – especially when it is often their first exposure to what is required for an effective high-end marketing campaign.

The temptation is to maintain a relationship with a 3D agency that has a proven track record of successfully completing imagery on small projects and just spend a little bit more there and get them to mock up a name and a brochure for the project containing the imagery. But this is not as simple as some of the developers think it may be.

What they tend to miss are some essential elements that an individual creative agency can bring to the table – elements that would accentuate and improve the campaign. This is a highly specialised field, just as 3D visualisation for developments and should be treated with the same level of respect and attention.

A really simple exercise to undertake is to look at the overall value of a boutique-sized apartment project of 10 units upwards. It starts to get close to a figure around $5-7 million dollars and more –  especially if it’s in the inner suburbs of some of the major capital cities around Australia. The construction costs for a project like this could be reaching up to $4 million alone on the estimated end values, with monthly payments of mortgage costs alone potentially adding up to tens of thousands of dollars. With so much at stake, the benefit of having specialised and experienced suppliers far outweighs the costs and helps to ensure a timely and professional delivery of marketing collateral.

Product & Service Alignment

One of the most important elements of a successful marketing campaign is cohesiveness of the message between all components. The need to overcome this challenge is what leads some creative agencies to bring utilise in-house 3D artists or, alternatively, a 3D agency to undertake the creative components in a similar fashion with an inhouse designer. However this doesn’t really solve the ultimate challenge, because, as marketing collateral requirements for projects increase, the capacity is stretched and often quality of product and service is what suffers.

On the other hand, having two agencies working on the project requires regular communication and a clear guideline to the ultimate deliverables.

We have completed a lot of projects together with Dugan O’Sullivan creative agency and Darcy O’Sullivan, managing director of DOS, had this to say around working together with independent 3D agencies: “The creative process requires a unified approach. Although a creative agency and a 3D-studio are two separate entities, their ability to work harmoniously together is vital to the success of a project.

A 3D-studio should have a solid understanding of the brand strategy and art direction implemented by the creative agency involved, understanding that we are all working together towards a larger, common vision. A congruent approach deters disparity between brand and 3D and ensures the final result is an effective, well-aligned campaign.”

Time and Resources

The greatest advantage of having specialists focused on each individual area is available time and capacity to focus. There are a lot of deliverables in a typical marketing campaign – from digital through to printed collateral – and many things can go wrong. Having two sets of quality controls – one within the creative and one in the 3D agency space – can benefit the project greatly and reduce opportunity for missed instructions or errors.

Communication and Consultant Management

Within a project delivery timeline, there are a lot of different consultants that need to be involved as providers of information. In a simplistic example, a creative agency designer doesn’t necessarily need to talk to landscape consultants to obtain and confirm landscape plans and, similarly, a 3D artist won’t be talking to copywriters. But if one agency is trying to manage everything – then there is a much greater likelihood of communication going awry and external consultants not being adequately engaged in the delivery process.

Technical Elements

Finally, along the lines of product alignment, when effective communication is set up between two independent agencies – and as 3D visuals are being produced – “clay” or white-card early stage images and lighting tests can be exchanged to help designers with brochures or website image placements and to avoid changes to grid structures down the track as images are refined.

Case Study – Delivering Visuals for 4 Apartment Projects Simultaneously

In May 2016 Eagle Vision was engaged to deliver 17 3D visuals and floorplans/floorplates graphics across 4 medium density apartment developments for a prodigious Melbourne apartment developer, Steller. The projects had a simultaneous launch date of 5th of August and they varied from a luxury 3 storey apartment project in Elwood through to an inner urban 8 storey project in Richmond.

We partnered up with Dugan O’Sullivan to complete the work on these projects and only because we aligned our work timeframes and capacity, were we able to complete all the projects in time for the launch date.

This would unlikely have been possible if one small agency tried to do everything inhouse as there were so many different items to manage. Perhaps a national agency with multiple project managers could have attempted this feat, but costs might have been prohibitive for the clients, whereas in our case – both agencies managed their own and client’s budget was strictly adhered to and overall was a great result. The projects sold out prior to construction and the client was delighted.

Let Specialists Focus

Just as property development in general is a lot about risk-management and minimisation, similarly, the marketing stage should be treated this way. Having specialists for both major components of the marketing collateral who can work together and apart provides property developers the utmost accountability for each component and minimises risk of product shortfalls.

To your development success,

Stan Zaslavsky

LREA, BEng (Mech with Honours) / BTech (Industrial Design), VPELA

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