Branding is a symbol or mark that distinguishes one product from another, just as it was originally intended to ensure farmers and ranchers knew which herd was theirs. It’s now a kind of short-cut; think of the Nike swoosh, or Red Bull’s wings; all the brand personality and attributes are delivered through that one graphic: perhaps you think of ‘Just do it’, and the message of hard work and commitment when you see the Nike logo, and fun, energy and people jumping out of space ships when you see the Red Bull logo.
Of course, a logo doesn’t make a brand, it just carries its ethos and message in a little, efficient package. Large companies have a ‘brand bible’: a dossier of exact colours, fonts and basically rules, for every use of their name and logo in print or online.
People can be brands; just think of Lady Gaga, or Princess Kate. And so can houses. In fact, the stronger and more defined your house brand, the more likely you are to appeal to your buyer. But how? Let’s break it down:
Colours: the most visual of a brand’s personality, colours need to reflect the lifestyle and the tone of a house. So, muted, natural colours may accurately reflect a Georgian townhouse whereas a palette of white, black and even red may fit a bachelor apartment and convey its tone.
Mood: or atmosphere, is how your house makes someone feel when they walk through the door. Homely, impressive, calming, vibrant, cosy, minimalist; these are all feelings that a house can convey very quickly. As well as décor, music and lighting, and even smells, play a huge part in conveying a mood.
Furnishings: large squashy sofas and chunky wooden furniture will give your house a completely different feel to modern leather suites and glass and chrome pieces. What’s the style of your bed? Traditional or modern? Style above comfort? Or a huge wooden sleigh bed that all the family pile onto at the weekend?
Accessories: how is your house dressed? Is it formal, with tall, elegant vases and carefully chosen coffee table books? Or is it full of vibrant rugs and cushions in a jumble of colours? Look at your mugs – they can be a dead giveaway! If you are happy giving your guests mismatching mugs, then you probably have a relaxed attitude to your house style, and it may well be reflected in a casual, homely feel. A perfectly matching tea set could indicate a more reserved, uniform style that is apparent throughout the house.
Position: no matter how hard you try to overcome your location, some of it will seep into the house. So if yours is the only ‘Grand Design’ on a road full of sixties’ bungalows, it will diminish the overall wow factor for someone walking in. Unless they’ve been blindfolded…. So, muddy lanes feel the right way to approach a farmhouse, whereas a smart tree-lined avenue can really ‘pre-sell’ a period townhouse to a buyer as they approach.
A brand is like a jigsaw: it needs all the pieces to fit in order to work. In a house, one piece out of place, like an incongruous colour, an inconsistent piece of furniture or an ill-fitting neighbour, can detract from the overall impression you’re trying to create. By being aware of what your house brand is, or could be, may well help you to attract that buyer more effectively. Take that one step further, by commissioning a graphic designer to create your house name or number as a logo, and use it on your brochure, to really push that message home to a buyer. If it resonates, and it’s authentic, it’ll work.
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