The Elephant in the Room Property Podcast | Australian real estate
The Elephant In The Room Property Podcast with Veronica Morgan & Chris Bates

Episodes

Episode 79 | Marketing that makes you want to live the dream! | Catriona Burgess, Frost Collective

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The big difference between marketing & spin.

Catriona Burgess is Strategy Director at the Frost Collective. Cat has over 20 years experience in marketing residential property developments & developing brand strategies to help developers deliver the types of places you want to live & work in. 

Cat’s worked on Australia's largest urban renewal projects including Central Park, Green Square, Key Quarter, Darwin Waterfront & Australian Technology Park, as well as international projects in China, Korea, & Auckland.

We discussed a designer's role including:

  • Why designers look to market buildings to connect with your emotion.

  • Social media strategies that cost you money by targeting social proof & subconscious decision making.

  • The theatrical & engaging world of display suites - is the glossy brochure finally dead?

  • How buying in 1st & 2nd stages of a development can impact growth.

  • Will AI transform the way people buy property?

  • Sustainability - what housing model should we live in & how efficient is it for our city? 

  • Visionary things happening on the fringe of Sydney.

Once again, we gain a greater understanding of how the psychological & emotional side of us is targeted in a property transaction. 

WEBSITE LINKS:
Catriona Burgess - Frost Collective
Social
LinkedIn Handle: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catriona-burgess-4555aa4/
Twitter Handle: @catsydney

Work with Veronica? info@gooddeeds.com.au
Work with Chris? hello@wealthful.com.au

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Veronica: You're listening to the elephant in the room property podcast where the big things that never get talked about actually get talked about. I'm Veronica Morgan, real estate agent buyer's agent and Cohost at Foxtels Location, Location, Location Australia and I'm Chris Bates, financial planner, mortgage broker and wealth coach and together we're going to uncover who's really making the decisions when you buy a property.

Chris: Please stick around for this week's elephant rider boot camp and we have a cracking dumbo the week coming up.

Chris: Before we get started, everything we talk about on this podcast is general in nature and should never be considered to be personal financial advice. If you're looking to get advice, please seek the help of a licensed financial advisor or buyer's agent. They will tailor and document their advice to your personal circumstances. Now let's get cracking.

Veronica: When you buy an apartment, are you buying two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and open plan, kitchen, living, dining area, and a car space, or are you buying a lifestyle? Does a community within a complex evolve over time or has it been deliberately conceived and created as a consequence of the target market the apartments were originally pitched to? Do buyers care more about the location, the finishes, the amenities and the builder or the fancy name. In this episode, we're going to look into why property developers would invest in marketing and how branding influences the decisions of apartment buyers. Today we are talking to Catriona Burgess, better known as Cat Strategy Director at the Frost Collective, a design consultancy that has worked with many large organizations in the property and built environment sector. Cat has over over 20 years experience in marketing residential property developments and this includes developing brand strategies to promote a sense of uniqueness and creating place visions to help developers to deliver the types of places people want to live and working in. Her property marketing expertise includes many of Australia's largest urban renewal projects including Central Park, Green Square ,Key Quarter, Darwin Waterfront and Australian Technology Park as well as international projects in China, Korea, and Auckland. Now, thank you for joining us, Cat. This is going to be very interesting conversation.

Chris: Thanks Cat. Thanks for being here. Um, I mean I think it's kind of like the ultimate a thing to sell, right? You know, you've haven't actually been, it's not even built, it's just a concept and you have to get someone to sign a contract for something that could be, you know, their biggest decision of their life rather than say buying a tee-shirt. How does that whole process work? You know, how does the marketing, you know, work to actually create that kind of element of scarcity I guess?

Cat: Well, absolutely right. You're selling the dream, right? And so a lot of what we're doing is helping a developer to reach their target market, but also in a really meaningful way. Because I personally totally agree with what you're saying. It's like the biggest decision you're going to make in your life. Like probably the biggest amount of cash you're ever going to put down for anything your home, right? So you want to make sure that your accurately creating a sense what you're creating, particularly when it's off the plan. And I think this is one of the challenges that developers often face is they've got maybe a bit of a vision and they've got, perhaps they've started working with an architect, but the haven't always really thought through how are we going to communicate that and how are we going to also communicate about the experience? Because most people want to buy into a place that they feel like they belong to. Like belonging is the highest kind of need that people have when they're choosing a home. So it's really about how do we unlock that. Um, and what we're really looking to do is to do that in a way that's very genuine. Like we don't want to trick anybody into buying something that they ultimately wish they hadn't bought, but often, uh, helping them to, uh, conceive and imagine something that, yeah, it doesn't yet exist. So, you know, it's quite an interesting process.

Chris: And how earlier the developers getting you involved, like, oh, so do they, they vary. Some probably don't. They probably just build it and they think, oh, we can sell it now and then they doesn't actually work. But how soon are the smart ones getting kind of yourselves involved in actually designing the building and the marketing, et Cetera. How early on?

Cat: Yeah. Well look, that's a really excellent question because, uh, as you often talk about in this podcast, that old build it and they'll come mentality just isn't working. Particularly now we're in tighter and tighter residential markers and uh, what we're finding is the smart developers are getting us involved very, very early. So I'm working on a number of projects now where the visioning work we're doing helping the developer kind of have a concept for what this place would be like a happens even before the architecture.

Cat: Yeah. So it's sort of a difference, uh, between, in the past you might've thought of property marketing as we've got the product now help us to sell it. Whereas what we're doing is moving more towards, you know, real marketing, which is help us understand the potential purchaser, help us understand what this place means in its context of its history and its story. Um, and then help us kind of communicate that as a, as a vision, as a concept that they can then be used to keep everything on track, which is going to align to the final promise of what we want to, you know, sell to our buyers. And I think research is really, really important because what we're seeing at the moment is with pressures like affordability, with changes in technology with all of these sorts of things. What people want is radically changing. And so if you're not a developer that's really understanding what's driving the market, you could very quickly get left behind. So it's really important to research that.

Veronica: We have loads of conversations around this because of course there's a need for housing. And then what we see is a lot of buildings being built that don't necessarily build a product that is in demand from actual owner occupiers. Um, and there's a lot of talk around that the changing demographics are changing requirements of families to live in apartments or downgraders, you know, downsizer wanting, you know, larger apartments and all those sorts of things. And then the need for community and multigenerational living and all that, all those sorts of things. Where does the research start?

Cat: So it's really interesting cause I'm working on a project at the moment which is down near the Illawarra and it's quite multifaceted. So what's we've been doing is consumer research. So going, ah, who do we think the buyers might be? And then doing qualitative research. So actually sitting down with those people, asking them questions, getting them to help tell us the types of developments they'd like to live in. And then also at the same time we've been involved in community consultation to also understand, well what's the sentiment of that local area because this is quite a large development. And um, you know, the developer is anamazing developer and they want to be really respectful because a lot of the people who are going to buy into this development are local to the area exactly like what you're talking about. Like maybe first home buyers or downsizes. And so they don't just want to plunk something in there that doesn't feel appropriate. But I think it's really about having that kind of desire to listen and to understand and then to deliver a product that is meeting those needs. So yeah, it starts in research and it starts in, um, a genuine desire to shape the product to the user's needs. And I think what we're doing more and more when we're doing place visioning and when what we do is we set out a vision and then we set out sort of key principles of what that development should be like. Then the architects and the landscape architects and all the people who get involved in development, they have guiding principles that everyone's working to that unify that concept very early.

Veronica: So that's getting into the brief, isn't it? It's not like saying, well, I've got this site and I want to maximize the dollar per square meter I get back on it, or the return that I get on it. This is coming at it from a, which ultimately, obviously if you deliver a product that the market wants, you're going to get a better return, aren't you? But I'm, but it's a very different approach. There's more, there's more leap of faith in this side, wouldn't you think?

Cat: Well, I think, yeah, there's, there's less risk in actually understanding the market which is fundamental to those of us who are marketers,

Veronica: that's very true for those who aren't used to spending money on that sort of research and advice and spending that money up front. But yes, it's common sense.

Cat: Look at the end of the day in real terms in terms of how much money it costs to create a development. The investment is well spent I believe. Is it new though? You know like it has property marketing I don't know property marketing has always been there, you know, like let's give this building a name and let's sell it. Right. Or you know, and there's the, you know, even old buildings got names, right. So property markting has been around for a long time, but I feel like they just built it and then they throw the name on. But now I think that the developers are saying we have to build an amazing product to be able to sell it because our target market isn't investors anymore and they won't just buy anything is that, it's kind of like chicken and egg. I feel like the developers are being forced to go this direction rather than them actually understanding that that's actually a good strategy.

Cat: Yeah. Look, I think there's a number of different dynamics at play and a lot of the developers were working with, um, are going this way willingly. Like they're seeing that there's new models of housing. Um, but I think also it's not just about our own occupiers versus, um, investors. It's also that, I think there was a time where, uh, property marketing was quite rudimentary and it was like every brand was essentially just a description of the architecture. So if you had a tall building you might call it aspect or if there was, you know, if there was kind of like a crazy, I don't know if it was built like a circle, you call it Arc. Do you know what I mean? What, what we're trying to do is to more make the brand about the emotional connection that you want the person to have to it or the, the ultimate benefit. So, um, even if that doesn't mean that you're naming changes, it means the role of the communications, the way that you're telling the story is definitely different. And one of the fundamental changes is that, you know, everything used to be very analog, right? Like when I first started 20 years ago, believe it or not, um, you know, it was like, what does the brochure look like? What's the display? So sweet, like and everything was about aspirational photography of people, you know, looking out in a balcony, happy with their life, you know, that sort of thing. And every render used to have an a Gucci table or it was kinda like, it was so cliched. Um, and one of the things we're seeing is with that thing you're talking about of often developers wanting to drive down and get the best possible return on their development, that now a lot of architecture has homogenized. It's like every render of every apartment basically looks the same. So that's where the role of thinking about the place, thinking about the vision, thinking about the brand, and that having a real role to play can really help you create that point of difference and align it to what the market's actually looking for. So we can talk to deeper human needs and that's how people actually make decisions at the end of the day. So I know that you're very much about the rational and the emotional mind. Well, if the brand is just a description of the attributes of the development, it doesn't help to engage that emotional thing that creates that real pull for people. So, you know, we want to try and unlock that. But I guess in our practice, because, um, frost is very much a believer in design contributing to smarter cities. Like I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but we really want, we really see right now that the decisions that are being made about how people live, how people work, how we're creating cities, that is really, really important.

Cat: And so our desire is to play a role that's meaningful in that, you know, the same way that someone would go, okay, I could see an architect would be doing that in a way that has meaning and helping a city reconceived itself and how it might, what structures it might need. It's the same thing in what we're doing in brands and communicating to people about, well you might want to think about living in this way rather than how you might've thought of living in the past.

Chris: Yeah. Cause that's the big opportunity for now is for developers to go away from the easy money. I guess just building, you know, for the sake of it and sell to investors to actually let's create the housing for the future. And I guess the smart ones are thinking like that. Right. There will, let's imagine that in the, you know, we've got a blank canvas then they're coming to someone like you and say, well let's create that kind of world. And I guess then you can think about things completely different cause you're not just thinking about selling something. You're thinking about kind of creating a sustainable product that you can be known for I guess is that kind of the direction they're trying to get into?

Cat: Totally and many of the larger developers understand the value of their brand in terms of then giving a future purchaser confidence in the product that's been created. You know.

Veronica: Which is going to be so much more on the agenda these days after Mascot Towels and Opal Tower and you know, can that happen? Right. I think it's going to happen more because the thing is that if you think about Mascot Towers, it's 12 years old, right? It's at an age where you know now is when things are going to start happening, if they're going to start happening and unfortunately that there's the, the requirement of the developer and the builder and their obligation is ceased. The people carrying the can are the owners. But you know, this is not the topic of this conversation, but I actually think that's going to, we're going to see more of it because of those buildings are all getting to that sort of age. And a lot of them built with the same sort of no methodology shall we say. Um, but anyway, let's, let's just go back.

Cat: I think that's a good point in that, um, the, the developers that we work with, like people like Mirvac and we do a lot of commercial work with people like Amp Capital and you know, a whole variety of, you know, really reputable developers. Like they're very concerned about, you know, those sorts of issues. But also they're very aware that they have a responsibility, um, in the market place of the sorts of products they're creating and how that's aligning to community needs. And so, you know, um, those sorts of developers aren't just in it for that quick return, but they understand that the better products that the better they do, the better it leads to their business. And we are very lucky to work with developers like a Dr. Stanley Quek who did Central Park and uh, and like those people are real visionaries. And at the end of the day, like our city needs visionaries like that. We need people who are going to look at what might be leading practices offshore like he did and bring that to Australia. Like he brought, uh, you know, people like Nouvelle to Australia where, you know, Sydney often doesn't have the standard of architecture that we should. So, you know, yeah.

Veronica: I mean, there's a thing, isn't it? Because especially where he look at Central Park, you know, that's a landmark building now, you know, it's so visible and you go to Melbourne and there's a lot more interesting architecture in Melbourne. You go to be even Brisbane for God's sake. And there's, you know, some more interesting architecture than Sydney. We've been traditionally a bit conservative in terms of what v what we've allowed is starting to that bottom end of the city there. You know, UTS, I love how that, that building's been encased. And there there's the paper bag building and those sorts of books. Is that the real name for it, but um, you know what I mean, don't you? I do. I do. Sorry. There's, there's all sorts of things, um, that sort of approach really interesting because that is, it's not even just the living in it. That's the fact that this is a, an an edifice that is contributing to our, our cityscape now. So there's, there's so much more to it than just even simply providing nice places to live.

Cat: Absolutely. And I think that what we try and do is really unlock the power of creativity in that and help people understand that in today's market, like differentiation is really, really important. So a lot of people can kind of feel obviously comfortable in their comfort zone. But what we're in today is a society that's moving faster than ever before. So to stand still actually means you're going backwards. So what we often are doing is trying to unlock that, uh, power of creative thinking of how designers look at problems. That's maybe different to other people and help, um, really, you know, understand the type of society we aspire to be. So yeah, it can be quite, um, you know, I find what we do very inspiring because for me I'm like, I really love Sydney. I really believe that, uh, the city can't just stay at one point in time and it's changing, but we have a responsibility to make sure that the things that have been created now will last and will align to what we want to be is a place. You know what I mean? Our aspirations as a city, it's, it's really, really important I think. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. I think the whole, the Mirvacs of the world and you know, there'll be fine, you know, they'll actually say it's a big opportunity cause it'll actually push out a lot of the developers that aren't as probably skilled in selling a product and building communities and you know, that'll just create more demand. I think that the challenge that they got as a bit of a PR issue because what they are selling is a product that now as kind of being exposed and consumers won't know whether it's a Mirvac development or it's a Metricon or it's a, you know, it's a good build or a bad building and they're probably just worried that you know, while they're doing the right thing they're getting thrown in the bag with everyone else. And I think that's going to be the challenge for developers going forward is how they make sure not only they got yeah, visualize an amazing product or how can they assure that consumers have confidence that they're buying, you know, a quality product and so is going to be interesting. What are some of the, you know, I guess, you know, you've got, everyone's lifted the game, right? Everyone's got amazing renders and everyone's got amazing, you know, but you know, pictures in the domain and things like that. What are kind of some of the most forward thinking like they are and things like that. What are some of the most forward thinking ideas that marketrs are using to sell property?

Cat: You will look, I think the big thing that's changed and you would know this is the ability to personalize. So you know, the, the, the way that you can generate leads is very different to, you know, before where you had to put an ad in domain and then hope that your potential purchaser would see it. Um, and I think the touch points are changing as well. And obviously the more that that can move and you know, tell a story rather than just be a flat out of passive piece of communication definitely changes. I mean we, we've kind of been very proud that over the past few years we've kind of done a number of things that we're really industry leading at the time. So we were the one of the first agencies to create an app when we were working on Central Park that would enable buyers to kind of pick a level and then look at that in some detail as a render and then also look at the view and really kind of interrogate that beyond just, Oh, it's a brochure and there's one picture and I'm going to lay down, I dunno, 2 million for that, you know?

Cat: Um, and then yeah, VR as well. So we worked on a development in Paramatta, um, a number of years ago where we use VR. And it was really interesting because it was a very high number of people that once they had been able to look at that product through VR, that then they felt more inclined to purchase because it's just like anything you want to touch and feel it as much as he possibly can j

Veronica: Just in case listeners aren't aware of what VR is. Virtual reality when you put goggles on and yeah, you'll look like a weird person sort of space walking.

Cat: Totally. And some people find that a bit of a strange experience and sometimes I think it can just be people trying to generate difference for its own sake. But from our perspective it's like, um, it's like going back to that area of trust. Like that's the number one thing isn't it? You know, you want to have that sense of trust. So the closer that you can deliver something that helps people really understand the decision they're making and do that with integrity, that's what we find really important. So, yeah, but I think the key thing is we need to, we need to understand now that brands move, that they speak, that they do so much more and that most people, their number one touch point with a brand is going to be their phone. So I don't know about you, but the first thing I do every day is look at my phone. Like it's like my constant kind of connection to the world. Um, and so we do really need to understand the channels that consumers are using and make sure that we're delivering the most effective communication across those mediums. Um, it's interesting though because every year we kind of go as this year the brochure will be dead and I don't think it will ever die because you know, you've laid down as considerable sum and you want something to take away in your hand, you know, and, and people want to be able to sit down with someone and go, look what I just bought, you know, and get excited about it.

Cat: And, and so I think, um, you know, like there's, I think the, the thing is that we can, there's more and more we can do. Um, and the other thing I was going to say is display suite experiences are also getting much better. Much more engaging and much more theatrical. And it's interesting because this is a trend we're seeing in retail as well, right, is that people don't just want to go into a shop and look at the product. They want to go there and have an experience. They want it to have a sense of drama and storytelling. And so, um, one of the things that we offer, I mean, in our business is, we actually have interior designers. We have very specialized people who've actually worked in things like exhibition design. So that when you're looking at that thing of someone like going into that room, like it's like the car sales room, isn't it? Like it's sort of like that moment that you want to really get excited, like really also be able to sit down with someone and understand what, what exactly am I looking at here? So we have a very, very specialized team who works on that and that's definitely an area that we'll continue to grow, I believe

Chris: And creating the whole event around that display suite. Is that something that you guys have helped, you know, can you give me an example of where you've done that and then the results that that's kind of created, like, yeah.

Cat: Yeah. I mean, um, the agents like to talk about creating a frenzy, a frenzy, you know, because you kind of, it's kind of like that thing where you're in David Jones and there's the sale and everyone's trying to get that pair of shoes. Right. Um,

Cat: So we often work with the developer, with the agents to plan that experience. I mean, um, a lot of the time to even be in that room when they're going to release product, people have had to put down five or $10,000 to even start that conversation. But yeah, on a number of projects that we've worked on, like the whole product has sold out in two hours. Like when we were doing work on Loftis Lane, which is the really amazing actually boutique product down at Circular Quay, which that is never going to be repeated like two hours. And it was all gone really playing on that scarcity there.

Chris: Yeah, you are. But it was true scarcity, you know, and that's, that's, I mean, you know, down Circular Quay, ultra high end. Um, and you know, you probably got a huge market that wants it and so you could have created that. Have you, have you done that on more kind of every day apartments as well?

Cat: Absolutely. So, um, first two stages of Green Wquare. We worked with Mirvac on that as well. And, yeah, and it's really interesting because creating that environment that's gonna work well for people. Um, what you put in there. But like as I said, for me it's always really important that you're very respectful of that purchaser because you know, it's a big decision and you want them to love what they've, what they bought into and you want it to actually work for them, you know, at the end of the day.

Chris: Yeah, that's right. Like do you want to be able to deliver on the product that they expected? And the problem with the renders is that the equity, fair to good people are going to be thinking, you know, this is what I was expecting and they've got this. So there's kind of fine art to making sure that you deliver on the product that you're kind of offering, which I think a lot of developers and maybe over promise and under deliver, but then you know, that's not going to be a sustainable business model is it, you know, you're going to start to upset the building and it starts to in a compound, I think over time. What are some of the other things, I guess on the marketing point of view that you kind of find that really, I guess affects people to, you know, actually go out and purchase? You know, obviously you can through the VR you can, but what are some of the other kind of ways that property marketing affects us?

Cat: Look, I think it's really diverse because what you've got to think of and what were kind of, um, trying to help people understand more and more is it's a journey. Like you go through a number of stages. So you know, people will typically start going, okay, well I'm looking, I want to look in an apartment. Well, where would I like to look? So they're going to start initially looking at the location and then they're going to start comparing product within that location. And then they go into probably like visit, a display suite a number of times. And then do you know, I mean, so it's actually one of the things that we're seeing big changes to really understanding, mapping that customer journey, understanding every step along the way and how you're going to influence their decision. So things like service are incredibly important. And historically the agents that developer in the market are often quite isolated from each other. They're not talking to each other and they're not understanding that actually. But that end user for the person making the decision, they don't know all, there's a marketing agency over here and the sales people over there and they need to feel like it's very coherent. And so, you know, even kind of going, well, uh, what's the agent going to be dressed in? Are they going to look? If you're all kind of doing a really hipster, cool development, like, and suddenly the agent comes in and they look like they're in a suit and they look like they're not at all cool, you know, then that's not really going to be convincing. Like they'll feel that it's a superficial story for the development. So, and then the other thing is the most powerful tool of all today is advocacy. You want people to talk about your product and sell it to their friends and sell it to others because their belief, their excitement, that is something that's priceless. And so, um, you know, it's ironic that sometimes just creating a place in a sales suite where they can do a great selfie, you know, all those sorts of things are becoming very, very powerful. Uh, and so thinking about social media as part of it as well, and thinking also about how are you going to help the purchaser tell the story of why they're bought in this development and why they are really excited about it and share that, uh, because that, that is, um, that advocacy is very, very powerful and how you can, you know, reach other people. So yeah, we are seeing lots of different things, but I'd say the key thing is like sitting down and going for every step along the way of that experience that someone's going to have and it is an experience. Um, how are we going to make that exceptional? Um, and, and sorry, one thing I always mentioned is I always think about this idea, and I didn't make this up. It's from a guy called Seth Goden about the word remarkability because remarkability not only means it's exceptional, but it means you're going to take the time to tell somebody about it. So what's going to be the thing when they saw your ad or saw your brochure or saw your render or when to the display suite or met that agent who looked like a real person rather than, you know, or whatever. What is, what's going to be the thing that they're going to tell somebody and how are you going to manage that remarkability because that's the thing that ultimately is going to have the most power.

Veronica: So this is all beautifully created, you know, in terms of a creative, right. And it's a dream and it's a lifestyle, as you said before, you're selling the lifestyle and people have come along and they've seen themselves in there. They've imagined themselves having those lives and being on that balcony with a glass of champagne or whatever the hipster does. You know, I'd have the glass of champagne. They may not, um, having hipster artists the hipster would have the craft beer. Variety is the spice of life. I get to selling the lifestyle. So there's all of that happening and then there's a reality when they move in. They may not be as cool as they aspire to be, you know, and who knows how it happens. But is there any sort of measurement down the track of how successful the branding and the marketing message was in terms of actually creating exactly what was, was imagined?

Cat: Well, I think that that's one of the things that we're really interested in. And when we create a brand like in a place vision that doesn't just end when you've sold all the product. So what we're seeing increasingly is places have like place managers that are creating experiences that are looking to the longevity. Um, at the moment we're working with, um, one of our clients on a build to rent product and they're really looking at their obligation to create a community more than just to sell an apartment or in this case at lease an apartment. Um, so I think this is becoming more and more part of it. And, and I think that where you really see that is in resale value. When you know, you see in some developments, resale value very quickly erodes, um, in the current market. It's really unfortunate because in some cases, the initial purchase price that people paid now when they're exchanging, you know, the value of the property is going down because of what's been happening. Um, and that's again, where uniqueness helps to maintain that value. Uh, but yeah, I think that the key thing that we're always trying to communicate is that vision, that brand. It's not a thing that just happens to sell. It's a thing. It's a promise to people and you need to maintain it. And again, because part of what we do is, um, create, uh, the brand in the built form. So we do things like signage and graphics and placemaking and all this sort of thing too, that, that we, you know, our best, uh, experiences are when we can work really end to end from the very beginning of what's the vision? How do we help you capture what consumers want? How do we think about what this place could be relative to where it is? How do we then articulate that in a way that helps you execute it? How do we then market it to people? How do we then move them in in a way that's great? How do we maintain the experience? How do we embed placemaking into it? You know, how do we, yeah, exactly.

Veronica: So it is intergrated throughout the whole process as opposed to your advertising campaign slept on at the end. Have you ever dealt with developers that have come to you with a product that hasn't been selling and they've tried to retrofit this sort of thing?

Cat: Um, I'm trying to think of one. Recently. You look, there are some cases of that where they have to reframe the product. Um, and then I mean, but often we find when we get involved in those sorts of projects, it's where they've gone down that very conventional path at the beginning. And so there's actually a lot of room to improve. You know, how that's being done. And I think one of the things that we're really passionate about is there's a real propensity in this area of marketing for it to be very cookie cutter, very expected and trends come through. It's like, you know, as I said, I've worked in the industry a long time. There was a one point where everything was property as fashion and it was suddenly like, you didn't have that person just sitting on the balcony, you know, normal looking personal, maybe, you know, slightly better looking person than us or you know me.

Cat: Uh, but, uh, were all very attractive, you know. But instead you'd have models who were like suddenly in an evening gown and they were very, you know, they were very like, oh, let's have this amazing model, like walking up the stairs who were apartment and you know, and it was like, oh, we're going to selling property as fashion, you know. And so like, there are real trends that come through. And one of the things that we really pride ourselves on is really going against the trend. So at the moment, like everything is hipster. And so it's like anything that gets put on the table that we think looks in that aesthetic or is trying to kind of create that promise. Like we're very, uh, we're very hard on ourselves of saying, look, you won't get cut through if you just suddenly look like everybody else. Like we have to think about what we're really doing here is communicating a story and we need the aesthetic and we need the language and we need everything to have enough differentiation that it will have cut through. So yeah, it's quite challenging that at times that you can see a really strong trend like we can see at the moment with instagramers. Um, well, you know what I mean? Is it a trend in the marketing of products

Chris: Is that maybe more towards now, you know, cause hipster would have been great. You would have targeted some more the first time by like say three, four years ago that was pushed out of their housing boom. They were desperate to buy something. And so you've got that kind of early thirties couple, the hipster marketing would have worked really well, but now probably the next target market is probably that family market who don't really gravitate towards that kind of, I don't really want to be around all 30 year olds. I want to be around 40 year olds who have got kids. Are you finding that's where they're moving?

Cat: Yeah, look, it's very varied depending on each development, the psyche of that market, right? Because we're a family designed to decide to move into an apartment is a very big decision. Like those, the bookends of the mark of what we call them a, it's quite funny because you've got the, you've got the hippies, the ex hippies and the hipsters. And they actually think really similarly. It's quite ironic. Um, and so, uh, but then the family market is very distinctive and I think, um, also where a lot of families are moving into these sorts of developments tend to be fringe locations in Sydney, you know, so, um, you really have to understand what that place means to them. And in many cases, you know, let's just say they're from an area like Liverpool cause we worked on a big development in Liverpool. Like the aspiration is they still feel very proud of their area, but they kind of realize that perhaps they could be a better standard of types of places they could live in, in that area. You know, because when it was developed, may you know the types of properties that might be there don't align today's aspirations. So they, they want you to um, capture the ethos and the spirit of that particular place rather than, I think as I said earlier, plunk, a bit of Newtown into, but they also want it to be aspirational enough. So you do have to spend a bit of time like really unlocking what is that special thing. And every project will have something that is very particular that's very special and that's what you want to lead from. That's kind of where you find that, what we call brand idea, like that brand position that enables you to tap into that. But you do really have to understand that unique emotional needs state and, and product needs, state of that audience. And to genuinely not just be, you know, putting it on the production line but thinking very deeply about it.

Cat: And actually that development that we did do in Liverpool, um, it was on the banks of the Georges River and it was an old paper mill. And ironically we called it the paper mill on George's river. Um, because we didn't need to trick it up, but we didn't need to make it any more tricky. But then what was really great was we got local schoolkids to help, um, create imagery that was used in the marketing. And we created this great metaphor of a paper boat and that became this really great kind of storytelling vehicle about, you know, um, creating this new kind of future for Liverpool and all those sorts of things. So it was something that it wasn't just all like, um, like the way that we are able to create a meaningful symbol for that development. It wasn't just like literally, oh, there's a saw tooth roof on this building.

Cat: So that's what we're doing. We kind of created something quite unique and then it was very successful for them as well.

Veronica: Sort of about gentrification or, or just the progress of, of an area. Yeah. Um, do you develop as often consider all of that before they decided to buy a site? Because in reality, I mean, are they doing their numbers and then coming to you or do they incorporate this sort of research into their decision whether that site is going to yield them the profit they require?

Cat: Look, I think it really depends on the developer. Um, and I think, look, a lot of, uh, in a lot of cases they are, well, they're there if then they haven't gone into the deep psyche of the market. They're definitely looking at the demographics and what the yield they can get from the side is. Yeah. Um, but then, I mean, they're, they're also on a journey of going, you know, what, what is the potential of this site? And I think one of the most interesting things that's happening at the moment is Sydney is actually reconfiguring itself in a really dramatic way. Like in my lifetime, I don't think I've ever seen so much change in what does Sydney mean as a city? Because you've got the metro happening, you've got the light rail happening so transport and also the investment in infrastructure is radically changing Sydney right now. Um, and so, you know, like areas that perhaps before weren't on a potential purchasers radar and now becoming very, very viable. Um, and I think that's great. Like we're kind of trying to change that. Oh, it's only the inner parts of Sydney, you know, you'd aspire towards living in, well, there's certain people, you know, uh, but, but you know, like we're, we're starting to unlock the potential of much more of the city through this investment in infrastructure. And so, um, I think it's really changing what, how we see our city. And one of the things that we do as well as our creating brands for properties is we create brands for places as well. So we've worked with Redfern, for example, we're all here in Redfern today on its branding. We did that maybe five years ago. And while we can't say, oh, we're responsible for all of the changes in Redfern like what you do see is when we were able to start turning around the reputation of Redfern, it unlocked a lot of untapped potential in the area. Um, and so she client, well that was actually in a really interesting project where we worked with the city of Sydney, the local chamber of Commerce, commerce, the Rabbitohs, believe it or not, the local, the local residents association. So it was really a, a joint group of people. Um, but we worked, uh, about a year or so ago with Canterbury Bankstown on their brand as well, which is very interesting because

Veronica: we're the bulldogs involved in that?

Cat: We did talk to them about it and it was so fascinating because I'm in an era where technology is dominating everything and change is happening so quickly. It's actually places like that that in some ways have more potential because there's less in the ground. There's younger kind of more, um, aspirational markets that really want to spend on things that are new and different. And so this very visionary things that happening in those areas on the fringe, um, which, you know, I say fringe, it's actually what we're now calling the middle ring, you know? Yeah.

Veronica: Add it, you know, Outer Inner West now.

New Speaker: Totally, totally. And I think areas like Bankstown are going to radically change without losing what makes them great because for me it's interesting being a longterm Sydneysider. And I have to confess, I live in Newtown and new town in the 20 years I've lived there has changed so much hasn't it?

Cat: And so has Marrickville where we used to go to these areas because they had a really interesting mix of people and there was a lot of multiculturalism in those areas and goths and punks and all that sort of stuff. And now you need to go to places like Bankstown to kind of have those family run businesses where you go into like what looks like someone's our home almost. And like you eat off a table that's just got a really basic set up, but then you eat the most incredible food. And so, you know, it was interesting when we did that project because people were saying, I now go to those areas for those really authentic experiences that perhaps aren't so easy to find or even have just become too expensive in other parts of Sydney. So

Chris: And social media, how does, um, you know, cause this obviously is, well proliferation of, you know, we're not going not going away from it. How is that kind of, and property is one of those life stages where you do want to tell people. Right. You know, it's like the first thing people do is when they buy a home, they get that sold stickers, they put it on Facebook, like they're having a baby or they're getting married, et cetera. How will you find it? What's up?

Cat: Yeah, Facebook's gone. Instragram!

Chris: So how do you tap into that? You know, it's not bragging, I guess is that ego of when they want to tell people that they've purchased an off the plan apartment or something like that. How have you kind of figure out how to tap into that? So they actually share their friends, you know, and they tell people that they purchased a development, done that before.

Cat: Or look, I think what we're trying to do first of all is create content that is really kind of desirable on Instagram. So you do need to have a social media strategy as part of when you're doing your property marketing and you have to create content that is both desirable and useful at times. I think it's also like thinking about even like the staging of a space of like where is that place where they can create that great photo.

Cat: Like even back in the days when we did central park for example, um, there was a massive, I don't know if you remember what they did an amazing displays with and in front of it we created these huge letters that people could stand in front of them were kind of almost sculptural. So I think one of the things that we all have to be thinking about is things like Instagram and Instagram is actually moving more and more towards video obviously. And as are, you know, every channel is becoming more and more about video. Um, but it's Kinda like how do you, um, create the stage for where someone might want to post their own thing and yeah, you can't be too big brother about it. Like people have got to genuinely feel it, but you need to understand the role of each, uh, touch point and channel and how you can unlock its potential definitely as part of your strategy. And sometimes that might be in things like, what's our event strategy for this development? So, um, you know, are we going to have, you know, other things happening here that will be things that would be good to post. You know, what are other things that you can do to kind of create more noise around noise, you know, talk around, talk a bit leading around the brand. Um, yeah, so it's just really understanding how to use that channel best. But I mean, my son the other day sat me down and gave me a lesson on Instagram and he told me hashtags are over. He is 15. It's like I went really, you know, like what's instead of? Now it's all about your story and how you use your story and how you use buttons that people can click on and all this sort of stuff. So, you know, and not saying that, obviously we have experts within our team, but I think the key thing that I'm trying to say here is some of these channels are moving incredibly quickly and sometimes you'd kind of in a bit of a test and learn approach. So it's like, okay, well let's try this on this channel. I think the great thing about social media in particular is it's fast and it's often quite cheap. And so, and it's, the real investment is often in people to be there to create content other than, you know, like that in big investment to print a brochure, all those sorts of things. So it's a much more, um, without using cliches, agile channel to be using in a way and something that you can using in a much more test and learn way. So, you know, that's the sort of thing that we're always looking to do is figuring out how do we unlock that potential in new ways.

Chris: So, let's say I've, I've, I'm thinking about buying, I've got the stage of my life where I'm, you know, be thinking about buying something. I've gone on some website and you've tagged me as a potential buyer and maybe I've gone onto your website and now you retargeting me on Facebook or something like that. Have you, I mean, that's kind of what happens. And then, you know, and then maybe I joined the newsletter, right? And now you advertise me on the newsletter, you send me some videos, you might be giving me a VR link. Has developers been successful though in creating, you know, that lead all the way through to the sale without any display suites that anyone even, yeah. You know, basically the whole lot with photos online. Yeah. So basically someone's buying a property and signing up to like a million dollar place without ever really speaking to anyone?

Cat: So I have to say, I haven't seen yet that thing where you cut out the salesperson. I do think for a lot of us, we still want to talk to a person at one point. Like I do really agree with you about increasingly we're going to see AI, we're going to see technology playing more and more, of a role in getting information to people and as you say, a helping to service leads and serving them new content, all of that sort of stuff. But I, I'm not sure when that time will come. It might be generational, right? Because it might just be like, I can remember I'm showing my age again, but I can remember a time many, many years ago where you'd kind of think twice about booking a flight online, you know, and now I would just go really? Like, that's just I never see a travel agent, right? I wouldn't even, I dunno how travel agents still survived, to be honest. Um, but, but I think are we going to get to that point in property where we're going to cut out the agent altogether? I think that that's going to really depend on, um, the types of people who are buying and what sort of confidence they want. And there is something about looking someone in the eye and having that sense that you can ask that question you really wanted to ask. Um, so no, I haven't yet seen that, but will it come? Potentially?

Veronica: Yeah. I was listening to a podcast recently. It was a financial advisory Podcast, can't remember which one. And they were interviewing someone who does research in that space and he was saying that like in financial advice people, there's a lot of online stuff, but fun fundamentally at the point where they're gonna they want to make big decisions. They still want to sit down and talk to a human being. So hopefully that, you know, hopefully agents don't do themselves out of a job by, you know, continuing to provide, you know, trustworthy advice and you know, all that sort of stuff. Or they are selling of course in this, in this day and age. Oh, in this, um, in these contexts.

Cat: Do you know that thing about, um, the agent like, you know, talking themselves out of a job, our job is to get the buyer to the agent, right? Yes. Do you know what I mean? Um, and so yeah, sometimes, uh, there'll be decisions made about how much do you want to release through other forms of communication because, um, I think that, uh, yeah, we are trying to take them on the journey. We're trying to inform them, we're trying to give them as much information as possible, but there is still, I think a lot of respect for that, that human interaction, you know? And so, yeah, I think, I think, uh, like we all know these websites are coming that, you know, we're talking about that the, um, the homeowner might be able to completely cut out the agent. You know, I think potentially you can see that when you're just selling your own home and you feel like you can market that to an individual, whether we're going to see that with these larger, more complex, more community style developments where you know, something on the scale of Green Square. I think, you know, we're a long way from that in that area because you, you know, you do need to be able to communicate to people more than just it's a three bedroom house. Do you know what I mean? Like you need to be able to tell a much bigger story of what's coming. And so yeah,

Speaker 3: So on the marketing side of it, you've got marketing which is deeply integrated into the entire concept of the development and, and is deeply rooted in actual market research at the outset in terms of providing and delivering a product that is needed and desired and all that sort of stuff. Then there's the other type of marketing, which is bandaid marketing. And we sort of touched on that a little earlier in terms of developers that just build something and then go right. Want you to brand it now. And I fully appreciate that most of your clients don't fit into that bucket. But from a consumer's point of view, how do they determine the difference? Because you know, if everybody's online, if they are, you know, predominantly going through this process online as well until they actually get to a displaced wait. But even if they do get to a display suite that's not the actual [product, you know what I mean? That that's not it. Like you said before, they're buying a dream, they're buying the lifestyle. How does a consumer determine the difference?

Cat: I think the question I think you're asking is how do they tell the difference between good and bad marketing but also what isn't a bad product. Yeah, and it is about the designer. I understand that you're going to find that the bad marketing's pretty obvious because it all looks the same. Like it just feels like it's come off a production line, you know? And also I think the place you see it the most is in the language of how they talk about it. Right. You know, everything just is exactly the same. And, and, and that's one of the areas that we work on the most is how you describe the product. And we help, we often, I'm like, let's just go back to if we were creating a brochure or something, we often try not to use all those suppurlatives and to write things in a more editorial way. Like you'd read in a magazine that's more authentic to someone who's trying to find out about something. So yeah, I think that thing when just, I've read this sales pitch a million times before and outstanding views and exactly like that's when, you know, that perhaps that their level of effort hasn't been put into thinking about it in that deeper way. Um, yeah. And, and you'll start to feel that, I think very quickly when you really feel like you're being really sold to, rather than communicated to like, and I think this is one of the things that we're seeing increasingly is, um, people want more authentic brands. They actually really respect utility of information. Like they just want to know like they, they want, they want things to be useful.

Veronica: ut I guess what they need to do then is look at more than one, um, development. So like if there's only one development in the area that they want to buy in, for instance, they need to go and look at developments in other areas to sort of really test that idea of does it sound same, same as everybody else's or is it really at much more of an intrinsically different offering?

Cat: Yeah. And I guess at the end of the day too, like think about how closely that aligns to their values and to what they're looking for from their lifestyle. And I think also think, not just for today, but like how long do I see myself living here and how long is going to work for what I'm looking for. Um, particularly when you're potentially going into a newer development where it might be staged and we're, you know, day one, it may not all be there, but getting in early might mean you're going to get in on something that's going to end up being fantastic and you've had the vision to get in early enough.

Veronica: Yeah, there's an element of his big element of risk with that because you know, if it doesn't end up transpiring and it actually becoming the promise, you know, there's obviously a leap of faith in that regard. I know there's a couple of buildings that you know, we've bought for, for clients or maybe in some that we haven't actually bought in, but we were aware of like for instance, Moore Park Gardens. Now, I honestly don't think of ever bought in there, to be honest, but I have looked at a number of them. Well, yeah, I mean, well, but the thing is with that, what's interesting is that you talk to people that live in that building in that complex is that they, and that's one of the original big that was a Mirvac. I'm pretty certain, you get people upgrading within the complex. They love it. Yeah. And so that's renters and owner occupiers in once they're in, they're in for life.

Veronica: And so that's something that's interesting in some of these complex, this more successful developments as well as another one. Yeah. Yeah. And there's another one, a in, Surry Hills in some Pelican street, can't think of the name of it for the minute, but um, that's another one that people tend to upgrade within the building. So when you got an experience or living in a building or a complex where you don't want to leave it, that, that's really telling. And those, I don't know whether they were necessarily designed specifically with that in mind or, or that's just evolved over time. You know what I mean? And so I think when certainly when we look at older complexes when we're looking at buying for clients is we do consider the, how it's evolved over time. And that's how, I guess that's what you're trying to create, isn't it?

Cat: Yeah. Because it's about your identity at the end of the day. And so if you really relate to that place and you really relate to the complex you live in, it says a lot about who you are. And I think you were saying earlier that a lot of people are moving away from houses and they're moving into apartments. Um, a lot of that is because today we just don't have the time to maintain a home. Um, and what the research shows is that people want that amenity in their community, like they wanted adjacent to their homes. So instead of having a house that's got a backyard that you everyday look out in the weeds and go, I can't maintain this, you buy into a development, it's all beautifully designed and then you've got an amazing park that gives you that same amenity. It's adjacent to your home, but you don't have the responsibility for it. And so this is the thing that we're really seeing in terms of what's driving that big change is that people, you know, we're all living very accelerated lives and, um, we want to spend more on experiences rather than things. So, you know, we've had that whole movement where people are throwing everythingout as we know, the Condo or whatever. Doesn't spark joy. Yeah, exactly. So I'm not sure that's that whole thing of, it's almost like we're so mentally overloaded that we want to simplify the places that we live in. And that's, yeah. And that's why apartments often respond to that need you can't fulfill them.

Veronica: Well at the same time, one of the biggest growing industries is self storage. So people keep buying stuff and stuffing it, your self storage. But one day when I'm in a bigger apartment .

Chris: Is sustainable kind of design and you know, two people now know people wouldn't have cared say five years ago if the building was made of sustainable materials or if it's got a seven star energy rating. Are you finding that a lot of the developers are now at least switching on that those things do matter?

Cat: Absolutely. And I think, um, in many projects we work with, sustainability is almost becoming table stakes. Like it's just an expectation. And I think one of the things I was gonna say is in this shift to apartments, while some of us kind of go, oh, they're all these apartments going up all over Sydney, do I feel okay about that? It is a much more sustainable way of living when we have denser forms of property, you know? And if we design them really, really well, there's the caveat, you know, then it's actually creating really vibrant cities. Like you think of some of the best cities in the world, like New York and New York, you know, the apartment in New York is, you know, like, it's kind of what, you know, a lot of New York's really about, you know, so if we start thinking about sustainability isn't just about materiality or you know, recycled rain water or solar, but it's also about what are the models of housing we're living in and how efficient are they for our city? Then that sort of becomes a very big part of the equation I think. Um, and so yeah, locating people close to where they want to, where they're working or where they want to go out. So they walk there and walkability is becoming a really big factor in, um, how successful a place might be. Um, all of those sorts of things are very, very important. And I think right now as a city, um, when we talk about the work we're doing about having to be really aware of the sorts of cities we want to live in, like for all of us, I think, uh, you know, we're all thinking about this question of how sustainable is Sydney are the cities that we're living in and what can we do to make it more sustainable? And I think for some of that, that means kind of having to reevaluate, you know, what are the choices we're making on every level and you know, how we, the place we choose to live in is going to be one of those choices.

Veronica: You mentioned earlier that belonging is the highest need that we have when buying a home. I'm presuming that's come out of some research.

Cat: Yeah, it is actually. Um, when I went to recently that when they were doing the vivid ideas conference, they were sharing a whole lot of research. And believe it or not, it was actually Ikea that had done some of this research, which is interesting. Um, and they had done a whole lot of research into what people are looking for from their homes. But that comes out of, um, there's this thing called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. I'm sure you're all aware of it. Um, and yeah, it, their research and, but also over many years of research, we know that that's the, the deepest kind of one of the most deep needs we all have is this sort of feeling that we can, uh, you know, be valued for who we are and feel like we belong. And it's very interesting to me because I see Sydney is a very tribal city. I don't know if you feel that, which is why I live in Newtown. That's my tribe, you know? Um, although increasingly I've started to question that, but I don't.

Veronica: I live in Newtown, we belong to each other,

Cat: But you know, it really manifest who you are. And, um, and so yeah, you want to go, you want to go home everyday and go, wow, I love where I live. I bump into my friends on the street, the person who gives me my coffee, although I don't drink coffee, so it gives me my herbal tea.

Cat: They, you know, they Chai Latte. Yeah. But I'm Vegan as well. Right. So, you know, just different. Definitely. Can fit the Newtown mould so, you know, it's, it's so important, uh, to feel like you find your place in the world, isn't it? You know, and, and, giving people places that they feel safe and they have a sense of comfort and they feel like they go home every night and their needs are met. Like that's a really, really important thing that we're all working towards, I think.

Veronica: Yeah. It is. And, and yeah, it's interesting because I guess I question, you know, like, so creating a sense of belonging, I.E. Creating an identity that people, okay, so chicken and the egg, are you creating the identity that people can identify with and then say, oh, I will belong there or is it people craving belong and go, oh, I wouldn't mind belonging there.

Cat: Yeah, look, I think you're right. It's a bit chicken and egg to figure that out. Um, but I think some of the best practice examples were saying, um, they're always in Scandinavia. But what am I seeing is that divide between the developer and the people who might live in a development is getting closer and closer. So often, uh, like we've got the Nightingale project for example, that's happening in Victoria. Yeah.

Chris: You know, the epitome of where things are going. You know, where the, you know, the not even building the building until they've engaged with the community and they're almost, the buyers who are actually buying the building are actually almost effecting how the buildings going to be built. Because you know, there's surveys along the, are you liking this? Do you really want six car places or did you happy with four? Are you happy with, do you want six bike racks or do you want 12 bike racks or do you want, so that of the community's almost building the building, which I think, you know, just, yeah, very interesting.

Cat: It's the ultimate isn't it? Um, and it's kind of that process of as long as it excellent actually it works in the end, good architects. But this idea of Co-curation and inviting the end user into the decision making process is something we're going to see more and more. And we don't only work in residential property, we work in commercial property a lot. And we're really seeing that trend in commercial where, you know, at the end of the day the we work so not, and all of that sort of, I'm gathering that sort of in that. Absolutely. Yeah. But even beyond that, even, um, projects that we work on that are quite large developments, um, you know, they want to rather than, again, that thing of all, here you go, it's all done now. Would you like to move in here? It's like, well, where do you see your culture heading? And you know, like they're understanding that millennials and younger talent, they see, well, I mean, the fundamental thing is that work and life is just all blurred. And so that's in we work, you go, okay, well now an office feels like a home, you know, and for many of us, our home feels like an office because we're working at home more. So that sort of blurring of work and leisure that's happened through technology like that is manifesting itself in many, many ways in the sorts of spaces that people want to be in. So, um, yeah, it's having a really profound influence on a whole variety of property at the moment. But that's incredibly exciting. And I think the fact that in this era where technology has kind of unleashed the power of the consumer, of the end user, it's incredibly exciting because it, it, it brings us all closer together.

Cat: Uh, enables, um, quite what otherwise would be quite small audiences to sometimes aggregate and get what they want. Like what's happening in Nightingale, you know, it just, it just kind of creates this whole new era of potential. And I always sort of go, look, we're almost at 2020 we're almost 20 years into a not so new century, but I think we're still in the formative years of what will this century be like? And I think some of these things, we're starting to get a flavor now for what that's going to be, you know, and the things that we're now calling disruption are going to just become normal, you know? And that will be disrupted against an increasingly faster pace. Exactly. Exactly. And, and that's where I think though, the home, the place that we live in will always be a place that we need to go to escape and to manifest our sense of self sanctuary. And yeah, it's our sanctuary is our space. And that's where I think you know more on more, well how do we show people the potential of what that can be beyond it just being a box, you know, like what's the potential of that could be in terms of a community, in terms of where you might live in the city in terms of the choices you might make that could be radically different to those that we used to make in the past when it was sort of much more, you know, suitable for that century. Like the old, you know, through it's more prescribed. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: I think that's what property is interesting now if we were going to cut it all down, it all comes down to that's actually a home for someone and it creates a whole life for them and things like that. So that's probably what you love in terms of helping people buy properties. What I love the most is, you know, helping them live a life that they want to live and you know, property is a huge element in, in creating that life. I guess just with the development side, I feel like, you know, we've just missed a trick cause we're switching onto this in 2020 when we're been building for the last 30 years. Stuff that hasn't really, you know, thought this through and we haven't created communities. We've just created high rises. And um, you know, I'm really, you know, optimistic if I was, you know, a develop our going forward because, you know, we're going to keep growing our population. We've run out of land anywhere near the city. So our only option is to build and we've got an opportunity to build great stuff. It's just unfortunately that, you know, they've built not great stuff for so long is that, you know, it's just been a huge opportunity missed. And I think a lot of people, our listeners will think we're very anti new property and you know, we have been, you know, because I'm, we know what's being built over the last 30 years, but if we're going forward, you know, maybe we will change our tune because a lot of the new developments in the future I think will be better. You know, they will have to lift their game a lot. And I think it's very exciting to too, cause we don't know what that's going to be. Right.

Cat: Yeah. And I think like having worked on Central Park, which was very visionary, like that's got like incredible green credentials, but I remember when, uh, and look, this is, you know, many years ago, because this is when it was just like a sketch. And I remember, um, meeting, uh, the, um, designer who created all the green walls on that building. And I remember everyone going, is that going to work? Like, is there anything gonna grow in a building, you know, and, um, look at an hour's beautiful lush. And, and the whole concept of that, which I love was about creating a bouquet for the city. It was like that was the concept. And I think, I think there are some good developments out there. Like, I think that something like the Central Park has been, it's really like a flagship of how to do it well because they've done like some very kind of large towers. They've done some smaller, uh, elements. Uh, they've got a reuse of a heritage properties and that hasn't quite come to fruition. And then you've got Kensington Street, which to me is one of the most interesting places to dine in and go out in Sydney, you know? And so, you know, I can, it can be done well, but you do need visionaries that the heal of it, you know?

Chris: Yeah. There's something called like, I mean for our listeners to listen, it's like we live, which is we works kind of living area and you know, that's an example where, you know, it's a subscription model. So you know, there will be at a time point in time where you basically just pay a subscription and you know, your washing's done. If you go away, your cat will get, you know, fed, um, you know, all the, basically the house is kind of run. You don't have to worry about paying for the Internet bill or the gas, et cetera. It's just one fee a month and you get all these facility of services and you know, the good thing is when you create that, you know, the better product is more services. Then everyone's got to keep upping their game right? And all the new developments every year we'll have to get better. To kind of differentiate. And so I think it's very interesting to see where developments go because you know, we're just going to keep demanding our and higher, you know, functionality I guess.

Cat: And I think that the fundamental thing about like the we lives and build to rent, all those things is going to be in the psyche of the buyer of them seeing their home is their primary form of investment. You know, like that's for many of us, we don't just buy a home or somewhere to live. We buy it as something to invest in. And so a lot of people are always looking at that rational side of that purchase to, um, I think, you know, we, you know, we still got this affordability question, which is really top of mind for many people. Um, and we've got that service thing coming in as well too. So there are going to be all these different options for people. Uh, it's going to be, uh, something that's going to stand the test of time. I think of how Australians see, you know, is their primary investment their home or are they going to look for other ways to invest? And I think with the recent changes that have been happening in residential property in Australia, like some people are seriously questioning that. And I know the work that we've been doing, uh, on build to rent, like many people do choose to rent. They don't just do it because they feel like they can't afford a home. They're going, well actually, by being a renter, you know, I get all of these different choices. But one of the things that I think is very disappointing is that renters have often been treated with a lot of lack of respect and now we're going to see new disruptive models come in that do respect the renter. And Ah, I think that again, um, some large developers are gonna put weight behind that they're going to shift the category in a really major way, in a very exciting way. And so, yeah, there's just going to be more real choice out there for people, you know, in terms of really viable ways to live.

Cat: Um, and I think that the key thing that I really think is great about this time is the empowering of that consumer, empowering the renter, uh, empowering the buyer, educating them, uh, making sure that they're, um, you able to make good decisions and that leads to a respectful relationship. And I think that's best for everybody.

New Speaker: Well, that's what this podcast is all about. And in fact, we recently interviewed Andrew Price. He's a managing partner of EYabout, about uh, some research that he was a co author of around that whole is renting better than buying and it's about stimulating those bigger conversations and the more, you know, grade of thought, if you like, in terms of what the future is going to look like.

Chris: Every week we hear incredible stories that dumb things, property buyers do, dumb things that end up costing a whole lot of money and or creating a whole lot of stress mistakes that can be avoided. Please. Cat, can you give us an example of a property dumbo? We can all learn what not to do from the stories.

Cat: Well, I mean, the biggest thing that we find is, um, when people don't stay on track, that's, that's the biggest thing we find is that often people start at your clients. Yeah. Um, that, that they start ambitious and creative and then over time they get more and more falling back into their comfort zone. And it really is that thing I was talking about before that what feels comfortable means that it's been done. So we don't want to put people in the, into areas where they feel like they're taking huge risks, but they do need to, you know, like open out their horizons a little bit wider. And one thing I would encourage people to think about is, but not always everyone that's involved in the development of the right people to make decisions about marketing. Like sometimes, sometimes they just don't know how to look at aesthetics well or they don't know how to engage with what the new latest channels are or those sorts of things. And so they often fall back on things that they're comfortable with and that will exclude newer ways of reaching people. So you really need to make sure that you're engaging with experts and that you have also have expert marketers within your team that are really up to speed with what's the newest ways to sell to people. Because you know, you can't the same consumer that's going to go out and buy an apple watch and use all the way that apple talks to them. They're the same people that are going to go and buy a new apartment, you know? But if you're talking to them in the way that you used to talk to them in, you know, even 1990 like you are very antiquated. So yeah, it's just about really making sure that the people who are making decisions are well equipped to make those decisions, but also that they understand that today safe is risky.

Veronica: Interesting. Yeah. I love it. Safe is risky. Oh, right. Well on that note, thank you so much for joining us Cat. That's been a really enlightening conversation. I thought we were just going to talk about property marketing and you know, maybe we can have a bit of a dig at you, but no, we didn't get that didn't get that opportunity at all. We really got to talk about how enlightened developers who want to differentiate themselves in their PR and their, you know, the things that they are doing in order to create, you know, I guess the city of the future. So thank you very much for joining us.

Cat: It's been real pleasure.

Chris: Thank you very much. We want to make you a better elephant rider. And this week's elephant rider training is:

Veronica: This was a very interesting conversation with Cat all around property marketing and you know, the synic in me is always thinking, okay, you know, I'm, we're being marketed to the elephant is being stimulated. Um, and so you need to be aware of it even though, you know, there's a lot of virtue in terms of the research that's been done in terms of the type of property that needs to be developed, the type of, the type of community, all that sort of stuff. I see a lot of merit in that, but I think from a buyer's point of view, just be very aware of how your elephant is being motivated. There were two things, um, that I just picked out the of, um, our interview with Cat and one is that she did talk a lot about uh, social proof. She talked to a lot about sharing moments and opportunities for purchases of any property really, but brand new in this instance to be able to talk about what they did and explain what they didn't brag about, what they did, et Cetera, et cetera. And that's social proof. I think she used the word advocacy and, and I think you have to be careful of that because I've heard a lot of people talking about, um, you know, they bought into a building and because, you know, we also, we have these bias that if we've made a decision, we want to look to reinforce it that was a good decision. Right? And so we truly believe it, even if it may or may not have been a good decision. So because we have that internal bias, we will go and encourage other people who might be in the same situation as us to do the same thing because A, it makes us feel good because our friends are doing it. But B, it also feeds back into that idea that idea I want to reinforce that I made a good decision in the first place. So it's very much about the subconscious here. So look, once again, I'm not saying that necessarily it's all bad, but I just want everyone to be very aware of how these social proof feeds into the elephant feeds into ourselves, a subconscious decision making. And it's always best to be much more aware of it then unconscious to that. The other thing that she did, she mentioned that one of her clients were talking about creating a frenzy and we didn't really get into that sort of, that whole idea of fear of missing out on that. And the idea of building has been able to sell out within two hours, you know, at these launch events. And, uh, she talked about one, which was a down in Circular Quay. Obviously scarcity, a very scarce site and obviously whatever they can build on there were very scarce, uh, in terms of properties. So it stands to reason that that might be high demand for that sort of property and they would sell it very quickly. But she also did say at the first two stages of a Green Square, we'll also market it in much the same way. Now I don't know how many stages Green Square has, but I suspect it's a lot more than two. And I think that that's something that buyers need to be very aware of as well. When you're your being drawn into that frenzy of um, you know, the marketing event that is designed to sell out, uh, you know, early stages of a new development really stop for a moment. Go right. How many stages will there be after this first or second stage? Because that is really what's going to impact on your capital growth potential. And even when the valuation when it comes to settlement, because of course, the more there are, it gets back to that scarcity, the less scarce. And even if it is a great community and even if there's a great development, you know, put together by a really good developer and builder, um, that sheer volume of stock is going to have a long term implications in terms of your wealth.

Veronica: Join us for our next episode when we talk about co living, what is co-living? Is it the future of living? Is it a good opportunity for investors? Now we've touched on these topic in a number of our episodes over the last year or so, but this time we're actually going to be talking with Ed Fernan who is the CEO of a company called UKO co-living, who specialize in the co living space. So tune in if you want to know what the future of living looks like.

Chris: Don't forget, we're on all the social channels. We're on Facebook, we're on Linkedin, we're on Twitter.

Veronica: Or you can connect with us on theelephantintheroom.com.au, the links are all there for you.

Chris: Please connect and send us a message we'd love to hear from you.

Veronica: This Property podcast is recorded at the Sydney Sound Brewery. This week's podcast was recorded by John Rhesk, editorial by Gordie Fletcher.

Chris: Until next week. Don't be be a Dumbo!

Veronica: Now remember, everything we talked about on this podcast is general in nature and should never be considered to be personal financial advice. If you're looking to get advice, please seek the help of a licensed financial advisor or buyer's agent who will tailor and document their advice to your personal circumstances with a statement of advice.



Veronica Morgan