Marketing’s pivotal role in the early months of a housing development

A quick Google search tells us that Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said “the only constant in life is change.” Whilst his words are undeniably true and that change is constant, that doesn’t mean we as humans necessarily embrace it. Most of us will either battle against it or end up adapting to it over a lengthy period.

At OBM, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the UK’s biggest housebuilders over the years, but a constant has remained throughout our work; helping housebuilders integrate into the local area and manage communications around the impact of change.

Changing perceptions

We are in the middle of a housing crisis and put simply, we need to build 300,000 new homes a year to match demand.  However, proposed developments aren’t usually to everyone’s liking and opinions need to be effectively managed.

Local Authorities often have a Local Plan which can include a housing allocation to ensure that enough homes are planned for the area’s community.    

Balancing this fact with local opposition to proposed plans can be challenging but here’s exactly where astute marketing has a crucial role to play.

Communicating scheme benefits

Without effectively utilising the marketing mix to communicate both the immediate and long-term benefits of a scheme, people are simply left to make up their own minds, often without the facts.

Whether it be the GDV (Gross Development Value) the scheme will provide, the number of jobs it will create or details of what the Section 106 agreement* will deliver to the area, there are many positives at the early stages of a development’s life that need to be communicated.

Building relationships with local property journalists and sharing timely updates will help appease local opposition as people are kept informed by sources they’re familiar with.

We work with housebuilders to develop a comprehensive plan of action that covers the crucial period between a development going through the planning process to the first ‘spade in the ground’ and beyond.      

Hyper-local engagement

In addition to what is laid out in the Section 106, responsible housebuilders can further engage with local causes in the early months of a development. Marketing and PR activity can help a housebuilder integrate into the local community.

Initiatives such as having school children brainstorm ideas for the development name, flag design competitions and educational talks, can all help a housebuilder play an active role in the community.

Partnerships with schools, local sports teams and charities can be formed and nurtured in the early days, to then blossom over a number of years, eventually evolving into longstanding relationships.

These relationships and their subsequent activities can be communicated through community newsletters and press releases, as well as effective social media marketing and digital advertising. 

Stealing a march with these kind of linkups and initiatives not only builds community relations but increases the potential for sales, too, with your brand’s name regularly seen locally and passed via word of mouth.             

These early months are a real opportunity to influence opinions and perceptions and getting your marketing right can not only mitigate any negative feeling around a development but also add real value to the local area.                         

Want to know how we do it? Contact the team. We’re bursting with ideas for housebuilders which we’d love to discuss with you.  

[email protected] | 0161 968 6900

*Note: The Section 106 (S106) is a legal agreement between a local planning authority and developer regarding the measures which must be taken by a develop to reduce their impact on the community.

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