Due to the steep and continual increase in Real Estate prices in London, renting is becoming an attractive alternative to a broad demographic. Yet, the innovative Private Rental Sector (PRS), which refers to properties owned and let by private landlords on the open market, is set to change the conventional world of renting.
A business model that first emerged in America, PRS was so successful over there that now we’re implementing it over here. With 4.8 million people renting today – almost double the figure it was a decade ago – PRS offers an exciting new approach to renting, promising renters cover, control and consistency.
The importance of branding within PRS is going to be significant. Often in the traditional selling of residential and commercial units, branding ceases to have the same level of importance once those units have been sold. But with PRS, due to the constant turnover of properties that are available for rent in these, often high-spec, developments, branding maintains a vital and ever-present role in the rental process, growing, rather than diminishing in importance over time.
We’ve been working with Essential Living for the past two-years, helping them design and deliver what’s sure to be a market leading product. With a number of high profile developments coming to market over the next few years, they will be rewriting the rental rules, introducing a unique modification to renting in the UK.
During our time working with them, our eyes have been opened to the incredible branding potential within PRS. The brand touch-points for the resident stretch far beyond that of a normal development – interior finishes, layout of public spaces and staff engagement work – to name but a few. Hotel brands are perhaps a closer model to compare with, but ultimately PRS are delivering homes – not short stay accommodation – so the brand needs to communicate a real lifestyle choice.
Since PRS has started being discussed more widely, there have been some negative responses to such developments and how they might impact on wider community spirit due to the transitory nature of the residents PRS will attract. Given the way the rental market is growing, this fear seems unrealistic at best as, whether it’s smaller landlords or larger organisations, the renters are coming! This shouldn’t be something to fear though, far from it, as the potential for local business alone is huge. The most successful PRS firms will be the ones that understand the wider community and that create an open dialogue with local businesses and groups. Perhaps one of the most important elements in delivering, not just a successful PRS offering, but also a wider engagement with the community, is going to be a carefully considered digital platform. As a way to move the rental process forward, online offers a unique opportunity, from tenants taking out apartments and signing contracts, to creating a virtual community for residents. The possibilities for this are endless and they really are exciting.
With the government firmly behind this new approach to renting and with a multitude of hopeful PRS firms racing to market, it is more important than ever to secure a powerful and memorable brand identity.
The success of a brand goes far beyond a clever logo or a fancy name. It is about brand loyalty. It is about ensuring your brand can provide the best customer experience possible. Of course, that clever logo and that fancy name are important as they symbolise the beginning of your company’s vision. But the best brand identity will trickle down and find its way into the smallest, finest building blocks of a development – giving it a unique, memorable character of its own.
Ultimately, the brand is what sells.