Harald Steiner

Up, up and away! - Do real estate brands need Superman?

Do real estate brands need Superman? And can office service be so good that heroes stay at their desk rather than save the world? Yes, claimed Immofinanz Group at the end of 2013 and started their campaign: "When Clark Kent should rather stay at the office". This caused a sensation. To be precise, the industry gossiped viciously about this.

In the real estate industry, image campaigns as such are stigmatised as money down the drain. But, one with a striking comic hero is almost like paying for the destruction of your own reputation!

Admittedly, I was already sceptical then. I questioned whether a brand that uncompromisingly admits to being customer oriented can live up to its promise. With the evaluation of this year's Real Estate Brand Value Study Top 500 Commercial the answer is clear: The Immofinanz Group is Austria's strongest brand with funds/investors and asset managers. The fundamental driving forces behind their rise from fifth or third place to first place are excellent scale values in object analysis as well as in existing customer care. When recalling 2008, when the company was synonymous for real estate scandals and bad investments, it's clear: The turn-around was successful.

For this I have great respect. Respect for Director Dr. Eduard Zehetner, who rigorously restructures and consequently positioned the company. At the same time, this example proves that: Boldness belongs in business and brand management in the hands of the management. Whether Union Investment, JLL or Drees & Sommer – among the victors of the Real Estate Brand Value Study there are a striking number of companies, where marketing is a department established directly at management level.

The old Superman slogan "Up, up and away" flirted with the comet-like comeback of the Immofinanz Group – however it is also indicative of the current development of brands in the real estate industry. This year's results from the Real Estate Brand Study confirm: Brand strength is increasing and with this brand management is gaining relevance. Especially the brands in the top third, which professionalise are viewed differently. They stand out considerably from the undistinguished mass.

But at the EUREB-Institute we are also on the rise. Positive feedback is growing with regard to our quest to bring transparency into the industry's brand performance. Our commencement of financial brand evaluation is awakening particularly lively interest. In addition, together with Rödl & Partner we are developing the EUREB Brand Equity Model, which we endeavour to preview in this book. Also new this year, in cooperation with the commercial real estate magazine 'Across', the EUREB-Institute carried out the brand equity study of the top 50 retail developers and operators in Europe. And ultimately in the meantime, we further differentiate our scientifically acknowledged brand equity model with a body of experts from the Society of Property Researchers, Germany (gif, Gesellschaft für Immobilienwirtschaftliche Forschung e.V.). We will also present this collaboration in the book.

Thus, a marketing professional need not look for a man of steel to take off in the world of brands. However, they should resort to brand equity methods, brand analyses, market overviews and best practise examples. On that note, with this book we hope to contribute somewhat to the advancement of your brand and wish you success.