Kirsty Bradley has been delivering innovative marketing strategies for the corporate and property sector now for over 16 years. In that time she has led the marketing teams of some of Australia’s most recognised property brands including Colliers International, Crown Group, Coronation Property and her own business Foresite consulting. Kirsty has been partly responsible for the successful launch of over $8B worth of property since she began her career and has managed the recognition, growth and value of some of Australia’s most high profile project & corporate brands. In this interview we cover everything from how to create and foster community spirit, living the brand, navigating the digital marketing landscape and how to create animal humans. Enjoy.
Anthony Denman: Kirsty, welcome to the Property marketing Podcast.
Kirsty Bradley: Thanks for having me.
Anthony Denman: How did you get started?
Kirsty Bradley: How did I get started?
Anthony Denman: Yeah.
Kirsty Bradley: I was bright eyed and bushy tailed 19 years-
Anthony Denman: Was bright eyed.
Kirsty Bradley: I know, right.
Anthony Denman: The property category will sort that out.
Kirsty Bradley: Exactly, they sorted it out. Quick smart. Yeah, I was 19 and I moved to North Queensland, and quite literally fell into the industry. My mum worked at AVJennings for about 15 years, and my both grandfathers were architects.
Anthony Denman: Wow, it’s in the blood.
Kirsty Bradley: Everybody was kind of in. And, my dad’s an engineers as well, and built the family home. So, it was very much a topic of conversation in the family household, they always tried to drag me along to property investment seminars when negative gearing was all the boom. Through the ’80s and the ’90s, and I hated it. And, didn’t want a part of it until I just fell into this role at Honeycombes Property Group in North Queensland, they’re a private family developer still around today. They’ve developed from Brisbane to Townsville, and Cairns, Mackay and everywhere in between.
Kirsty Bradley: And literally landed a sort of an office support role, worked in property management, worked the construction manager, got to work with sales and marketing manager, and because it was a relatively small company growing, I got really good exposure on all fronts of property development. And, got to just, I got, well I got biten. Yes. I haven’t looked back.
Anthony Denman: And, how does property lead to property marketing?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, that’s a good question. I loved, I like the psychology of working with customers, clients and just general people management. I guess you could say that’s always something I’ve really, really enjoyed. And, I had the support and acknowledgement of the sales and marketing director at Honeycombes. He just took me under his wing, and showed me the way and promptly found myself in sales. So, genuinely on the floor, selling off the plan and taking through the journey and the display suite, and showing them the model, and going through the plans and all of that, making the cold calls, and having the frustrations that all sales people have. And, I won’t lie. I couldn’t close to save myself. I was doing sales, but it just was, I wasn’t the kind of person-
Anthony Denman: Who couldn’t ask for the order.
Kirsty Bradley: Just wouldn’t close. You know, I was too nice. I was there making friends, and not making sales in a sense.
Anthony Denman: You have to be a certain type.
Kirsty Bradley: You have to be a certain type to yeah, not get emotionally attached. So, it quickly sort of navigated into that. I was better off in the marketing sphere. And, just from, and again, the size of the company and the projects that I was working on, even though I was in a sales role, manning the display suites and taking all the inquiries, I was also a Jack of all trades in terms of doing the marketing and the emails.
Kirsty Bradley: And, I mean this is like 16, 17 years ago. So, it was quite exciting to be able to do an email newsletter. That was an innovative marketing tactic. So, in a print ad in the Cairns Times. So, working with the agencies to help do all of that. I really enjoyed, and I just genuinely found myself navigating into, more of a marketing and comms only space. I got headhunted by the North Queensland Colliers, office, at that stage. Because they wanted to set up project marketing. It was through an interesting time of Colliers, where they were going through, acquisition of PRD and how that was playing out between the corporate PRD and Colliers offices to the franchises.
Kirsty Bradley: In the North Queensland region, PRD was huge as a project marketing agency. In fact, they were the biggest, they were bigger than the players we know today. Bruce Goddard, was the head of PRD, across North Queensland at the time. And, the head of the Colliers office, and he wanted to take reign and, and start that division up. So, it was an interesting space for us because we were essentially competing against our business partner. In terms of winning listings and taking projects to market. GFC hit. And, I thought it was a wise idea to move to the big smoke just around that time. Because you know, again-
Anthony Denman: Where’s the big smoke?
Kirsty Bradley: Sydney.
Anthony Denman: Okay, yes.
Kirsty Bradley: So, that seems to make sense.
Anthony Denman: The biggest smoke.
Kirsty Bradley: The market goes down and I say, “hey.” Let’s head to Sydney and-
Anthony Denman: That was through the Colliers network
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. But, they couldn’t keep me. I mean they weren’t exactly keeping, cost centers on marketing heads were certainly not growing at that stage. They’re going backwards as the market was tightening. So, I found myself working for metropolis on the agency side.
Anthony Denman: Okay, all right.
Kirsty Bradley: At, CBRE for a while until-
Anthony Denman: I didn’t know you worked on the dark side.
Kirsty Bradley: On, the dark side. I know I’ve been client side, in between and on the dark side, and everything in between. But, again, it was all really, really good experience. I’ve just genuinely, I look back on my career, people have asked me like how I got to where I am now and I have just genuinely been blessed with awesome opportunities, and from just always being willing to try new things, and go to new places. And, if that was any piece of advice I’d give anyone while starting off in the industry is to be open minded. To genuinely, if you like property, be willing to move, go to different geographic regions, try different aspects of property, because the more you understand of all the different divisions and specializations within our realm, the better you’ll be at the one that you want to end up focusing in.
Kirsty Bradley: I’m able to now understand what construction go through and what development go through because I’ve been involved with them. I’m able to understand what’s happening on the agency side when I’m working with my agencies because I’ve been there. Whether it’s only going to stay in or not, it just helps you better understand-
Anthony Denman: Yeah, empathy for salespeople.
Kirsty Bradley: I know who would’ve thought?
Anthony Denman: Because there is always that conflict isn’t there?
Kirsty Bradley: There’s always.
Anthony Denman: Between sales and marketing?
Kirsty Bradley: Sales and marketing and construction and development will forever be in a love and hate war necessary evil to one another.
Anthony Denman: So, long as there’s enough love there. That’s the main thing.
Kirsty Bradley: That’s it.
Anthony Denman: What’s the most memorable sort of first major project, you worked on? Whether be corporate, or free standing project brand.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, it would be, there’s two. But, definitely the first highlight for me was Cairns harbour lights with Honeycombes, purely because of the size of the job, that it was right on the harbour front where everybody takes off to go see the great barrier reef. So, I mean the location is iconic, and it was in a partnership with Mirvac who were going to operate the hotel component. So, it was quite an interesting sell because there was residential apartments and then a pooled income scheme as well for investors. So, that was, it was the first kind of project that wasn’t so straight forward-
Anthony Denman: Multi faceted…
Kirsty Bradley: Exactly. And, not the whole retail on the ground floor as well. So, that was kind of an iconic project I guess. And, it was the first one that I got to be the project lead on the sales and marketing perspective. But, with that said, I went on to work on another big master plan called Itara at Riverway, and ironically now it seems to be just something that I keep coming back to, is these riverfront master plan communities. Multifaceted big jobs.
Kirsty Bradley: And, it’s just becoming the river queen, I guess Coronation now on the paper mill as a-
Anthony Denman: The river queen, that’s a great Project.
Kirsty Bradley: It’s an absolute cracking project. It’s so underestimated by those that haven’t been there. Which I love. It’s a marketer’s dream because I can, if I can get the people down there, the moment they see it, it sells itself. I don’t have to then try to put the smokes and mirrors on like most marketers unfortunately have to do in our industry. It is just a stunning project, but my challenge is to trying to convince people that Liverpool is changing, and come and have a look. So, it’s fascinating in that sense. And, we’ve got a really big pipeline straight across the river with Moorebank, which will be about 10 times the size of it. So, it’s an interesting sphere to be able to help deliver a whole precinct that ultimately is going to become my display suite for a project 10 times the size, which is an interesting concept.
Anthony Denman: That’s so exciting. Absolutely, for those of you who don’t know Liverpool in Sydney is Southwest, hasn’t had the greatest kind of reputation as a lifestyle precinct. And, you should definitely take the time to check out. We’ll put it in there in the show notes, the URL for that, for that site, because you guys really kind of reinvented the way, people live in that location.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, absolutely. I mean by all means. Now the paper mill food, which is four restaurants under the old paper mill, historical building itself, amazing food.
Anthony Denman: It’s all open & functioning.
Kirsty Bradley: It’s all open, now. The bar is pumping, you wouldn’t believe on Saturday night. It’s the watering hole for everyone in the area and it’s-
Anthony Denman: It’s next door to, Liverpool housing commission right in that location. And, I just love that idea that you can turn it into kind of almost like what the-
Kirsty Bradley: Chalk and cheese which.
Anthony Denman: The Woolloomoolooo Wharf, of Liverpool, for want of a better analogy.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, it is.
Anthony Denman: or one other.
Kirsty Bradley: It’s exactly that. You know, it’s exciting times and it’s an also really interesting community dynamic because you find the neighbours, either love us because they appreciate what’s happened to the area, or they hate us because the change. And, it’s hard for them to deal with that change. So, the, community engagement for this whole project as well is really quite exciting to me because of the sense of pride that comes from it. But, then the sense of conflict and change is right for us.
Anthony Denman: But, I guess you get that in any re-gentrification of any location that you’re going to come across that.
Kirsty Bradley: You, do. Those NIMBYs they’ll get us every time.
Anthony Denman: Certainly. You might’ve already answered the question, but I just, in terms of a property marketing campaign that you might sort of look to, and say, wow, that was by far and away the most successful thing I’ve ever done. And, looked at that.
Kirsty Bradley: I’ll give you, I’m going to give you a contentious answer to this one, yeah keep going.
Anthony Denman: Talking about success. I mean, I, the most obvious form of success is the sales.
Kirsty Bradley: Yes.
Anthony Denman: But, that doesn’t have to be the case. It could be something that you’re just proud of.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Well that’s, you’ve given me the segue. I guess the campaign to date that I’m still the most proud of it was my pièce de résistance if you could call it that. Was Charlie Parker by Coronation.
Anthony Denman: Yeah, loved it.
Kirsty Bradley: The reason it’s right up there is not only because of the amazing creative that I just thoroughly enjoy it. I like doing something different.
Anthony Denman: Now, that was Frost was it?
Kirsty Bradley: No, that was the National Grid.
Anthony Denman: Oh, sorry.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, that’s okay, I’m not offended though.
Anthony Denman: No, it was good work.
Kirsty Bradley: But it was an amazing collaboration. It wasn’t just one agency that we had, three incredible artists involved, and that’s when National Grid really come to their fore because they also have the drawing arm and the illustrators and artists in their own rights. So, they were just like kids in candy store getting to deal with artists on a campaign.
Kirsty Bradley: And, I was certainly that way inclined in the other brands that we got to work with. Shannon Voss from the block and interior design companies like Globe West and HK Living and Samsung, A-Frame. We were partnering with all of them. And, it really was a true collaboration of all the different facets that bring a campaign to life. And, then of course, how we brought the campaign into market rather than just a standard campaign. Really creating a persona.
Anthony Denman: Talk us through that a bit.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, yeah. So, the project’s called Charlie Parker because it’s on the corner of Charles and Parks. And, Joe just liked the name. And, let’s be honest, we all have that. It happened in our industry.
Anthony Denman: It’s memorable.
Kirsty Bradley: Time and time again, right when someone just has a name and they like it.
Anthony Denman: But, it’s memorable.
Kirsty Bradley: It’s memorable, it’s fun.
Anthony Denman: You don’t expect that.
Kirsty Bradley: Don’t expect it yes. And, the building itself is striking by FJMT. It really is a beautiful building.
Anthony Denman: Great architects.
Kirsty Bradley: You could pick it up and put it in Surry Hills and every apartment will be worth 3 million. It’s a beautiful building. Knew it was going to essentially sell itself albeit the market coming to an end. What can we do that really pushed the boundaries of this and make the market aware that Harris Park is a Stone’s throw from Parramatta Harris park does have a stigma. I guess it’s like what the, Surry Hills was to the city way back when. So, it’s 500 meters from the CBD and 500 meters from the Parramatta train station. It really is Parramatta, but it’s got Harris Park address. So, the concept came up around where is Charlie Parker and allowing people to actually find the site and find what’s, or, I guess under the rock for Harris Park has great restaurants, great little bars, great studios, training facilities. It really is, it’s like the Surry Hills. With all these underground businesses you wouldn’t know is otherwise there. So, this cat and mouse campaign came up and we commissioned, Gillie & Marc to create an animal human that they hadn’t done before. And, they’re sweet if you know them as artists. They’re famous for rabbit girl and dogman and they’ve done all the other characters too. They hadn’t done an elephant. And, so we decided the building was in its form, its structure was quite solid and round and that that animal fit. It was, there was no association to the Indian play outside of the fact that we have to make it an Indian elephant because if it had big ears, the actual statute would fall over.
Anthony Denman: So, it’s a big Indian population?
Kirsty Bradley: It’s a huge Indian population. It was also a little bit contentious there. If you know how we’ve been too obvious, but it was genuinely just done because it would fall over otherwise, on this playful character that was an artist and an architect and all the good things that we felt Harris Park had to offer. It is quite a creative, gritty suburb. So, we really gave the building that personality, and brought him to life. So, that’s how that campaign transpired and it, the campaign rollout itself, in my view was brilliantly executed. I’ve done a lot of campaigns where you scrambling, you pushed for time, your print deadlines tomorrow and we’re still designing the ad and CGIs aren’t even ready. But, we had everything planned and we just executed each week, the 10 week campaign seamlessly with a lot of fun.
Kirsty Bradley: And, all the events that transpired around the reveal of the site worked perfectly. Now, the reason it’s a little bit contentious is that she said the best marketing campaign is the one that actually delivers revenue. I will say this, at the time that it launched, Sydney market had just dissipated. I think its campaign is better remembered more than it’s sale, success at this stage. But, it happened to everyone. So, you could rewind, six months before we launched to Charlie Parker, we did PS I love you, which is eight Phillip street in Paramatta. And, you know, thanks to the,
Anthony Denman: Another great campaign. Seriously.
Kirsty Bradley: Epically fun, good campaign, lot of learnings from that campaign, but still, brilliantly executed. And, once again, different to what the market is used to.
Anthony Denman: What is the idea behind that thought?
Kirsty Bradley: That was-
Anthony Denman: P.S. I Love You
Kirsty Bradley: Vince Frost-
Anthony Denman: That was Frost, that’s all right. Where I got confused.
Kirsty Bradley: A midnight text message, and probably, I’m assuming he probably had a couple of glasses of red and the creative juices were flowing and send a text to Joe with the scribe of his own handwriting. P.S. I Love You. Phillip Street I love you, to embrace the community again and show that Phillip street as part of eat street, which is so well known and loved by, Paramatta.
Anthony Denman: For those of you who don’t know Parramatta, really great little city. It’s come along so much,
Kirsty Bradley: It’s a tremendous city. You know, again, you don’t believe it unless you go out there. Eat street has more restaurants, and better caliber restaurants than we got in the CBD.
Anthony Denman: Last time I was there, which was actually a while ago, it was probably about two years ago, walking down the street. It was dark. It was seven o’clock. And, I hadn’t been at the Parramatta for a long time before that. And, I seriously could have just closed my eyes, opened them again, and I could’ve been in Potts Point. Like it just felt that, sophisticated – changed so much.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, it is. And, there’s a a lot of wealth in the West too. They built their own city, their community looks after one another there, and subsequently they have no need a lot of them to go to the CBD because everything is there. And, there’s a lot more change coming to Parramatta CBD. Watch that space next three to five years, I think it’s going to have another complete transformation as well, where people start to seek and sit up and take note. And, it could potentially be our CBD rather than Sydney CBD.
Anthony Denman: It’s the center of, as you say, it’s like the center of Sydney. So, those two. So, yeah. And, for me, and I think of the kind of memorable campaigns that I really took notice of – those two really stand out. There’s no doubt.
Kirsty Bradley: They did. And, look Phillip St street, unlike Charlie Parker it did have the sale success that went in. It was, we delivered that campaign in a 10 week period. From the time we decided, that we’re going to go and it was going to be called Eight Phillip street, P.S. I Love You to the sales day was 10 weeks. No CGI. The building was still going through the design phase. No, plans. In a 10 week period we’d delivered all the CGIs, delivered the campaign, and opened the display, built a full apartment and took it to market and had 90% sold. So, would I ever do that again to myself? I don’t think I have the endurance, I don’t know. I think anyone else that worked on that campaign also would have run a thousand miles to go through that kind of pressure. But, we were racing the market and we did, we raced the market, and to beat what was coming and it was paid off.
Anthony Denman: So, is there anything you can do, in a tough market like that? Because that’s a really good example. Like two really great campaigns. Yeah, one of them hugely successful. And, the other one, like just in my opinion, very successful in terms of, how it motivated me to think about living in that location. But, fundamentally the lack of sales because of the toughness. Is there anything you can do in a really tough market like that? You know, and we’re talking the most recent downturn especially, I mean, it’s been national. Nationwide, and where nothing was selling off the plan, anywhere. I mean, what do you do in those circumstances? If you can’t turn the wheels with an idea and a campaign like that, what can you do?
Kirsty Bradley: That’s where I believe sales and marketing have to put their swords down and work together, more so than they ever have before. It comes down to customer service on every single lead, on every single person you deal with and really pounding the pavement to bring people to your project over others. It’s not easy. There’s no silver bullet, there’s no idea that’s going to turn it around, the market is what it is. It’s now a case of the consumers have the upper hand, and they get to pick and choose where they go and where they buy and all you can do and all can do with your team, is make sure that every single 1% is, is done. In terms of presentation, responsiveness, pricing, offers, how your-
Anthony Denman: Are there any offers that you are able to implement that you could sort of say that-
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Look, I’m a big believer of not just gen X and Ys, but baby boomers have now been around in the era of bullshit, excuse the French enough to have their bullshit radar on when it comes to marketing, advertising. Consumers doesn’t matter what age and what generation they’re from, can read through gimmicks and promos and they are doing it now. And, it’s interesting to see how many value-adds and promos and packages are out there in the market. All that ends up happening is it gives the customer the hand to say, “well, no, I don’t want that $20,000 worth of value. Just take it off the price.”
Anthony Denman: And, that’s exactly what happened.
Kirsty Bradley: It’s exactly what happened. So, why not just find a way to work within your development construction team to find a way to deliver product, that’s right for the market at the right price and package it well and the customers will come.
Anthony Denman: Okay. So, you’re offer adverse.
Kirsty Bradley: Yes, I am. I just think you need to be genuine with people. You need to give value for money and be genuine with them and keep it clean. Rather than having, rental guarantees and money, cash backs, it just, it never ends well. We all end up in a pricing war to get equal.
Anthony Denman: What do you say is exactly correct. I mean they essentially, they say, “oh that’s great. I’ll just, yeah, take it off the, so their masking a discount essentially.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, and they’ll know as well if your brand is reputable. We’re currently at the Coronation team. We’re working intensively on our customer service, and our community engagement, whether they’re a buyer or a tenant or a resident within our complex. That’s not even a customer client of ours. It’s all about their perception of the Coronation as a brand. And, we acknowledge that, and we know that if everybody as many people as possible never have everyone, as many people as possible are supportive and advocates of us, we got to have a better chance of achieving the sales that we need.
Anthony Denman: It’s really interesting. So, you should have gone from this kind of, because I’m always sort of fascinated by, you talk about the swords of sales and marketing. It’s like the balance I guess between corporate marketing, and project marketing and managing that. You know, and I’ve been in situations before where clients have just been, and it’s mostly been publicly listed companies, where it’s all been always about the shareholders. And, so therefore it’s all about the corporate brand. So, it’s like, let’s go out with this monolithic story about the corporate brand and all the projects look the same. And, that’s-
Kirsty Bradley: Because they think that resonates with their customer, or because their shareholders share price.
Anthony Denman: Exactly, to build equity in the corporate brand and that’s all it matters. But, then of course you get into the marketplace, and you don’t have the flexibility and the personality, that you can only create on a project level, like Charlie Parker for example.
Kirsty Bradley: Yes. The humility and engagement of every staff member within your company is where it really starts changing. And, with again really interesting about the Coronation team is it’s not just the sales guys that are dealing with the customers, marketing our staff within the restaurants. Construction, building management, its the development team are everyone represents in the same way and has the same voice. And, if you really do create a culture within the company that is about customer service, it will come out naturally, and you get that, build that trust and that reputation from that way. And, I think maybe you start just thinking you can put a great brand logo like an INSTO would. Well we’ve been around for 40 years, and you should trust us. Well, you can say that as many times as you want, is; are you actually doing that? Are you showing that in your behavior? And, your engagement with your customers?
Anthony Denman: Living the brand. How do you do that? How do you instill that culture?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Daily grind, daily grind, communication, communication, communication.
Anthony Denman: And, do you have any battles around that?
Kirsty Bradley: Oh yeah, of course. Of course. Because there’s always different opinions of what should or shouldn’t be said to people. With property development, it is a field of landmines of councils, to consultants, to competitors and different agents. And, everyone wants to only share what they want to share, and the reality is the truth gets out there eventually about anything. So, why not just be real? That’s sort of my mantra, and what I try to instill, because people will believe it if you’re honest to say if, “look we’ve had a delay in our project, because of X.” And, you’re really genuine and explain it. So, this is the industry, but we’re working hard to resolve it. People will be more understanding than if you try to again smokes and mirrors, have that sort of approach. And, likewise with sales. If you try to hoodwink if with deals and promos instead of saying, “look price is what it is because this is how much it costs to build and develop. If it’s not in your price range, can I offer you something else.” Just talk to people like they’re real, and not trying-
Anthony Denman: You’ve got your own sales people, don’t you?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, we do.
Anthony Denman: So, you don’t use external sales consultants?
Kirsty Bradley: We do partner with externals as well, we’ve got a hybrid model, which I think works quite well. Again, every team structure is different with every developer in my experience, it is a cultural thing. It’s not a one size fits all approach, like Mirvac for instance, I know do CGIs in house. Is that something that coronation would ever do? No, we’re not in that space and don’t want to be, so each company chooses what they-
Anthony Denman: Yeah, I don’t think anyone should want to be.
Kirsty Bradley: Yes, I know.
Anthony Denman: Been doing it for over 10 years now, my God I’m still trying to work it out.
Kirsty Bradley: Seems like, was trying to keep three rounds of changes is a battle that will never be won. Usually 198 rounds of changes.
Anthony Denman: Yeah.
Kirsty Bradley: Imagine if you had it internal, the poor CGI artisit, would go insane, just tweak that.
Anthony Denman: No, it’s really, it’s a tough business.
Kirsty Bradley: But yeah, look, internalization. When as an industry, again probably development from start to finish, there’s so many different skill sets that are required to bring a project to life and finish it and sell it. You have a choice as a developer, what of those assets, you internalize, how much do you internalize? So, every model is different, but when it comes to sales and marketing team, for me personally, I think a hybrid is a good solution for a mid tier developer. It also is based on their portfolio size too. At the end of the day, salespeople have to eat, and they need product they can sell. So, there’s no point having a big sales team if you haven’t got the product for them.
Anthony Denman: So, if you’ve got, I can kind of almost understand how you can maintain a certain, style of culture within a company. If, those people work for you in that you can do the recruitment process, and I’ve been able to talk to sort of nearly every second day about, how they should behave if they’re sort of falling out of line. But, how do you manage that with external consultants, especially external sales people. How do you keep the lid on that, especially when it comes to authenticity, and being honest and open.
Kirsty Bradley: That’s a big one, and it’s a hard one as well. Same with PR consultancies and creative agencies and some of those services are out sourced to quite a large extent, and they’re still representing the face of our company. Again, it’s just about communication. There’s no simple way of doing it. It’s time. I spend a lot of time with our agents just talking to them, and bouncing off ideas and say having that empathy to what they do.
Anthony Denman: What sort of forum do you that in? They come in here and sit in the board room?
Kirsty Bradley: No, you’ve got to get out there. You’ve got to get out on site otherwise-
Anthony Denman: Out at the display suite.
Kirsty Bradley: Out of this space, out on the project or go to them, sitting in your ivory tower and casting down who should do what never works. And, also how can you possibly come from a place of respect and authority of advice that you’re giving if you haven’t even bothered to go and be in their workspace. It just doesn’t translate like that. So, you do just have to spend a lot of time with them and essentially sell to the sales people. A culture and a belief and a product that they can buy into. Salespeople are the easiest to sell to. They want to be sold to-
Anthony Denman: Yeah, that’s right.
Kirsty Bradley: If, you can’t sell your product to a salesperson, then you’ve got a problem.
Anthony Denman: We talked about a successful property marketing campaigns, and success being defined as you, as you see fit, any failed, sort of failed marketing campaign, I guess that you’ve really learned something from.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Touch wood. I haven’t had a project that’s hasn’t sold down to date. I’ve never been on a, never worked on a project that we haven’t been able to get to the finish line eventually. Were some tougher than others, did some take longer than what we’d planned or forecasted. Yes, but none that I’ve just failed, and we’ve had to sell out and run for the Hills. No.
Anthony Denman: How important is a strong corporate brand, when it comes to selling down a project?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. So, in today’s market, more so than ever before, which I’m finding interesting to watch the landscape at the moment of people, developers, and their teams. I think now are scurrying to build their reputation, and reinforce their brand. They’ve all sudden realized that, that’s important.
Anthony Denman: It’s a bit late now because it’s like, can you give me a better logo?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, that’s going to solve their problem? Logo is the brand. I love those conversations of we need a new brand, let’s start with the logo.
Anthony Denman: It’s just a misconception.
Kirsty Bradley: It’s a misconception of what a brand actually is.
Anthony Denman: Yeah. Because I mean, probably people aren’t marketing people necessarily. They’re marketing savvy. They get intuitively, how to get something sold, how to make it appeal to the market place. But, yeah, the corporate brand always seems to be like an afterthought, if it’s addressed it all right.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Now don’t get me wrong. Do, I think that the corporate brand can sell a project? It depends on the developer and their value proposition, and their product offering in the marketplace. On using example Crown group, I was heading the marketing communications division at the time. We went through the rebrand and established what Crown group is today, in terms of its visual identity. It was a very conscious decision, and I put quite a few contentious questions from creative industry of creating a monolithic brand.
Anthony Denman: Yes.
Kirsty Bradley: Who dares does that? no project brand needed, agency fees are not there anymore we don’t need to come to you for a logo for a project.
Anthony Denman: So, glad you brought that up. I wasn’t aware that you, that was you. Because I can say when, I talk about this in my presentations, and I talk about monolithic branding, versus freestanding, project branding and endorsement branding and I use Crown as an example. Like the best example of monolithic branding.
Kirsty Bradley: Yes. And, it’s monolithic hybrid because it’s not, we haven’t called every building Crown group.
Anthony Denman: No.
Kirsty Bradley: But, yes, the market is the same, and the naming convention stay the same. And, it was a strategic play on, we knew we wanted to go through a rebrand had to. It was time, and understanding the company’s vision, and where Crown group are wanting to go, and when we release the visual identity into the marketplace across all the projects and across the company, the vision and the future of Crown Group wasn’t known to the public as much as we knew on the inside. So, it was a bit contentious because they didn’t sort of understand where we’re heading. When we’re going through that process, and discussing it internally. Iwan Sunito, and I and Pierre at the time, head of development is still there as well.
Kirsty Bradley: Long conversation that Iwan had a vision and he still does today, to hold stock and have hotels and have other services and have a lifestyle offering. So, when you’re a developer that you’re going to own a geographic patch, in multiple countries and continue to provide a product that is consistent. Iwan doesn’t buy sites that are opportunistic only he buys them to suit his portfolio and he delivers a product that’s true to the Crown offering. So, their products consistent, that means the brand can be consistent because the moment you see the gold mark, you know, what kind of product you’re going to get. That makes sense. If, you’re a developer that you’re buying a site in Newcastle, because Newcastle’s doing great, you’ve got one in Melbourne CBD, you’ve got one in LA and LA is a hundred story tower, and Newcastle’s some town homes and your product doesn’t make any collective sense.
Kirsty Bradley: Then of course then monolithic brand wouldn’t make sense either, because you’re not building any equity. There’s no common commonality across, your offering, maybe it’s services are common, then you can have a monolithic brand on your service offering. But, if your product or your services aren’t consistent, then it doesn’t make sense. So, Crown group was a strategic move to do that because, he was creating and building their brand, knowing that every building thereafter would be building in the mark and in the future, in 20 years time he will have buildings around the world that are all known as Crown
Anthony Denman: Makes perfect sense.
Kirsty Bradley: And, with a mix of types of hotels, and apartments. It does make sense. And, so far it’s working really well for him. And, I think he’s going from good to great and in what they’re going to do in, in cities abroad will be the next venture that’ll take them from what they are now to the next level. Interestingly there, when you look at Coronation, we play it totally different. How Coronation’s business plan and service offering is different. We take a realm of having a very conservative, simple, clean corporate brand that essentially is the stamp of approval that yes, we are behind our projects. Whether you can trust us as an entity, but our projects themselves carry such a different personality because every project is so unique in their portfolio.
Anthony Denman: Completely endorsed. Right?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. So it’s,
Anthony Denman: And a great example of it, if this is really interesting to me, so because we’re talking about, a lot of different types of people will be listening to this podcast, smaller private developers with just using consultants to institutional clients who are kind of sitting there wondering how am I going to, especially the smaller ones, if I can’t just change my identity and create a nice website or even for startups, right. Just, get going, how, like it, but you don’t have, 25 years to build that, equity and to instill a certain behaviour into your people and their consultants. I mean, how do you do it, and it’s short period of time. How do you really make a difference to the way people perceive your corporate brand in a short period of time?
Kirsty Bradley: Where I see it fail or become a bigger challenge than what it has to be. Is a misconception, a common misconception, and I’ve seen time and time again is that a brand and marketing is the pretty stuff, you’re the coloring in department. You just make us look good. The attitude changes and they start business starts saying, no, we need a strategy and need a business plan. I’m not saying we need a hundred page fluffy marketing document of the brand essence and what consumers feel and a hundred questions survey, you can overkill it if you’re a little small startup and you don’t have the budget for that, you don’t need to, but you need to have a clear plan still.
Kirsty Bradley: Business plan is fundamental in any industry. We have to either in property or starting up a cafe, have a business plan, have a strategy, know what you’re wanting to deliver and then work with your creatives be it an in house marketing team or the outside agency or both together and give them that brief and say, this is the product and the offering I’m going to be providing now and for the next five years.
Kirsty Bradley: Don’t do more than five years because you don’t know where you’re going to be unless you’re someone like Iwan who is a true visionary, can see what is going to be in 50 years time, just to five years at least a five year. Spend the time and invest in your business to know where that is going for that period and then give it to the marketing creative department and they’ll define it and wrap it up in a bow that customers and your consumers can understand the basic step. It seems so simple, but people so quick to go, can we just see the, logo? What have you designed? That shouldn’t be the conversation. Your creative agency isn’t, take creative out of it. There’s strategic agencies that’s there to help you create your business roadmap first. And then the designers love their job even more because they’re given a great brief that they really understand and they can deliver on and not have a thousand revisions to a logo because they nailed it almost the first time round.
Anthony Denman: They got to be sort of value proposition, clear defined strategy and growth way forward.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. And it can be hard to ask those questions. When we did the rebrand for Crown with Johannes and Simon from play communications and Johannes has quite a mind is, an amazing human being.
Anthony Denman: Is he still around?
Kirsty Bradley: He’s in, I think he’s in Bali. He’s very loving and just being amazing he is and an incredibly intuitive and thought provoking.
Anthony Denman: He was just one of the first, that was one of the first experimental agencies in Australia, right?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Interesting. Did our brand, it was just because of his, brain that, he understood, he spent the time to understand he won over Crown and ask the tough questions they’ve got the right answers. But it wasn’t his agency’s background, he didn’t come in beating his chest saying we create brands and brand identities.
Kirsty Bradley: They were experiential. He just he had a way of uncovering the true story of the business. And I won’t lie at that stage, Iwan had a vision, but a lot of it was in his head and we did spend a lot of time, all of us together talking to try to get it kind of refined it on paper in a sense that then allowed the rest of the business to follow and be clear about what the, business is all about. Because once you’ve done the identity too, it doesn’t just stop there. Right? You’ve got have a big, your business is if it’s five employees, 50 or 5,000, it’s then making them understand what the business is and how do you, communicate it to them, how do you make them then pound the pavements and be your army out there promoting your brand and being clear about what it is.
Anthony Denman: Sounds like a full time job.
Kirsty Bradley: It is.Yeah.
Anthony Denman: Do you, have like a personal preference because you, are very unique right and that you’ve got this experience on this monolithic level and there’s all this corporate branding know how and then you’ve also got these free standing project brand experience and know how and you’ve been lucky enough to be, spend quite a bit of time working in each one of those areas or is there a preference for one way or the other?
Kirsty Bradley: I have a preference of doing marketing well and marketing isn’t just about creating pretty brands. It’s about understanding the business and positioning the business correctly in the market to be successful. I have a creative streak in me to some degree, although I’m a lot of numbers. I do have have a creative streak? So yes, I did love working on Charlie Parker and jobs I feel passionate about as well because of how high creative they were,
Anthony Denman: So much fun. Right?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah and attention grabbing as well. You know.
Anthony Denman: Yeah doing all this really unique stuff,
Kirsty Bradley: Not doing your templated ads
Anthony Denman: See it come across your desk before anyone else does and be involved that whole process.
Kirsty Bradley: It is, the creative process is really inspiring in that. But building a brand like we did with Crown group was just as exciting too because it’s like one brick is getting laid after the other. I’m looking back and going, geez, we, I remember the first logo, to what it is now and then just even the brand perception and the end, what the product offering was, where it was, where it is today and it was done in a five year period. It’s amazing, you look back and it just all of a sudden happened because we just stayed on course and that as well.
Anthony Denman: Then agency’s like mine put it up in their presentations. Here’s an example of how to do it properly.
Kirsty Bradley: You know what, tough question I guess I’ve got pride probably got a little bit of a.d.d in me. So if I had to pick one, if it was a tough hypothetical, I was going to die. If I didn’t, I would, I’ll go with creating individual brands every time. Because that whole it’s fun and understanding, if you looked at each project as its own individual business. It’s also then understanding the project as a business who is its customers, what’s the community uptake. You go through that whole process as well still you just don’t get to necessarily leverage it to go on to the next one instead of go, okay well that was good and then you start again. And it could be just as much as the success… It’s a bit nerve wracking. You keep getting married again and keep getting divorced. I’m not learning anything.
Anthony Denman: How disruptive can you be? I know that’s something that you kind of pride yourself in. How disruptive can you in because the property category, it does have a reputation for being a bit formulaic, you know..
Kirsty Bradley: Old school I like to put it. This is the way we have always done it.
Anthony Denman: Yeah. So, that’s right. And this is an ROI and we want, anything you have to work this way, and we get measured in a particular fashion. How distruptive can you be and how do you break that? Sorry. How do you break the mold?
Kirsty Bradley: How do you break, the mold? Disruptive for disruptive sake. Yeah. Is disruptive to the business itself. You’re just creating noise for, trying to be attention seeking. It’s not going to deliver the result. Disruptive to genuinely change and mold and have success is where you need to see that there is something that has to change, not just change for, change sake, where that comes from. I’ll talk more so on recently, recent examples because I think Coronation do it really well. If something is working, they keep with it and they keep building on that and they focus on the areas and the business that could be done better. Everything from construction, the design process, to the marketing and the sales. And I don’t think there at any point in time in our industry, can any of those areas have a solution that just you can stick with
Kirsty Bradley: You’ve got a constantly go back and review and refine change. But when you’re juggling all of those different divisions, it’s saying, okay, which are working, which aspects of their, implementation are working, let that be and let’s see where else we can change and why do we need to change it, why is it not working, and understand that first.
Kirsty Bradley: I think from a sales and marketing disruption perspective, it’s looking at the actual market conditions we’re in and how a customer’s perceiving the property industry. And unfortunately we’re probably the most scrutinized out of all, businesses. You don’t really scrutinize Coca-Cola for having a hell of a lot of, let’s say shit can I say shit ton in it, shit ton of sugar and, they don’t get scrutinized for that, whereas everything that we do is on a moral ground of are we right or wrong, we’re all the dirty developers and property is not affordable and it’s all our fault and woe is me.
Kirsty Bradley: So we’re not only fighting a consumer base that doesn’t want to necessarily engage with us, but it’s a necessary evil for them to have a roof over their head. It’s also within our own industry as well. Everyone is competing and I think we have a, unfortunately a tendency of tall poppy syndrome in our industry to try to, cut each other down rather than build a whole industry up and put the spotlight on the, factors of our industry that are true and other reason for affordability issues and our customers, sentiment towards buying new.
Kirsty Bradley: So I, guess that’s probably leading me to the, probably the, disruptive space that, I’m somewhat fascinated with trying to figure out how we can, do it without being just disruptive for disruptive sake is drawing the attention to the other bodies, not developers. And I’ll just say it, the council’s involvement and their, the outcomes that have happened as a result of their poor structure, their poor management in it, and then just our poor political leadership that has ultimately affected the developer’s ability to deliver a good product on time and in a price that we can afford – I’m a person in Sydney that wants to buy.
Kirsty Bradley: And also I’m also a consumer, but I’m, on the other side, and I’m seeing what’s happening. And when you, look at the costs that a developer has to pay to councils versus taxes, it is, it’s, criminal. It is criminal. And we can’t as a developer go out to the papers and out these situations because you’ve, as a developer, you’ve usually got pretty common other projects that need DA’s to be approved and usually within the same sort of area. So you’re not going to then poke the dragon being the council and say, they’re doing this and causing, you’re wrong. Because you want you to have the DA to be approved, so you’re forever silenced. And the customers continue going on thinking that it’s the developer’s fault. I think there’s, something in that that needs to be solved. It is a broken part in our industry. And there has to be some disruption to it. It’s, just what that is. Watch this space. That’s my focusing for the next 12 months because the market is the way it is because of our government’s choice.
Anthony Denman: I spoke to someone recently about this very subject, not on the podcast because he was on the verge of actually causing, wanting to cause physical harm. That’s a pretty disruptive right?
Kirsty Bradley: Violence is bad.
Anthony Denman: That’s right. Yeah.
Kirsty Bradley: It even, no, look, it is a problem. We don’t think the government has single handling in the last couple of years, put the brakes on foreign investment, put the brakes on lending, put more cost to developers through, council levies and, whatnot. And it’s, and building costs have gone up and it’s, a problem that they’ve created. The market came to a screeching halt because they put every handbrake on they could. So we are where we are now because of them and, the consumers are the ones that are suffering. So it’s something that needs to change.
Anthony Denman: Well, this isn’t probably the greatest, this is kind of like a segue, but it’s not, it’s a coming from a hard place. Get you what you just said. Placemaking place creation is the,
Kirsty Bradley: It’s a very talked about word.
Anthony Denman: Yeah. It’s the rage. What’s your position on that?
Kirsty Bradley: If you again, if you’re a developer that is doing more than just, 50 apartments in a standstill building, then you are in the space of placemaking. We have an obligation to create communities if that, is also a tagline that’s been thrown around from the dawn of time. Right? We create communities that at some point celebrated, celebrated by communities the intent has been there for a long time. I mean you just have to look back at the branding from the 90s and every institutional developer had the right intent.
Kirsty Bradley: Like I guess what’s come to the fore now in the latest topic of conversation of placemaking and the new buzz word of what really we’ve been trying to do for all these years is that we are defining it now. We are acknowledging that you can’t just build a master plan, community dust your hands of it lease up all the retail space and say that you’ve created a place. It doesn’t just come about community engagement, plays a big part in that. And I guess that sort of also circles back to what I was referring to before around, our approach now in a tough market is being customer focused, customer centric and really being the front line with the customers and not just leaving it to the sales team.
Anthony Denman: How do you, determine what the best outcome is to make that place better than it currently is and to get people to celebrate it genuinely?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Placemaking isn’t just about the design and the product offering. i.e is there, rooftops, is there, bench seats or is there a pool and is there a public gym place making isn’t just about the design and the product. That’s what we’ve been doing. For decades is building really lovely estates and really lovely a master plan communities from Wentworth point to Oran park and everything in between. They’re all community minded products. What creates a place is the people and the effort and financial investment that a developer has to make to help create that community is what I think is now getting addressed. So with the paper mill as an example, there’s one component of it. Obviously SJB and Woods Bagot collectively are amazing architects and have designed genuinely an architectural precinct that works well for, a large community.
Kirsty Bradley: It’s a beautiful, it’s just a beautiful space and it feels good to be there. That’s one aspect of it. But then it’s getting those residents to, talk, to connect. We fully supported them setting up their own Facebook page. Over the years, I’ve done countless events from Christmases two Easters and they rave about it. Now does, did it deliver, deliver any sales? No. Did it cost us several thousand dollars every time we did it to put on food drinks and have him come on down and get to know each other. Yeah. But it’s paid off because as the project’s starting to come to completion, the community, the people that live in it within it absolutely adore it. And are connecting and they’re coming out and they’re living in those public spaces and actually using the park benches and creating dog walking sessions together and yoga classes, they’re all doing it themselves.
Kirsty Bradley: That’s created the community. It was from forcing them to get to know each other. I personally, I’ve always lived in apartments and I’m the first one to say I don’t want to know my neighbours. I want to walk in and get to my apartment, close the door. And I don’t want to get to know them. Maybe because every apartment complex I’ve lived in has had that nature about it. It’s had a culture, right? So placemaking is about creating a culture within your development and making sure that your customers, new residents are going to live there, are going to, really embrace it and use it to the way that you intended to be used.
Kirsty Bradley: There’s all too many swing sets that swings don’t swing. And the grass goes Brown. Like it’s just public spaces that we, we delivered a really nice space and it’s not being used. Ask yourself, why is that? What did you do to encourage the residents to use the space and really bring it to life? I think that’s a component that has been missed because I, I’ve maybe rightly or wrongly, I feel it probably a few of the industry members just think that, yeah, we, we’re just about delivering the product and then,
Anthony Denman: Well, it’s the whole nature of that. Yeah. FSR, right? There’s many units you can get, when you got the risk. But it’s, kind of the other way around. Right?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah.
Anthony Denman: But the effort and the energy into creating a beautiful place and obviously people are gonna want to buy there and there’s less risk, right? Because you’re going to put that effort in up front.
Kirsty Bradley: You do. I’ll give a really good example I think is a good example is, New Acton in Canberra, New Acton and when it opened was a, it’s essentially if, you’re not from Canberra, it’s a pocket that’s just outside of the CBD that really had no reason to go there. So it was redesigned into apartments. Hotels there’s a, cinema theater there, a whole bunch of artisan stores and cafes. It’s, really cool. I mean, Canberra doesn’t better than Melbourne I think in the sense of cool and trend and
Anthony Denman: Really?
Kirsty Bradley: Oh yeah.
Anthony Denman: Canberra does it better than Melbourne!
Kirsty Bradley: Yep they’re smaller but they do it well, I’m starting a war – but I can say it right? When it opened up it was pumping and the, developer, took, he handpicked almost all of his purchasers for the building. He only wanted certain types of people in there, and they’re all quite quirky..
Anthony Denman: Handpick the person how do you do that?
Kirsty Bradley: He had to approve the individual. So if they wanted to buy..Yeah. Thursday was a bit of that really interesting, quirky fact about it. He’s quite a quirky guy and so, but he, did, he wanted the right people living in the building. So created the right kind of culture. And the whole principle.
Anthony Denman: Was there a questionnaire or something how did he do that?
Kirsty Bradley: I don’t know they didn’t get to the details of what’s going to be classed as a law suit as he turned away people of other nationality, he knew it was about the right people coming together to life. Right?
Anthony Denman: Give me your best one liner. I want to hear a joke, right? Gove me your best joke or you’re out.
Kirsty Bradley: His sense of dress. There was really quirky characters that, lived in the precinct and still do that’s taking it to the next level. Right? He was in a market where he could do that. Could happen. Yeah. We’re not all that fortunate as that, but where it was going is that precinct really came to life. And since then I think it’s, know like about seven or eight, 10 years on Nishi was finished, Colliers Canberra did all of the project market, did all the project marketing for it. Nishi the first five star apartment building in Australia. I mean it had, it still gets accolades for its architecture. It’s a beautiful precinct, but there’s tumbleweeds now going through that precinct, stores open and close and it’s this constant churn of trying to activate what is a really cool, funky art hub.
Kirsty Bradley: Precinct doesn’t have the same vibe that it does today. And I, put that down to, I think it just proves that placemaking is about the people. You can put as many call design tactics into your precinct, make it look funky and trendy and have a thousand art sculptures. But if the people aren’t engaging with one another and aren’t actively continuing to bring it to life, it’s, it’ll, die. And so I think it’s, an ongoing commitment from a developer
Anthony Denman: Not just the initial kind of brainstorming. It’s, the nurturing of that community?
Kirsty Bradley: 100%. Yeah. And if you have invested, interested in like Coronation with the paper mill precinct, we’ve got future developments that are nearby. So we have invested interest to keep that community going because it will become our legacy, in our immediate back yard of our other jobs. Even if we didn’t have jobs in the backyard, I think we’d still take that nature because it has a sense of obligation within this company of delivering quality and making sure it stands the test of time. Other developers have that same belief too. There are quite a few out there, so I’m not saying we’re all bad but, or we’re better than anyone else. There are quite a few that are doing that. But I think when developers think they can build dust their hands off it once it’s complete and it’s up to them, the community to place make they’re kidding themselves. It is an ongoing effort. It is.
Anthony Denman: Wow. Really good. Thank you for that. Very good answer. I’m sorry, I’ve got to talk to you about, I’ve got to talk to, because I think we’ve both been around long enough to remember the days when you can just place an ad in the local paper and open it up for four hours on a weekend. Now we’ve got the digital marketing landscape. How are you feeling about that?
Kirsty Bradley: It’s another contentious one, isn’t it?
Anthony Denman: It’s a really broad question.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah it is, it’s a very broad question.
Anthony Denman: And I about, yeah, maybe, lead generation, social engagement.
Kirsty Bradley: The whole arsenal of what is digital marketing, right. Every, gamut of it. Because there’s so many,
Anthony Denman: Pick an area that you, most interested in or you feel you can comment on the most thoroughly.
Kirsty Bradley: I think once again, the property industry hasn’t moved fast enough with other industries. It’s quite a common theme over the test of time that we are the last ones to move. We, we’re, the ones that still kept the papers alive because even human resources and recruitment stopped putting print ads even before us. So, that’s all that they were. If recruiters are smarter than property developers, we’ve got a problem, so, of course, yes, he has both brand recognition. So you, there’s, different reasons behind it. But look, we, whilst everyone is acknowledging over the years that print was dying, there wasn’t a big enough drive or acknowledgement of marketing automation and the need for customer personalization in the digital work realm. I think there was, I’ve been in the, behind the scenes of, a lot of big places. There’s a lot of talk about it.
Kirsty Bradley: But then when it came to putting money where their mouth is, technology isn’t cheap. And can make some mistakes along the way, which can get costly. There would be hesitancy and over a six month or 12 month hesitancy of let’s talk about this and really know if it’s right for us. New technology is out and you’ve already missed the conversation that you’re having six months ago. Technology’s evolved so quickly that we haven’t kept up with every evolution and just as we’re implementing one 10 more versions of better ways of doing things have come out, we have to move faster.
Kirsty Bradley: That’s, I guess one point I will say is that the property industry needs to move faster. They need to be committed to understanding what the customer wants and know that every other player in other industries are doing this. When it comes to what I was mentioning about customer personalization and marketing automation and the fact that every generation has their bullshit radar on when you just send them an email thinking that you can invade their inbox or send them a text message and that they’re going to engage with you are kidding yourself.
Kirsty Bradley: If you think as well that the sales person can do the job from start to finish all by themselves in today’s day and age, you’re kidding yourself. The customer journey from the point of inquiry to sale from, my experience that of late is a six to 18 month gestation period from the point in which they finally want to engage with sales agent. What I’m seeing is about a three to four month gestation period to conversion, but they’ve started in most instances, 12 months before that doing all their online research and engagement. Most of us barely, we’re not, most of us, quite a few of us barely have autoresponders of the websites. I know because I’ve done the test and gone to 25 websites for projects and they don’t even have an auto reply. That’s not technology in its finest form. That’s just a basic one o one of a website is to have an auto response. Someone’s inquired and say thank you for the inquiry.
Kirsty Bradley: That’s not even advanced technology. What happens after that when they’ve now gone across the greater digital network and starting to browse? How much of that information do you have? And how much are you using it to not hoodwink and trick your customer, come back to the, the need for authenticity and being genuine, is to use that data to serve them what they want, make their lives easier and they will respond to you if you make their lives messy and just force advertising in their face. They will run. Where in the phase here of, ramping up our infrastructure and our technology platforms that we’ve got, to try to refine that. Are we doing it best in class at the moment I’ll say no.
Kirsty Bradley: Do I have every in focus to do it best in class? Yes. And am I naive enough to think that we could? I don’t think so. I think there’ll always be someone doing it better in the property industry, but there’ll always be someone doing it better because there’s so much in the digital marketing realm that you can do from personalized chatbots to full nurture streams, to better website design, to geo-targeting and data mapping.
Kirsty Bradley: But again, if it’s used right, if it’s used with a genuine approach of trying to make their lives easier and decide whether they are going to be a customer or not, and if they are going to be a customer, what do they want? How do you provide that to them? I think we can save a hell of a lot of money on pointless advertising and print ads and quite frankly, just pissing people off. We’re no longer intrusive and invasive where helping them find their home. And, another saying that we’ve said for so long, the industry has had that intent for so long.
Kirsty Bradley: We want to put the right people with the right properties. So many players have said that sort of same sentiment that have we really done it? No, we’ve just stood on the mountain and screamed we’ve got a good property here come buy come buy – personalization through your digital marketing. In my views, key personalization through engagement, talking to them. I’m not just serving them the right ads at the right time, but actually finding ways to talk to them. We have in our marketing team, someone who’s dedicated to our social media platforms, and you know, rightly or wrongly, she was, she stays up to all hours of the night in bed, Instagram messaging customers that are talking to her because they’re at the restaurant eating, and they live in the building and they’ve commented on something and had a private message, and she talks back to them real time now is it sustainable for every business to have real people doing that and really engaging on an authentic level? probably not, it’s not sustainable but it just goes to show that’s the need.
Kirsty Bradley: That’s the one with the customers out there is to talk to real, real people and be able to talk to the right person at the right time. I have that when I deal with Optus or Qantas, I don’t want to go through a menu. I don’t want to be forced to a website that serves me up content that I don’t want. I just want to deal with the person that’s going to help me with my ticketing issue. Or it might be, our industry hasn’t evolved to that. It’s quite scary because as quickly as we do, things will change again. So digital marketing for advocate of it, I would say don’t try and do all of it at once. Just figuring out one aspect that you can do well first, master that and then take on another because it isn’t easy, and it is expensive. That’s the other thing that you have to weigh up in, in the property development world. I think we, do run resource low in terms of staff. That’s the, business model.
Anthony Denman: Yeah. I mean it’s, it’s a luxury for a development company to have a marketing manager, right?
Kirsty Bradley: Exactly, right? Yeah.So you have to decide with technology. The cost of implementing, I’ll give it an example. The cost of implementing an automated chat bot, is that the cost of that per annum – is that going to give you the return that you need or are you able to just hire a junior resource, has got a head on their shoulders for the same amount of money to handle it right now and not have the technology issues because it comes with a lot of time, resources, well not just monetary investment.
Kirsty Bradley: Every time you implement something new within, within your company from a technology perspective. So you’ve got to weigh that up and make the hard decisions of what can you still do manually and what re what types of technology can you implement that will genuinely make you better faster and serve the customer more personalized content and information and help them get to their solution quicker. If it does that, then revenues go up, costs go down. So it’s sort of, it’s a simple equation, but I think a lot of us get caught up in the fantasy and the excitement of technology and they don’t actually then look at the output of it. Well, it might be a trend for now. You know, QR codes.
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Where are they? How much time and money a lot of people spend on QR codes and that didn’t to get, you know, take up. So I think take a deep breath, look at what you really need and how you can help the customer better by using the technology that’s available out there and go with that.
Anthony Denman: Have you done much in the way of events or affinity marketing,
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah. Events. We’ll come back to customer engagement that I’ve been talking about quite a lot in terms of getting face to face and not just having the sales team responsible for getting belly to belly with it, with a human, being out of ultimately our revenue. Events, provide that platform and there and the ability to get your development team, get your construction team that your marketing team, finance team out there and seeing their customers, seeing who they’re ultimately doing all of this for. And it also does create obviously, some excitement in your marketing campaign. I think my career where, it was done to a level that was beyond many others and became, we became renowned for what was with Crown group. We had huge success of our event marketing there at the time and I believe they still do now, that as a company they are big advocates of it.
Kirsty Bradley: And they know that it works. But again, it comes down to knowing what kinds of events you really want to do and understanding what your business offering is. There’s no point for doing events for, events sake. You also have to have everyone behind it because events are hard to get people there. It can be hard in our industry. We are still the dirty developer. You get an invite in your inbox. How many invites do we get to everything in our lives now, and we talk about kids tee ball on the weekend and Thursday night you’ve got an investment seminar as well as soccer training and what are you going to go to? Right? So people are busy now. They’re busier than ever. And getting them to events can be hard and property’s probably the last thing that they want to go to.
Kirsty Bradley: So it’s about creating events that are wanted and are exciting, but then also still serve a business purpose because putting on just a nice party for the sake of it doesn’t really meet that objective to the full degree. It still gets you belly to belly with your customers, still gives you personalization and engagement with people. But the message might be missed and it’s diluted quite a bit if it doesn’t have a stronger purpose than just a party for a party sake. So, event marketing and brand collaboration, is definitely a, newer tactic that has come out into the fore over the last few years as the market has changed. I think it’s important to, notice not just events. Brand collaboration is also key. Hosting events. When you have it with different partners, they also bring their network.
Kirsty Bradley: So it’s, essentially lead gen for the same cost of trying to advertise to tens of thousands of people to achieve thousand leads. You could hold a party for the same amount of money and have your suppliers partner with you and they all bring their friends and family and databases and there’s immediately thousand names that you haven’t had before and you’re belly to belly with them. So it does work, but it needs the entire company behind it because if a company thinks they can put on an event and the sales team rock up and do their job well again, you’re kidding yourself because even if you have a sales team of a hundred and you’ve got a thousand people, those hundred sales people still need to deal with 10 people each in a space of a two hour period. They’re not going to sell anything. Even, if they could find their 10 people that they know.
Kirsty Bradley: So it is a full team effort. Events are a team effort. They involve every division to get amongst it and really understand that it’s a one time, one opportunity to make it work. And perform. When I mean perform, I mean, deliver some results in revenue, not just have a really nice party. So if you’ve got the full company support and doing it and you approach it well and you’ve got reason behind your event, but then you’ve got a pool, I’m all for it. I think it’s, one of the better ways to engage with your customers and have them drop their guard, their bullshit radar and actually want to talk to you and be real with you.
Anthony Denman: Mate, I could, I could talk to you forever and maybe we can do it again.
Kirsty Bradley: Would love to yeah anytime.
Anthony Denman: How can people get in touch with you and, if they’ve got, if they want to talk to you or how can they find out more about, what you’re doing at Coronation?
Kirsty Bradley: Yeah, absolutely. Look, email is, public on my linked In it’s firstname.lastname@example.org It’s the best one to always get me on because if it’s my personal company, no matter where I am, you always reach me. But same thing. My mobile is on my Linked In, so jump on there, reach out, call me, or email me more than happy to always have a chat and offer advice where ever I can, if there’s something that I’ve implemented or done before I’ve got experience in that I can help with. I’m more than happy to because I do believe in trying to change an industry from this tall poppy syndrome to let’s work together to do something better and not be so far behind FMCG and cars and professional services as we are. ..
Anthony Denman: Fantastic. And, if people want to know more about, some of the projects we’ve talked about, we’ll include that information in the show notes, but it’s, is it Coronation,
Kirsty Bradley: Coronation property co – coronation.com.au
Anthony Denman: Well, thanks Kirsty.
Kirsty Bradley: Thanks Anthony.
Anthony Denman: We’ll see you again.
The Property Marketing Podcast is an original podcast hosted by Anthony Denman, co-founder of Our Agency. In each episode Anthony talks to Australia’s most experienced property professionals, unearthing their tips and providing insights on how to create the most successful place, property, corporate & personal brands possible.
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