July 10, 2018

Brand a core driver for development with startups and midmarket firms

By Méka Brunel, CEO of Gecina.

Our Gecina brand represents our identity. It embodies our values. It encompasses what unites us together. Our brand enables us, today and tomorrow, to differentiate ourselves from our competitors increasingly effectively. It will also enable us to continue improving the way we work together to transform both our business and our value propositions.

Our company is from a traditionally BtoB sector. At a certain stage in our development, we asked ourselves about proximity with our end-users: Why should we not interest ourselves in the people who will be living in the properties we provide? Why should we not create links with the people who will be sitting down each day behind the desks that we have helped put in place? These users of our properties represent a total of 100,000 customers today. We already have a longstanding promise to offer “far more than square meters”. Today, we are working to define our new promise, with the communications agency that is supporting our development. Our group is evolving towards a BtoBtoC or even BtoC positioning, acquiring innovative startups. This transformation has been supported by work on our new brand portfolio, particularly Secondesk for coworking and Campuséa for serviced student apartments and residences. For us, this means supporting, setting out and sharing our new missions, while remaining effectively aligned with our global brand mission.

Our brand gives us a sense of meaning. It gives us a direction and unites us together. This is particularly important in a technological world within which human relationships are fundamental. It is essential to have an identity, and this is built up each day: by working to update our brand platform and embracing it in what we say and the services we provide.

We wanted to take on board the new practices that are emerging and the major wave of innovation impacting real estate today and tomorrow. To be adopted by users, the new services to be invented in this area will need strong brands.

And if we want to stand out with strong brands, we must also know how to stand out with original communications. One example I would like to mention is our activity report. I was tired of seeing these huge, impenetrable reports: our report fits in a handbag. It is supplemented with audio podcasts – combining both real-life testimonials and fictional stories – which have been actively consulted by our stakeholders. So, we can innovate everywhere. And we will also be innovating at our own home, our headquarters, to invent new ways of working.

I really like this period we are going through, with its outstanding creativity. Within this, brands have a key role to play. Innovating, inventing, providing new services and new ways of communicating on them.

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