Neil McDonough

What's in a name?

'Everything' say property developers

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

The immortal words as recited in Shakespeare's Juliet, upon learning of Romeo's real identity. A love struck teenager may indeed think in these terms, but a modern marketer or real estate developer would reflect very differently. You see, when it comes to residential property, the name of a given building matters more than you might think?

Names Evoke an Emotional Response

All around us these days, products and services are branded with care and precision. This is not only done to draw attention, but also to stimulate precise feelings within consumers for whatever product or service is being hawked. It's been proven time and time again that clever branding really does produce positive results in businesses.

Take car brands, for example. Right from the outset, Rolls-Royce named all of their early models with reference to a similar genre, that being of the super-natural, or enigmatic:

• Phantom IV
• Silver Cloud
• Silver Dawn
• Silver Shadow
• Silver Spirit
• Silver Wraith

Such names evoke certain feelings within the "target audience", impressions perhaps, of unearthly sophistication, silence, mystery, and power. At the other end of the market, some vehicle manufacturers like to sell their smaller cars with cute and cheeky names. Once again, these names are designed to influence a specific demographic. For instance, we have Honda Jazz, VW Polo, and Ford Fiesta. These are simple names chosen to interpret a feeling of fun and excitement for the younger, more childlike buyer.

Pragmatic Marketing

The choice of vehicle names from Rolls-Royce, VW, Ford, and Honda, are by no means accidental. These are carefully devised labels, selected to match specific vehicles with targeted customers. In the examples above, Roll-Royce focus on the very successful, more mature motorists, whereas Ford Fiesta, for example, aims its branding at younger, more active, and less affluent car owners.

Property Names Attract ...

The clever and often subtle naming of buildings has now made its way into the world of Bangkok real estate. And just like the motorcars, residential buildings are being named to attract a specific demographic. With so many new condominiums and increased competition going on in around the city (dominated mainly by a few big players), buildings are now being differentiated and marketed by very smart branding tactics.

If you are familiar with the Thai capital, then you will know that most developers these days are constructing three types of condominium, all of which target Bangkok's diverse, and multicultural population:

1. The high-end
2. The mid-range
3. The Economy (slightly below mid-range).

Anything below the economy condominium is usually found in apartment blocks, most of which house small, inexpensive studios. For apartment buildings like this, the names are not so carefully thought out. This is because accommodation of this type generally gets plenty of business without too much effort, due simply to the growing demand for budget accommodation in the city.

Bangkok's Branded Condominiums

Asian Properties (AP), are currently constructing condos under three brand names:

The Life@ Condos are mid-range constructions aimed at a fairly young market. The Rhythm Condos are aimed at a somewhat more established and perhaps slightly older market. Their buildings are equipped with more luxurious fixtures and fittings than the Life@ projects. And The Address Condos are fine residences aimed at a more high-end market.

Good Location Great Names

The Life@ condominiums are situated in some great locations along the BTS and MRT lines. A few examples are: Life@Sukhumvit 65, Life@Sutthisan and Life@ Sathorn. These residences are a firm favourite among younger expats looking for good value accommodation and convenience of location. Needless to say that many of our clients living in the Life@ condos are in the teaching profession.

By contrast, The Address condos have more, and better facilities overall, and tend to be placed in Bangkok's most sort-after locations like Phrom Phong and Asoke. These things combined are obviously reflected in rental prices.

Sansiri Leading the Way?

Other developers follow suit with Sansiri (one of the biggest and best known developers in Bangkok), offering a number of brand-named buildings. These projects have been altered over the years to keep abreast of the ever-changing market conditions. Three popular names are:

1. The Plus Condominium
2. Condo One
3. My Condo

The Plus condominium is aimed towards the mid-range market. Condo One is a project that originally came without swimming pools, and housed slightly cheaper units marketed just below the Plus. And the My Condo buildings also cut back on facilities, but do offer convenient locations along Bangkok's Metro network, in districts like On Nut and Ladprao..

Sansiri is a very reputable developer in the world of Thai real estate, often famed for its high-end, quality condominium complexes. Because Sansiri is so highly regarded in the industry, it can afford to brand its condominiums under the company name. In Bangkok, they have the Sansiri Sukhumvit, Sansiri Residence 24, and Sansiri 31; three state-of-the-art residences along the Sukhumvit Road.

The Conclusion

The branding of residential buildings not only works, but works very well when it's done right. People are often proud to say they live at an Address or Sansiri condo. Naming a group of buildings under the same label also brings continuity and familiarity. Say for example, you have been living happily in a Life@ condo and were looking to move to another part of town. There's a very good chance you would look for another Life@ condo in the new location, not least because you would know what to expect.

However, giving a name to a building, or group of buildings, is not as easy as it sounds. Getting the name wrong could mean the difference between a fully occupied and well recognised residence, and one that struggles to attract attention and business. For example, would you want to live somewhere called "The Dump" or "Budget Mansion?" Probably not!

In Bangkok, we have The Tidy and The Denim residences, neither of which evokes much emotion by their names. They may well be commendable in quality and even well located, but the names are far from inspirational, so do little to arouse interest in home hunters not familiar with the buildings.

Right now, where did I park "The Benz?"

Neil McDonough is a Director of EasyHomes Property Services Co., Ltd. which specializes in renting and selling Bangkok residential and commercial property to expats. You can contact him directly with any questions or queries relating to Thai real estate



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