Branding a building. Museums do it all the time because they have the luxury to stake ownership of their four walls (plus, they don’t have any pesky neighbors upstairs to contend with) and use them as a “branding canvas.” Restaurants and shops, on the other hand, can brand interior spaces but can’t make broad, self-promoting adverts on their edifices. Buildings, especially here in New York, which are free-standing enough to talk about themselves literally from the ground up (and some of these go very far up) are a rarefied group.
Take one example: the residential high rises in Brooklyn of the pre-real estate bust variety. “What? High rises in Brooklyn?” Yes, high rises. And in this age of a still-lagging real estate market, these buildings have to be even more particular about how they brand themselves.
A small sampling of buildings in four distinct Brooklyn neighborhoods reveal four very different brands of living: Edge in Williamsburg, Toren in Downtown Brooklyn, The Argyle in Park Slope and DKLB BKLN in Fort Greene. These buildings are selling a lifestyle filled with amenities like roof decks, indoor pools and social spaces that might be identical to those from a building a neighborhood over, or in some cases, right down the block. But it’s how they are speaking to prospective buyers that’s making the difference.
Take each building’s tagline: Edge “Hardcore Luxury;” Toren “A New Angle on Modern Living;” The Argyle “It Looks Good on You;” and DKLB BKLN “Live Your Way.” Each has specifically chosen to “speak” to the prospective resident and be frank about what they offer. Is it personal or more professional? Do their logos have a little attitude and nightlife or do they feel more casual?
These high rises are just another example of how in everyday life (or, the moment you’re in the market for an apartment!), acts of branding become reflexive: consumers choose brands, but more often than not, brands choose their consumers.