Year: 2016, 2017
Tags: Art Direction and Design, Brand Journalism, Brand Narrative, Creative Direction and Filmmaking, Creative Production, Digital Activation, Identity, Strategy and Design Thinking
Photos from Mari Luz Vidal, Openhouse Magazine
Photos from Mari Luz Vidal, Openhouse Magazine
With the goal to not only rebrand the company but to also project a new way of understanding real estate, we delved into the strategy and branding of Metrovacesa. We wanted to give them a new discourse: a voice and image that was able to adapt to the digitisation of society and the new understanding of the world and its communication, both in terms of content and opinion, while at the same time reflecting the trustworthiness of the major company. We came to the conclusion that Metrovacesa had to be relaunched in two aspects; on the one hand as a new post-modern brand for their clients, on the other as a solid recognisable landmark for investors.
“ahora,” is a claim embodying in its radical simplicity a triple call to action: it resembles the recovering of the great heritage of the brand together with its modernisation; it invites the audience to discover a place and embrace a new life. Finally, the dynamic claim ‘ahora’ talks to stakeholders by bringing attention to the opportunity of believing in a company that has just been reborn, ready for our contemporary times.
In 2008, Spanish property company Metrovacesa went through a rough fall because of the financial crisis. They were bought by Banco Santander and BBVA, two dominant banks who still own shares until today. Carried out a capital increase of 1,108 million euros through the transfer of assets of its main shareholders, 8 years later Metrovacesa regained a leader position in the market again with a now, global portfolio of 6 million square metres – equivalent to 40,000 homes. The wide mistrust in the banking sector and real estate companies caused by the crisis was evident for many years and is still noticeable within the field. This already existing gap between the company and clients is also enhanced by another important fact: a new generation, born into the reality of the crisis and digital shift, that has become the new client, setting the requirements for the market.
“Rebranding metrovacesa wasn´t just about rebranding a company, but rather reshaping the way real estate could be perceived. After being knocked down by digitalization and crisis, the insights had to go beyond a new name, a new logo and a new identity: it was about being perceived as something domestic, close to people, experiential and, somehow, not transcendental at all.”
Rafa Martínez, COO, Partner & Brand Strategist, Folch
To meet the idea of communication as an experience, we needed to reduce the scale of the company. This meant bringing the company from a grandiloquence throne down to a ground level, with a voice more closely aligned to the client and his needs. It also meant less focus on the buildings and moving the spotlight to the interiors while simultaneously turning them into liveable experiences. A move to make the process of purchasing a home a memorable decision.
For the middle class, buying a property means making one of the most important life decisions, especially considering their inaccessibility to the market after the housing crises of 2008. Metrovacesa’s commitment is therefore to facilitate and simplify this decision to its maximum extent. We concluded that in order to do so, the company had to also commit to providing truthful information and making it accessible through digital technology, allowing to lighten the weight of the purchase decision while also easing the process in the meanwhile. As a result, the company can now grow a relationship with the client and move closer to their needs and expectations.
To create a highly customised service for the customer and to reflect the company’s transparency, we created an internal platform designed exclusively for customers in order to keep them informed after purchasing Metrovacesa real estate. Accessing the platform, the client is provided with an overview allowing him/her to experience the entire process of his/her property, generated by a timeline and percentages which visually demonstrate progress as well as notifications keeping the client updated with the latest news. Another section was added to also give a clear overview of (un)finished paperwork, with a personalised contact person from the company at the disposal of the client at all times.
In order to achieve our goals we had to create a digital ecosystem for Metrovacesa. In alignment with the digitization of society, the base for this structure had to be a digital environment in which content, offers and values of the company could flow, grow and be shared. We therefore opted for an open system in which separate components could be vinculated, or in other words a communication system in which every element of the structure strengthens the digital and commercial universe of the brand, connecting corporate information, content and inbound marketing while also creating coherence between graphics and editorial.
Once this Insight was defined, the graphic approach of the project had to take a new turn to match with the focus. The importance lied in a recognisable brand with high appeal aligning with the defined values. Through the use of typography, colour and composition we were able to generate a graphic style that could be adapted in any graphic application, be it digital or print.
Key to building and expanding the Metrovacesa universe was the branded content. Rather than approaching the Metrovacesa audience with blank commercial content, we chose to use our experience in the editorial field to create a narrative for the Metrovacesa brand, relating topics from the company’s universe; the architects they work with, the housing they are building, the region in which these are build, interior designs, sustainability, tips to buy a house, amongst many others. This idea was translated into a journal, an editorial voice and narrative platform meant to introduce, to both clients and investors, relevant topics, characters and news related to the brand. On another level, this branded content was also transferred to Metrovacesa’s social media.
The importance of visual content today is as important, or maybe even more, as graphics. The necessity of an own visual language that accompanies the identity is solved through an art direction in photography and video, strictly aligned with the key values. In essence, Metrovacesa is given a prism of its own to show the world, both on a thematic and style level, allowing the brand to have its own visual voice and achieving differentiation from its competition. Aside from finding a visual language, the tone of voice had a big impact on the brand language and had to work in parallel with the visual image.
The experience of having a home of your own is the essence of the product and had to be reflected in the communication. The lived space became essential to the direction of art in photography. Inspirational images showing life in a warm and close environment became the main support of the promotions in digital and print. More so it also became crucial to contextualise the sites with attractive images of the close-by environments – always looking for horizontality in the mood as well as the closeness and beauty of everyday life.
Appeal and recognition depends to a large extent on the ability to be very consistent in all communication elements; For this, the identity works with one single typography, NB International ™ Pro – developed by the German type foundry Neubau – whose design embodies the perfect balance between modernity, stability and fair peculiarity. Similarly, the reduction of the color spectrum, limited to one main color and three secondary tones, unifies and uniforms all the elements. Due to the diversity and the large number of communication applications it was crucial to create a recognisable graphic system. This powerful, attractive and easy-to-apply system is based upon a modular structure which responds to needs of application.
As to fully integrate Metrovacesa into the digital community, the company also needed a change in its digital strategy. We used Metrovacesa’s Own Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) to create a narrative for each of them, adapted to their respective use and function, and project an inspirational mood. This would enable Metrovacesa to help the company to expand in Earned Media, translating itself in a rise in followers, engagement and brand awareness, as well as enabling new ways of transferring the universe, values and voice of the company.
As to reinforce the organic campaign, we carefully and creatively designed sponsored content that would enter the digital sphere, leading those organically unreached segments of the target audience to the journalistic and commercial content of Metrovacesa. Once approved, the ads were adjusted to each and every digital format, depending on the nature of every distribution channel (social media, housing search engines, digital media etc.). Contrary to the organic narrative online, this activation campaign focused on Metrovacesa’s product; the specific housing that is up for sale in different areas across Spain.
For Metrovacesa, we applied a funnel advertising strategy divided into three stages mainly: awareness, consideration and decision. We adapted the message of each piece in each channel according to client purchase consideration; a broad target segmentation that allows us to be much more precise and maximize outcomes of campaign costs. Pau Marí, Digital Brand Manager at Folch
The use of simulations is fundamental for any promoter when it comes to selling sites under construction. What is differentiating Metrovacesa from the rest of its competitors is the ability to maintain a coherency and clear style in all its renders, both indoors and outdoors. The interiors had to flee from the excessive cleanliness and sense of unreal order, so we created closer frames and added everyday objects to the images with a correct selection of furniture, decoration and materials elements in the simulation. The exteriors also had to be presented from a human point of view, avoiding any kind of megalithic figure of the building and instead reach a real and detailed look.
The new graphic identity of Metrovacesa has been designed to respond to three clear criteria; closeness, appeal and systematisation. The use of lowercase letters instead of the previous capital letters is a clear statement for the rebranding of Metrovacesa – leaving behind the megalithic attitude and moving to a down-to-earth communication.