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Bill Bathurst

Real Estate, Brand Strategy, Business Development

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How do you charge?

Posted by Bill on January 30th, 2014

How do you charge?

A question I’m often asked is whether to charge clients by the hour or by the project. The following short story is the best answer I can find in favour of the latter.
Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

picasso-brigitte-bardot
“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.
“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”
“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.
“But, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”
To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”


Forbes Branded Office Tower Sets Place Branding Precedent

Posted by Bill on October 12th, 2013

September 6, 2013
World’s First Forbes-Branded Office Tower to Rise in Philippines
By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Forbes Media has chosen the Philippines as the site for the world’s first Forbes-branded office high-rise. The company has partnered with local developer Century Properties Group, Inc. to build the approximately 646,000-square-foot Forbes Media Tower in Makati, a suburb of Manila. The project is expected to be part of a network of Forbes Media Towers around the world.

Business owners and companies will be able to buy or lease office space in the new building by the first quarter of 2014. Amenities will include meeting and event space, a restaurant, fitness center and exhibition facilities.

“We’re very pleased to be collaborating with Century Properties for the first Forbes Media Tower as we extend our brand into the global real estate development market. Forbes has always been an authoritative resource for the world’s business leaders, and this tower further reinforces our long-standing mission,” Mike Perlis, president & CEO of Forbes Media, said in a news release. “The Philippines, with its rapidly growing market and strong relations with the U.S., is the perfect location to launch this effort.”

The high-rise will be located in Century City, a mixed-use development built by Century Properties in the central business district of Makati. The tower’s location is part of an IT zone, which will enable accredited locators to benefit from incentives from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

“This is a historic and groundbreaking moment for us. It is just the start of our plan for an expansion into Forbes real estate development projects around the world,” added Miguel Forbes, President Worldwide Development of Forbes Media. “We will continue to explore new Forbes Media Tower(R) opportunities globally and couldn’t be more excited to pursue this new and potentially transformative initiative.”

Founded in 1917, Forbes Media L.L.C. is the publisher of Forbes magazine and forbes.com, authoritative sources of news and information on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and affluent lifestyles. According to Omniture, forbes.com reaches 47 million monthly unique visitors, while Forbes magazine, Forbes Asia and Forbes Europe attract a global audience of more than 5 million readers. The company also publishes ForbesLife magazine, as well as 29 licensed local editions around the world.

“Century Properties is honored to be working with Forbes Media for this project. Forbes is synonymous with success and business, and this partnership fits perfectly with our distinguished portfolio of local and internationally renowned brand partners,” said Jose Antonio, president & CEO of Century Properties Group, Inc. “It is also an honor for us that Forbes has recognized the Philippines as one of Asia’s bright spots and showed its confidence by choosing Makati, Metro Manila as the first site of its landmark business tower.”

Does Your Brand Draw People In? Bill Bathurst Brand Strategy Advisor

Posted by Bill on July 19th, 2013

Dieter Rams, one of the most skilled and famous designers of the 20th century, was responsible for some of the most seminal designs in history, most notably during his time at Braun.

Here’s a famous quote of his on how designers need to address their time and place:

“Good designers must always be avant-gardists, always one step ahead of the times. They should, and must, question everything generally thought to be obvious. They must have an intuition for people’s changing attitudes. For the reality in which they live, for their dreams, their desires, their worries, their needs, their living habits. They must also be able to assess realistically the opportunities and bounds of technology.

This holds true for every mode of Design Thinking. Whether, as a business owner or marketer, you’ve engaged a designer to revamp your logo, create a website, or design a new product, they need to be aware of the context around them, around your brand. If they’re good at their job, the rest of us need to respect the fact they may be seeing things we can’t…but that their vision will result in constructive innovation, in concepts and ideas, which may frighten us a little. But that’s a good fright: it shows they’ve stretched the envelope enough to take you a step or two further than the immediate.

That’s important.

Because nowadays, the brand that doesn’t acknowledge change, and the need to stay ahead of change, is asking for trouble…for eventual obsolescence.

If your brand isn’t engaging your audience, arousing their curiosity and spurring a dialogue, then it’s not succeeding. It’s just a name, plain and simple, and not a Brand. It hasn’t staked out a place in the hearts and minds of the viewer, made its mission clear or enticingly obscure, or tantalized people into acts of discovery about the whys and wherefores around it.
Branding should be aware of everything that’s going on within and around it. It should be able to provoke us to take that initial step of discovery; as we’ve said before, a brand is a visual handshake…that holds tight and draws you in.

Be Brand Aware in Regional Initiatives say Bill Bathurst, Brand Strategy Advisor

Posted by Bill on March 7th, 2013

So the question to pose here is: Is it possible to create a regional brand with a clear, attractive and unique identity and image? A brand which, at the same time, is acceptable to all participating cities or counties and which is recognizable and attractive to all relevant external audiences? If so, how can it be done? I will try to present one take on this.

But first of all – what is actually a brand? In short, one way of seeing a brand is as a conceptual entity that creates positive, unique and distinguishable associations. And brandbuilding involves creating and maintaining these associations. It is all about identifying, developing and communicating the parts of the product, corporate or place identity that are favorable in the eyes of specific target groups. According to established practice, this needs to be done with coherence and consistency. And the idea or message you want to project needs to be credible, authentic and easily understood by both the internal and the external audience.

Place-branding borrows methods and techniques of marketing from the business world, but, if applied at all sensibly, it is much more than a marketing tool. It can better be described as both an organizational principle and a strategic world-view, a lens through which you see the world around you and gauge the implications of the events that happen in it.

According to research and established practice, the practice of place-branding can offer the means to achieve not only economic but to some extent also social and cultural benefits. It can promote the attractiveness of a place for investors, export buyers, tourists, residents, employees and students. It can also be a place-development tool, in the sense that it can serve to focus questions of identity and vision, and provide driving force and direction in the development efforts of a place. Furthermore, it is said to have a potential to mobilize civic pride; that is to make the inhabitants of a place more aware and proud of its uniqueness and achievements.

Any well-planned branding exercise should start with a rigorous assessment of the place and by asking very fundamental questions: How is our place perceived? What are our strengths and weaknesses? Do we have something that is considered unique?

On this basis, the next step is to formulate a vision for the future. What and where do we want to be? Where should we go from here? How should this be done? A part of the vision is to identify and formulate a set of core values and core ideas that should permeate communication and behavior towards target groups. These values and ideas should not be a desk product; they have to be anchored in the identity of the place. At the same time, a brand identity can to some degree be ‘aspirational’, i.e. not so much expressing what you are today as what you want and aim to be in the future. The challenge lies in striking an appropriate balance between current on-the-ground realities and a visionary interpretation of future potential.

However, without going into details, branding is a very difficult and complex endeavor for a number reasons for any place – be it a town, city, country or, not least, a ‘macro-region’ encompassing several countries.

Nation-branding expert Simon Anholt has suggested a ‘soft-power approach’ to governing a branding effort in the larger regions:

‘It is clear that no person or body exists with the influence (or the right) to impose a common brand strategy onto the institutions, governments, private sector bodies and general populations of the region’s member nations. Arguably, it wouldn’t be a good idea even if it were possible. Yet without some degree of harmonized behavior and communication amongst these stakeholders, a region will never develop a powerful or recognizable brand identity. We should rely on people’s natural desire to join in when they see a truly inspiring (and demonstrably effective) initiative, and when they clearly understand why it is in their interest to do so.

The soft-power approach will necessitate harmonised behaviour and communication, which arguably will be facilitated by a feeling of affinity and unity of purpose amongst stakeholders.

I want to argue here that it might sometimes be enabling and instructive to think of branding as an approach. Something in the style of a ‘brand-aware approach’ that can be applied to city policy, to county programs, to trade initives, to investment,to educational programs, to the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems and to tourism promotion

In conclusion I would state that..
One can safely assume that the difficulties of place-branding are a function of the size and diversity of the place; the larger and more diverse a place, the fewer the opportunities to apply ‘conventional’ branding. So when dealing with the larger regions, the brand-aware approach, rather than a fully-fledged place-branding strategy, might be sensible.