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    Putting Sears Property on the Map

    Monday, March 04, 2013

    You'll have no doubt gathered that we love property here at Bungalow, and when we received a call from Berkshire based estate agent Daniel Sear in need of our help, we were all ears!

    The Background

    Sears Property founded in 2010, has built a strong reputation based on the quality of the service it offers. A truly independent and family owned and run business, it found itself being overlooked in the sea of competition due to its dark, dated brand identity.

    Having met and spoken with Daniel as 2012 drew to a close, it was immediately apparent was that their old identity (a blue and red Pepsi-style logo on a black background) became almost completely invisible on its for sale and let boards during the long dark evenings.

    The Approach

    We prepared a 4-phase strategy for Daniel: a whole business approach, commencing with a rebrand… rolling out across all the required materials (including his low-visibility boards)… through to a full website refresh, and marketing beyond. The prime directive being to increase visibility, engagement, and ultimately market share in this highly competitive part of Berkshire.

    The Identity

    We took inspiration from the freshest new brands appearing on today's high streets – and not just those in the property industry. We scoped-out Sears' competitive landscape, assessing the colours, typefaces and approaches used by other local agents, and crafted a unique identity all of their own.

    Based around the now universally-familiar 'geo-pointer' icon, adding yellow for visibility, a vibrant on-trend blue and a typeface designed to connect to a broad demographic (originally developed for Volkswagen), combined with a selection of positive and affirming tag lines… the new Sears identity was born!

    The Roll-out

    Aware that the property market was moving fast, and Daniel was keen to catch the spring-time movers, we worked quickly to roll out the rebrand across all his materials. Starting with striking new board designs for sales and lettings, property particulars, window cards, property press layouts and advertisements, 20-page marketing booklets, a snazzy suite of stationery… and of course, a brand new website. 

    The Website

    Working to the constraints of the existing website framework provided by Acquaint, we designed and copywrote an entirely new site to fit the template format already in place. Fresh looking, modern, vibrant – a site that truly represents Sears' energy, and their clear, simple approach to property. The site is full of testimonials to reinforce Sears' commitment to quality service, and certainly holds its own when pitched against the sites of their larger competitors and peers.

    Already signed up to social media, and auto-broadcasting properties with no audience, we took Twitter and Facebook to task, designing new page backgrounds, set up new followers and started tweeting and sharing stories to get them on the right road. We wrote an initial blog post for the website all about their new look and used social media channels to spread the word.

    From identity to boards, website to marketing materials, we've worked hard to help Sears communicate and engage with their target market – building stronger connections, and a stronger brand as a result.

    The Office Makeover

    Not content with reworking all digital and print elements, we set about transforming their premises too. We designed new signage and window graphics; provided a schematic for the walls — colours, lettering and artwork, and sourced new, modern furniture: brightly upholstered benches, pods and sofas to complete a truly on-brand look. Sears' 'property shop' is now a real destination on Bracknell High Street. Thanks to Kremer Signs and Barkham Office Furniture for bringing our vision to life.

    Word on the Street...

    We're absolutely delighted with the result, as are Sears – early feedback is very positive from clients and passers by alike, and Daniel's been told that his new boards stand out a mile. We'll be working closely with Sears on a marketing strategy to take this modern property brand forward, having now put it firmly, and visibly, on the map.

    "Single Storey" — the Bungalow features in Midcentury Magazine!

    Tuesday, December 06, 2011

    Back in July of this year when we launched the marketing campaign for the private sale of our bungalow, we were thrilled and flattered to be approached by Tabitha and Tom, Editor and Aficionado behind Midcentury Magazine — the only UK-based publication for fans and followers of the midcentury movement. It was a real honour when they asked if they could run a feature on our ranch-style, Renway 'Type 60a' bungalow… and of course, we agreed like a shot!

    Midcentury Magazine Issue 2 cover

    It wasn’t long before they came to interview us at home, seeing the bungalow for themselves, taking a leisurely stroll around the tree-lined roads in Edgcumbe Park, and hearing some of the anecdotes about the estate’s eclectic residents, past and present — not to mention the parties of the ‘swinging sixties’ in the early days of the development!

    The issue's launch coincided with this November's Modern Show in Dulwich where we caught up with Tabitha & Tom busily subscribing new readers on their stand. We were delighted to see a generous nine full pages had been given over to featuring the bungalow, illustrated by David's lovely photographs, along with a separate focus on the Renway Construction Company's vision behind Edgcumbe Park co-authored by Scott. In addition, there’s a useful ‘get the look’ section with information on where we obtained our key pieces. In all, a very special memento of our time at the property, and hopefully something to inspire others to remodel their homes, midcentury-style!

    Spreads from Midcentury Magazine, issue 2

    Why not subscribe and read all about it?!

    Each issue is packed with interesting and information-rich articles all with a midcentury flavour; the current issue no exception with some fascinating reads about furniture designers & manufacturers past and present; where to source the best midcentury finds (and what to look for —great article by Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Hill), and the best in midcentury media & arts (including author David Christopher's appreciation of midcentury hi-fi equipment, and a lovely background insight into Hergé and his Tintin by Charlotte Luxford).

    If you can't wait for your copy to arrive in the post, click to see a preview of ‘Single Storey: An American Ranch Home in Berkshire’.

    Once again, big thanks to Tabitha & Tom at Midcentury Magazine!

    Brand Identity Matters

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Website development and SEO specialists Sugarcoat came to us late 2011 having observed our work for some time. They said they'd tried to craft their own identity countless times and failed, and came to the conclusion that if you want the job done properly, you call in the experts. We met, talked, and presented our options… the main one being a bitter pill to swallow: change the name. Sugarcoat underwent a rebranding proces with Bungalow Industries to become: netmatter.

    We took their brief and crafted a new identity plus visual and language styles. We dissected their field and competitive landscape and devised a device that in one combined their name, their approach and their methodologies. We created a 5-colour double helix, cannily intertwining the 'n' and 'm' of the name (and the initials of the company's directors) and representing the DNA of the businesses that their approach targeted: the longer strand set in four Google-inspired colours for their 4-fold skillset (Consultancy, Design, Marketing, Reporting) and the other strand in a corporate grey for the SEO service underpinning every aspect of their approach. Simple, elegant, evocative and effective... 'genetic engineering for your business,' you might say!  

    We didn't spare any thinking on the typeface either: Delta Jaeger is a little-known typeface crafted by Gustav Jäger in 1983 for Berthold. Jäger sadly died last July, but his legacy also includes the font Catull – most famously used as Google’s typeface – and his work used here gives a subliminal tie-in for those in-the-know.

    Netmatter were delighted and thrilled to at last have an identity encapsulating who they are and what they do so completely; one that also reflects their capability in this competitive – and fast evolving – marketplace.

    An identity is more than just a logo; and from there, the roll-out commenced. We brought out the 'net' theme in their name, and the tile-able nature of their logo – both into long strands (like DNA of course) and into a net-like pattern vertically for their twitter background and stationery suite. We then designed a holding page, presenting the new name and identity whilst we designed the main site. The DNA strand was used to good effect moving across the screen presenting each of netmatter's key competencies. We coined friendly, approachable language, and a Diagnostic WebCheck service and visual as a hook to catch inquisitive visitors.

    We designed and copywrote the entire site, covering a customer-focused approach to each of their business areas and provided them with all the artwork necessary to build the site, being SEO-savvy developers themselves. Meanwhile, business has been so good for them that they've not had time to complete the build, though it's being developed in the wings as time allows. 

    Business has indeed been good for netmatter as they've subsequently commissioned us to provide front-end artwork and brand treatments to a number of their projects. Confident in their coding abilities, and enjoying the refreshing change of digital communication and website design without having to get stuck into coding, the opportunities have been a welcome change!


    Update Your Address Book!

    Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    This is just a quick change-of-address blog post to let you all know that we've moved! Our own property marketing campaign has proved a resounding success and we’ve sold our bungalow privately!

    The bungalow, the brochure and the For Sale board... now Sold!

    We're still amazed at how the bungalow and its online marketing have been tweeted about, shared on Facebook and featured on property, design and style blogs around the world — and look out for it in the next issue of Midcentury Magazine too! It's particularly rewarding that our combined talents have not only brought deserved attention to the Edgcumbe Park Development... but also saved us over £10,000 in Estate Agency fees.

    December 2011: ISSUU, the world's leading online publishing platform, has just awarded us the accolade of best application of their product and we'll soon be featured on their blog! (Very chuffed!)

    Once we're settled in we'll be blogging properly about how we put our property know-how and marketing expertise into practise to achieve this thrilling result.

    Although sad to leave the bungalow, our super neighbours and the lovely locality behind, we were in need of more space — and the next challenge...

    ...We’re now settling in to an even quirkier property by the sea near Whitstable, Kent! Keep an eye here on our new journal to see more about our new home: an architect-designed, 1970's curiosity called ‘Cambria’, and our ongoing explorations of the local area — famed for its oysters and creative pursuits. We're very excited and are looking forward to sharing it with you!

    Cambria, front elevation... and seagull's eye view!

    Meanwhile, do please update your address books with our new details:

    Bungalow Industries
    47 Hazlemere Road
    Kent CT5 4AW

    If you’d like our help in expertly presenting your property for sale to achieve the best possible price — perhaps even selling privately like us, you know where we are, or call us on 0845 601 1470.

    With house-warmed wishes,

    David & Scott

    P.S. Even though our new home has an upstairs, we’ll always be ‘Bungalow’ ;-)