Building brands with soul: the importance of community engagement

By Phil Harvey
January 2024
Phil sitting in the Fluid studio

Local communities can be resistant when property developers submit plans to build in their area. So it's important to keep those local communities on-side. The property developers worth their salt see and understand the value of investing their time and effort into engaging with local people from an early stage. Getting communities involved in some way can reduce the potential friction that ultimately causes not just costly delays in the build, but also discontent in the community.

We’ve worked closely with property developers of all kinds over the years, and we’ve seen first-hand the difference it makes when developers are open with local communities, and invite them to engage and influence the projects, and ultimately the branding and identity.
We’ve had the privilege to be on the ground, guiding this sort of community engagement through our long-term partnerships in the retirement industry.
Our work is not just about creating brands, it’s about unearthing stories that capture the heart of local communities, and weaving them into the bigger picture. Think of it as giving retirement villages a hearty handshake with the locals. It's all about making connections that stick.
We've perfected a unique approach to property development branding, rooted deeply in community engagement and historical reverence. Our methodology revolves around not just constructing spaces but crafting legacies that echo the rich tapestry of local history, culture, character, and people.
The research rumble

First things first, we do our homework. We dig deep into local community groups, chat to historians, and team up with charities. Then, we head to the location, armed with a plan, and ready for lots of conversations with locals. Local people will often oppose change, so allowing them to have a voice can soften their feelings, and even give them a sense of pride when the things they say go on to influence the creative strategy.
It's like a treasure hunt, where every conversation uncovers a piece of the puzzle.
Naming – not just a game of words

When it comes to naming a new property development, I've got three golden rules:

  1. Local love: We're after a name that gets the locals nodding in approval.

  2. Proud place: It must be a name that makes residents puff out their chests in pride.

  3. Google friendly: If you can't spell it or remember it, what's the point, right?

The chatter that matters

I admit, I can be a nosy-parker. I get to chat to the locals, soak up the village vibe, and delve into the town tales. It's a journey through time – from Roman footprints to Saxon tales, right through to the hustle and bustle of the Industrial Revolution. Understanding the past helps us sprinkle a bit of that historical magic into each development, it means we create new places that are deeply rooted in a local culture.
Our impact – a legacy in the making

Our ethos centres around becoming irreplaceable in every project we undertake. This isn't just a goal; it's a commitment that shapes our approach, ensuring that we consistently exceed expectations and create meaningful, lasting legacies.
Looking back over 20 years, I reckon we've named and branded over 30 property communities. It's a bit surreal to think about all those people, living their lives, not knowing that the team at Fluid Ideas in Derby have had a hand in shaping their community's identity. We're not just building brands; we're crafting legacies that stick around long after we've hung up our hats.
So, there you have it. Our approach to property development marketing is all about sinking our teeth into the local scene, understanding what makes each place tick, and then creating a brand that's as much a part of the community as the local pub. It's about creating places where stories are born, memories are made, and history continues to unfold.
At the end of the day, it's not just about the buildings; it's about building communities with soul.