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Learning from boutique hotels

At the beginning of this year, my friend Amy Bath wrote an interesting post on her blog comparing condos and boutique hotels. It’s called: Could condos be more like boutique hotels? It’s a great read and it touches on something that I think we will see more of going forward.

The idea is that boutique hotels – many of which invest heavily in things like programming and “cultural engineering” – could serve as a model for condos and developers who want to further differentiate themselves by doing more with their common areas and amenities. I think it’s a great idea. 

But let’s backup for a second.

In many cases, I feel that developers tend to privilege the brands of their specific projects over their own corporate brands. This likely has something to do with the entrepreneurial nature of how development projects often come together, but I personally don’t think it’s the best approach.

It’s the equivalent of a car company downplaying its own brand and instead creating a new one for each and every car model that it comes out with. That’s a lot of work and it’s harder to build brand equity that way. So I think the trend is probably away from this approach.

But as that happens, developers will inevitably start to wonder how they can differentiate them themselves: How do I make my bricks and mortar less of a commodity? The same way that Apple made computers not about processor speeds and memory, but about something so much more. You create a brand story and an experience.

And one of the best ways I think you could do that is through exactly what Amy is talking about: programming and cultural engineering.

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