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An interview with JP Managing Director Dr. Daniel Jelitzka

Dr. Daniel Jelitzka, Managing Director of JP Immobilien, talks about branded addresses, a new way of living and the meaning of the good life.

What do you mean precisely by branded addresses?
Branded addresses always communicate a clear message which suggest certain expectations. Obviously, these also have to be fulfilled by the product, meaning the property.

What advantages are there when properties become “brands” and, as a result, are given separate identities?
Identity is a very important consideration in real estate because it can create sustainable value. It makes a big difference if I say “I live at number 22, in block A, staircase number 4, apartment number 27” or “I live in the Laendyard, in the building facing the village square”. Branded addresses allow us to create exclusivity, originality and individuality even in the case of large-scale projects. And because housing is always a highly emotional matter, all this gives it an extremely high value.

What role does the name play in this instance?
A major one! Because a catchy name can have a highly emotional impact on people if it has positive connotations and anticipates the qualities of the project.

Is the trend from America slowly breaking through in Austria? Or are branded address projects still the exception?
It’s important to distinguish between run-of-the-mill marketing campaigns and branded addresses. In the case of the first ones, you resort to pre-set motifs and existing folder structures. But in the case of branded addresses you develop an independent property label – and that remains an exception in Austria.

What’s the customer response to branded properties?
Customers tend to be much more in favour of branded addresses, of course, but you always have to ask yourself whether it also makes sense for the property developer. In the case of a neighbourhood development, for example, it makes sense not to get lost in the crowd. Here, you have to create a soul which people can emotionally identify themselves with. If you’re talking about a high-end project in the First District, it makes sense because that makes it state-of-the-art anyway. But a branded address process would be a little excessive for average property development projects of up to 3,000 square metres in size.

What are the key factors in successful real estate marketing? Are there any differences between hotel, residential and office buildings?
There's a strong differentiation between these types. Hotel buildings and residential properties are usually marketed along highly emotionalised lines simply because this is a better way to attract customers and therefore be more successful in marketing.

What about office buildings?
Office buildings are marketed in an extremely technocratic way since you’re always dealing with facts – things like square meters or operating costs. I’m quite convinced that it would be possible to market office space successfully by using emotional arguments. “Telegraf 7”, one of our branded address projects, is a living example of this. Here we’ve left out all the usual technical considerations, because they have to conform to market requirements anyway. Instead, what we have is a green roof terrace, a suite and a private gym – embedded in incredibly attractive surroundings.

Has this been reflected in successful marketing?
Yes, it certainly has! After all, even though the market for office space is pretty awful, we managed to lease out almost the entire office space a year before project completion. Having a branded address was a major reason behind the success of this development.

What used to be sold were apartments. Today it’s lifestyles. Is that how you also see it, and why is that, do you think?
If the same kind of housing is available in terms of quality, people obviously tend to choose the one that conveys a certain lifestyle. We live in the age of individuality. By creating individuality through branding, you create identity.

Does a branded address property always equate to luxury?
No, because emotional appeal is important in all areas of life at home. It doesn’t matter if someone buys an apartment with a square metre price of 10,000 or 3,000 euros. It’s not a question of luxury.

What other new developments have taken place in the property sector apart from branded addresses?
In Vienna, more and more classic office locations are starting to emerge, such as the Wienerberg, the Donauplatte or the Vienna Central Station. Many sites that were once office locations are being abandoned due to lack of demand. A major trend is to refurbish such old office buildings and turn them back into residential accommodation. The second trend is that the apartments are becoming much, much smaller again.

Can you say why?
Yes I can – by using a term we've created. Smart luxury. It means that people buy smaller properties but still enjoy the comfort of large ones. It goes back to the idea of “sharing is caring” – few people need to have a spa in their apartment. So the spa is simply outsourced to the communal housing association. Or to take another example, I can book a kitchen lounge and invite friends for dinner without them having to sit in my bedroom. In other words I have a small efficient apartment but don’t have to live without luxury amenities. Quite simply, the trend towards sharing and cooperatives has truly arrived in the property sector.

Do you have a branded address project that you particularly like?
I have two favourite projects. I particularly like Laendyard – it’s a good example of a neighbourhood development. Marketing it ranges from staging the gold rush event right through to the website, and is really great. But then so is the product itself: urban life in the countryside. The name communicates precisely that. Here, it includes the site of “Erdbergerlände” site as well as the “yard” concept of a large outdoor space.

And the other one?
The second product is in the high end sector. It’s called No10. I find that very apt. The title says it all, really: I live in 1010 Vienna at Renngasse 10. You don’t have to add anything more to that, simply because the product itself is already so expressive and sophisticated, you see.

Many branded address projects often advertise with the slogan: “the good life”. What does the good life mean to you, personally?
I personally want to be in a place where I can enjoy peace and quiet but also have convenient access to the city centre. Everyone has a different take on what the good life means. It is precisely this diversity and individuality which defines the quality of a city.

» Individuality & diversity define
the quality of a city «
Dr. Daniel Jelitzka
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