InDx Condos. When Product Design and Branding come from the same Strategy.

The most effective branding work our agency creates happens when we’re brought in early enough in the product lifecycle that we can influence design and experience. That also requires immense trust and open-mindedness of clients. Recently, we’ve found ourselves playing the role of product designers as much as brand consultants. Case in point of mega condo project in Toronto’s financial district.

Our client had acquired a property that had changed hands several times and had unsuccessfully been brought to market twice (and failed both times). The plans were for an 800 unit condo tower. Toronto’s financial district isn’t exactly known for its great culture or street life. It’s a rather antiseptic area dominated by large institutional buildings that tend to lay dormant on weekends and evenings. However, it is as central as it gets.

We decided to focus our attention narrowly on young, single, male stock brokers who filled the surrounding institutional buildings. Working 16 hour days in an effort to climb the corporate ladder. Swilling designer vodka at the local steak houses while reminiscing about their fraternity days at their Ivy league alma maters. Or, as I dubbed them, the ‘financial bro’.

At first, our client thought the idea was a bit crazy. The sales team nearly hopped out of their seats when we proposed the idea. “Focus on one narrow market segment? With 800 condos to sell?” They were also worried about alienating the female audience. After a bit of “arm wrestling” and explaining the upside of being focused on the audience: disposable income levels, the desire to live as close to work as possible, the sheer volume of male, financial workers in the area….the client came around.

With that brave decision, we were able to influence the product’s design to strike a chord with our target – The Financial Bro. A shoe-shine station and barber shop in the lobby were proposed to keep their wing-tips polished and their fades fresh. Dry cleaning and meal delivery services were also made part of the plan tapping into the insight that this audience, simply didn’t have the time for these ‘remedial tasks’.

A cigar lounge and private vodka lockers were proposed for the weekend warriors. A ‘Bulls vs. Bears’ room was created complete with a sports bar and poker tables. As well as an oversized gym facility, golf simulator and outdoor terrace complete with a wet bar. Credit the team at Cecconi Simone Interior Design for bringing the ideas to life, including the option for residents to remove full sized ovens and fridges with smaller bar fridges and speed ovens (since much of this audience didn’t cook at home anyway).

The name and branding were reflective of the stock exchange – InDX Condos. The collateral and an advertising campaign were inspired by the main character from the hit TV Show “How I Met Your Mother” – Barney Stinson and his life philosophy “The Bro Code”. Even the brochure was entitled “The Condo Condo Code – A Guide to Living Big” and provided tips for would-be residents.

 The results were also outstanding, proving to be one of the fastest selling condo projects in the history of the city. Which is a testament to the power of designing the product and brand cohesively when the opportunity permits. Right bro?