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Naming That Condo Anything But Tragically Hip or Fancy Pants

Source: Washington Post (and best named condo for obvious reasons)


One of the by-products of the housing boom has the creation of a lot of new condo developments. And with that new housing stock, comes the pressure to differentiate it from the herd. The starting point seems to be in the naming of the project.

a names race has broken out, as developers invoke the modern, the urban and the other-worldly to lure buyers.

In Naming Residences, Only the Hip Will Do [Washington Post] [1] the location, local history and design of the building are all blended together to come up with the appropriate image to potential buyers. The emphasis in coming up with the name is more about branding than design.

In the article By the hook [The Boston Globe] [2] naming a property has always been a marketing tool for developers, part of the plan to evoke an emotional reaction from a targeted consumer. In today’s competitive market, however, where condos are going up all over the city, and prices are sky-high, developers are trying to differentiate their properties in ways that have worked in the already saturated markets of Miami and New York, strategists say.

The naming of a condo development can range from $40,000 to $100,000 which is good pay if you can get it. I find it hard to believe that most developments pay this kind of money to outside consultants. In an increasingly competitive market, where costs are rising and profits are being squeezed, I suspect that this consulting fee would be one of the first costs to be eliminated, yet this is precisely the marketing period where the right name is most needed (if you believe in naming as an effective branding tool). See: Naming Rites:That punchy name on your new building may sound like a trifle—but it probably cost a bundle. [NY Mag] [3]

From the Boston Globe article: ”I like the name,” said [the buyer. ”It describes my unit, but I think if this had another name, it wouldn’t matter to me. It’s the location. This is where I wanted to be.”

A lot of emphasis is placed on naming these days but I suspect it plays less of a role than given credit for. The message I get is that a good name has a neutral affect on a project and a bad name is a liability. I’d especially worry about a name given today becoming obsolete in a few years if its too hip. From the Boston Globe article: Not everyone is seduced. Ken Eggerl, 38, an events producer, doesn’t like to tell people he lives at The Icon, if only so his friends won’t tease him as “Fancy Pants.”