Franchise swaps ‘well-worn campaigns’ for cutting-edge marketing

Laing & Simmons has turned to virtual reality in an effort to differentiate itself from rivals and ease buyers’ anxiety about off-the-plan property.

The group’s projects division, in conjunction with virtual reality studio Start VR, has developed a virtual reality app to help market a Sydney development called Edge 28.

Buyers can ‘walk’ through a finished apartment by clipping their smartphone into Google Cardboard or any other headset.

Realistic details have been built into the virtual apartment, including magazines on a table, noises drifting in from outdoors and views over the St Leonards district.

Jason Salter, Laing & Simmons’ director of project marketing, said the network’s investment in virtual reality has given it a point of difference.

“The innovations we are employing at Edge 28 set the platform for our future projects to set us apart from the well-worn campaigns of yesterday,” he said.

“We see project marketing as a key growth area for Laing & Simmons and an important value-add service for franchisees.”

One of the major barriers developers face when selling off-the-plan apartments is that buyers can’t visualise the finished product, according to Mr Salter.

Mr Salter said virtual reality helps solve this problem by offering buyers a more tangible and realistic experience.

“Display apartments play a role, but there are natural limitations. There’s no way of experiencing actual views, quantifying the actual sights and sounds of the apartment relative to its place in the development,” he said.

Construction of Edge 28 is expected to start in 2016 and finish in 2017. The virtual reality app is free to download and is available on both iPhones and Android phones.

[Related: Agency goes sci-fi with virtual reality listings]

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