14 March 2018
Our Branding Strategy - Evolving Mayfair & Belgravia together
Chrissy Cullen, Head of Marketing, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
Perceptions of a place
Pockets of London are synonymous with different experiences - whether of Shoreditch's tech entrepreneurs, Covent Garden's street culture or Westminster's ceremony and politics. The identity of these places has been built over time from years of experiences and accumulated perceptions. But the best places aren’t held back by those perceptions. They evolve to people's changing needs without losing their intrinsic identity.
Sitting at the heart of the capital, Grosvenor’s London estate in Mayfair & Belgravia has a long history. Its districts have unique characteristics, beautiful architecture, recognisable landmarks, globally-known retail streets and some of the capital’s best green spaces. They are associated with style and fashion, peaceful mews and grand boulevards, dining and art. They are perceived by some as aspirational and exclusive and by others as quiet and traditional.
These perceptions drive choices - where people choose to spend time, what parts of London they chose to explore - but they also come from the way in which a place evolves. Like all districts at the heart of the capital, Mayfair & Belgravia won’t be insulated from the pressures of a growing and diversifying global city. Nor should they be. We believe they will have to respond by being more active, more open and more integrated, with better streets, greener spaces and enterprising places that appeal to all.
Our vision for destination brands
We have a 20 year vision for our London estate to see that evolution. Achieving it will require not just new investment and deeper collaboration, but also a change in the perception that our London estate is only for the few.
So we have spent time reaching a deeper understanding of the ways in which the estate is viewed by Londoners and visitors, residents and businesses. We have rearticulated with new place brands the identity of our estate, our neighbourhoods and our destinations.
With extensive conversation and collaboration with retailers and other stakeholders, we have sought to capture the nuances, the specific characteristics of each place. Our place brands mark out those differentiators rather than homogenise the estate or turn their back on what makes Mayfair & Belgravia so special. We want them to help shift perceptions and allow new stories to take root.
So for example South Belgravia is within walking distance of the busy commercial hub of Victoria and boasts some great amenities. Our place brands here - whether articulating the food, fashion and lifestyle offer in Elizabeth Street or our new enterprise hub in Eccleston Yards for co-working, leisure and wellbeing - tell the story of a cosmopolitan and active place.
And in North Mayfair, our evolving retail destinations in North Audley Street and Duke Street will benefit from renewed storytelling. We have a new narrative for our Mount Street destination where fashion and art collide. Our brand and media partnerships with Frieze and Vogue Magazine last year developed this narrative, with Mount Street hosting special one-off events and talks from celebrated designers and artists.
We want events, activation and culture to make their mark on the place with new experiences that have broad appeal. Lumiere London in Mayfair this year and across the capital celebrated our open, diverse and inclusive city with this fabulous festival of light.
Growing animation and appeal
So as we seek a bigger, better and wider blend of retail - from amenities to luxury, enterprise to leisure; as we expand our cultural and leisure offer with new partnerships - for example with the V&A this year and its ground-breaking Frida Khalo exhibition; and as we grow and sustain better destinations in the heart of the West End, we will need to shift perceptions of our estate to drive success.
New experiences will tell a coherent and recognisable story. Our estate will host and provoke memories for those who experience it, making them want to return. And our place brands across assets, streets and districts will signpost that journey and reaffirm London's capacity to change.