County Durham Housing Group provides social housing and is the parent to three landlords in the north east of England. They “believe in life without barriers.”
From 2019, they are providing an initial 121 new-build homes under the government-backed Rent to Buy scheme, funded by Homes England. Rent to Buy aims to help people step on to the housing ladder by offering affordable homes at 80% of market rent, which allows residents to save for a deposit at the same time. The homes are on sites across County Durham including Seaham, Peterlee and Bowburn.
The tender brief required us to develop a new brand for the Group’s new Rent to Buy offer. It had to appeal to people under 40, in work, singles, newlyweds, families, divorcees/separated parents in the north east primarily although there was potential for people to relocate to the new homes too.
County Durham Housing Group’s new sub-brand had to be professional, distinctive, aspirational and different from existing providers.
First, we did our own research in to the target market to better inform our creative team. We conducted a survey with 100 people in the North East who were renting or living with family/friends and asked them what they thought about Rent to Buy schemes.
The most important factors when choosing a Rent to buy Scheme were:
We also asked what the perception of Rent to Buy schemes were and below are a selection of answers:
“Fair and easy”
“It helps those who currently cannot afford to buy outright due to their current financial circumstances. It is a good idea.”
“Not available to everyone.”
“The rent is deducted from the total price.”
“Sounds good but I haven’t seen many schemes like that.”
“I have no idea but I’m going to google it now.”
“More expensive and risky overall than getting a mortgage but a good way to get in the property market on lower income.”
‘m!ne’ is a combination of the past and the present – the history of County Durham meeting the futures County Durham Housing Group is providing for its inhabitants. The concept is professional, distinctive and aspirational. We focussed on the County Durham location and links as the target audience will identify with the affiliation and it provides a wealth of history and topics for content and brand alignment. It also positions the client as a champion for our local area.
The main colour scheme is bright, fun and appealing, and can be used across all collateral on and offline. Each Rent to Buy site has its own colour, allowing them to stand out and for the tenants/buyers to ‘own’ their site colour. It is also flexible enough to easily add in another colour when a new site is added to our offer. We have utilised flat illustrations to give the brand personality.
Our concept can also be used to create ownership and affiliation with the tenants’ new homes via phrases such as ‘This is m!ne’ and ‘This community is m!ne’. This fits in with the brand’s aspirational positioning.
We asked 100 people in the target market their opinion of the M!ne brand.
70% described the identity as approachable.
70% described the identity as modern.
50% described it as fun, vibrant and distinctive.
The website launch and marketing plan to drive traffic to the site has resulted in an unprecedented number of enquiries.