Canary Wharf Group (CWG) launches build-to-rent (BTR) venture, Vertus, with an experience-led brand and marketing strategy by integrated branding agency me&dave.
According to PWC, by 2025 60% of Londoners will be tenants; and Savills reports that BTR has seen a 34% growth in the past year alone, with 140,000 homes completed or in the pipeline. Bringing ‘Residential Leasing’ to London, Vertus – which comprises three high-spec apartment blocks – introduces a new standard of build-to-rent, including self-service bars, communal lounges, terraces, screening rooms, guest suites, and an events programme, as well as access to the vibrancy and culture of Canary Wharf.
BTR is a relatively new sector that’s misunderstood by many, so me&dave were brought on board to dispel any myths and celebrate this new, innovative and refreshing approach to renting residential accommodation. It was essential, too, to attract people from beyond the boundaries of Canary Wharf.
Mark Davis, creative director, me&dave, says: “Research shows that we are moving towards an ‘access’ rather than ‘ownership’ society. So it stands to reason that renting in the BTR space should tap into this new subscription mentality. Our approach needed to reflect this totally new thinking.
“When it comes to branding a venture such as Vertus, of course we needed to celebrate the amazing apartments, the views, the location and communal social spaces. But we also had to get across that, as a country that’s approaching a rent-versus-mortgage tipping point, Vertus represents something big and exciting. A new way of living that embraces the positives of BTR and makes it attractive.
“So there needed to be a big shift in messaging – we’re not compensating for lack of ownership here, we’re celebrating a modern lifestyle choice. Leasing a Vertus apartment is something to be proud of, freeing you from the commitment of ownership and providing access to a flexible, experiential lifestyle.
The team at me&dave created the brand strapline ‘Lease It Like You Own It’ to represent the fact that BTR doesn’t play second fiddle to homeownership. More and more people want easy access, flexibility and freedom rather than permanent ties, and Vertus is helping to facilitate this shift.
A key part of me&dave’s strategy was to differentiate Vertus from private sale, so the lifestyle rewards of a high-end BTR development in Canary Wharf were emphasised. To achieve this, portrait photography captures confident, fulfilled individuals in their leased apartments. Brand messaging drives home that leasing and renewing at Vertus is quick and easy, and, once you’re in, you can access the community-focused Vertus lifestyle, as well as everything that Canary Wharf has to offer.
me&dave developed brand guidelines and a straightforward, empowering tone of voice to get across that this is an aspirational but accessible proposition, rather than exclusive, and to dispel confusion surrounding BTR. Coherent messaging exists across all touchpoints (digital, print, OOH, website, corporate brochure, pop-up experiences and stationery), and the language and imagery is decidedly ‘non-property’, with Vertus celebrated as a new type of landlord where leaseholders set the agenda.
Alastair Mullens, head of Vertus at Canary Wharf Group said, “Initially we approached me&dave to brand two of the three apartment blocks. But the creative team were keen to develop an all-encompassing Vertus brand, one that the separate buildings could be a part of while celebrating their uniqueness.
“me&dave has helped us communicate what an exciting proposition the Vertus lifestyle is to potential residents. Thanks to the team, Vertus really is at the heart of something new and exciting. There was no blueprint here – what me&dave has done is truly exciting and original.”