Study reveals that continued use of hyperbole in advertisements by the region's developers will lead to those words losing their impact
The bandwagon mentality has gotten hold of local developers. It has even filtered down to the words they bandy about - 'luxury' gets to be used so much within the local real estate parlance that it is in grave danger of losing its original meaning.
"At best people become immune, at worst they become cynical," says Rina Plapler, Executive Director at Futurebrand, the specialist consultancy. "Because when they get the property, it doesn't live up to those things."
FutureBrand analyses the doublespeak from developers in its latest annual report on the state of the Gulf's real estate market. It describes the continued use of 'hyperbole' in the marketing tactics of the region's developers, as a 'missed opportunity'.
The report notes rather wryly: 'Although it's a considerable challenge, in a sea of overstatements, nothing is as memorable as a new message'.
"It makes it hard for a brand to stand out because everybody is using 'the ultimate dream' or the 'luxury getaway'," adds Plapler. "How do you really stand for something when everybody is saying the same thing?"
She admits that, unfortunately, developers in this region seem to prefer to bandy around the same tried and over-inflated phrases. "Our clients all want to say it. It's hard to get them off it as they think if they don't people won't think they're luxurious."
Moreover, how can anyone or anything live up to those kind of phrases? Take 'luxury' for instance. It's something one has come to expect being churned out in the marketing material of every developer in the region.
No apartment or villa seems to come complete without the 'luxury living' tag, and it doesn't appear to matter whether it's a studio apartment worth Dh500,000 in International City or a Dh5 million apartment in downtown Dubai.
They all promise a certain touch of the high life. "If everybody is saying it how can it all be true? I mean what really is luxury when it could vary from an inexpensive property to something that's Dh30 million - they're both saying the same things. It almost neutralises everybody."
Plapler remarks that rather than attracting potential investors to their projects by conjuring images of an amazing and enviable lifestyle, the constant overuse of such hyperbole only has the effect of making people cynical.
The fourth annual study, released by global brand consultancy firm Futurebrand, into the Gulf real estate market.
The FutureBrand report states that the Top 5 over-used, exaggerated words in the industry are: 'luxury', 'dream', 'paradise', 'live/living' and 'reinvented'.
'Luxury is going strong, with more entrants jumping on this bandwagon. 'Paradise", 'masterpiece', 'dream' and 'perfection' are other lofty claims developers make, suggesting that modesty is not a virtue when it comes to real estate. In their efforts to top one another, more and more projects are parroting the same tired phrases'.
It has been said before and still needs repeating - developers need to think more carefully before making wild promises to their customers.
"We always say that part of branding is what you promise, but the other part if it is how you perform," says Rina Plapler of FutureBrand. "And I think that while the region is easy on the promising part, the performing part is a little untrustworthy. I think that's a challenge."