Graham Associates – International Property


Graham Associates joined You Agency in 2009 to specialise in international real estate and luxury brands. Founded by Chris Graham, former Group Marketing Director at real estate agent Hamptons International and Director of Marketing Consulting at Baker Tilly, the company has won many industry awards including the prestigious Gold Award for Best Marketing at the OPP Awards for Excellence; 5 x Best Development Marketing awards, Best UK Property Website and Best Estate Agency Marketing at the International Property Awards, as well as twice being a finalist at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Excellence Awards (Digital Media and Hotels & Leisure categories).

A regular industry commentator, speaker and judge on award panels, Chris is the author of a highly acclaimed industry report Branded Residences: An Overview.
Our dedicated property team also has extensive experience of working with leading UK property clients such as Berkeley Homes, Durkin Homes, Octagon, Galliard, Banner Homes, Frogmore, Hadley Mace, Crest Nicholson, as well as 80% of the UK’s Assisted Housing developers (A2 Dominion, Notting Hill and L&Q etc). We are also a marketing partner to leading real estate teams including Savills, Hamptons International, Cluttons, AECOM, Colliers International, Sphere Estates and Knight Frank.

Case study: Villas Valriche, Mauritius
Graham Associates won the OPP Gold Award for Marketing Excellence, two Best Development Marketing awards (International Property Awards) and twice been a finalist in the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Excellence Awards. Additionally, the award entries that we wrote and prepared for the client won Best Development, Best Golf Development in Africa and Best Safe Home in Africa at the International Property Awards.
288 private luxury villas built around a championship golf course overlooking the Indian Ocean, in an undeveloped region of Mauritius.

After persuading the developer to rename the resort, Graham Associates developed a strong and distinctive, brand and positioning, which delivered substantial standout. Graham Associates then prepared a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy designed to maximise the impact of the client’s budgets in identified key target markets, incorporating online and print campaigns, coordinating 4 PR teams (South Africa, France, Mauritius and London) and working with closely the international sales agents.

The launch phase of the promotional campaign alone generated around 3,600 qualified enquiries – a staggering number for an international residential development – and subsequent campaigns have collectively resulted in building up a customer database of over 20,000 prospects, which has proven to be a highly valuable source of conversions, even several years after the initial enquiry was received. Total GDV $350 million; sales generated to date exceed $270 million.

The client said: “We would never contemplate commencing a residential development without involving Chris and his team at the outset, to advise us on sales and marketing strategy and developing state-of-the-art marketing collateral. They have become an integral part of our development team. In short, we have found them to be consummate professionals at all times and they add huge value.”

The Rest, South Africa
We won Best Development Marketing, Africa at the 2017 International Property Awards (the entry we wrote and prepared for our client also won Best Development, Africa) 1,200 residential stands in a low density, private and secure residential estate spanning 320 hectares.

The development was first launched as The Rest Eco & Nature Estate and within Phase 1 sales were encouraging. However, due to the rapid economic downturn in South Africa, these quickly slowed to a standstill and, with a lack of available finance, cancellations rocketed; the resulting fall in revenues meant that promised facilities could not be delivered by the developer, who in subsequently went into administration.

Following a protracted period of uncertainty, in 2013 The Rest became 100% owned by Sanlam Ltd (one of South Africa’s largest listed insurance and financial services groups with annual revenues exceeding 42 billion rand). They were determined to get the development back on track. Following extensive consultation with the residents and owners, Sanlam appointed a team of leading international consultants (including Graham Associates) to review, consult, advise upon and oversee the future development of the estate.

Following our site visit, research, brand and positioning review, from our findings and conclusions we were able to identify, prioritise and ultimately propose solutions on various key issues; this allowed us to develop a strong brand to underpin the ‘new story’ and USPs we would create to relaunch the Estate with credibility into a marketplace filled with cynicism about the development.

Having developed a justifiable reputation as the worst residential estate in the Lowveld (Transvaal) region, following a major rebranding, facilities upgrades and highly successful promotional campaign involving a mix of advertising, events, posters, sponsorships and PR, today The Rest is universally regarded as the #1 residential estate in the region. The marketing campaign – the results of which have exceeded Sanlam’s most optimistic projections – has successfully communicated key defined lifestyle and investment messages about The Rest across the region, thereby completely transforming the negative perceptions of the estate among buyers into the preferred choice in the region and achieving unparalleled sales levels over the past 2.5 years:

Phase 1 – 100% sold out (400 units).
Phase 2a – 85% of all released units sold.

Whilst other residential estates in the region have been struggling to find buyers, within only 10 weeks 70% of all stands released had been sold – the highest number of plot sales achieved within such a short timeframe across the entire Lowveld region and bucking the negative economic trend at an unprecedented level.
The client said: “The results have been outstanding, all started by Graham Associates’ marketing strategy and excellent marketing materials.”