Standing Out in a Sea of Lab Space

Life science is a rapidly growing field that shows no signs of slowing down. As companies within this sector continue to grow, so does the need for high-quality labs and R&D space, a demand real estate developers are happy to meet.   

Over the years, we’ve worked with life science development teams from across the country, all of varying sizes and levels of experience developing and marketing life science real estate. Despite their differences, the first question every client asks is this, “how can I make my project stand out?” 

This question is certainly not unique to our life science clients. Differentiating their projects to capture the attention and interest of tenants is the goal of many property marketing teams. The need to differentiate, though, can be a much larger piece of the puzzle within life science real estate development due to the sheer volume and concentration of properties on the market. This is especially true in cities with prominent clusters, like Boston and San Francisco, where the market is saturated with developers all vying for the same life science tenants.

You Are Your Own Greatest Asset

If you read our last blog on Marketing Life Science Real Estate, then you know there are myriad ways development teams can choose to position their projects. But when it comes to differentiation, we’ve found that a life science developer’s greatest asset is often their own brand.  

This comes as a surprise to many of our clients, who are usually eager to play up features like building infrastructure, floor plate size, and neighborhood amenities. While these are critical parts of the story and certainly factors companies will consider when choosing a space, the chances are your competitors are talking about the same things. Are they important to your project? Yes. Are they unique enough to serve as your primary point of difference? Likely not. 

What is truly different and unique – something about your project no one else can own – is you. For development teams who are more accustomed to marketing campaigns grounded in numbers like square footages and ceiling heights, skepticism can arise when words like brand mission, vision, or story are tossed around. But to understand why a more conceptual approach like this can be so powerful when marketing life science real estate developments, one must first get inside the head of a life science company and understand what it is that makes them tick. 

Make Your Mission Clear

Of all the areas we’ve worked in across real estate, life science is undoubtedly one of the most mission-driven. Life science companies exist because they want to provide people with medicines and treatments to live better, healthier, more joyful lives. It’s a noble cause that is more often than not profoundly personal to the people who begin these companies.

This deeply ingrained passion and mission-driven mindset are evident when considering the number of start-ups in the life science realm. These companies are often in the most vulnerable stage of their business, where capital may be low and the risks are high. In cases like these, investing in real estate is a big decision that could make or break their business. 

With so much on the line, life science companies are usually more confident and willing to do business with a development team that understands and aligns with their mission and goals. This is why telling a strong, authentic brand story can be the thing that puts your property above the rest.

Bringing Your Vision to Life 

In working with development teams to craft this brand story, we host initial intake, or visioning sessions, as we like to call them, to uncover our client’s motivations for developing their property – beyond the obvious goal to turn a profit. We listen, question, and sometimes even challenge our clients to get to the heart of who they are, what they value, and what they hope to accomplish. 

Our deep experience in life science real estate marketing allows us to look at our clients’ business through a unique lens and an outside perspective to pinpoint the pieces of their story that will most resonate with a life science audience. Our strengths lie in:

  • Helping each development team find a unique point of view and value proposition for their property
  • Translating that story into a humanizing brand identity and message
  • Helping our clients target the tenants they want in their buildings

It’s amazing to see how each client’s personal story can lead to a clear, differentiated position. We’ve helped a client channel their unique focus on placemaking to create a brand story that transformed high-quality lab space and in-building amenities into a self-contained ecosystem for progress and discovery. And another’s expertise in developing experience-driven real estate helped them position an entire mixed-used neighborhood as the foundation for generating new ideas. 

At the end of the day, our goal is to create a brand our client is proud of for a project they are deeply invested in (professionally, financially, and emotionally). When the strategic foundation paves a path for a comprehensive marketing package that aligns with the personality, passion, and values of the development team – that’s when we’ve hit the sweet spot. 

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