Adam Taylor is the founder and CEO of Splendor Design Group in Red Bank, a branding and marketing agency that is serving an increasing number of commercial real estate clients. — Courtesy: Splendor Design Group
By David Gill
Understandably so, Adam Taylor believes that brand is everything.
That even applies to commercial real estate firms.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room,” said Taylor, the founder and CEO of Splendor Design Group in Red Bank. “So imagine a real estate asset that connected with potential tenants in a meaningful way. Imagine a property, a space or a community that had a distinct voice — that cuts through not only the noise in every broker’s inbox, but targets tenants as well.
“Imagine a property that looked and sounded so cool that people come in off the street to have a look. That’s what’s happening as a result of our work.”
Splendor Design Group will celebrate its 20th anniversary in business in August — and it has grown in recent years thanks in large part to the commercial real estate sector. Five years ago, Taylor said, real estate companies accounted for 20 percent of its total clientele. Today, 60 percent of its customer roster comes from commercial real estate — with clients including SJP Properties, Onyx Equities, Langan and J&L Cos. Those clients have turned to Splendor Design for a major injection of energy into their branding and marketing efforts.
Among its services, the firm develops websites, brochures, mobile apps, videos, renderings, augmented reality presentations and customer relations management strategies, or CRM.
“Splendor is a fully custom shop — no templates, no clip art,” Taylor said. “Everything we design is fully personalized, based on extensive research on the firm, the property or the community. Websites are designed from scratch and integrated with the unique brand position we develop.”
When the company opened its doors in August 1999, it began as a traditional graphic design services provider, producing logos, websites and print collateral such as stationery, brochures and direct mail pieces. Over time, Splendor Design added other services such as marketing, advertising and brand strategy.
Seven years ago, Taylor saw an opportunity to begin a major push into the commercial real estate industry.
Working with Splendor Design has paid off for the likes of Onyx Equities, a Woodbridge-based developer and owner. Using tactics of major consumer marketing campaigns — such as photo-heavy webpages and video production — the firm helped Onyx realize a 20 percent increase in web traffic, while boosting broker tours, tenant leads and new relationships with investors and partners.
Another client is SJP Properties, a developer with offices in New York City and Parsippany, whose work includes projects such as Prudential Financial’s 740,000-square-foot office tower in downtown Newark. Taylor’s team has also created brochures, websites and marketing programs for SJP projects such as a development in Morristown, 200 Wood Ave. in Metropark and 95 Greene St. in Jersey City.
“They’ve performed extraordinarily well,” said Peter Bronsnick, an executive vice president with SJP. “Adam’s been incredible. They have the ability to turn things around quickly, their work is really clean, it’s always on time and it’s great to brainstorm with them.”
Splendor Design’s recent projects include helping launch SJP Project Solutions, a third-party development and construction management business that debuted last summer.
“It acts as a project developer for some of our competitors and our corporate clients,” Bronsnick said. “It offers a range of different solutions depending on what our customers need, such as drawing reviews, master planning, site development, interior development. It acts as a single point of contact for clients that want to cherry-pick other service providers.”
As challenging as the real estate economy has become, especially in New Jersey, Taylor foresees opportunities to continue Splendor Design’s growth in the market.
“For many reasons, existing assets will face challenges to stay viable as is,” he said. “But there are also opportunities to transform, repurpose and reposition assets for tomorrow’s economy and needs. I think logistics and fulfillment facilities can make good use of existing structures. And shopping malls that add residential and lifestyle amenities are creating a new category of asset.
“In New Jersey specifically, emerging markets like cannabis and renewables (both energy and manufacturing) will begin to impact how properties are utilized.”
Taylor also believes that Splendor Design can provide an impetus for the commercial real estate industry to modernize its approach to marketing and branding.
“For far too long, real estate companies have done things the old fashioned way,” he said. “They have been slow to adopt and embrace technology, but that is beginning to change. And I think it is going to really ramp up in the next few years. From operations portals to property- and spacemanaging CRMs, there are plenty of emerging tools that increase efficiency and productivity, as well as accountability.
“Learning to harness the power of the data you can collect is an important differentiator between those who will prosper and those who will fall behind.”
Looking beyond the company’s upcoming birthday this summer, Taylor said Splendor Design will approach its future with a relentless focus on the New Jersey real estate market.
“We pay attention. We read, we listen and we discuss New Jersey real estate every day,” he said. “We regularly attend industry events, we connect with professionals in diverse disciplines, we moderate panels, we sponsor events.
“Again, I don’t know how someone could provide the best solution if they don’t know what is happening — not only with a client or project, but in the entire ecosystem. I believe that having something meaningful to contribute to the conversation shows clients we are invested in their success before we even engage.”