Matt Cullen

August 14, 2014


As Head of Design at Metropolis Inc., Matt Cullen drives the creative vision and campaign execution behind some of the most innovative, memorable and results-orientated property marketing projects produced for the country’s leading developers.

Together with his creative team, Matt is renowned in the project marketing field for his smart combination of creativity and commercial acumen, and brings over 10 years of design industry experience to clients including Frasers Property, FKP, Mirvac, DEXUS, BT Financial Group, Westpac, Macquarie Bank, and ING.

Here, Matt talks about how to differentiate your property in a crowded marketplace and reveals his creative process…

How do you make a project stand out in the market?
Finding the point of difference in the product or an insight into the mindset of the audience is the basis for making a project stand out in market, but being different for the sake of being different doesn’t necessarily deliver results. That is, a creative idea must be founded in strategy.

How difficult is it to break away from traditional thinking to craft a unique and memorable execution?
The reality of off-the-plan selling is that CGI images sell apartments and lifestyle imagery helps us to explain the amenity and lifestyle associated with a particular area. However, conceptual campaigns have a role to play. A campaign must be shaped around the path to purchase to ensure that the buyer is provided a unique and consistent experience from enquiry through to settlement.

How do you make clear the unique value proposition?
The USP or ‘Core Proposition’ as we call it is agreed upon through our Brand Positioning Process. Starting with a thorough interrogation of the site, its location, the market and the competition, we then set about engaging the project stakeholders in positioning the brand and planning the campaign through a series of workshops. The end result is a suite of materials that define the project brand and messaging across all campaign touch points.

How do you make sure a brand really stands out?
Quality and consistency are the number-one factors. Buyers don’t buy a property from just one ad. It’s often a series of touch points that will prompt them to enquire. Then once they do, there’s a whole other series of touch points – from website, brochures, and the brand experience created by the sales suite that give a buyer confidence to buy off the plan. The investment in top quality photography, design and production specification is really what makes a brand memorable.

Who is on your creative team at Metropolis?
In the Metropolis studio we have four designers including myself, and a producer. We then work with a number of experienced copywriters, illustrators, CGI artists and re-touchers depending on the particular brief.

The end result is a suite of materials that define the project brand and messaging across all campaign touch points.

What is your process for coming up with an idea?
Our initial response is a creative rationale with one or two different campaign ideas that are presented to the client for feedback. Based on a chosen idea, we then build a frame of reference for the brand. Then we begin the design process, which is about exploring different directions for the brand logo, colours, type, imagery and tone of voice. At this point, we engage the client for feedback again and refine the preferred direction to a final presentation with a roll out to an agreed number of touch points. After the client signs off, we engage our strategy, digital and media teams to establish the communications plan for the campaign.

How do you justify a creative concept from a commercial perspective?
New clients tend to be attracted to Metropolis because we have a more creative style and an eye for quality – they come to us looking for ideas. We find our clients respond well to simple, concise rhetoric based on in-depth research of the product, location, design and target markets.

What are some of your most inspired projects?
When a client trusts our experience and ability to create something unique, that’s when we do our best work. Projects like The Mark at Central Park or VIDA for Pointcorp are the campaigns that have broken new ground for us. These campaigns have challenged traditions and delivered outstanding results for the project and the client.

What is the biggest creative opportunity you see in the project marketing industry?
The big opportunity lies in digital creativity and content. Very few property developers understand the digital space well and therefore they tend to have a preference for a print or ‘display-centric’ approach to marketing projects. At Metropolis we can execute an idea across multiple mediums effectively and efficiently. We work across print, digital, and motion and video outputs to take advantage of opportunities presented by digital media.

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