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Ascott’s new Lyf brand looks to bite into the Millennial pie

CapitaLand’s Ascott brand, a serviced residence business unit, has unveiled its newest brand Lyf (pronounced as life) which is targeted at Millennials. Millennial currently make up a quarter of its customer base and is set to grow exponentially, said Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s CEO in a press statement to Marketing.

The new brand defines Millennials as a “social generation” which craves discoveries and community, which Lyf aims to tap on by providing services and features in its new properties, in locations that have yet to be confirmed.

The marketing for these properties are largely done through social media and the company is working with Goodstuph to create a social strategy. The two will promote Lyf through online platforms including social media to drive awareness and engage the social generation. For its show suite at the Ascott Centre for Excellence, Ascott worked with a local agency, FARM, to develop the branding for Lyf. Its media agency is Havas Media.

In a statement to the press, Lee added that the brand is currently on the lookout for sites in “key gateway cities” for Lyf and are open to both investment and management contracts in areas such as Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom. This is to meet the growing demand for co-living spaces.

“As we scale up to achieve our global target of 80,000 units by 2020 through Lyf and our other brands, our guests can easily take their pick from our wide-ranging portfolio across the world,” Lee said.

According to the group, this follows reports from Forbes which indicates that individuals in their 20s and 30s are likely to account for more than half the workforce by 2020 – dominating the business traveller segment. Meanwhile Hotels Mag reports that Millennial travellers are also spending more than US$200 billion annually.

“With the rising trend of co-living and co-working, Ascott aims to have 10,000 units under the Lyf brand globally by 2020,” Lee said. The new brand launch follows a year of growth for Ascott with more than 10,000 units added globally.

How it conceptualised the new brand for Millennials

In the conceptualising the new brand, a spokesperson from CapitaLand explained that the brand put together a taskforce consisting of mainly Millennials to brainstorm for a new product catering to Millennials.

It then embarked on a brand study and conducted focus group discussions to test concepts such as social spaces, communal lounges and shared bathroom facilities. It also surveyed key corporate customers to find out if this is an accommodation concept they would choose, the spokesperson added.

“Lyf was hence developed with the insights garnered from this research process and is said to be an evolution of ‘lifestyle’, a key element and association with Ascott’s tagline ‘Because life is about living’,” she said.

The company also tested various co-living concepts during the focus group discussions. It found that Millennials would much rather have larger social spaces instead of facilities like swimming pools. Moreover, they want as much flexibility as possible, both within the apartment and social spaces.

“This is why the apartments at Lyf are designed to be able to cater to different personas from the budding artist to the sports enthusiast,” she added.

Some features of the new Lyf brand include a shared co-working space with public and private zones, communal kitchens and laundry areas which play on puns. Lyf properties may also incorporate features such as Foosball tables, interactive digital art pieces or even giant ball pits, hamster wheels and oversized Connect Four game sets. This is to encourage community interaction between residing guests and business visitors.

Rather than being managed by conventional service staff in service apartments, the brand’s properties will be managed by “Lyf Guards” – Millennials residents in the compound. They will take on the role of community managers, city and food guides, bar keepers and problem solvers.

 

As part of its launch initiative in Singapore, Lyf has also released its take on the recent #MannequinChallenge in a bid to stay true to its new youthful brand image.

 

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