DIFT - De Nieuwe Dokken

BRANDING • ADVERTISING

In the north of Ghent, in the rapidly changing neighborhood of the Oude Dokken, a large and sustainable residential project is emerging: De Nieuwe Dokken. From the early beginnings, DIFT was at the creative steering wheel of the project, in close collaboration with developers CAAAP and Van Roey Vastgoed. It became a success story with an equally successful formula of timeless branding, great brand activation and an effective marketing plan.

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De Nieuwe Dokken: an iconic branding

We created a strong logo, an accompanying corporate identity and the right communication tools. In the logo of De Nieuwe Dokken you can recognize the waves of the water, a clear reference to the location of the project. And the baseline "Wonen aan ‘t water, baden in ‘t licht' (which translates to 'Living by the water, bathing in light') is anything but a lie: residents literally live at the quay and, thanks to its location, have the advantage of copious sunlight from dusk till dawn.

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Today, this overarching brand identity stands as strong as when it was created four years ago. However, for each phase of the project - the site is divided into a middle field, northfield and southfield - we add elements or make adjustments to the house style to bring the identities of the fields to life. The high tower of the Faar by Beel, for example, has a fiery red colour, so we chose to weave that red color into the branding and communication for that building.

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Our full branding can be found back in an extensive digital brand guide. Say goodbye to the classic PDF: in this online manual you can easily jump from one chapter to another via the side menu and see the animations in full action thanks to the videos.

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When communicating about De Nieuwe Dokken, we also chose to occasionally use poems (or parts of them) by Belgian poet Paul Van Ostaijen. We emphasize his imaginative and urban poetry by making the letters go up and down on the cadence of the lyrics. The dancing and wavy letters obviously refer to the location of the project at the water.

Finally, we have also chosen to make the brand identity even stronger with an exclusive sound identity. For this, we asked the young composer and pianist Mirek Coutigny to create a score that became De Nieuwe Dokken's soundtrack. A melody that lingers on for hours and that we often reuse in video content developed for this project.

How De Nieuwe Dokken won the city’s and the people’s hearts

How do you put a project of such a scale on the map, before the first stone was even laid on the site? With a solid placemaking and activation campaign, of course.

A few years ago, the average Ghentian saw the Oude Dokken as an abandoned, far-off gray neighborhood. We changed that by making good use of the link between the city centre and the site: the Batavia bridge. This bridge - serving as both a real and a symbolic bridge - gives a great boost in community building. And so, we immediately had our setting for one of our first campaigns, called "The People Of": a portrait series of passers-by on the bridge, who humanize the neighbourhood through personal storytelling.

The buzz really started with our launch video. We deliberately opted for a long 7-minute video with a wide variety of content, which opens with the pianist Mirek Coutigny. He plays a grand piano on a floating raft while people cross the Batavia bridge in the early morning. A clear nod to Greenpeace, which previously shot a similar video with the Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi, to draw attention to global warming. With this reference, we show that sustainability plays a central role within De Nieuwe Dokken. The video, which is filled with interview fragments by architect Stéphane Beel, Ghentian politician Tom Balthazar and passers-by at the quay, immediately makes viewers fantasize about living at De Nieuwe Dokken. The premiere took place in the Kinepolis cinema in Ghent, which was both times fully booked. By now, the video has more than 8000 views online.

Today, you can feel and see the result of these campaigns, as there is an unmistakable revival taking place in the Oude Dokken. Those who like to take a walk at the Schipperskaai, can now follow the works of the project from the front row and see how the Faar by Beel, already an iconic tower on the Ghent skyline, looks out over the water.

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A strategic approach

We launched a whole series of offline and online campaigns that blew a breath of fresh air through the real estate world. This way, we continue to build on a story about sustainability and innovation, both in terms of mobility and technology.

For the future residents, we organised a buyers event on the quay as part of neighborhood activation. There, they had the opportunity to meet their future neighbors and look forward to their moving day. The guests also signed the charter of sustainability designed by De Nieuwe Dokken: a solemn promise to contribute to a cleaner future.

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We made a drone video that shows a panoramic view of the middle field and the surrounding water from an unprecedented perspective.

In a race video you can follow the exciting competition between three participants, each with their own means of transport to reach the city’s library as quickly as possible. The video shows how smoothly you can get from the Schipperskaai to the city centre. And spoiler alert, the cyclist wins.

In addition to offline and online content, we stayed on top of our online marketing game. Through targeted awareness campaigns on various channels, we made and still make the whole city and its surroundings excited about the project. Continuous adjustments and further delineation of target groups also ensures an uninterrupted influx of leads and conversions.

A new phase, a lot more ideas

With the start of the second phase - the north field with the striking Pergola and an edible garden - we needed an updated strategic plan. For this next step, we put inspiring storytellers in the spotlight even more than before and we focus on the green character of the site.

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The launch event took place on a roof garden, equipped with cozy greenhouses. Interested buyers could discover the rich materials of the Pergola and Bijoux inside these greeneries.

For the video series "Farm To Table", a couple of renowned chefs talk passionately about their love for cooking with home-grown vegetables. These vegetables will be growing in the edible garden, ready to be cooked into delicious dishes.

In videos about outdoor furnishings, we let Extremis speak about the necessary elements for a successful outdoor decoration and we dove into the studio of Atelier Vierkant.

We also turned to a local artist for handmade watercolors of various fruits and vegetables. These artisanal pictures bring out a warm and serene feeling. In De Nieuwe Dokken, there really is room for enjoyment of the simple, pure things in life.

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Because of its distinctive style, the Bijoux building needed its own look and feel. DIFT designed a logo and branding that embodies the exclusivity of this pearl at the water, though it is still clearly linked to the mother brand. With the need to connect to a specific audience, we also rolled out a new advertising plan that reaches the right people through smart and thorough targeting.

Come drink a CUP at CUP

Now that the middle field is opening its doors to the first residents, DIFT, in collaboration with sportsDC, has seized the opportunity to open the sportiest bar in Ghent in one of the commercial spaces: CUP.

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  • CUP is so much more than a coffee bar. It is a place where you can meet, enjoy a healthy lunch, get together with your sports club or have your bicycle repaired. We believe that this is the future of commercial spaces: a place where different passions come together.
  • With CUP, we provide an important boost in community-driven placemaking of the neighborhood, as we are a central hotspot for residents and surrounding offices.
  • We attach great importance to quality: in terms of interior (provided by DON), food and drinks, where we focus on a local and vegetarian offer, and in services such as sports sessions and workshops.
  • The neighborhood, which is abounding in space and water, is perfect for many sports activities that CUP anticipates on. We are an inviting meeting place and start and end point for all types of athletes. Whether you are walking, cycling or canoeing: you deserve a well-deserved stop at CUP to catch your breath while looking out over the water.
  • And for cyclists, CUP has something extra in store: a repair and maintenance place for bicycles, operated by Bikeking. And if you are looking for a new bike, you can get your money's worth thanks to the range of trendy brands such as BMC, Mustache and Benno.

De Nieuwe Dokken is growing every day, that much is clear. For the next steps and phases, DIFT is ready to bring out all its tools and creativity to shape the neighborhood of the future.

Team

  • Video director Jochen Decostere
  • Images Jens Vanysacker, Bert Degraeve, Bird and Frog
  • Illustration Sarah Van Belle, Leen Verhulst, Peam Burapa
  • Sound identity Mirek Coutigny
  • Raft Friends & Fools
  • Photography Wouter Van Vaerenbergh, Senne Van der Ven, Wouter Maeckelberg, Jennifer Kesteleyn
  • Sound Roundhouse
  • Events Clouds
  • Website Glue
Dift Profielen Yves

Want to know more?

Interested in this project? Get in touch with Yves. For the result you can surf to the website of De Nieuwe Dokken.

Want to work with us?

Get in touch with Yves.