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Hello. We are UGLi… You Could be Too!

February 20th, 2020

Marketing and PR budgets in real estate can go through the roof and often don’t necessarily achieve the exposure intended, or at best achieve a brief flash of interest. So with no budget, how did we take 60,000 sq ft of derelict property in West London and fill it before completion to over 60 companies with monthly contracts and keep it 100% occupied for 10 years?

The year was 2009, it was the depths of the financial and property crash and TCN was three years old. What we lacked in funding, we made up with creative ideas, energy and passion. We took the idea to the BBC that their old buildings at White City could be used to house start-up companies and be the beginning of something special – bringing the magic and energy of Soho to White City, which at the time was a desolate part of town. In our language “get the party started”.

Whilst the financial crash was terrible, it kickstarted the trend for community, honesty and business purpose beyond just making money. It really was the moment that everyone realised that capitalism in its old form was no longer acceptable. This became the philosophy for our new campus in partnership with the BBC and our creative partner JPCreative. She may be ugly on the outside, but on the inside affordable rents, irreverent, upcycled interiors and a principle of bold honesty fostered a community of like-minded businesses. It’s a platform for over 60 businesses who 10 years on continue to enjoy the benefits of this vision.

Our naming and strapline were the first key elements which set the tone for the decade long campaign. Be courageous with your branding, use surprise, irreverence and intrigue. In our case, calling a building UGLi flew in the face of all real estate logic – playing down rather than bigging it up? Unheard of! But what it did do was pique people’s interest and catch the eye of the press. After that, the absolute must is to be genuine and honest with your product. Do as you say and never stray from that path. People are bored of being tricked and conned by marketing campaigns.

UGLi Campus was born in 2009 with the website Simple, powerful and with an enduring philosophy. I just wish we had recorded the moment Chris Kane of the BBC saw the proposal to call his precious building the UGLi Campus!