The co-worker, the baker and the shop incubator…
These are some of the eclectic amenities mixed together at Central Parade, Walthamstow. A former council direct centre that has been transformed into a mixed use creative hub by Meanwhile Space CIC - and the location for our first Experience MATCHmakers.
Charlie Marsden, who is responsible for the Destination Marketing at Tandem and Charlotte Cheevers, recently qualified Chartered Surveyor in Business Space Property Management at Savills, met for a tour of the unusual site, and to discuss what it’s like to be young professionals championing CX in the property industry.
What’s your day to day?
CM:The purpose of my role is help create a destination. That’s a place people recognise, where they want to be and that has a distinct identity. I run awareness campaigns, organise and promote events and send newsletters to our customers to keep then up to date and encourage a sense of community.
How do you think that help’s the customer experience?
CM:It starts with identifying the customer and the customer’s customer. I profile the area to inform the strategy, which is approved by the client. One of my projects is Lamb’s Conduit Street which is really diverse and has lots of different retailers. We recently organised the Lamb’s Conduit Street Summer Festival. Lots of the retailers got involved and took part in different ways. This builds relationships, promotes the area and increases footfall.
CC:We also recently ran a BBQ event for employees at one of our industrial sites. Feedback was really positive. This kind of thing would have been unheard of 5 years ago and shows how much property management is diversifying.
How did you learn the skills for this role?
CM:I gained experience in PR and marketing from previous roles in fashion, luxury brands and working for high street retailers, including Conran and Topshop. In 2016 I moved into property, joiningGVA. I managedthe marketing across a high street shopping centre, a mixed-use development in Coventry and four retail parks. Learning the property side of things happened on the job.
Why the switch in industry?
CM:To be honest it was kind of by accident. I didn’t know this avenue in property existed until I applied for the job at GVA. Even when I applied I didn’t know the extent of the possibilities. I think a lot of people don’t realise that the property industry, especially retail, can be really creative. It’s not just men doing deals!
What got you interested in a career in property?
CC:I studied business studies and law for my undergraduate degree. During my placement year, I worked for a law firm in Edinburgh – which was interesting, but not for me! When I graduated, I started, similar to Charlie, in PR and marketing at companies which specialised in commercial property and shopping centres. We focused a lot on placemaking. I worked with asset managers and other parts of the wider estate teams which got me interested and pushed me to look at opportunities on the property side.
And how did you find the switch?
CC:Well, I’ve just qualified as a chartered surveyor, which was hard work but I think because everyone goes through it, everyone is really supportive. My previous work experience also really compliments the role.
Do you receive any specific customer experience training?
CC:Not specifically. However, new initiatives mean we are more exposed to it, and I think there will be more specific training on this in the future. I’ve definitely seen a change in the last few years. Savills RISE scheme has various initiatives to benchmark against so that we can raise the standards of customer experience. This also motivates the team to be more CX aware.
How do you find working with more traditional surveyors?
CM:Generally positive, it helps to have team meetings to communicate properly and ensure everyone is on side. I think the surveyors I work with understand the impact of the work that I do, and it’s not just sending out posters.
Where do you both see yourself in 5 years?
CM: I think still doing what I’m doing, who knows where my current job will lead but I enjoy working in property. Tandem are really open to ideas and it’s a supportive industry.
CC: I definitely still see myself in property, progressing further. I love my job. It’s fast paced, and you never know what’s going to land on your desk. It’s a great team and we face new challenges every day. I enjoy the interaction with clients and customers, and managing this relationship is key. It makes me feel positive about the future of the industry.
Finally, anything to take away from Central Parade?
CC: It is a bit ‘cooler’ than the places I tend to manage! But the principles are the same. It’s interesting that the café has taken over running events instead of management and that business rates and services are included in one overall payment. I also like the Incubator spaces that give young businesses a chance to grow and then transition to the larger retail units.
CM: It’s great to get ideas from outside influencers, as an industry I think we need to do that more, and be more open, so people can see what we do!
Charlie Marsden, Destination Marketing, Tandem
Charlotte Cheevers, Surveyor, Savills
Experience MATCHmakers is bespoke networking in a unique setting. If there’s someone you’d like to meet or somewhere you’d like to visit, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to make it happen through the Experience Makers network.