5 Minutes With Communications Collective’s Genevieve Brannigan

Genevieve Brannigan is an entrepreneur and director of Communications Collective – a culturally aware, creative communications agency specialising in the built environment. Under her leadership, Communications Collective has honed its focus to property, design, not-for-profit and the arts.

The ‘go-to’ agency for property, Communications Collective is defined by innovative thinking, creative campaigns and a collaborative approach.

Genevieve is actively involved in Australia’s arts community as a board member for the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), and holds a strong passion for cultural and community initiatives.

What sparked your interest in the communications and the built environment?
The built environment shapes and influences a city, its communities and people. Communication, and the written word in particular, allows us to understand and contextualise our environment.

My passion for the built environment started early on. As a child, one of my father’s and my favourite pastimes was to take daily walks exploring London’s architecture. If I had not pursued a career in communications strategy, I would have become an architect.

I’m fortunate that I get to combine my passion for story telling with my love of property and architecture.

What inspires your work?
I am constantly aware of how the built environment shapes the way we live. As people who play an active and influential role in guiding the evolution of our cities, we have a big responsibility to do so consciously. I work alongside and partner with likeminded industry innovators including entrepreneurial developers, talented architects and business leaders, who are all striving to create positive change.

At Communications Collective we are committed to supporting individuals, businesses and communities that share our values. By supporting these people we are able to shape narratives and build awareness in a meaningful way.

What do you believe are the three most significant current trends in the property industry?
We have seen a significant shift from suburbanism to urbanism. Australians’ expectations have been recalibrated with greater value placed on access to commercial, cultural, leisure, and work opportunities. These opportunities are being facilitated by medium to high-density CBD developments.

Developers are starting to attribute value in creating buildings that prioritise quality design and give consider community. Design-led, high quality projects will help drive acceptance and demand for density by Australian consumers.

The technology-driven sharing economy has given rise to an economic and social revolution that is transforming the way we live, work and play. From hot-desking, to the number of car spaces in a building, to the approach to apartment interiors  – the sharing economy’s impact continues to grow.

These technological innovations are shifting household types and changing the way we interact. Disposable income is increasing as people choose lifestyle over assets.

You’ve lived in some of the world’s most densely populated cities, including Tokyo, New York and Hong Kong. What characteristics make up a well-designed city?
A connection to community is an essential ingredient to a well-designed city. Despite cities like New York and Tokyo being far denser than Sydney or Melbourne, the inclusion of vibrant open spaces, quality transport and well-designed street networks create a heightened sense of community that Australia can benefit from.

What are your interests outside the world of property?
Food, wine and travel are all passions of mine. Travel is the greatest luxury – nothing makes me more excited than exploring other cultures. A country’s architecture, food, customs and language all weave a story of its history and it is a privilege to be able to experience this.

Melbourne’s culinary and arts scene also inspires me. We are an incredibly diverse and layered culture. I am honoured to sit on the board at the Centre of Contemporary Photography, Australia’s premier gallery for the exhibition of contemporary photo-based arts.

In my free time, I visit exhibitions at the NGV, attending discussions at The Wheeler Centre, and frequent the countless amazing restaurants our city has to offer.

How does Communications Collective set itself apart from other companies?
Our team is made up of diverse backgrounds, ranging from journalism and public relations to law, psychology, and economics. This affords us an invaluable set of perspectives. Despite our diverse backgrounds we are united by our creativity and dedication. As story tellers, Communications Collective is a translator and a conduit. We strive to be industry experts, to uncover and drive insights and trends, and to genuinely understand our clients’ business objectives and deliver value to them.

The property industry is historically male-dominated. How can we improve the representation of women and diversity in this field?
It’s no secret that women are dramatically underrepresented in the property industry. We must support women to move into senior positions, particularly as mothers when career progression has been historically limited. A continued dialogue is essential to driving change.

I am lucky to have had a strong female role model in my mother, as well as many amazing female mentors throughout my career. Strong mentorship and conscious leadership are integral to balancing the gender scales within the industry. I am now the leader of a very talented, all-female team whose career progression I actively support.

Where do you think the property industry will be in five years from now?
Consumer awareness around the built environment is being significantly heightened in-line with the changing skylines of our major centres. Consumers are demanding more as a result.

From greater community engagement, to advanced rendering and the creation of 3D experiences – nothing is left to consumers’ imagination. Being able to visualise a finished off-the-plan product has never been more compelling and this will only continue to evolve.