Looking for a comprehensive guide for all things master-planned community marketing? You’re in the right place.
Master-planned communities cannot be approached from one single lens. It takes communication between land developers, home builders, marketing team, and future residents to build something truly incredible and tell the story behind it.
Oftentimes, it’s the story behind the community — and the way it is communicated — that truly contributes to its success. However, understanding how to get people interested in your community is far more difficult than a few email blasts and billboards. It begins with the community itself — its personality, amenities, and defining features — before using immersive storytelling and creative design to speak to potential home buyers.
This comprehensive guide will discuss all things master-planned community marketing so you can understand how to take your own community from land to brand. Let’s get to it!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Role Do Research Firms Play in New Home Community Marketing?
- How Land Planners & Developers Collaborate on Master-Planned Communities
- Bring Your Master-Planned Community To Life With Creative Placemaking
- Naming Your Master-Planned Community
- How to Market Your Master-Planned Development Before Construction Is Complete
- Master-Planned Community Brand Differentiation
- What Do Award-Winning Master-Planned Communities Have in Common?
Proper research is necessary for any type of project, and master-planned communities are certainly no different. Beginning with the initial ideation process, real estate research firms play a monumental role in new home community marketing.
These firms are involved early and often in the initial stages of your master-planned community as they conduct market research, discover risk-minimizing opportunities, and establish the initial value of your community.
- Market Research — Real estate research firms, like Meyers Research and RDLCo, conduct a competitive analysis of other developers that provide insight into their operations. This gives you a competitive advantage as you can build on their weaknesses or pull from their strengths.
- Product Mix Recommendation — With this analysis in place, research firms can provide product mix recommendations that ensure you are getting the absolute most out of your land.
- Price Point Analysis — Because they understand the market as well as anyone, research firms are able to provide accurate pricing recommendations that make your community perfectly competitive in the market.
- Complete ROI Guidelines — Research firms provide straightforward guidelines to follow that help you achieve your desired ROI. For example, “If you sell X# of Y products at a price point of Z, you will achieve ROI."
- Ongoing Information — Research firms provide the most accurate data that developers can take advantage of, and their consistent involvement in the industry makes it easy to provide ongoing analysis.
As we mentioned above, master-planned communities are entirely collaborative. Without one piece of the puzzle, the community will flop. In the early stages of design and construction, land planners and land developers are among the two most important participants.
Planners and developers can successfully map out a strategy to maximize the land available to them while considering time, costs, and future community engagement. At its best, this relationship allows communities to charge competitive prices, attract qualified buyers, and sell homes faster.
Here are four ways land planners and developers often collaborate on master-planned communities:
- Placemaking — Thoughtful placemaking is what truly sets a community apart from other competitors. Great land planners see hidden value in the land available to them that other eyes might miss, and land developers appreciate the value this brings to the community because it is done so with the intention of building truly incredible places to live, not just to make a fast sale.
- Lots, Sizing, and Pricing — The overall number of lots, their size, and their competitive price point dictate much of the construction of the community as a whole. Land planners have a keen understanding of design and space, allowing them to determine the lot number and size. From there, developers understand what they need to price each lot at to maximize profits.
- City Requirements — It’s crucial to understand zoning and land-use laws that affect a community’s construction. Land planners can educate developers on certain regulations, including types of buildings allowed, proximity to and location of power lines, size and height of buildings, and more.
- Amenities — Amenities are often among the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of master-planned communities. Rightfully so, as these features have the ability to draw in various types of buyers. Planners and developers understand how to incorporate these amenities into the land and price point for maximum success.
As one of the main points of collaboration between planners and developers, placemaking deserves its entirely own section in this guide to master-planned community marketing. Why? Because without intentional placemaking, communities will never be more than just another conglomeration of houses.
Placemaking turns those structures into more than a place to live, but an entire community to call home. The art of successful placemaking allows land planners to strategically incorporate public spaces, recreational opportunities, and community engagement into the overall design of a community.
From the architecture incorporated throughout the community to the inclusion of arts and culture, every aspect of placemaking should make the residents’ lives better, more engaging, and more fulfilling. An intentional focus on placemaking must drive the overall design of the community in order to extract its full potential.
The magnitude of a community name is so often overlooked by community developers. The truth is that far too many communities focus on the same cliches and overused names we’ve seen for years — how many times have you heard a community name that didn't resonate with you or create any emotion?
Naming your master-planned community should be one of the most intentional acts throughout the entire process, and certainly the most important branding act you can complete. People are drawn to design and creativity by nature, meaning your community name and logo must be both creative and beautiful to avoid them overlooking your community out of their minds.
When given the time and attention it deserves, your community name is free advertising every time it is mentioned in conversation or seen online. When constructed hastily, though, it’s immediately offputting. Here are the three most important things to remember when creating a name:
- Make it Emotional — People want to be drawn to a community, and when the name is the first thing they interact with, it should evoke feelings of comfort, home, inclusivity, and peace.
- Set Consumer Expectations — When communities can creatively communicate identifying aspects of their community through a name, they have a better chance of attracting potential buyers.
- Stay Consistent — Once you’ve settled on a unique name that you love, now it’s time to communicate it — often. You want people to remember your community at first glance, so give them every opportunity to do just that.
The land is under construction, the brand is being established and communicated, and buyers are gaining interest — but your master-planned community is still months (or years) away from completion. This might be the most crucial time for master-planned community marketing.
Despite the fact that your community likely looks like a dirt crater at this point, your marketing efforts cannot go to waste. Pre-construction marketing is crucial in building intrigue throughout the community and inviting people to learn more about how phenomenal your community is. One of the smartest things that communities can do at this stage is develop their holistic brand presence, including:
- Brand logo
- Brand colors
- Shared company language
- Implicit and implied brand promises
- Image standards
Brands and communities should be synonymous with one another — the brand is what potential buyers will latch onto from an emotional level, and the community fulfills those brand promises. This ultimately allows community members to attach pieces of their identity to the community itself.
When building your brand, consider these three strategies:
- Establish a Clear Vision — A brand cannot be created without the end goal clearly in sight.
- Bolster Online Presence and Activity — Social media, web design, email marketing, and paid ads are crucial at this stage to begin communicating your brand to potential buyers.
- Utilize Virtual Renderings — 3D renderings and virtual reality are great methods to show your consumers what they can purchase before anything is even constructed.
Can you tell how valuable we think your overall branding is? No matter how expertly crafted and beautiful a master-planned community is, it will fail to live up to its potential without an equally impressive brand. As you work through brand differentiation during the early and middle stages of your marketing efforts, here are three Milesbrand-specific steps we facilitate and utilize during our branding process:
- Brand Charrette — To develop a brand, you have to understand its intricacies — what really makes it different from the countless other options available to consumers? This can be accomplished through a Brand Charrette that analyzes the intended audience, the comprehensive team involved in the project, and the ultimate end goals.
- Brand Positioning — With a better understanding of brand objectives in place, it’s now time to start putting the pieces together. There are four core elements of a master-planned community brand to consider — name, brand promise(s), personality, brand positioning statement. This is the time to determine what your brand and community will be remembered for.
- Brand Plan — Now it’s time to actually launch all the work you’ve compiled. The brand launch must include a comprehensive go-to-market plan — sometimes encompassing a three-year span. This strategy creates buzz for prospective buyers, drives demand, and generates a long line of customers before the first home has even been constructed.
When all of these steps are executed thoughtfully and creatively, the end results are magnificent. Remember, master-planned communities have to be viewed as some of the most important places the residents will ever live. As such, your marketing efforts need to reflect that.
To illustrate exactly what we envision in excellent master-planned community marketing, let’s take a look at some defining characteristics that every award-winning community has in common:
- Creative Marketing of Amenities — Amenities are so frequently tied to a community, so it makes sense that the marketing efforts surrounding the community as a whole should highlight those defining attractions. Creative marketing of amenities goes beyond simply listing different features — it should be worked into the overall brand strategy and delivery.
- Impactful Storytelling — Few things encapsulate a potential homebuyer quite like a well-told, emotional story. When you are able to communicate some of the more emotional desires of your buyer into the overall marketing campaign, they are far more likely to feel attracted to the community.
- Original Photography and Design — While stories can pull a buyer in, they need to envision themselves living in the community. That’s where original photography and creative design can set your marketing apart. As opposed to stock images or rushed design elements, this is an opportunity to separate your community from the pack.
- Omnichannel Marketing — Buyers can interact with your brand and community in a plethora of locations — traditional media, social media, email marketing, online. Because of that, it is on you to ensure you are able to create touchpoints at all of those locations through omnichannel marketing efforts that deliver a consistent, clear message.
Here at Milesbrand, we stand by this approach to master-planned community marketing for a simple reason — it works. Our experience in real estate marketing spans multiple decades, and we have seen countless successful communities emerge from these campaigns.
Though effective, the process is also incredibly complex and laborsome. It takes patience, expertise, and alignment to bring a master-planned community to life. Thankfully, that’s what our team of marketers enjoys most. If you need more information on our master-planned community marketing capabilities, reach out to us today. We can’t wait to get started!