3 Steps to Master-Planned Community Brand Differentiation

July 10, 2023

3 Steps to Master-Planned Community Brand Differentiation

Master-planned communities are a blank canvas, allowing your team to take a deliberate approach to leverage the unique brand DNA of the community to differentiate it in your market from the beginning. A unique brand position contributes to placemaking and helps drive interest and traffic to your community. At Milesbrand, we partner with clients From Land to Brand to elevate the community's vision and create a memorable, strategic brand to provide a competitive advantage.

Home buyers have access to a wealth of community information and home options, so your approach must go deeper. People are inundated today with ads, so cutting through the clutter with beautiful imagery, compelling copy, and a unique brand position is critical. It’s about how people feel when they see your brand - can they imagine themselves thriving there and putting down roots?  Lead with a multi-faceted branding strategy that speaks to the emotional process of buying a home. With this in mind, focusing on lifestyle and differentiating from the competition is critical. 

If your team is starting a journey with a new master-planned community, it is vital to approach this type of real estate development strategically. This guide will walk you through Milesbrand’s three-step proprietary approach to master-planned community brand differentiation and how to build a successful roadmap for marketing any master-planned community.

Why Does Brand Differentiation Matter for Master-Planned Communities?

Master-planned communities are more than just a subdivision. They're a precisely planned, self-contained community of neighborhoods. They have urban or suburban housing and amenities like neighborhood parks, trails, gardens, fitness centers, swimming pools and recreation centers. Some master-planned communities may even include schools, medical centers and restaurants that serve the community or commercial properties such as shopping centers and professional offices.  

Brand differentiation matters to every stakeholder involved in planning, developing, marketing and living in a master-planned community:

  • Investors want to know that their community is desirable and profitable; this is a long-term concern for many investors.
  • Builders and real estate developers want their style of community and home designs to be well-received by homebuyers and Realtors, plus they need it to be profitable. While they may specialize in a specific building style and layout, they want their homes and communities to be associated with quality and success so they can continue to have opportunities for future new home developments. 
  • Prospective homebuyers and residents demand brand differentiation, too. They want homes that suit their lifestyle, their image and the life they're working on building.

The sheer scale of a master-planned community means successful brand differentiation is a must-have for success. 

Achieve brand differentiation by tapping into these two core factors:

  1. Emotion: Homebuyers use logic and specifications to filter new home communities out of their home search. But they use emotion to decide which home design and community they will ultimately call home. The community they select is where they will create memories for years to come. The master-planned community must resonate with positive emotions and make your homebuyer feel comforted by the thought of selecting it as their home.
  2. Connection: Your branding strategy must help home buyers connect to the property. They should be able to see themselves thriving in the community based on unique attributes that enable the community to stand out among the competition.


3 Steps to Brand Differentiation

Brand differentiation is a process. At the same time, any strategy you develop needs to flex and adapt to unexpected changes in the housing market, other developments in the area, and even national or international current events. That's why we approach brand differentiation with a three-step proprietary strategy that gives your team the structure to produce repeatable results while allowing the flexibility to adapt and change over long-term branding strategies.

1. Brand Charrette

This first step is all about listening and learning about your Brand DNA. Our team will learn all about the planned development to build a solid community profile and the target market. We will focus on many key areas, including organizational vision and values, product, home buyer profiles, and competition. This involves:

  • The developer: We explore the developer's values, past projects, the goal and reputation of their business and other human elements.
  • The land planner: We take the time to learn about the land planner and their specific placemaking visions for the community to enhance the lives of the homeowners.
  • The home builder: Building rich profiles based on architectural details helps your community achieve an appealing and accurate brand down to the last detail. Homeowners often fall in love with the small details of a home design. Building a marketing strategy around them refines the home buying process so the development is quickly filled with homeowners who love the community's architectural designs and finishes.
  • The homebuyer: This boils down to our ability to identify and resonate with the target home buyer. By working with research firms and creating diligent buyer personas, we can understand your home buyer’s most significant problems and present your community as the solution.

We believe that it's important to start every brand differentiation strategy from the very beginning. With a solid understanding of the target audience and whom you're working with, your team can better streamline the process without time-intensive reverse engineering.

2. Brand Positioning

This is where customer- and resident-facing elements are built that give your community its unique theme. Based on the research and development from the Brand Charrette, we can formulate a series of options that are excellent representations of the community. The four core elements of a master-planned community brand are:

  1. Naming: The name of your community should be meaningful, timeless, appealing to your target market, and distinct from other communities in the area. It should tell a story and communicate the essence of the community.  
  2. Brand promises: Every community has a tagline that fleshes out the name and purpose of the community. Choosing the right brand promises isn't just about selecting the correct wording; it's about choosing the right community characteristics to emphasize.
  3. Personality: Just like the community's brand promises, the personality of the branding strategy must resonate with the target audiences.
  4. Positioning statement: A positioning statement is the behind-the-scenes work that clarifies your target market and approach. We'll help you find and focus on your value proposition in a way that drives the best results for you, the community, and the homeowners. Investing time and effort in this gives communities the emotional and creative advantage they need to stand out and be appealing.

What qualities should your community be known for? What will make it memorable? At Milesbrand, we think of this process as building a character or matching the community to a well-known figure. In pursuit of that perfect fit, we develop multiple design and brand promise options to allow your team to react and select which resonates best. This is a highly collaborative process between our team and your team to choose the ideal brand for your master-planned community.

3. Brand Plan

In this stage, we launch the new brand for the master-planned community. The launch is one of the most critical factors for a community's success, so we take our time to adjust and refine the strategy until it's the perfect fit.

Our go-to-market plans can span up to three years, so we ensure every note and detail is built to satisfy your target market's search for the right community. The go-to-market plan outlines budgets, tactics, and timelines to take the community and brand to market.  

The launch is more than just an opening day for the community. When presale strategies are implemented correctly, it creates a buzz among prospective homebuyers and realtors who love the community, drive demand, and generate even more excitement about the community long before any models, homes or amenities are completed. We make it an exciting, can't-miss campaign because there's no community out there that's the same. And with our 3-step proprietary process, your community brand is sure to stand out.

Choose Milesbrand to Make Your Master-Planned Community Memorable

Proactively developing your brand strategy for a master-planned community is the best way to succeed and create an irreplicable community. At Milesbrand, we'll partner with you and your team From Land to Brand to ensure you develop a brand identity that assures success for your master-planned community. Contact us today to learn more about our process and how we can make your next master-planned community's identity more memorable.  

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