What Do Award-Winning Master-Planned Communities Have in Common?

March 03, 2022

What Do Award-Winning Master-Planned Communities Have in Common?

For many, buying and owning your own home undeniably continues to be a cornerstone of the American dream. This is not only a financial venture for many but also an emotional one. This goal is made possible after years of hard work, resilience and the persistent pursuit of a dream. The significance of discovering and buying a new home cannot be overstated.

As such, master-planned community marketers must recognize an important truth — you're not only fulfilling someone’s childhood dreams and aspirations, but also delivering their own personal refuge. This is a place they will call "home," where they will raise their kids, build lasting friendships and grow old.

According to the National Association Of Realtors, about 90% of homeowners believe that owning their own home brings them closer to their American dream.

So, what are marketers to do when trying to build not just any master-planned community brand, but an award-winning and revenue-generating one that consistently exceeds expectations? We’re glad you asked! Let’s go into the significance of marketing a master-planned community and the strategies used to compellingly exceed homebuyer expectations and establish communities that are truly award-worthy.

What Keeps Marketers Awake at Night

This is what gives many marketing heads sleepless nights — the scale of this purchase and the magnitude of its emotional impact. Persuading homebuyers to purchase a home for their family within your master-planned community where they will live for years to come is no easy feat.

Choosing a new home is a highly emotion-driven purchase for many homebuyers. Ultimately, it’s up to master-planned community marketers to provide a case that is compelling enough to convince these buyers this is the best place to settle down.

How does a marketer set themselves apart from their competition? How does a marketer develop their brands to meet the needs of their customer? How does a marketer show homebuyers that this master-planned community is truly a place where they can feel at home?

Like the popular 70s TV ad that convinced Americans to perceive buying a home as buying their own small piece of America, master-planned community marketing must match the emotional weight of such a purchase.


Master-Planned Community Expectations

To capture a prospect’s vision of their dream, you must look at your master-planned community in the eyes of your prospective customer and put yourself in their shoes.

For one, they are making a significant investment in their future. Your marketing must make them feel that this is the best investment they can possibly make. They are also making a substantial emotional commitment to the community. That means marketing efforts must help them visualize a new life where they can experience excitement for new possibilities, a strong sense of belonging and comfort. All of this, of course, is easier said than done.

Matching your customer's expectations requires tried and tested techniques that narrow down and appeal to the very heart of your audience. This is what award-winning master-planned communities do so well:

  • Memorable Branding
  • Creative Marketing of Amenities
  • Impactful Storytelling
  • Original Photography
  • Omnichannel Marketing
1. Memorable Branding 

Memorable branding is going half the distance in your journey of remarkable master-planned community marketing.

What is the first thing that comes to mind whenever your client or prospect hears your brand? If a master-planned community does not take its time to define its brand, the market will define the brand on its behalf.

The first step we will take in branding is defining your communities’ most compelling differentiators. What sets your master-planned community apart from hundreds of competitors? Whatever it may be, it’s important to identify as this should act as your primary selling point. Your unique differentiators should have a special place in your branding and be used to characterize the community in a sentimental way that draws in homebuyers.

From the community name to the tagline, visual elements, the pre-construction marketing efforts, website copy, digital advertising and more, your brand should have an aura about it that is impossible to forget. When done effectively, community members will take on the personality of the brand, further improving its image and connectivity.

The Farm

The Farm had a wholesome family legacy that we used to build an unforgettable branding strategy. Built on land cared for by several generations of family members, our team saw a unique opportunity to develop community branding that offers a sense of comfort and warmth to new families making their homes on the land.

We positioned the community around the theme of “Live Abundantly” to tie together the three family generations raised on the beloved property with the land’s brand-new homes for 500 future families. The Farm would be to new homeowners what it was for its first family – the perfect place to form precious memories and enduring traditions for years to come.

We utilized original photography and charming creative design to create a compelling brand that seamlessly blended former family memories made on the land with the growing lifestyles of new families.

2. Creative Marketing of Amenities

Remarkable marketing does not just list amenities — it goes much further than that. Going the extra mile is where customer satisfaction abounds, and this is how far we are willing to go in the art of amenity marketing.

Remember, a home is probably the most important purchase most people will ever make. Whatever the price point, they expect to feel that touch of luxury and perceive that they are getting the most value and best lifestyle for their money.

It’s not enough to simply tell homebuyers the available amenities, you must paint a picture of how these features will fit into their lives in this community. The community’s miles of walking trails are places where residents can soak up the fresh air with leisurely strolls. The several sports courts are a way for homeowners to stay active and healthy by playing fun games with their neighborhood friends. The community clubhouse isn’t just a building, it’s a neighborhood hub for connection and social activities with new friends.

Creative marketing of amenities allows you to position your master-planned community in a unique way. It’s vital to highlight both what amenities are available as well as why they make residents’ lives better.


For Southshore, we faced the challenge of turning a low visibility community within the number one school district in the state, into a destination location. This community is within close proximity to a large reservoir, which as very unique for Colorado, as well as something we saw as an immediate key differentiator.

We recognized an opportunity to market the reservoir as a major community amenity, which was highlighted with the tagline “Life at the Lake.” Due to this creative marketing of the community’s largest amenity, Southshore became a community where homeowners are invited to turn every day into a vacation by enjoying their very own lake from the comfort of home.

3. Impactful Storytelling

One of the most overlooked aspects of creating an emotional connection with a prospect is storytelling. This is the practice of blending the distinct details of your master-planned community with an overarching narrative that evokes an emotional response from homebuyers.

Nothing pulls at the heartstrings of a prospective customer and relates to them at a spiritual level like telling a well-crafted story. Storytelling is also proven by research to improve brand recall and create meaningful connections.

Designed to deliver alluring visions of what life could be, master-planned community storytelling transforms the way homebuyers view communities. Suddenly it’s no longer simply a community, it’s a desirable destination that can offer them a powerful sense of belonging and a sought-after lifestyle.

Our master-planned community storytelling creates a tale that begins with the dreams and expectations of your customer and slowly brings the story to life through everything your community offers. Sharing your community’s compelling differentiators and unique appeal is easy when you form a captivating brand story that resonates with your buyers.

Although logic may direct homebuyer standards during their home search, the final decision is made with emotion. The community they choose will be the place where they feel most comforted and connected to the property – these sentiments can be driven with great storytelling!

Crystal Valley

When working with Crystal Valley, we branded this community the "Nature Of Happiness." We told a story of the proven benefits of living with nature by focusing on the quantifiable evidence of how nature helps people become better versions of themselves, fights depression, and encourages more kind and tolerant interactions. This powerful story immediately attracted potential buyers.

4. Original Photography

An original picture is worth a thousand words; a fake one is worth none.

In master-planned community marketing, most prospects are bombarded by advertising laced with overused, unimaginative stock photography. Customers crave original photography, and this is one thing that award-winning master-planned communities do incredibly well. Offering this will set you apart from other planned communities and truly capture the lifestyle provided.

Along with branding and storytelling, original photography goes a long way in helping homebuyers imagine themselves living in a community and feeling that they will belong. By using the best staging, equipment and editing, marketers can transform a community into a home that buyers feel a strong emotional connection to.


When creating a brand for Solstice, the term "Home Sweet High Line" became our rallying cry, a simple definition that has become synonymous with this breathtaking Colorado community.

Located directly on the High Line Canal, Solstice is a one-of-a-kind community with an incredible location. From direct access to trails and parks to nearby bodies of water and all the recreational activities that they provide, our marketing efforts revolved around the community’s unfettered access to remarkable nature amenities and the joy of spending time within the great outdoors. Our branding strategy included gorgeous four-season photography that illustrated the beauty of a life surrounded by nature and remarkable Colorado scenery.

5. Omnichannel Marketing

By now, most marketing departments are familiar with multichannel marketing and the role it plays in master-planned community marketing.

However, many master-planned community marketers are seeing the benefits of examining this strategy and considering alternatives for success. It is quickly being replaced by a far more effective campaign. Omnichannel marketing goes the extra mile to bring all your marketing goals and perceived intentions under one roof and deliver a consistent message to your prospective buyers across all channels of interaction. Rather than focusing on promotion for individual products and services, this tactic places the customer experience at the heart of all marketing efforts.

Prioritizing customer success and the buyer’s journey has never been more important for real estate marketing, and omnichannel marketing is the best way to keep your buyers engaged with your community. Rather than fire off static, unrelated messages to buyers across multiple channels (as multichannel campaigns do), omnichannel campaigns follow the buyer through their journey to tell a seamless story. This brand consistency ultimately leads to greater buyer trust and increased lead conversions.

The Key Takeaway

Creating a memorable master-planned community requires proactive strategic planning that considers all obstacles that may be in the way of reaching success. Be it issues with brand differentiation and establishment or customer perception and conversion, effective and reliable master-planned community marketing solves many problems that developers and home builders face.

Here at Milesbrand, we have spent the last few decades solving these marketing dilemmas. Contact us today so we can begin transforming your land into brand.

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