Best Practices for Successfully Launching a New Neighborhood

Everyone anticipates the excitement surrounding the Grand Opening of a new neighborhood. In reality, the planning for a successful neighborhood launch begins many months earlier and requires masterful planning combined with consistent brand execution.

Introduction

Our long-time client, LStar Ventures, is a privately held real estate firm that owns many of the finest master-planned communities across the country. Since its inception in 2007, LStar Ventures has built more than 40 beautiful, financially successful and environmentally sensitive communities in 13 states while recognizing the needs of residents and integrating regional, cultural and historical features.

At 2,400 acres, LStar’s signature community Grande Dunes is considered the pinnacle of resort-style living in the southeast. This community, entering its 20th year, features an array of public and private amenities and a beautiful coastal setting that extends from the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Intracoastal Waterway in Myrtle Beach.

Situation

Able&Co. has worked alongside LStar Ventures on several neighborhood launches within Grande Dunes. We were engaged to market Waterside Pointe very early in the planning process, which is a critical component in executing a consistent brand and marketing plan in this industry and many others.

Waterside Pointe consists of 47 homesites alongside the Intracoastal Waterway in the Marina Village section of Grande Dunes adjacent to a new Del Webb neighborhood. Del Webb, the leader in active adult communities, had partnered with LStar Ventures to develop a one of a kind offering.

The exciting Waterside Pointe proposition to homebuyers was a ‘never-been-done-before’ first for all parties: not only would Waterside Pointe offer a new neighborhood with waterfront homesites in the highly desirable Myrtle Beach Grande Dunes community, this 55+ active adult neighborhood would offer the first-ever completely custom homes within a Del Webb community, with access to all of the private Del Webb amenities.

First Steps

Our strategic marketing plan was based on three phases deployed over the course of several months: introduce the neighborhood to existing homeowners, Realtors® and other VIP leads to build an interest list; execute a soft launch to secure presales and homesite sales; and lastly, execute the main launch to announce the grand opening of model homes within the neighborhood.

Each Grande Dunes neighborhood has its own unique focus that lives under the Grande Dunes ‘umbrella’ brand and overarching vision. For Waterside Pointe, three differentiating messaging points rose to the top, and these were consistently carried throughout the months-long marketing campaigns:

  • Waterfront Living – nestled along the Intracoastal Waterway
  • Superb Lowcountry Lifestyle – with access to both Del Webb and Grande Dunes amenities
  • The Best in Active Adult Living – located in the first custom home section in a Del Webb community

Developing the Right Marketing Tools

We began our initial phase when Waterside Pointe was merely a plan on paper. Our micro-marketing awareness-building tactics targeted Grande Dunes homeowners, builder partners’ top prospects and area Realtors. During this coming soon phase, the audience was made aware that something exciting was coming to Grande Dunes and general information was given.

The second phase kicked off by a “dusty-boots” reception, allowed homeowners and VIPs to see the vision for the community, get to know the builders and reserve or purchase homesites.

A mix of print advertising, digital banner advertising and email campaigns were used throughout the year in both targeted and general formats to communicate the overall vision and product offering of the neighborhood. These awareness pieces encouraged visits to the neighborhood page on the Grande Dunes website GrandeDunes.com and, more importantly, to connect with a Grande Dunes sales agent to schedule a visit to the community.

A key component to the campaign was a series of beautifully executed custom videos that brought Waterside Pointe and its community to life, showcasing the Grande Dunes lifestyle and Del Webb amenities a resident could expect.

Several wayfinding signs were strategically placed along main thoroughfares to notify traffic of the new neighborhood and build awareness.

Our informational marketing featured a series of informational collateral used by the sales team to help present the neighborhood to interested prospects. Waterside Pointe targets the 55+ active adult population, and the active adult neighborhood brochure highlights the neighborhood’s many amenities that appeal to this audience.

Prospects were introduced to the builders in a dedicated builder brochure, and builder cut sheets were created so each potential buyer could see the quality and value that would go into their dream home.

A custom “Meet the Builder” video provided another touchpoint to receive builder and home information in an engaging way.

The results from these early marketing efforts culminated in our soft launch event, where tours of the homesites are given to invitees and walk-ins and led to 8 homesite reservations. This was proof that the Waterside Pointe marketing plan was on point, and we continued to stay the course.

Waterside Pointe’s Grande Events

There were two events held to herald the launch of Waterside Pointe, marked by the opening of the first two model homes.

One event targeted Realtors® and centered around the theme of a VIP Preview Night. This group received a series of eblast invitations and reserved their place on a special RSVP landing page that showcased the homes and amenities for the community.

The second event targeted consumers. The awareness generation for the public Grand Opening event included a newspaper ad, a series of digital banner advertising, a digital billboard and a series of eblast invitations.

Social media was also employed to create excitement and interest before the Grand Opening event. After the event, social media continued to build awareness and interest by featuring the actual photos and comments from attendees about the community and homes.

All of the marketing materials were consistently branded, ensuring that whenever Realtors® and interested buyers encountered a brand touchpoint, the cumulative effect would create recognition and interest in what the Waterside Pointe community at Grande Dunes offered.

Conclusion

During the 18-month launch period, all of the waterfront homesites and 80% of the total number of homesites in Waterside Pointe were sold.

We encourage anyone preparing for any type of launch to pull together their experts as early in the process as possible. This will ensure consistent branding and messaging is employed throughout the marketing campaign, regardless of the communication touchpoints that are used. The cumulative effect of consistent brand messaging developed within your professionally strategic marketing plan will help you achieve your specific goals.

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