How to Brand for Blue Sky Communities

By Tyler Sprecher, Principal

Branding for blue sky communities follows a similar branding or brand refresh process to that of an existing community, but obviously starts with much more of a blank slate. This can manifest itself as both a negative and a positive when it comes to related marketing efforts.

Without an existing brand identity or any brand equity to speak of, the blue sky community will need to quickly and effectively build an identity and equity from scratch, to reach and resonate with targeted prospects and motivate them to take the desired action. However, the blue sky community also has no need to overcome negative perceptions, misperceptions related to past marketing efforts or an existing position within the competitive landscape. Instead, it can somewhat rely on the “newer is better” paradigm, while carefully constructing a platform for framing its perception among the prospects it wishes to attract.

You’ll want to choose a trusted partner who can lead you through:

1) Brand Visioning: Where you’ll draw out the basis for developing a unique brand strategy through an interactive brand visioning workshop. This includes interview sessions with key constituent groups such as the community’s development team, leadership and prospective residents.

2) Brand Strategy Platform: This is where you’ll boil down and convert the information gleaned from the visioning phase into a foundational document that succinctly identifies and relays the brand promise, brand differentiators, brand benefits, brand personality and ultimately the brand position. Critically, the brand position is the distinctive position that an organization wishes to hold, and its products or its brand to occupy, in the marketplace or in the minds of its defined target audience.

3) Brand Identity: Once the brand strategy is in place, it’s time to develop the more creative aspects of the brand. The creation of brand identity materials includes things like community naming, logo design and tagline development.

4) Brand Expression: The brand expression—often in the form of designed mood boards—is where the planks of the brand strategy platform harmonize through visuals and tone copy that demonstrate how the brand will look, sound and feel in marketing communications. This is a very important step in the process, as the product does not yet exist, and needs to be “brought to life” to capably garner the excitement of future prospects.

5) Brand Guide: After the brand has been fully developed, it’s important that it serves as the touchstone for all communications going forward. One key tool for ensuring the new brand is followed and effectively implemented throughout an organization is a brand standards guide.

6) Brand Rollout: This is planned communication of the brand to internal audiences including the sales team, which helps to ensure that everyone in the organization is a brand champion—talking the same talk and walking the same walk when it comes to brand implementation. Cogent brand rollout ensures that there will be alignment between what is communicated to the market and what prospects will experience operationally when they choose to interact with your organization and your brand.

7) Brand Actualization: This is where the brand is applied to marketing tactics and communications identified in your marketing plan and rolled out to the target market(s), including construction signage, sales office materials, pre-sales collateral materials, traditional and digital advertising and direct marketing campaigns.

For more information on creating a successful branding campaign for your blue sky community, call either Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801 today. Or, simply reach out to us online.

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