Home builders build homes but very often forget about their brands.
What is a brand? It’s the feeling you get when you hear a name. Fulton Homes, proud to own, proud to build. What comes to mind? Kids, dogs, communities. Fulton Homes has branded itself consistently for twenty years with a combination of strong visuals, public service campaigns, public relations, videos, social media, traditional media and digital. Even during the depths of the recession, they were one of the only builders who continued to brand.
Here are five basic brand concepts any home builder can use to construct a brand.
Beware of the words you choose. Consider warm words that invite.
Use Don’t use
Playgrounds Tot lots
Cul de sacs Dead ends
Small Quaint, charming
Show, don’t tell. A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth ten thousand.
Videos can do so many things:
- It can show people in their homes with slices of life.
- Testimonials of people that chose a community.
- Communities- particularly amenities- with features that differentiate themselves from the competition.
- The types of people and lifestyles that are drawn to a community.
With the latest technology, many videos can be done inexpensively. Recently, for instance, we invested in a drone to take shots from the air. This used to be a pricey helicopter maneuver but now it’s well within range of most budgets.
Use “Earned” media to elevate the brand.
Earned media is 100% controlled by you. It includes social media, your website, emailed content, blogs and newsletters. Gone are the days that you are held hostage by media outlets to tell your story. You can be in complete control of your own content. Social media gives you a forum for your content and can invite two way conversations with your home owners and potential homeowners. Keep in mind that Facebook is a wonderful place to publish what’s happening but also create a sense of community. Instagram is a visual arena for photos. Both can be great for videos. Twitter is best for thought leadership and to showcase you knowledge and expertise.
Narrow your focus by community.
The personality of each community might be different. The creative and media you choose can reflect this. When we launched the Villas at Baker Park in midtown Phoenix, for instance, we centered on the selling points of full sized homes five minutes from downtown Phoenix. Our positioning on this was, “Blossom here” with bus shelter signs ringing the property. We also suggested media like Pandora, paid Facebook ads and other geographically controllable ads to center on the immediate area. Digital gives us so many ways to do this well.
Further your brand with cause marketing.
You might be already doing great things for your community but if nobody knows it, it won’t contribute to brand building. Partnering up with a media entity can be a great way to do this. For instance, we do several partnerships with area radio stations that focus on education and water safety for homebuilders. We then promote it on social media and through other channels of the press. One such program, Fence Patrol, is a pool fence initiative for those in need. We are on the televised morning shows every week with this content.