People love their brands. For some, it’s a status symbol like flexing an expensive watch or sports car. Brands such as Apple or Patagonia have fiercely loyal followings because they create products with beautiful form and function. There are value brands, lifestyle brands, subculture brands and each one caters to a highly targeted demographic. This is what we call “branding through understanding.” It’s a process we use to develop powerfully precise campaigns shaped by research, data and experience. It starts by knowing the client, project and product.
Who. Where. What.
Before we even look at buyer demographics, we must have a deep understanding of who the client is, where the project is located and the type of product being offered. For example, we recently landed a new client that 1 was developing a multi-phase lowrise community in Hamilton. From our research, we quickly realized that this builder was renowned for its upscale designs and luxury finishes in upscale, sought-after neighbourhoods. This particular project, however, was an entry-level product in an up-and-coming area of Hamilton. These details played an important role in positioning our strategy and formulating a proposal, seeing as we wouldn’t be targeting the type of buyer they were used to attracting.
Know your audience
Nike. Walmart. Samsung. Kia. They all know what makes their customers tick. These companies have an intimate understanding of their users’ needs and desires, and have all tailored their products to specifically resonate with these social behaviours. We launched a site a few years ago in Vaughan. It was a collection of modern urban townhomes in an otherwise fairly conservative neighbourhood. Our research of the area indicated a lot of older homes with seniors and empty-nesters who had lived there for decades, many of whom who had adult children who grew up in the area, but had since moved to other parts of the city. From this data, we identified two unique target audiences: 1) Move-down buyers who were looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle, and; 2) The adult children who wanted to move back to their old neighbourhood. Based on additional data and experience, we created a brand that brought a fashionable Yorkville retail vibe to Vaughan. This resonated with both the empty-nesters who desired something fresh, and the first-time buyers who already interacted with similar upscale brands. The site sold out in a few weeks.
Speak their language
For a brand to be powerful and successful, this adage works on two levels. We need to speak our audiences’ language from a messaging perspective, ensuring the words, tone and emotion are spot on, and just as important, communicate these messages on platforms that our target buyers engage and interact with on a daily basis. For the last several years, particularly since COVID changed the global landscape, digital marketing has proven to be the most targeted, cost-effective and successful in reaching our most likely buyers. Some might assume that Google AdWords leads the digital pack. But for many of our campaigns, especially those that target emptynesters (the top buyer of iPads) and younger, first-time buyers, paid social ads are our top performers.
Insight to ideation
Once we’ve developed the roadmap, the journey is just getting started with its first leg in our creative department. This is where metrics turns to movement and a brand takes shape. One of the reasons we love digital platforms is that it’s a symbiotic relationship, continually feeding us information that we can analyze and use to fine-tune the reach and effectiveness of our campaigns. This interaction ensures that once a brand takes flight, it’s seen by people who want our product, or those who we can convince that they need it through a compelling narrative.
The time to strike is now. The market is booming with strong immigration numbers and some individuals and families still choosing to live and buy in the GTA. For those looking outside the city, housing in small towns is being expanded by well-known GTA developers. Affordability, quality, and trust can be found on multiple levels from home prices and taxes, to the cost of living and raising a family.
People are leaping well beyond the edges of the GTA to the shores of Cottage Country and small Ontario towns in between. Looking for their first home or in the case of empty nesters, a move-down home with an active, outdoor lifestyle.
This is possible due to digital tools and the paradigm pivot that many companies have made due to the Covid pandemic. Spotify is one of the latest mainstream companies to announce a ‘work from anywhere’ model, which allows employees to work from home, its offices, or a combination of both.
Adaptable singles, couples and young families now have the digital tools and employment flexibility to work from home, from the cottage or virtually anywhere with a stable internet connection. People are consciously making the decision to sell their current home, move out of the city and start fresh.
For empty nesters and couples with adult kids, the attraction to places like Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Wasaga, Prince Edward County, Cobourg, Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls is getting stronger.
Towns outside of the GTA and other big cities have a lower density and more open outdoor spaces. They can also be safer locations for raising a family and encouraging a more active, outdoor lifestyle. Especially for those who enjoy skiing, hiking, mountain biking, camping and sports. A getaway with typically lower crime rates than higher density locations with bigger populations.
These places offer more affordable homes and amenities that foster an active lifestyle – and all the same shops, services and big box stores you’d find in the GTA. While maintaining a relatively short commute back to the city. Not to mention the proximity to wine country, craft breweries and boutique restaurants.
Moving away from the big city in the current global climate is a no-brainer. Many of our clients are embracing the paradigm pivot and building incredible new homes in Collingwood, North Ajax, Huntsville, and Cobourg. Comfort, safety, space and affordability are the new leaders in choosing where to live.
Since a majority of us have pivoted in some way, shape or form over the last year to re-align ourselves with this new social landscape, we took some time to reflect on our corporate values and wanted to share them with you. We call them…
THE (MAD)HOUSE RULES
Tell the whole story. The tangible differentiators (head) and the emotional pull (heart)
Respect the bottom line. We’re here to make you more money. See rule #3
Do the right thing. We only make a recommendation if it’s in your best interest
Roll up your sleeves. We do black lines, permits, rendering management and more
Standby on Saturday. When you’re selling, we’re supporting. In-person or remotely
Make it easy. The prep, planning, details and execution are on us.
Be transparent. No ulterior motives here. We say it like it is and back it up
Experience is everything. Ours, yours and the consumers. That’s what matters most
Celebrate the wins. The team, the work, the growth, and the passion
It’s no myth that working from home can be challenging. Especially when it comes to a work/life balance when family is at home too. We’ve come up with a few tips that have helped us ease into the transition over the past year, and we want to share them with you!
Develop a work support system: we are all about embracing the team environment and working together, leaning on each other isn’t just encouraged, it’s part of the job description.
Exercise and meditate: Right now, we are in the middle of a month long plank challenge, supporting each other to build strength. We also support and encourage each other to go on walks and get outside for fresh air whenever we can.
Identify what you love about your job: Working in a pandemic can be overwhelming for anyone, but it helps when work isn’t a place you dread going to. Take a few minutes each week to pause and evaluate what you love about your job, and take every opportunity to build on those things until it’s harder to think of what you don’t love.
Set Goals and Priorities: Goals are crucial to success! Our strategy is goal based, whether it’s for a client or for our employees, we make sure that we’re consistently reaching higher.