This month, we bring you the cream of the cream of this year’s winners of the 2018 National Sales & Marketing Awards, announced last month at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando. (Photo: Courtesy Toll Brothers Apartment Living)
If you’ve ever attended The Nationals, you know it’s a shindig that gives a Hollywood awards gala a run for the money—glamorous outfits, rambunctious audience, and an excitement that’s palpable. There’s a reason for this. The award is a coveted one; competition is fierce. The energy in the room is proof of the passion that sales and marketing professionals bring to helping buyers find the right home. Winners offer a look at what happens when marketing talents are channeled to leverage the emotion involved in what’s arguably the highest-stakes purchase that most of us will ever make.
There were 1,335 entries from across North America in this year’s competition. Submissions came from major urban centers to the rural South. You’ve read before on these pages about the demands of the so-called Gray Wave and Millennial buyers dovetailing and resulting in builders being called on to deliver accessibility, walkability, community, and a sense of place. This year’s winning master plans and large projects play on what already exists to set the theme for the community, rather than imposing a theme on the place. The tactic was successful for Riverstone, in California’s Central Valley, and for Ward Village, in Honolulu, two distinctly different projects that shared this year’s top award for Master Planned Community of the Year.
Buyers everywhere are attuned to what’s popular on HGTV and Houzz, in magazines, and on design blogs, driving the demand for attainable luxury for all price points. And in an age of information overload, social media is getting more personal than ever. The marketing team for the Village of Esencia in the master planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo in Orange County, California, struck gold when it realized that the social media prowess of their residents was the most powerful marketing tool of all. Residents were enlisted as boosters for #TheRanchRocks, a campaign that pulled in buyers by showing, rather than telling. Two new award categories—Lifestyle Director and Lifestyle Program—were introduced, reflecting the importance of offering varied and meaningful ways for residents to connect with each other.
Whether you’re a large, small, or medium-sized builder, there’s inspiration on the pages that follow. Enjoy the issue.