editor-in-chief

Amy Albert is editor-in-chief of Professional Builder magazine. Previously, she worked as chief editor of Custom Home and design editor at Builder. Amy came to writing about building by way of food journalism, as kitchen design editor at Bon Appetit and before that, at Fine Cooking, where she shot, edited, and wrote stories on kitchen design. She studied art history with an emphasis on architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania and has served on several design juries.   

Local Homebuilders = Local Heroes

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Regional builders have deep roots in the community, and that's one of the keys to success

August 13, 2015
Capitalizing on your unique selling proposition is a maxim we hear an awful lot of in the home building business. (Photo: Courtesy Ivory Homes)
 
 
But what does USP really mean? Branding guru Bernadette Jiwa, author of Marketing, A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers, says that the secret to the success of household names such as Starbucks, Google, Instagram, and Oprah isn’t that they were especially good at getting their message out and telling people how great they are, even though that may be the case. In a blog post titled “Why Your Brand Doesn’t Need a Unique Selling Proposition,” Jiwa offers a maxim of her own, which is essentially to think difference—not different. “What makes a brand unique,” she writes, “is the difference it makes in people’s lives.”
 
 
As a builder, you’re uniquely qualified to deliver on that promise. What place is more important than the one we call home? More than a house or an apartment, it’s a street, a neighborhood, and a city or town that we become deeply attached to—and that, in turn, becomes a part of who we are and how we describe ourselves to others.
 
 
Our June 2015 cover story about local home builders, celebrates local builders who are at the top of their markets by virtue of being deeply entrenched in their home turf. They are experts: on the local architecture, the life of the community, the area’s history, and why their particular part of the world is a great place to start out, raise a family, or begin the next chapter of life. In this issue, they share what has kept them on top. Being deeply committed to the area, staying in better tune with the market than the competition, giving back to the community, and delivering the best homebuying experience possible were unifying themes among them all.
 
 
Charlie Scott, a contributing editor to Professional Builder and an industry consultant, was first a home builder for 20 years. When it was time to grow the company he was then working for, Scott and his colleagues counted on a third-party firm to collect accurate and unvarnished information about homebuyers. “We used the voice of the customer as one of our guiding forces,” he says. That market intelligence was every bit as important as financial metrics and land position—so important that he eventually bought that third-party consulting firm because he believed so strongly in its value to home building. “I switched from building homes to building home builders,” Scott says.
 
 
In an era of mounting mergers and acquisitions, being a local is an impressive accomplishment, if not a Herculean one. It’s also your trump card. So here’s to the power of being regional: Here’s to local heroes.
 
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 Amy Albert is the editor-in-chief of Professional Buideraalbert@sgcmail.com@amyalbertLA

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