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Creating Contrasts

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Creating Contrasts

In this month's special report, contributing editor Cynthia Kemper dissects color — how to choose the appropriate palette, the right way to apply color to architecture on a home and in a community and the many ways color influences buyer behaviors. As you probably anticipate, there isn't much discussion of the varying shades of beige with a little taupe or brown mixed in for visual excite...


By Heather McCune, Editor-in-Chief June 30, 2005
This article first appeared in the PB July 2005 issue of Pro Builder.

In this month's special report, contributing editor Cynthia Kemper dissects color — how to choose the

 
appropriate palette, the right way to apply color to architecture on a home and in a community and the many ways color influences buyer behaviors.

As you probably anticipate, there isn't much discussion of the varying shades of beige with a little taupe or brown mixed in for visual excitement. Colorists Miriam Tate and Eric Mandil instead advocate a more strategic approach to applying color.

"Color can be utilized, much like a billboard, to announce that 'this place exists and is singularly special,'" says Tate. Similarly, Mandil notes, "The creative use of color take communities to a higher level of appeal. When everything is beige or gray, the result is blandness, rather than artfulness and delight."

In explaining Tate and Mandil's analysis of color and its application, what Kemper's skillful reporting reveals is this: Approach color as another tool to create contrasts for your home or community in today's competitive new home marketplace. In the right setting, with the right customer targets, color can be your differentiator.

Success in home building means beginning with a clear picture of your buyer and then assembling a complete tool kit of unique selling features — those attributes that set your homes apart from other builder's offerings as well as from the millions of existing homes sold each year. Then the hard part of the job begins — translating features into benefits buyers want.

Contributing editor Scott Sedam brings his usual wit and wisdom to this topic in his column on page 37. After a Sunday morning perusing the real estate section in his home town newspaper, he challenges builders to motivate any buyer to action with lines like "Garage Sale. (House Included) Big Savings!," "Half off options — selected homes — limited time," or "Great Deals this Weekend!" Sedam's home town is like a lot of towns around the country — homes, both new and old, sell at near record levels. Consumers, sitting on mountains of equity in their existing homes, blessed with more home-ownership financing tools that imagined just a decade ago, or simply ready for a space change, need help in cutting through the clutter that is new home marketing today. Means does not equal motivation as Sedam so rightly points out. Once you build the innovation into your product — be it through color, architecture, location, floor plan, fit and finish or value per square foot — invest the time to communicate it terms that matter to the buyer.

As housing continues its unprecedented roll, winning builders must fine tune their tool kit by growing their points of differentiation, and then selling the same in a language that addresses buyers in a meaningful way.

630.288.8190, hmccune@reedbusiness.com

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