Creating a Stand-Apart Product

Discover what separates you from the competition, and then celebrate the difference in everything you do.

By Heather McCune, Editor in Chief | October 31, 2003


Heather McCune, Editor in Chief



At first blush, designing and building a house and creating a magazine bear little resemblance to one another. The time lines, tools and skill sets required to complete a successful home and produce a useful publication differ. While the when and how of each task depart from one another, the success drivers look more alike.

Consider. In a successful new home project:

  • information exists that enables the architect, builder and interior designer to work together to create a cohesive home that carries the design theme throughout.
  • multiple spaces with varied functions come together to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts through careful planning and attention to detail.
  • different departments - design, construction, sales, warranty - step in or out of the process depending on the phase, and clear communication among all players ensures smooth transitions throughout the process.
  • trade partners know that construction schedules accurately forecast when their crews should arrive, so they show up on the job at the appointed time ready to work.

Producing a successful magazine requires:

  • a shared understanding by editors, art directors, publishers and sales staff of the must-have information needs of the reader and advertiser clients.
  • careful planning and attention to detail so columnists, departments and features create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • marshaling the creative ideas of a team of people to produce compelling copy that educates, inspires, challenges and informs readers.
  • cooperation and commitment from other departments and vendors to on-time and mistake-free execution of each issue

Think for a moment of the goal of all of this energy and activity. In each endeavor - home building and magazine publishing - we seek first to stand apart from the competition and second to rise above the clutter of the day-to-day and clearly communicate the value of our offering. Simply, we seek to differentiate what we do from what everyone else does.

In this issue, we hold up ways to rise above the competition in your marketplace.

When did you last look up and notice the ceilings in your latest model or spec? Probably not recently. Do it. Ceilings help create spaces to which buyers respond whether they understand it or not. Learn low-cost methods as well as some more expensive ways to activate the fourth dimension in your next new home.

Are Cultural Creatives your target buyers? For most builders, yes, because this demographic group grows larger and wealthier each year. Green building and sustainable development appeal to these buyers, their values and how they want to see themselves. Communities such as Terramor in Ladera Ranch, Calif., and Vickery in suburban Atlanta abide by green building standards and sustainable development principles for a lot of reasons, but topping the list is that it makes business sense. Buyers value and pay for these attributes.

You're a quality builder? You always do the right thing? Your customers love you? Simonini Builders in Charlotte, N.C., fits each of these to a T. But instead of trying to prove it's a quality builder different from the quality builder down the street, this National Housing Quality Award winner entered a contest and won another award - the Charlotte Ethics in Business Award. Similarly, Tuckahoe Creek Construction in Richmond, Va., won the Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. Both companies rise above the masses that build "quality" homes with the proof that their claims are more than just words.

Standing out, standing apart from the pack takes effort every day from everyone involved. Part-time players have no place. Discover which success factors separate your company from the competition, and then celebrate that difference in everything you do.


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