Memorable and Engaging Marketing

Memorable and Engaging Marketing

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted.

…the trouble is I don’t know which half,” uttered back in the 1800s by John Wanamaker, the Philadelphia marketing pioneer whose department stores ultimately became part of Macy’s; Wanamaker’s words still ring true today. Ironically, at the exact time prospective new home buyers are actively seeking information to help them make the best new home purchase, too many messages fail to engage.

Left-brain/right-brain theory suggests words and information reside in the left hemisphere of the brain, associated with logic and rational thinking. Sometimes called the “emotional brain,” the right hemisphere is home to pictures, feelings, and her sense of identity. And we know buyers buy on emotion and subsequently justify those purchase decisions rationally. I’m an avid reader of Motor Trend. Many of the car ads are predictable – a beauty shot of the automobile, some text… Would anyone really notice if you were to swap out the photo of the car and the manufacturer ID? However, Volkswagen’s ad for their parking assist was different:Volkswagen ad

This Volkswagen ad doesn’t even show the product! Rather, it addresses a feature (Park Assist), implies the benefit (making parallel parking safe and easy), and is emotional (humorous).

Okay, your turn. Much home builder advertising seems almost “templated,” focused on a beautiful photo of the home (exterior or interior), informative text meant to differentiate, and company identification. The beauty photo might attract attention, but is the ad memorable and engaging?

Alternatively consider:

Main visual: Worried, wide-eyed 8-year old. Headline: “Mom, have you seen my _____?”  Secondary visual: The lockers/cubbies in the rear foyer of your home. Secondary Rear foyer bench, cubbiestext: Cubbies/lockers provide organization, helping get everyone out the door on time in the morning.

Main visual: Woman wrapped in towel, smiling, standing in entry to door-less walk-in shower, holding squeegee. Headline: No door to clean! Secondary visual: Bathroom layout illustrating walk-in shower. Secondary text: Giving you back a little more time.

Main visual: Baby napping. Headline: Another reason to chose the “Serenity Package.” Secondary text: Peace and quiet is a beautiful thing. You’ll never regret opting for the Serenity Package with (highlight a few of the product upgrades included, such as quiet appliances, bath fans, garage door opener, etc.).

Main visual: Adorable, muddy dog staring up at you. Secondary visual: Your home’s optional pet center. Text: Appreciating everyone in your household.

Each of the above examples delivers on one of home buyer’s most-desired benefits – reducing stress. While most builders touting “quality-built,” “industry-leader,” and “customer-focused,” are essentially wasting their advertising dollars (what builder doesn’t say those things?). Ads focused on the concepts and benefits customers seek, without the overused exterior/interior beauty photos are emotional, engaging, and drive decision making!

In addition to innovative home plans, Design Basics can help you develop compelling ads that work. Let’s talk!

What Does Green Mean For You?

As a Nation, We Can Do Better

building green headerAccording to the U.S. EPA, the average home creates more pollution than the average automobile. It’s not surprising there is increasing interest in building environmentally responsible homes, and today it is possible to build “green” without sacrificing aesthetics or livability.

Following is a brief introduction to various aspects of building an environmentally-friendly home and links to helpful articles. Currently, there are several green building initiatives, but it appears consolidation is happening around the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Program. For more information, visit www.NahbGreen.org.

Reduced Energy Consumption

Perhaps the largest environmental impact is achieved by choosing to build an energy-efficient home. Better insulation, windows and doors can help you create a “tighter” home, reducing air leakage in and out of your home. Similarly, energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling equipment, water heating and appliances can significantly cut energy use. By building your home highly energy efficient, you can help conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides) by thousands of pounds per year.

Homes designed with windows on two sides of rooms increase natural light levels and can reduce the need to turn lights on. Opening those windows ushers in natural cross ventilation, lowering dependence on air conditioning. Large covered porches provide relaxation and considerable shading, too.

Reducing energy consumption may also be one of your best performing investments. Often, spending a few dollars more per month in a tax-deductible mortgage payment can be more than offset by lower utility bills. And as energy costs continue to rise, your future savings will be even greater.

Resource-Efficient Product Choices

Choosing to build a home with engineered wood (e.g., I-joist floors, trusses, etc.) from managed forests instead of traditional lumber saves old-growth forests from being harvested. More durable products, such as siding and roofing backed by a 50-year warranty are also environmentally responsible, as they won’t end up in the landfill nearly as quickly as their traditional counterparts. Paying attention to product content is another important factor. Carpeting made from recycled plastic water/soda bottles is one example.

Homes can be designed around standard building material sizes to maximize efficiency. Carpeting often comes in 15’-wide rolls, so designing a family room to be 15’-6” wide means seaming two pieces of carpet together and often generates waste. Streamlined structural systems require fewer steel beams, structural headers, etc.

Water Conservation

A water-saving dishwasher can reduce water consumption enough to provide all of a household’s drinking water. Some clothes washers save enough hot water to accommodate your bathing needs. Water-efficient toilets and showerheads will make a big difference and “home-run”-type plumbing systems can deliver hot water faster, helping you avoid wasting gallons of water waiting for the shower to “warm up.” Another important consideration is landscaping. Choosing native and drought-resistant grasses and plantings can minimize water used for lawn irrigation.

Minimizing the negative impact homes have on the environment is critical. While home plans themselves are not necessarily ‘Green’, simple choices in the home’s design and selection of environment-friendly home products can make a huge, positive impact.

RESOURCES

building green page

Building Green

Green building can improve indoor air quality, an issue of particular concern to women because of its link to asthma and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in children as well as heart and lung problems, headaches, and blurred vision.

Read the article…

building green page

Life at Home
The Paybacks of Energy Efficiency

Totaling up the costs of building a new home can be intimidating. For most of us, it’s one of the most expensive things we will do in our lifetime. Consequently, it’s often necessary to scale back some dreams and make compromises along the way. But one of the places it’s important not to cut corners is energy efficiency.

Read the article

More Articles on Aspects of Green Home Building

tame your utilities

Tame Your Utilities

When you’re thinking about building a new home, the location of the plumbing, heating, and cooling systems probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Or the second. But if easier maintenance, greater comfort, and lower energy bills sound appealing.

It’s worth giving some thought to where these systems go and how you’ll gain access to them.

Read the Article

silence is golden article

Silence is Golden

Your home is a factory. It has all the equipment and processes of almost any factory: fans, blowers, pumps, cleaning and laundering, waste disposal, heating and cooling, refrigeration, even accounting.

Unlike a factory, your home should also be designed to provide a calm, livable environment – one that maximizes comfort and minimizes intrusions, both from the outside world and from within the home.

Read the Article

breathe easier article

Plan Now to Breathe Easier Later

If you’re like most who plan to build a new home, you probably have specific ideas of what you’re looking for in an elevation, floor plan, amenities and even color schemes. But have you considered choices you can make now to ensure healthier air quality in your future home?

Read the Article

Resources

National Association of Home Builders National – https://www.nahb.org/

American Lung Association – Health House

35th Anniversary Featured in Strictly Business

35th Anniversary Featured in Strictly Business

Design Basics, LLC (www.DesignBasics.com) has reached an exciting milestone as the company celebrates 35 years of delivering innovation and leadership through creative home design, marketing, and business transformation solutions, while protecting their right to do so, maximizing value for their customers.

Design Basics began in 1983 as a custom home plan design firm for professional builders in their local community, Omaha, Nebraska. Over the years, Design Basics has expanded their offerings to include a wide variety of home plan designs, plan alteration services, and professional marketing products and services as well as keeping a focus on custom home design. Design Basics’ home designs can now be found throughout all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and other countries around the world.

Read more: Strictly Business Feature

The Power of Story

The Power of Story

“It’s raining in the basement!” shouts my 10-year old son, looking up from his video game. Upstairs, our 13-year old daughter is lying on her bed, talking on the phone. The laundry room sink, where she had been washing delicates is still running…and still overflowing! And that the laundry room is on the second floor, with all of the bedrooms. I rush home to standing water and white mush, which used to be kitchen ceiling drywall, soaking into and through the wood kitchen floors. Carpet…pad…walls…floors… ceilings…all saturated. My wife arrives home, crying, “We’re going to have black mold!” A water remediation specialist deploys massive fans. Our brand-new dream home, so meticulously planned, was flooded. Oh, did I mention we had moved in just F-I-V-E days prior?

You weren’t there. In fact, that event happened over 15 years ago. Yet, I’m betting you felt my anguish. Such is the power of story. Uri Hasson, a researcher at Princeton, claims a story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience (Harvard Business). We actually see ourselves in a good story, and it turns out our brains are wired that way.

So, you better believe there’s a story behind the humble laundry room drain. And if that’s true, isn’t there a story behind almost everything in the home you’re selling? Facts and figures (3-bedroom, 2 ½ baths, 1,800 square feet), and even bulleted feature lists activate left brain functions where we “think in words.” But story activates both the left brain’s logic and the right brain’s feelings and imagination. Neuroscientists have discovered brain chemistry is partly responsible. Story triggers the release of oxytocin, associated with good feelings, emotions, and in particular, empathy, allowing us to connect with the story. A second brain chemical, dopamine, is also released as we engage in story. Dopamine helps in focusing our attention, aiding memory, and pleasure.

Photo by Skyloft Photography

Simply put: information educates; story sells. You’ve heard the expression “buyers buy on emotion and then justify those decisions rationally.” Story is the key. And how we tell those stories matters, too. A story we’ve personally experienced, such as my water event, are charged with emotion and believability. As such stories educate, and become memorable, we can help shape buyer’s opinions, especially with regard to the desirability of certain aspects of a particular home. Walking in from the garage, there’s a drop zone on your left. Sometimes, story is simply triggered by a question – “When you arrive home from a long day and your hands are full as you come in from the garage, where does everything end up?” Inevitably they answer, “On the kitchen counters/island/table,” which leads to your story about the drop zone. To your right is a pet center complete with elevated shower for small dogs. Simply having an adorable stuffed beagle there begins to tell the story. A couple of potted plants nearby tells another story – it’s a gardening center!

At the risk of overstatement, your success in new home sales hinges on your prowess as a storyteller. This is where your team becomes so important. Make an event of walking through the home together, in particular identifying things you do or offer in the home other builders don’t, and then share your thoughts/experiences/stories regarding those things. What you learn from each other will help you develop your storytelling. Similarly, as you tour prospective buyers through the home, certain amenities may trigger the buyer’s own stories, some of which will become gems you’ll retell.

As you consider new home designs to offer, think too about the stories they will tell. We can help. Call us when you’re looking for that next hot design and we’ll talk with you about some of that home’s inherent stories. Even better, have a Design Basics; storyteller come spend a morning with your sales team, walking through your model home(s), identifying and rehearsing stories to sell!

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