by harnessing culture
through emotion and values.
How we captured people from separate walks of life by uniting them with a common vision: To live beyond their front door.
The Mill at Broadway is a 1,000 home urban housing community minutes from the heart of Downtown Sacramento. Although its old industrial setting and proximity to the freeway have generally marked this area as less-than-desirable, the Mill represents an opportunity to revitalize a long-forgotten corner of the city. With this audacious goal and a bent toward selling to millennial home buyers, Northwest Land Park LLC – the developer behind The Mill – enlisted Vision Launchers to not only sell homes but to create a new sense of place and community in downtown Sacramento.
1. How do we sell homes in a forgotten and less desirable section of a city, while at the same time appealing to two different generations – Millennials and Baby Boomers – in entirely different walks of life?
2. How do we reframe homeownership in the eyes of a Millennial to not be synonymous with “settling down” or having extra responsibility that prevents them from living their life?
Vision can foster unity. If we create a strong enough vision, not only will we attract both first-time home buyers (Millennials) and empty nesters (Baby Boomers), but we will also give them a cause to stand behind. This provides the fuel we need to inspire these individuals to see beyond the rough edges of the neighborhood and become a part of the change we are seeking to create.
The demand for something to believe in is endless. Today’s market is made up of people who come together around shared interests and form what we call “tribes.” These tribes are driven by ideologies, and for a brand to penetrate the walls of these tribes it can’t be an outsider – it has to become a part of the tribe; it has to harness the values of the tribe.
This was our approach to reach Millennials. We began by targeting key influential members of the local target millennial market. Our goal was to get them to genuinely appreciate and stand behind our vision for the community. After they bought into our vision, we’d include these individuals in our initial marketing (videos, website imagery, social media imagery, and campaign pushes), allowing us to join the culture we were trying to influence and gain the attention and trust of potential millennial buyers. These brand ambassadors spoke about the community with excitement and passion, further driving interest and trust. They also took initiative and shared the marketing messages on social media, increasing our exposure and influence in the millennial market. This technique, coupled with a carefully crafted brand and marketing narrative, ultimately earned the attention of the millennials we intended to reach.
We set out to craft a narrative that was laced with the vision, values, and sentiments of the tribe we were aiming to reach. We tapped into the heartbeat of a generation and amplified it.
In our market research, we identified the core beliefs of the millennial demographic and the Baby Boomer demographic and found some surprising similarities in their desired lifestyle. Although they were on completely different walks of life, they were unified in the idea that they wanted their life to be filled with adventure and they didn’t want to be too tied down to anything. Both demographics, though vastly different, were putting an increased emphasis on enjoying life’s experiences over things.
The sentiments we found were:
1. “We’re tired of making a living at the expense of building a life.”
2. “Owning a home is less important than a life fully lived.”
3. “Experiences are better than expenses.”
4. “We don’t want to live confined to our home – we want to own a home and Live On.”
We aligned these sentiments with the values of the community. The Mill was branded as being a community for those who aren’t ready to settle down – a perfect fit for the high-density urban community.
An ideology we termed as “Live On” was successful at accomplishing our primary goals of breaking down the preconceived ideas millennials had toward home ownership. We helped them see that owning a home didn’t mean “settling down” in the sense they imagined it. Additionally, the ideology successfully reached an older demographic that wanted to still see themselves as adventurous and didn’t think of themselves as “old” or ready for “retirement.” Everyone wants to own a home and still “Live On.”
The success of this ideology led us to include hints of it in nearly every marketing campaign as well as in many products produced for the company. It was our unifying message.