Do sustainability and real estate marketing mix?

Spirit Bay is a whole new kettle of fish when it comes to real estate marketing.

The village, on the southern coast of Vancouver Island in Canada, was developed based on traditional principles of community design:

  • Building light on the land, with homes following the contours of topography,
  • Designing narrow roads with plenty of twists – ensuring slow driving and more walking,
  • Building hundred-year-homes with materials that outlast (by far) those used in other new homes,
  • Tapping renewable heating and cooling – using ocean thermal, for example,
  • Working in partnership with the First Nation band that owns the land, to ensure their values are built into the Spirit Bay manifest.

Now for the rub. Perception.

Spirit Bay is a textbook case of how to get sustainability right, and sometimes wrong, in real estate marketing. It was, for me, a journey with a definite learning curve.

I’m slated to do a presentation on the marketing of Spirit Bay for the Urban Design Institute. Prior to the presentation, though, I shared highlights with Mark Brennae of CFAX . It was entertaining – enjoy!

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what you’ll hear

  • How Spirit Bay positioned itself away from the ‘price per square foot’ buyer,
  • What makes sustainability so hard to sell in real estate marketing,
  • How to get the right balance of selfish benefits (It’s good for me) vs global benefits (it’s good for everyone),
  • How to sell concepts like building light on the land and pedestrian-first thoroughfares,
  • The power of even the smallest stories – replanting moss, for example – to help buyers understand the ethos of Spirit Bay,
  • The power of transparency  and sustainability when it comes to building on lease land.

thoughts from spirit bay’s developer

Kris Obrigewitsch is Spirit Bay’s developer. He’s affable, laid-back and utterly determined to build something truly unique in Spirit Bay.

In this video, he talks about our adventures marketing Spirit Bay.

want more?

If you’re marketing relatively untried concepts like sustainability, you might like this story about tying new ideas to trusted and true ones, thereby accelerating credibility with consumers.

In this story, I explore creative dissonance, the strategy of bringing together ideas that shouldn’t ‘work’ – a key element in Spirit Bay’s marketing.

Finally, the art of tapping tribes in your marketing – in Spirit Bay’s case, this came down to appealing to both ‘green-first’ consumers AND moderates, without appearing cynical or schizophrenic.

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