Building a Sense of Place

How telling the story of what exists helps cast vision for what can be
By Justin Hime

Marketing is one part art, one part science, one part logic, and many parts emotion. The goal? To showcase a brand’s uniqueness, distinguishing it from peers in a way that engages the audience to respond—no matter how large or small the industry.

In the world of real estate, development, construction and architecture, there are countless ways a brand can differentiate itself—sustainability practices, awards and accolades, inventive design, innovative technology and more. Each identifier affects the brand’s persona, communicating nuances that are essential to success.

When working to delineate differences between your brand and another, you may be inclined to look to these subtleties as banners for brand championing. However, Beacon Street Development has done just the opposite. Instead of focusing on our own carefully hewn image, saying the same key things in each market and dancing in the spotlight, our leadership chooses to shine a light on the existing community wherever it breaks ground.

This is most evident in our marketing efforts around Moss Landing, a vibrant new community of single-family waterfront homes on the banks of the Pamlico River. Washington, N.C. is well-known for its historic architecture and natural beauty, so each home is intended to give homage to both while honoring the beautiful stories of the people that have for generations called it home.

When it came time to market, we asked ourselves what most inspires us about the places we love and what questions a new resident would have when considering relocation.

Our conclusion was to acknowledge that when someone chooses to settle in a community, they choose more than a neighborhood. They choose new friends, new favorite restaurants, new hobbies and new places to rest from wherever life leads. We aimed to introduce them to all the area had to offer from the very beginning of their new home search.

We knew we needed to communicate the uncommon character of Washington and thought, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a film worth?” To show our potential buyers what words alone cannot, we created a series of short films that capture a glimpse of life along the waterways of the Inner Banks.

We broke the content into five sections. The first focuses on the actual neighborhood, giving tours inside our harbor homes and a glimpse of what the area offers for recreation on and in the water; then we headed to the Harbor District for downtown dining, downtown shopping and downtown arts. To expedite neighboring, and because we believe the shortest distance between two people is a story, we wanted to introduce viewers to the everyday visionaries and entrepreneurs who are transforming downtown Washington from a sleepy Southern hamlet into a thriving center of culture and commerce.

These videos underscore our marketing efforts’ greater goal. Our deepest desire is to create a sense of place, taking great old places, perhaps under-appreciated or under-utilized, and build something new that fits seamlessly into its individual fabric.

So, when you approach marketing your next project, ask yourself two key questions:

What experience can we introduce our audience to as they consider their next move?

Use this answer to speak to not only to what a buyer needs, but even more, what they long for.

What do they envision? Is it a slower pace of life, sitting on front porches and sipping lemonade while watching the sun go down? Or is it a place that connects them to history through a storied past? Culture and the arts? Everyday conveniences and unique entertainment? Is it a place to build memories with their grandchildren or to build the foundation for families?

You can communicate every nuance of your audience’s dreams through marketing. This is what happens when we build a sense of place—life beyond four walls. Consider the key elements that make their hopes a reality, and champion those things visually, verbally and experientially.

How can the existing community enhance or contribute to the creation of the place in which tenants love to live?

Winning the buy-in of the surrounding community by believing in and telling their stories is an investment that yields a thousand rewards. Make every effort to get to know them, what they care about, what they do, and why they choose to be part of this place. Then, show off your shared values, using them as launching points for a greater story. Doing so has the potential of helping with community relations, as well as enhancing your message’s reach.

By choosing to view the community as the welcoming party, you can create a connection before your residents ever cross your building’s threshold.


Justin Hime is the Sales and Marketing Director at Beacon Street Development Company. For more information on Beacon Street, visit