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Cedar Hill

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CEDAR HILL

The Challenge

In 1995, Mountain View Ventures (MVV) of West Palm Beach, Florida, purchased the residential community, Sleepy Valley, in Cashiers, North Carolina. Lot sales activity was below average and its image was poor in comparison to the numerous similar developments in the Cashiers and Highlands area. In an effort to create a new image, MVV took the property off the market and renamed the property Cedar Hill. A. Brown-Olmstead Associates was retained in March of 1998 to assist in developing a communications program for the successful marketing of the Cedar Hill property throughout the region with a special focus on the Atlanta market. ABOA conducted focus groups with Atlanta/Cashiers residents, held interviews with community leaders and media, toured competing properties with local real estate brokers, and assessed the property for positioning strategies. Through this phase, ABOA discovered that the development was virtually unknown in the market. ABOA developed a positioning program and marketing plan for Cedar Hill, which includes the following positioning:

Positioning Statement

"Cedar Hill is a premier residential community in the mountain village of Cashiers, North Carolina. It is intended for the discerning."

Cedar Hill is gated for privacy. Though close to the village, it epitomizes secluded calm. A wide array of low density lots offer panoramic views, or the tranquillity which surrounds a unique, forested nature trail and stream.

Residents may become members of the prestigious Cedar Creek Racquet Club, the area’s finest tennis facility, upon approval by the Club. Opportunities for golf and family centered activities abound. Of course, complete relaxation is also encouraged."

The Program

Promotional events were developed targeting three groups: 1) real estate brokers in Cashiers, Highlands, and Atlanta; 2) visitors to the Cashiers/Highlands’ area; and 3) visitors to Cedar Hill. The first two events, one in Cashiers and one in Atlanta, were planned to announce the incentive program ABOA had coordinated with Cedar Hill and the Nordstrom Department Store for the real estate brokers. In Cashiers, brokers were invited to Mountaintop, the most dramatic viewpoint within the property, for cocktails followed by dinner at Cedar Creek Racquet Club, where Cedar Hill owners have the opportunity to become members. The Atlanta event featured a breakfast at Nordstrom with a fashion show and presentation of Cedar Hill. Creative invitations followed by calls to each invited broker were made preceding each party. In addition, ABOA staff made presentations and distributed materials to the top Atlanta real estate offices.

Also discovered in the focus groups was that Cedar Hill’s Nature Trail should be one of the focal points in promoting the property, as it beautifully represents the natural settings of the mountains and Cashiers area. ABOA contracted local experts to curate the trail, repair and install enhancements, and design a trail map. The trail stands alone in comparison to other developments and serves as one of Cedar Hill’s best marketing tools. ABOA planned the first Nature Trail Festival, which benefited a local preservation group, to share the beauty of the trail as well as attract residents and visitors to the property. Posters with awesome pictures of the stream, a trail map, and advertising were all designed and planted throughout the area to create awareness and buzz about Cedar Hill. Guided Nature Trail tours, a lecture series, and an evening picnic on Mountaintop took place throughout the three-day event showing off the property’s most beautiful areas.

The last promotional event of the 1998 campaign was the co-sponsoring of Cedar Creek Racquet Club’s Weekend with Tom Gorman, a Wimbledon Champion. Players from Atlanta, who mostly had an interest in the area, were invited to participate in the weekend with the members and friends of CCRC and to experience the finest tennis facility in the area. The weekend consisted of a clinic lead by Tom Gorman, a Davis Cup Style Tournament, a cocktail party on Mountaintop at Cedar Hill, and dinner in the CCRC clubhouse. In addition, Cedar Hill opened the Nature Trail for participating players.

The Results

ABOA coordinated a series of events each exemplifying the property’s best amenities. Besides showing off the panoramic views from Mountaintop, all marketing functions were strategically tied to the Nature Trail. In broker meetings, during the Festival, in all media and advertising campaigns, the trail was the focal point as it is the most unique feature of Cedar Hill. The more recognizable amenity, Cedar Creek Racquet Club, was also part of the promotional campaign. The result is that one consistent message was, and is being communicated throughout the community and region creating name awareness and building a positive image.

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