Charlotte, N.C. Media Campaign Builds on ‘Unbeatable’ Market
According to national reports, home buyers can’t beat the Charlotte, N.C., market.
It is the only top-20 market in the S&P/Case-Shiller report showing an increase in home prices over the past year, Forbes named it a top-10 recession-proof city and Relocate-America.com ranked it the best place to live in the country.
But Charlotte builders were not about to rely on those accolades to maintain their market’s position. In April, the Home Builders Association of Charlotte (HBAC) launched a media campaign that has drawn the attention of both local home buyers and national media.
A May 27 Wall Street Journal Online story with the headline “Why Housing in Charlotte is Holding Strong” talked about www.charlottebetweenthelines.com, the consumer Web site launched by the HBAC in April.
“There were more than 1,000 unique visitors to the site the day the story ran,” said Mark Baldwin, executive vice president for the association. “And we’ve had more than 40,000 hits in the two months since we launched it.”
The site includes comments on the market from local lenders and real estate authorities, audio clips from radio talk shows, YouTube video interviews and testimonials from consumers who’ve recently bought homes in the area.
“Our goal was to help members sell homes,” said Baldwin. “So we tapped into the right blend of third party analysts and respected community authorities for content, and minimized the HBA’s presence on the site.”
The Web site is featured on almost a dozen billboards placed around town, and it has been mentioned in articles in the Charlotte Observer.
Charlotte residents flocked to the association’s recent parade of homes. Traffic increased over last year’s event, especially at high-end homes and those located closer to the city.
A local public relations firm, Corder Philips, was brought in to plan and run the campaign, which was funded from the association’s reserves.
The association is also partnering with the Charlotte Business Journal to hold a series of speaker forums about the new home market. Journal subscribers, HBAC members and other representatives of the business community will be invited. The first forum is planned for mid-summer.
To educate and engage their more than 1,200 members in the campaign, the association used e-mail blasts, articles in their bi-monthly magazine and a direct mailing.
“The members have been very excited about the campaign,” Baldwin said. “It showed them that their association was doing something about the negative media stories, and many have linked to the Web site from their company sites.”
Read more stories about locals around the country that are using resources from NAHB to combat negative media stories and restore the confidence of hesitant buyers by going to www.nahb.org/mythbuster.
For more information, e-mail Gwyn Donohue at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8447.