Rocketts Landing is a mixed-use development on the banks of the James River, just east of downtown Richmond, Virginia. Construction began in 2005 to develop more than a mile of riverfront into a dynamic, new urban neighborhood unlike anything else in the area. By its completion (projected for 2015), Rocketts Landing will feature 20 city blocks of homes, shops,
restaurants, offices, a hotel and a private marina.
While initial interest in the project was high, this early enthusiasm waned, particularly as the housing market became competitive and over-stocked with options. In addition, Rocketts was such a new concept and so broad in its offering that many potential buyers didn’t understand its true scope or benefits. They thought they were buying “a home,” not an entire
neighborhood with many different aesthetic choices. Adding to this problem, in the fall of 2006 the national housing market slowed considerably and the Richmond area saw housing developments struggle, stall or convert to rentals.
The strategic idea for Rocketts Landing was driven by its difference. Through research, it became clear that this new community was remarkably different from other real estate projects in the region and Richmonders had trouble understanding the vision. They were not aware that a new development could offer them such a wide range of options for home style, interior design, and recreation while being so close to both the excitement of the city and the calm of the countryside.
With such an unfamiliar project to present, Siddall identified the concept of “choices” as the clearest way to address the primary challenge of creating awareness and building traffic to the sales center. Offering an array of choices created a flexible framework to explain the many facets of Rocketts Landing across multiple media and in ways that clearly set them apart from other real estate projects.
The communication strategy for Rocketts Landing was to use paid advertising and guerrilla tactics to drive consumers to the sales center or website. Existing research identified the targets as empty nesters and young professionals who want to purchase their first home but do not want to give up urban living. Media executions were split into two parts—an introductory campaign that ran for three months, followed by an image campaign that ran three months later. The campaign featured guerilla tactics such as coasters and lunch cart bags for downtown vendors, a new website, brochures, letterhead, signage and Preview Center displays.
When the three-month introductory campaign launched, website traffic spiked 55 percent. When the full campaign launched, website traffic increased again—116 percent over pre-campaign traffic.