Hudson Woods - Where Design Meets Nature – Building a Sense of Identity at Hudson Woods

Studio Sanderson is a boutique brand and marketing agency in New York City. The multidisciplinary team has worked alongside Hudson Woods since 2013 helping us to identify the right communication approach, media channels and create a compelling brand and visual identity around the place and experience.

Led by James Sanderson the studio had created place branding initiatives for multiple properties, cities and countries. Some of their projects have included Burj Khalifa, Dubai, Lakeside, Chicago and The Seaport District in New York City.

We asked James and his team to share some things they learned working on the Hudson Woods project:

1. Find the authentic unique story, narrative

Whether transforming a cityscape, building a new development in an unknown area or even promoting a country, people like, support and endorse places that have a strong sense of purpose and values. In the case of Hudson Woods we strongly believed that contemporary living and great design can co-exist with nature. That the building principles, materials and infrastructure can be sensitive to the environment without being out of place. We put this at the heart of our story and what we talk about.

2. Tap into a movement or create one

For Hudson Woods there was a very natural association with the growing local artisan movement in the Hudson valley but also the US on a whole. The architecture of Drew Lang also supports this so we wanted to make it a part of our mission and celebrate it. This led to some great collaborations and building a network of makers who were all looking to help us and one another.

3. Target Market isn’t everything

Creating enough noise around your vision shouldn’t just appeal to the buyer only. The kind of lifestyle and experience at Hudson Woods is something many people aspire to lead. This meant we acquired fans and voyeurs of the property who were happy to share our stories and create noise around the place and help us to get noticed.

4. Build a product/service brand beyond just a destination.

As well as communicating the lifestyle we also wanted to make sure that the purchasing experience was easy and simple to understand. Making it easy for people to choose the right materials, finishes and upgrades meant we were delivering a more holistic experience all around. We think this went some way in ensuring every purchase made so far has included between five and seven upgrades.

5. Utilize a multidisciplinary team

Creating and building a brand requires a diverse range of skill-sets. We had writers, graphic designers, technologists, illustrators, programmers, PR all playing their part in the conception and implementation of the strategy and communications. But all unified under the vision and values of what we were trying to do.

6. Iterate and keep making it better

We had a whole load of assumptions when we first launched. Some that turned out to be true some not so. Being able to gain feedback from the market and iterate on our communications was vital to success.

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