It was a cold and very snowy day in December the first time we saw what would become the site of Taylor Morrison’s first 55+ community in Colorado. But even as we stepped out of the Jeep carrying us across the snow-packed hills of the site, it was clear that Skyestone was going to be special.
From the crest of the highest hill, you could clearly see downtown Denver in one direction. Turning around, Denver’s glorious Front Range, the backdrop for so many in Denver, was so close you could almost reach out and touch it. And in between stood Skyestone, bounded on three sides by dedicated open space.
The project was special. And it was special for us as well. It was our first foray into 55+ marketing and we were intent on making an impact. Almost 30 months of planning would go into the debut of Skyestone. Countless marketing pieces, email blasts, social media campaigns (including one with a 76-year-old mountain climber) would be created.
But what was the key to the success? Clearly there was a need for 55+ living in Denver. But previous attempts at creating communities had fallen flat. When we arrived in Denver for that first visit, we were told a competing builder had gone through several division presidents in Denver – and the lack of success with their 55+ product was to blame.
So Skyestone would be different. And it was different. There was no golf course. There was no typical lifestyle director. What replaced them were things like community gardens, walking paths that led to the surrounding open space and a planned clubhouse that focused on experiences.
And experiences were key at Skyestone. Market research had shown us that Baby Boomers were not going to slow down. In fact, they seemed to be hitting their stride. It led to a social media campaign where we challenged Baby Boomers to show us just how much they were challenging society’s perception of them. There was the entrepreneur, starting new businesses when most people were slowing down. There was also a fashion blogger, who at 70 had dared to dream of starting a fashion blog. Finally, there was Charlie Winger, who had climbed the 200 highest mountains in Colorado, more than 100 peaks in Death Valley and the highest mountains he could find in Australia, Africa, Europe and both North and South America.
As the public relations and social media agency for Skyestone, our job was to make sure the voice of the Baby Boomer generation was being heard as we marketed the community. Because of the uniqueness of the community, the media was interested from the very beginning. Adding to the interest was the inclusion of our Baby Boomer social media campaign, which became known as “Greater Than My Age” when it debuted in 2013.
But before the grand opening could happen, there was one more event that had to come first – and it almost stole the show.
Each year, our agency has helped Taylor Morrison court Denver realtors with a special incentive campaign called “Keys to Success.” The premise is simple. For each home a Denver realtor sold, they would receive one “key” that could potentially start a new Mercedes-Benz. Not surprisingly, realtors loved the event. To announce the winner for 2013, it was determined that Skyestone would be the perfect venue to give away the car while introducing the new community.
Ordinarily, winning a new Mercedes would be the highlight of a person’s year. But for Judy Pitt, who cared passionately about helping bring clean water to the people of Kenya, a new red Mercedes was not a top priority.
So when she was selected as the winner that night at Skyestone, she couldn’t believe her ears. She had already turned down a Mercedes just two years earlier, electing to take a cash payout to help the people of Kenya. This time there was no cash payout – until two Taylor Morrison representatives sprung into action, donating the price of the car in cash to her foundation. Another Denver realtor was so moved that she donated another $5,000 to Pitt’s cause, bringing the grand total to $35,000.
Ordinarily, topping such an exciting night would be a tough bill to fill. But the preparation and coordination between Taylor Morrison’s marketing department, digital marketing agency and our team turned the grand opening of Skyestone into a rousing success, with almost 2,000 people turning out for the event.
The community would go on to virtually sweep the 2014 Denver MAME awards, including winning for Community of the Year.