Issue: 3 
March 2013 

That was the headline announcing results of a survey of marketers by Michael Page Marketing, released February 13, 2013. The article went on to report: "The Brand (29%) is believed to be the most important function to grow a busi­ness in 2013, followed by Customer Relations Management (21%) and online/website development (21%)." Paul Sykes, managing director of Michael Page Marketing explained, "The focus on brand to deliver growth means companies are evaluating their market position, ultimately looking to ensure maximum exposure to and awareness of their brand."  


Tied for second place as a marketing team's most impor­tant asset for growing a business, delivering remarkable cus­tomer experiences and having a strong website both contribute heavily to the overall perception of your brand.  


So...your brand. It's probably your company name. Realis­tically, what does your brand stand for? Does it connect with your customers, prospective buyers and influencers in ways that are positive and relevant to them? In other words, does it connect with them emotionally?  


Honda connotes quality. Disney is about fun times and kids. Harley Davidson conjures up independence, rebellion and power. Those corporations established and reinforced their brand meaning through their marketing but impor­tantly, customer experiences and word-of-mouth has done as much or more to define those brands!



What's a builder to do?  


  • Identify what your brand means. Not necessarily what you think it means, but what Realtors, trade contractors, customers and other consumers believe about your brand.
  • Is the perception of your brand accurate? "They build a decent home, but after you move in you're on your own." Unique? Since a lot of builders try to position themselves as family-owned companies building high quality homes, this position is weak. Special? Being an Energy Star or "green" builder can be a strong positive, but many build­ers have jumped on those bandwagons, diluting most of the competitive advantage.
  • Differentiate. Become your market's leader in a facet of home building that matters to buyers. You might be the design innovator...the builder who gives back to your community...or have the best customer care.
  • Find the right words to reach consumers, Realtors and influencers emotionally.
  • Get people talking. You can jump-start word of mouth by giving people stories to retell. How you help people discover new ideas/design features/amenities in your model home or showroom; how your homes eliminate tons of greenhouse gas emissions; or how your buyers spend more time enjoying their new "easy-care" home due to the maintenance-free products.

With the popularity of today's more open floorplans, what can be done to help control unwanted noise in the home? Start by figuring out where the unwanted noise comes from. Ignoring sounds which infiltrate from the outdoors, there are basically three areas that can be addressed:  


Sound originating within the area.

This is primarily sound waves bouncing back and forth against hard surfaces (flooring, walls, windows, ceilings). Materials such as rugs, carpet and carpet pad, upholstered,

padded furniture and soft, lined window coverings help absorb sound.


Carl Cuozzo
Carl Cuozzo

Noise echoes in tall ceilings. Design Basics lead designer Carl Cuozzo notes that even in big custom homes he's designing today, buyers are opting for 11-foot high ceilings rather than 2-story high spaces. According to Cuozzo, "You still get the drama and taller doors and windows without so much echo and energy loss."


Soft close hinges for cabinet doors and drawers virtually eliminates the sound of these closing. Similarly, soft-close toilet seats eliminate that "bang". Having a dishwasher in a kitchen island introduces more noise than if the dishwasher backs up to a wall. And of course quieter dishwashers, refrigerators, laundry pairs, exhaust fans, food waste disposers, and furnaces will reduce noise at its source.  


Sound traveling into areas from other areas.

Solid core doors block significantly more sound than hollow core doors. For walls themselves, there are products such as Quiet Rock and SoundBreak which are special drywall products which absorb considerably more sound than standard drywall. George Auen at Fougner Engineered Sales suggests, "If you want the best sound isolation, use the acoustic drywall over sound isolation clips. The resulting sound transmission is so good you could swear you were deaf! Auen also recommends using an acoustic caulk around the perimeter of the walls, lid, and any gaps need to be addressed (like electrical boxes, pipes, etc.).


From the perspective of the home's layout, having a separate entertaining place for the kids when entertaining other adults is golden. That way their Xbox games or even loud conversations don't have to disrupt the adults.  


Sounds transmitted through the structure of the home by vibration.

A portion of sound waves turns into vibration which is actually amplified as it passes through walls and floors. When possible, locating items which create noise and vibration (i.e., big screen TV, clothes washer) to exterior walls rather than adjoining interior walls will help.


Here again, product choices can go a long way in minimizing noise and vibration. An excellent example is your choice of garage door opener, especially if there is a room over the garage! Acoustiblok® is a 1/8"-thick, flexible sound proofing mat that can be glued, stapled, nailed or screwed to floors and walls. According to the manufacturer, Acoustiblok actually transforms acoustical energy into inaudible friction energy. So if your home buyer's son is a drummer...


42233V Greene Gable 2,098 sq. ft. 
42'-0" wide x 53'-0" deep 


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Main Level Floor Plan
Floor plan options

Limington 1,638 sq. ft. 
44'-0" wide x 48'-0" deep 
Witten 1,136 sq. ft. 
36'-0" wide x 48'-0" deep 
Underwood 2,500 sq. ft. 
68'-0" wide x 64'-0" deep 
Did you see it?


Design Basics' 30th Anniversary video condenses three decades of design leadership and innovation into a 10-minute stroll down memory lane.

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