With a brand refresh and a new creative team, a masterplanned community in Port Aransas tells their unique story
Cinnamon Shore – a 300-home beachfront vacation rental community in Port Aransas – has grown steadily over the past 11 years. With a $1.3 billion dollar expansion on the horizon, and further developments to the core community, Cinnamon Shore needed to ground themselves with a unified brand, voice, and customer service experience.
Over the years, the mission of the brand evolved. And through this evolution, the message and visual identity had become fragmented across its retail, online, and environmental signage. Different versions of the logo would appear in print marketing collateral, digital marketing, merchandise, and building signage.
The voice of the brand, over time, had grown incongruent and complicated beyond the core personality of the community. Examining the messaging across email, informational check-in materials, and the website revealed further opportunities to connect more personably and consistently to the customer.
Unifying the brand through a delightful customer experience
Initial analysis of Cinnamon Shore revealed a lot of potential to unify the brand experience. Understanding the immediate needs of the client and the opportunity to impact the upcoming sales cycle of the vacation rental industry, a four-day brand bootcamp was built and customized to the client’s priorities.
In the bootcamp, our full team arranged interviews with key staff members, audits of all current collateral (social channels, marketing outreach, email campaigns, website content etc.), along with a review of the client’s current sales metrics and goals. Great product synergy happens when all collaborators are in a room together, and given the chance to hear and empathize directly with the customer.
The agenda was formatted to allow myself and our staff a chance to work alongside the client to develop a marketing strategy, new brand marks, and a conversion-optimized website wireframe.
The bootcamp format was an opportunity for our team to immerse ourselves around the brand and empathize with their consumer. Independent studies with the owner, general manager and staff, and our own experiences as guests, allowed us to identify the gaps between the intended service the client wanted, and what was really being delivered on the consumer level. This exercise is critical to any large-scale branding effort, and the investment fosters the development of essential viewpoints that allow the entire marketing team to work more effectively and efficiently.
Brand Development and Positioning
Following our rounds of interviews and analysis, we collaborated with the client to develop a narrative around the brand’s pillars. These elements guided our development of the logo, website, and brand voice that has served Cinnamon Shore guests as it enters its expansion.
As the main icon associated with the brand, we felt that the umbrella should continue to exist as the recognizable mark that guests and homeowners would attach to and own. Our refreshed version minimizes white space between the canopy and the stem, and features more rounded corners so that it plays well with the softer letter forms of the logo’s new typeface, Dapifer.
The chosen typeface was further customized with a curved“R” that reflects the wave of the ocean, while also speaking to the brand’s value of understated elegance.
We created a new – but familiar – look, feel and voice for the brand that will welcome Cinnamon Shore guests for years to come.
Color was an important element that needed to be modified in the Cinnamon Shore branding. We transitioned the brand’s original color from a deep, burnt orange to Cinnamon Coral, to soften the brand and reflect the warm tones of a Port Aransas sunset. New brand colors Deep Blue Sea, Seaglass and Sunbleached Linen complete the core palette and are reminiscent of the beachfront environment.
It was imperative that the brand’s overall essence matched the new-and-improved logo and color scheme. We updated the client’s messaging with memorable taglines that spoke to their values of community and family.
Expanding upon the existing brand statement,“Welcome to a simpler way of life,”we added warm and welcoming statements that guests would see as they book a reservation, check-in, and around the premises. The elements that define the core of Cinnamon Shore are documented in an 80-page brand book that was designed and developed for all staff members, vendors, and agency partners to reference.
Telling an engaging story through online and in-person experiences.
With strong branding and positioning in place, we could focus on communication both online and in-person. To meet customers where they are, I managed a multi-channel strategy that oversaw the development of two websites (cinnamonshore.com and cinnamonshorerealty.com), content management, social media, media production, email newsletter, and experiential design.
My experience as a photographer and videographer helps me manage the development of projects from ideation to release. Cinnamon Shore had a great collection of assets, but continuous content production would be needed to communicate the brand’s ongoing projects and future visions.
People connect with people, so we made sure that we found authentic stories to tell both about Cinnamon Shore, and the city of Port Aransas that it resided in.
During quarterly on-site trips, I organized a content production team and schedule for capturing photos, videos, and conducting interviews that would be tell the story of the community across blog posts, emails, social media, digital ads, signage and billboards.
This content strategy delivered great results. Email traffic improved 52% over the previous year, and saw consistent direct phone and web bookings reservations. Low bounce rates, also showed that email visitors weren’t just clicking, but spending time on the site and viewing multiple pages.
SEO and SEM Strategies
Customers today don’t expect to find you, they expect you to find them. This is why strong SEO and SEM strategies are critical to the success of any marketing campaign. Strong SEO and SEM strategies should be properly segmented across the customer journey – capturing attention across the awareness phase and through the purchase phase.
In the development of Cinnamon Shore’s marketing plan, I allocated budget for digital advertising in the form of Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads. Managing a cross-functional team across PPC management, content production, and design allowed us to tell a cohesive message that reached the target customer through geo-targeting and identified low-cost and high-return keywords.
These strategies let Cinnamon Shore realize a 37% increase in total rental income (YTD) compared to the previous year – with 68% of booked rental income tracking directly through web marketing efforts.
We also achieved CPC and Goal Conversion rates that exceeded the industry standard. Phone calls generated from Google Ads showed an increase of 224% during the summer season and metrics showed the Ads were effective in generating consistent calls based off the keyword targets. Combined, these compelling results show the strength of integrated marketing campaigns that blend strong visual design with technology.
Working with the owner and realty manager, we conceptualized an event experience for the realty division of Cinnamon Shore to announce a $1.4 billion dollar expansion of the property. We worked with Tyler Frost to develop renderings of the projects, and also a 30-page sales kit so that attendees could choose lots and see pricing information. The event was a huge success in that it secured 25 deposits and buying agreements for new homes on the property in a single day.
The multi-year engagement with Cinnamon Shore allowed our team to develop a great portfolio of work that still serves the client today across digital, email, and in-person channels.
For a PDF version of the brand book and real estate book we developed for Cinnamon Shore, feel free to contact me here.