How to Brand a New Housing Development: Case Study Hudson Woods, New York

If place branding makes you think of master strategies for cities, destinations or entire countries, think again. Places and brand strategies can be much smaller and more modest, for example focused on visuals and design – experience and feelings.

In this case study, Studio Sanderson‘s James Sanderson and team share some key insights on how to brand a housing development and how design has helped created a sense of place for Hudson Woods, New York.

Studio Sanderson is a boutique brand and marketing agency in New York City, which has 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. 

Ambition: A new kind of housing development

Lang Architecture (a New York City Architectural firm) had a bold ambition to create a new type of housing development at the foot of the Catskills named Hudson Woods.

Intended as vacation properties, the homes at their most modest would have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage; each would be built to order.

With ambitious growth plans Lang asked Studio Sanderson to advise the team on how they should create and build a brand to capitalize upon the perceived strengths of the property and market it to the growing number of urban expats coming into the area from New York city.

Challenge: Convert a remote woodland into a model for 21st Century, sustainable living

Hudson Woods place branding example

1 Identify the unique story

NYC buyers are inundated with new real estate. What is the true, authentic and appealing narrative?

2 Design the experience

Beyond renders, floorplans and site specifics what is the emotionally engaging and memorable experience?

3 Create attention

What are the critical applications, people and places to get the story out there and attract attention?

Getting the story right: Forget the property specs and details for a minute… What do New Yorkers really want?

Hudson Woods place branding example

  • New places to discover new things.
  • Authentic, meaningful experiences to create lasting memories.
  • Places to relax, unwind and reconnect.
  • Smart design with practical living.
  • Solutions where design & nature meet.
  • A lifestyle to be inspired by not sold to.
  • A place that stands for something.

Our approach: Create a unifying story that drives all initiatives

A relevant, clearly articulated and authentic Hudson Woods narrative would unify, strengthen and guide the development of all stakeholder touch points.

A brand execution in sync with 21st century business, culture and lifestyle of Hudson Woods target customers.

Hudson Woods place branding example

The story: ‘From the Source’

A way of…designing, promising, acting, involving people keeping fresh, communicating.

The eco-friendly homes feature materials and craftsmanship from the area. Residents and visitors can connect directly with their passions, like local sport, craft or just relaxing on the deck.

No matter where you are in the area, you’re surrounded by 360 degrees of nature, including sprawling meadows and towering trees. As a place, as a service, as a community, as a home, Hudson Woods delivers a vibrant, authentic experience that really is from the source.

Implementation: Bringing the story to life through a distinct and coherent visual expression

Taking a systematic approach to branding —the logo, colors and typography came together to give a distinctive and coherent look whilst also ensuring clarity and purposeful sales tools.

Hudson Woods place branding example

For people, to connect with and share

More than just a development. The Hudson Woods brand delivered authentic and memorable products and experiences.

A series of events was key to building energy and momentum around the brand.

The model home became a showcase for local craftsman as well as promoting the lifestyle for buyers. All became shareable moments via the website blog and social media.


For commercial success and real impact

Hudson Woods place branding example

More information:

Contact James Sanderson, Creative Director & Principal at Studio Sanderson at or (646).491.3924

View the full SlideShare presentation here

More about Studio Sanderson here or explore Hudson Woods at

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