Case Study

CCMC

CCMC Really Knows What it Takes to Make Communities Home

When you are in the community association business, it’s hard to have raving fans. Everyone’s heard a story about an “HOA” and not-so-nice letters about weeds or garbage cans, or the politics of HOA boards. These entities and the companies that manage them often have a bad wrap.

When H&P was called in to help CCMC, a community association company that has been in business since 1973 and has literally defined the concepts of best practices in the industry, our first thought was—this should be interesting. As we got to know CCMC, we found that we were right. They were different because they ran their business with heart instead of a heavy hand.

Stage HEART

When we sat down with then CEO and now Chairman, Bart Park, III we were met with a truly energetic guy who from his very earliest days with the company as a pool boy, knew the meaning of taking care of people.

He understood that the role of an HOA isn’t to send out warnings and threats, it’s to create community. So as Bart put it, “People take care of each other.”

After talking with Bart for more than an hour, it became clear: this is no ordinary HOA company. This is a company that puts heart in what they do. They put people first. And they are not about to take shortcuts to creating communities where people care about each other.

When we looked at the company’s materials, however. Wow! Was there was a disconnect. The company looked like everyone else, all lumped in with the nasty-gram companies that people tell stories about. In fact their Promise was so underselling the Experience of this company that we actually learned that some large communities didn’t hire CCMC at first because they didn’t sound or look that great. And they were sorry when other companies didn’t perform.

With one client alone, we discovered that this problem of the Promise not measuring up to the Experience was costing us.  It was time to make a move. – D.J. Cole

Stage MESSAGE

After dozens of interviews with the CCMC teams across the nation, community leaders in the master-planned communities like Celebration, Florida; Grayhawk, Arizona; Daybreak Utah and many others, we began to get a full picture of just how special and different CCMC really is.

They really were taking “subdivisions” and turning them into “neighborhoods” by bringing people together. This wasn’t a business model, it was actually the only way this company knew how to function. It was and continues to be Genuine to CCMC and what motivates their team.

 

Certainly in our often-impersonal world, living in a community where people are truly neighbors is what makes CCMC’s way of doing business Meaningful for the people they serve. It’s a way of staying connected, of feeling less alone and even safer. In fact CCMC believes that the communities where residents interact as neighbors have less turnover and higher resale values than the communities that are less neighborly.

With the research showing that we live in an ever increasingly mobile society, creating relationships within communities was paramount to making a new town or city feel more like home. It became clear that the message stance for this brand had to conjure up the feelings many of us had as children, where neighbors actually knew each other and looked after each other. It had to convey that community feeling of home. Among the many messages for this brand came the tag line that says it all.  CCMC - Now this feels like home.

Stage IMAGE

Once we recognized the message of the heart was people taking care of people within a community of neighbors, the challenge became showing this through imagery.

We knew we needed to create imagery that would connect with heart and speak a thousand words. We knew it had to be real; no actors or models would do. And the only sacred cow was the company logo. That had to stay the same.

No worries. Our first stop was to look at the thousands of images the company had on file from the countless community events they held nationwide. We found a treasure trove of images that showed exactly what community looks like and we used them. We selected our favorites and blended shots of people, kids, pets doing all kinds of activities from parties to parades, bicycling to barbeques and everything else imaginable.

We also recognized that the current professional photos of the leadership team just weren’t conveying the company’s warmth.  Those typical shots in front of a mottled backdrop just weren’t hitting the mark. So we held a two-day photo shoot creating warmer imagery that also showcased their newly branded office space. 

Stage ACTIONS

A brand that exists only in Brand Brief form doesn’t help anyone, so our first action with this client was to get their hundreds of employees understanding the brand essence.

 

Rather than send out a document that “all employees must memorize” we took a cue from the spirit we felt amongst the people in this company and decided to make this whole process of brand immersion more fun. We decided to hold a video contest where employees could team up and create videos that used the new brand language. They posted them to a private Facebook group and everyone got to vote. The winners received a prize. The result was within no time, everyone was verbalizing the brand essence.

 

Once we had the internal team on board, it was time to launch the brand externally. That meant website, collateral, digital newsletters, presentation materials and more. But perhaps the most valuable way to bring the brand to life was with a short company video. The goal was to clearly communicate how CCMC is Different from its competitors. We could have written a script, but why do that when we knew we were working with a company that “felt” their brand. Everyone was feeling and saying “We build community by bringing people together in the neighborhoods where they live and in the offices where we work. Simply put, we create experiences that connect people.” We were confident that the words would come from the heart. And Bart Park, Chairman, delivered. 

Additionally, the company continued to grow its operations, enhancing the brand Experience in the developments they manage. That meant creating more lifestyle activities that build community. It also expanded its consulting with developers to educate them on the best use of their land, which amenities matter, and how to stay within budgets both short and long term without sacrificing community effectiveness. 

Stage SYSTEMS

Because brand consistency matters, all communications became templated so that no matter who was working on newsletters, proposals, ads, or presentations, there was no such thing as a blank page.

The system always ensured that step one was the brand look and feel. From there adding content was a “fill-in-the-blank” process. Even messaging became standardized with the brand standards guide as the bible of how to say just about everything.

 

The Experience side of the brand equation became even more systematized than it was. With a solid understanding of what really matters to the people they serve—not the least of which is making sure the finances of a community are managed to the penny—CCMC enhanced their operations to deliver even better financial management and reporting as well as streamlining the execution of lifestyle programs and sharing best practices.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

The best companies have a game plan and that game plan starts with a brand. CCMC allowed HEASLEY&PARTNERS to find their heart, put it into words, image it create the actions and encourage the systems that surround it. The results have been stellar. Since the Promise began living up to the awesome CCMC Experience, revenues are up 25% and the number of associations in our care has increased 33%, despite the slow recovery in the residential housing market. 

- CEO, D. J. Cole.