Lumber Mill to Luxury:
- PR – Media Relations
Mill District, a high-end mixed-use development, broke ground in 2021 on 10-acres in Healdsburg, Calif.. Mill District occupies the previous site of a mill famed for transforming logs of redwood, cedar and pine into gorgeously grained lumber and wood products.
The $500 million neighborhood celebrates this milling history in the project’s architectural design. Mill District is situated at the main entrance to town and runs one block from the historic downtown plaza. When finished, the neighborhood will expand and enhance downtown Healdsburg, one of America’s best small towns, while renewing an industrial site.
Replay Destinations hired The Abbi Agency (TAA) to position Mill District as the luxury residence in the heart of historic downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County. After a thorough analysis of the brand, we recognized the opportunity to educate audiences about the new development while furthering Healdsburg’s identity as a luxury destination.
The Big Integrated Idea
Through strategic media relations, we combined our expertise in travel and tourism with their mastery of development-focused communications to create a PR plan that merges destination marketing with real estate storylines. With over 10 brand partners working collaboratively on the project (including renowned brands such as Sotheby’s International Realty and Experience Studio’s paid media plan), TAA led and managed all media communications to establish a uniformed brand identity.
The foundation of our work with Mill District was formed by establishing and executing a four-pronged approach to public relations:
- Digital Performance-Based PR — Garnering stories in digital media outlets to drive potential buyers back to your point of sales system.
- Brand Building PR — Choosing outlets that will support the key messages of the brand as well as provide overarching awareness to reach target audiences.
- Endemic PR — Securing stories in niche publications. These stories will appeal to a reader’s natural interest while ensuring the destination is highlighted.
- Expert Positioning — Positioning Replay Destinations as a thought leader in the real estate development space by securing expert commentary opportunities in media outlets.
With these strategies in mind, TAA began developing storylines that not only capitalized on Healdsburg as the ultimate place to eat, play and stay, but as the best place to live in California’s prestigious wine country. Mill District’s luxurious amenities and unique design spoke for themselves: from Architectural Digest AD100 firm Olson Kundig leading design of the first phase, Canopy, to 3 Michelin Star and Wine Spectator Grand Award Winner SingleThread Farm, Restaurant and Inn collaborating on kitchen function and performance, winecuration and storage, culinary gardens, and concierge experiences, Mill District is bringing a natural sense of luxury to California’s wine country and TAA shouted that message from the (Russian River) mountaintops.
Through monthly PR pitches mirroring timely Mill District developments, local community relations, intimate press events for journalists to experience Mill District amenities themselves and industry communications to position Replay Destinations as a leader in luxury developments, TAA was able to establish brand identity and garner storylines that increased brand awareness.
- 15 Pieces of Coverage
- 84.5K Estimated Coverage Views
- Estimated audience of 21M
- 950% ROI
In the first twelve months of working with Mill District, TAA was able to secure over 15 pieces of media coverage, including top-tier publications Dwell, Fodor’s, SF Chronicle and others featuring either the property or the destination of Healdsburg. These digital and print features equated to 84,500 estimated coverage views with an estimated audience of 21 million. In addition, 50% of digital placements included a backlink to milldistricthealdsburg.com, allowing for further opportunities for the sales team.
What Mill District and TAA consider the biggest win of the working relationship would be the feature in architectural magazine, Dwell. The article shared an overarching approach to the project, featuring several key stakeholders and emphasizing the lifestyle Mill District will offer. As a response, it was found that the piece led to the largest penthouse sale of 2021. Because of the power of public relations, Mill District received an ROI of 950% from contract signing date to the date the piece was published.
Click here to learn more about our Pitching Strategy at the PRSA Travel Conference