Creative Strategy in a Growing City

Dunbar Commercial | Las Vegas, NV


by Wendy Van Ryn

This project took place in the mid-late 2000s, at a time when information was moving from paper to digital, and smartphones were on the rise. I share it because it shows the approach I take in evaluating what a business (regardless of industry) is doing, not only creatively but also strategically.

Dunbar Commercial was brand new when I started working with them, so two questions were at the forefront of my mind:

1) How do you elevate content, amidst a plethora of competitors?

My solution to this was to provide content no one else in town was providing. While it was common industry practice to provide retailers with information pertinent to specific properties, information revealing the bigger picture wasn’t a part of that. In a city that doubled in size from 1997 – 2011, information about what was going on outside the immediate property was crucial, especially when it came to where competitors were located.

So – we provided them with the immediate information, but also information relevant to the trade area, regional corridors, and the entire city.

You name it, we provided it. Everything from existing and proposed properties to existing and future development for trade areas, master-planned communities, hospitals, casinos, shopping centers and retailers, competitors, distances between sites, traffic counts, etc. was put into master documents.

These documents made generating custom information quick and easy – I could turn on or off whatever information I wanted. I could segment out specific trade areas or regions, and apply filters to show the information necessary for the client. This enabled us to provide clients with anything relevant to their search for property in Las Vegas.

2) How do you make content easy to navigate?

Since the use of smartphones was not yet widespread, when developers would visit to tour potential sites, they would basically be handed a crapload of paper. From individual sheets (sometimes stapled, sometimes not, sometimes in a folder…) they would have to wade through it all in the car while touring the sites.

Cumbersome much?

To resolve this problem, I created tour books, customized for each property, and presented in order of the tour. While it seems like an easy solution, the clients had never had it so easy, and they loved it. We had consistent, excellent feedback on our materials. Not only was the information easy to access, it was easier to physically handle and get back home as well.

One of our earliest trade secrets was sending clients large-format aerials of the entire city, prior to their tours. This gesture was worth more than the cost of printing and shipping. Not only did they hang them in their offices (a great reminder of who to call the next time they were looking for property), but it also showed a genuine care about simplifying their understanding of the crazy growth in Las Vegas.

While working with Dunbar Commercial, I also created the first versions of their identity, website, and all their marketing materials, from postcards to brochures, etc.

Note: The following photo is not an exact representation of the tour books, however this gives you an idea of the content. Each book had a table of contents and tabbed sections dividing each property.