Case Study by Marc Lauriault RGD
Located on Puerto Rico’s northern coast, Dorado Beach is a unique 1,400-acre luxurious and sustainable Caribbean resort destination that blends a lush natural setting with its 50-year heritage.
The current developers, Caribbean Property Group (CPG) and PRISA Group, asked Bruce Mau Design to work on the brand positioning and marketing strategy for the launch of the newly conceptualized Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residences. The initial phases of this project began in 2010, and our work extended to the overall resort branding and identity, as well as the branding for the other on-site real estate holdings. The property is still in development. This was a unique opportunity to reinvigorate Laurance Rockefeller’s legendary Dorado Beach Resort.
Our marketing strategy targeted those seeking an upscale secondary residence who were likely to be from New York or other American and European cities with direct flights to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. Dorado’s accessibility is a strong draw for potential buyers.
In order to build a community centred around friendship and family life, the marketing and sales strategy focused on creating personalized messaging and conversations, rather than a typical broadcast model.
Our team at BMD worked with the Dorado Beach sales team and investors to ideate, strategize and brand these exclusive new properties. Our multidisciplinary design team expanded and contracted to accommodate the client's needs and housed a variety of skilled individuals, including writers, strategists, architects, photographers, artists and designers.
My role included designing and leading a series of designers under senior mentorship through research, creative development, design, layout and production on many components of this project spanning branding, print, digital and environmental graphics.
Our research began with a thorough brand audit, competitive analysis and stakeholder interviews to gain insight and allow themes to emerge that would differentiate Dorado from other luxury resorts. A multi-day site visit and on-site workshops with the client allowed our team to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and place, and to test potential strategic directions.
We focused on how to best communicate the opportunity for meaningful shared experiences in the context of Dorado’s diverse offerings. Driven by the idea that luxury can be defined as spending time with the people you love, BMD developed a brand that focused on spending “life time” in an eco-conscious, thoughtfully maintained and luxurious resort.
For the branding, our goal was to create a unique graphic and pattern inspired by the natural beauty of the place that would feel luxurious and would reflect the history of Dorado Beach. We also worked to develop an over-arching system that would connect the resort brand and its various real-estate holdings.
In our execution of the new brand strategy and identity, we designed several unique pieces and marketing materials to create a holistic experience including product brochures, stationery, magazine ads, invitations, a website, email blasts, an app available on iTunes, an exclusive iPad case for property owners, a sales video and a commemorative coffee-table book. To help share Dorado’s unique history, we also designed a new signage and wayfinding system, a complete sales centre experience and a master site map.
- When strategizing and visualizing such a complex system, it is important to fully understand all of the moving parts before beginning design work. Ask questions, redraw the place, diagram the components and create a master plan.
- Outline the project in terms of needs and also potential opportunities, even if they are outside of the scope. Clients love great ideas and, when feasible, they could lead to new phases of work.
- Think about the project in terms of scale, from macro to micro. For this project we considered the entire visitor experience, from the website to the plane to the entrance to the destination—how do the elements create a holistic experience?
- Work with the designers in an open, collaborative way. Be transparent in interviews and conversations; contradictions in company values are common and it’s best to pinpoint these and resolve them as early in the process as possible.
- Involve as many people on your team as possible from the start, so the creative development is maximized by getting to the real problem as soon as possible and quickly gaining consensus on the desired outcomes.
- While it may not always be possible, site visits can really inform and inspire designers’ work and help everyone truly understand the project goals.
If you are looking for a qualified firm for your next design project, contact RGD to connect you with experienced professionals