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Bringing drama to luxury residential marketing.

Lights, camera, action! It is no wonder Len Dugow has brought drama to marketing super luxury residences. His background in the movie industry makes him a natural. His skills, honed early in his career when he learned the importance of appealing to an audience and holding them spellbound, have translated very well to marketing top-tier residences. So well that he has created advertising campaigns that sold out many of Manhattan's toniest - and highest priced - residential properties, frequently before the buildings were completed.

The meticulous strategic planning by Dugow's 20-year-old agency, Len Dugow & Associates (LD&A), has been the creative force behind the sophisticated advertising campaigns that have sold 1,000 residences valued at more than $2 billion.

LD&A has represented 12 of Manhattan's 15 "super-luxury" residential properties to come on the market in the past five years. With "super luxury" defined as costing more than $750 per square foot, this record achievement is as impressive as his roster of clients. The Trump Organization, Vornado Realty Trust, the Macklowe Organization, Tishman Speyer, the Related Companies, Millennium Partners, the Zeckendorf Company and Sidney Fetner Associates chose Dugow to reach that rarified market able to afford the finest residences New York has to offer, including 515 Park Avenue, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Park Laurel, The Chatham, 610 Park Avenue, 15 East 69th Street, 145 East 76th Street and 90 East End Avenue.

"Each building has its own special story to tell. We understand how to identify, shape and tell that story so it resonates and sells," Dugow says. "Our first order of business is to define that individuality and exclusivity. We then create a distinct personality for that specific property and its specific audience."

Most importantly, Dugow knows the affluent market. "We know who these people are, where they live and vacation, and how to reach them in the most efficient and cost-effective ways," says Dugow.

"Identifying this target is one thing, appealing to them is another," Dugow maintains, adding that these potential buyers are successful, discriminating, intelligent and sharply focused individuals. They are demanding and value-driven, hungry for telling detail and impatient with irrelevance. "First impressions matter and must make an impact - the right impact - to engage them, draw them in and appeal to their curiosity, wallet and lifestyle," he says.

Dugow explains that people who are paying $1,000 a square foot know and expect the best. They know what Botticino marble, Brazilian cherry-wood floors and cafe' ocre. polished counters are. The affluent market targeted by LD&A is a very small and select group of individuals representing the top 2 percent of the world's income bracket.

This affluent market extends beyond Manhattan and the United States to Asia, South America and Europe - and to reach them, Dugow creates global campaigns.

For the most expensive super-luxury apartments, the size of the target audience decreases significantly. "Since this market is so small and difficult to reach, we make sure our marketing materials are appealing and intriguing enough to garner an immediate response," says Dugow, who is renowned for, his extraordinary brochures.

The key to selling the highest end residences is to sell the lifestyle and a service rich environment. Just as important as the features of the apartment are the neighborhood - its restaurants, shops and nearby cultural activities which set that neighborhood apart. According to Dugow, the Fifth Avenue or Central Park West home that overlooks Central Park appeals to some buyers, while a Park Avenue address is attractive to another buyer.

"Our campaigns make people want to live there, to be part of that community," Dugow says. "Photos of the neighborhood and the views are worth a thousand words."

Growing Reputation Expands LD&A's Scope

Hitting the explicit responsive notes of that affluent niche market is LD&A's forte, and the engine that has propelled its business nationally and beyond residential real estate.

The firm represents clients in San Francisco, Connecticut, Washington, DC and Miami. Hotel chains Ritz Canton and Four Seasons have put their luxury residences in LD&A's hands.

In 1995, Dugow opened a full-service advertising and public relations agency in Miami to meet the needs of his growing number of Florida-based clients. In just four years, that office has grown to 14 people and accounts for a third of the firm's annual billings of $70 million.

An interesting new direction for the agency is the marketing of Castle Senior Living, Manhattan's first supported living facility dedicated exclusively to people with Alzheimer's disease. The firm's selection hinged on its reputation for reaching the affluent, not its experience with health-care. Dugow's ability to tap the affluent market gave him the advantage over traditional healthcare advertising agencies. In this case, it is not the residents of Castle Senior Living, but their wealthy children who are the decision-makers. It is. quality of life and care for their aging parents, not cost, that is their concern.

Keeping Pace with Changes in the Industry and Market

There is no standard formula in the creation of an effective advertising campaign. According to Dugow, each city is unique and offers a unique set of opportunities and challenges. What appeals to New Yorkers as sophisticated and elegant can translate as dull and boring in Miami. A successful approach in Miami can easily come across as outrageous in other parts of the country.

Understanding each specific market and the elements that make it attractive to potential purchasers is crucial. This is the case even within New York City, where neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and SoHo each have distinct personalities that will appeal to a particular individual.

Marketing luxury buildings has changed significantly. Once the model apartment was the primary marketing tool. They have virtually disappeared and been replaced by highly sophisticated ad campaigns and lavish brochures.

"We keep a sharp eye on advancing technology, the market and economy to remain at the cutting edge," Dugow says, explaining that he is also clear on his firm's message, its specialties and its target clients. "We expect to continue expanding the categories of super-luxury products we represent, as well as our geographical reach, by opening more offices in the next year."
COPYRIGHT 1999 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Nov 24, 1999
Words:1029
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