2014 EQ Awards

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Corey McBurney, President of EnerQuality, was quoted as saying the future of development, home building and renovations is being written by the innovators.At BAM, we’re lucky enough to count many of those innovators Corey is referring to as clients. EnerQuality, who are currently celebrating 10 years of the ENERGY STAR program, is the Canadian housing industry’s top certifier of energy efficient homes. Recently, they announced their list of finalists for the EQ 2014 Awards – and two long-time BAM clients, Brookfield Residential and Empire Communities, are up for multiple awards.

Brookfield, who had a year marked with new (successful) communities and countless satisfied homeowners, has been nominated for Building Innovation and Ontario Green Builder of the Year awards. Empire Communities have been nominated for three awards: Ontario Green Builder of the Year (for the second year in a row), ENERGY STAR for New Homes Builder of the Year and Best Green Marketing Campaign. Winners will be announced February 19th during the annual EQ Housing Innovation Forum.

At BAM, we help clients shape their green programs and create their green marketing campaigns, so understandably it’s a thrill for us to stand beside them as they’re recognized as ahead of the pack in the residential construction industry. Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to do so multiple times at the EQ Awards – in fact, Empire Communities won the Building Innovation and Excellence Award and ENERGY STAR for New Homes Builder of the Year in 2012 and 2011 respectively, and Sean Mason won in 2011 for the Leader of the Year award.

I’d like to congratulate Brookfield and Empire, and – as well – my hard working team here at BAM. I look forward to the gala this week, and letting everyone know the results of the awards.

What Does The Reduction In Bank Of Canada’s Interest Rate Mean For Canadians?

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Last week, in response to the recent sharp drop in oil prices, The Bank of Canada announced that its interest rate would be dropping to 0.75% – significant considering it’s the second lowest it’s been in the past two decades. It was definitely a surprising move, especially as economists had previously forecasted an increase.

So what exactly does this all mean for Canadians? It could mean lower mortgage rates, which would be particularly exciting for homeowners, and those considering making a purchase. Variable-rate mortgages are determined by the prime interest rate, which is – in turn – linked to the same overnight interest rate that the Bank of Canada just lowered. As one writer for Renter’s Guide noted, people buy payment, not house prices, which I’m sure many people can relate to.

Individuals making payments on other types of debts may see a difference as well. Like variable-rate mortgages, lines of credit and credit card rates (dependant on lender) are generally tied to a bank’s prime interest rate, which is usually tied to the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. That means borrowers may see their monthly costs come down, depending on whether their bank cuts its prime interest rate; however, some banks have yet to adjust their rates amidst many concerns. Most pressing is the fact that Canada’s household debt-to-income ratio hit a record high 162.6 percent just this past December.

Any downsides? Well some obvious ones that come to mind is our dollar, which fell dramatically against a variety of major currencies as soon as the Bank of Canada made its announcement. That’s bad news for any of you planning any trips south of the border or abroad. Another negative about a lower Canadian dollar is the higher cost of imports such as food from the USA; however, a major benefit of lower Canadian dollar is the potential increase in Canadian exports. Another potential downside to the drop in interest rate is that it could mean bad news for individuals who count on interest generated from traditional savings accounts.

Interest rates have proven to be, if anything, unpredictable. This decrease is looking like it will be a great opportunity for a majority of homeowners and buyers in the interim, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out and affects the real estate market in the long-term.

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Advertising Out Of Your Social Media Campaign

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Social media has grown substantially in more ways than one. What began to balloon in the mid 2000s as a free way for brands to promote themselves, has become a circle of revenue driven corporations that no builder, brand or organization can afford to ignore in their marketing strategies. Not convinced? Well, in 2014 alone, 1.5 million businesses combined spent (a total of) $2.66 billion on Facebook advertising. That number is actually an increase over 2013.

In its infancy stage, brands seemed to struggle with the various platforms. Social media appeared to level the playing field in terms of marketing, making the sole barrier to entry a PC, Mac or smartphone – and many brands attempted to participate by simply existing. Then the platforms (most notably Facebook) did something drastic. They began to throttle engagement and impressions, forcing brands to pay in order to reach a larger audience. What this shift to pay-to-play models has done, beyond creating ways for these platforms to sustain themselves and grow, is put the power back into the hands of professionals and force more creative uses of the platforms. Marketers and brand champions must now understand the financial implications of haphazard campaigns, and strive to use their clients’ budgets to achieve more concrete ROI.

Some great examples are Facebook Ads and, more recently, Pinterest’s promoted pins. Both platforms seem to understand that their users aren’t overly excited about being advertised to, and thus have implemented restrictions upon advertisers that require them to bring creative, personal and engaging content to the table – or face failure. Restrictions include the use of sales heavy messaging and copy heavy images. The result is an attempt to create authentic relationships through the use of great imagery/copywriting and personal connections.

Within the real estate industry, this concept of creating authentic relations seems like a no-brainer. The use of targeted advertising to potential homebuyers on a platform like Facebook, where 829 million users spend an average of 40 minutes a day, can result in not only registrations, but also referrals. It’s a unique opportunity for users to engage and share one of the most exciting times of their lives with you – and everyone else (including their friends/family) can watch it unfold.

Your strategy and approach to advertising should be tailored to the specific network you choose to use, whether it’s the use of YouTube pre-roll ads, Twitter sponsored tweets or even promoted LinkedIn posts – but there is definitely a platform that is right for your specific campaign. Ignoring these platforms, unfortunately, is no longer an option.

BAM 2014 Year In Review

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It’s hard to believe 2014 is almost over already. For the team here at BAM, it’s been phenomenal. As we do every year, we continued to grow – adding new team members and big new clientsI’m confident that we’re now the strongest we’ve ever been.

As we prepare to say farewell to 2014 and welcome in a New Year, I thought it would be a great opportunity to look at some of the great things we’ve done this year:

We Launched Marketing Automation

I spoke a lot this year about marketing automation, which is all about providing customers with a personalized experience, and how excited we were about the benefits that this type of relationship building creates for our clients. Well, we officially began offering this service as of September 2014. We’ve been deploying personalized e-blasts and targeted website content for Queensville, and we’re currently implementing personalization into our upcoming projects for 2015.

We Drove Sales

I always say that when our clients win, we win. So you can imagine how happy we were to see clients like Empire Communities achieve an astounding 1000 sales this year and long-time associate and friend Sean Mason – who launched his own company this year – have such a successful opening.

L-R Carrie Alexander and Paul Golini of Empire Communities with me (John Amardeil); Sean Mason Preview Opening

L-R Carrie Alexander and Paul Golini of Empire Communities with me (John Amardeil); Sean Mason Preview Opening

We Got Exciting New Clients

We started to work on some big projects this year like Queensville, a huge new development north of Newmarket, for Aspen Ridge, CountryWide and Lakeview. We also, as I touched on already, helped green builder Sean Mason launch his company, Sean Homes, which is the most exciting new development project in the history of Barrie. We also began working on some exciting new communities that will be launching in 2015, such as New Seaton in North Pickering (for Aspen Ridge, Brookfield, CountryWide and TowerHill) and a London multi-use site for Sifton.

We Became Certified

This year BAM became a Google AdWords Certified Partner. Over the last five years, we’ve really been pushing the envelope to better manage our clients’ digital marketing campaigns. With brand new team members in our eBAM department and in client services, we are performing at our highest level ever.

We Won Awards

It’s always great to stand behind our clients as they are recognized for their successes – and this year presented a few opportunities for us to do just that! We attended the 34th annual BILD awards, where Green Builder of the Year (Low-Rise) was awarded to Empire Communities. Brookfield Residential and BAM were also awarded with the newest BILD award for the year –Best New Video. All in all, we were nominated for over 10 different awards!

L-R BAM joins Empire Communities on stage at the 34th annual BILD awards; BAM and Brookfield Residential Ontario accept their award.

L-R BAM joins Empire Communities on stage at the 34th annual BILD awards; BAM and Brookfield Residential Ontario accept their award.


I’m excited for whatever 2015 has in store for us – and likewise, what BAM has in store for it. I’d like to thank all of our supporters, and wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

Getting Geared Up For The BILD Awards

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At BAM, we strive to make sure our clients win, because we are our clients – so their win is our win. As (intrinsically) good as winning feels, it’s also great to share our successes with others. The BILD Awards is one such opportunity for players within the GTA building and development industry to be recognized alongside their peers and awarded for their excellence in various categories such as Best Public Relations Campaign and Home Builder of the Year. The winners are announced at an exclusive gala with nearly 1,000 of the GTA’s biggest builders, designers, renovators, and sales and marketing professionals under one roof – If you’re in our industry, it’s the place to be!

In the past BAM has had tremendous success at the BILD Awards – we’ve won awards for various campaigns such as last year’s Best Video (Low-Rise) and the previous year’s Best Social Media Campaign. Last year we were also up for for best e-mail marketing piece, best website and best low-rise sales office, among other nominations.

It’s always an honour to stand behind our clients at the BILD awards, and 2015 will be no different. We’re gearing up to make our submissions for this year’s awards, and hopefully we’ll be sharing the stage with them next April.

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