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Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki Speaks About Brand Innovation at ULI

Thursday, September 15, 2016 / Urban Land Institute

Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki is the Principal of tst ink LLC,

IRVINE, CA – One of 2016 BUILDER Magazine’s “most influential women in homebuilding” appeared last Wednesday, September 7 at the Leaders & Managers Program, sharing her experience and branding philosophy with attendees of the ULI OC/IE’s seminars. A Brand Creator Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki is the Principal of tst ink LLC, and has a distinguished 20+-year career of creating and enlivening top-selling brands in the community and resort development industry. Her presentation delved deep into key topics that she believes fuel brand creation and its quintessential need to link to a customer’s experiences to drive brand growth. 

Customer experience is at the heart of Ms. Slavik-Tsuyuki’s philosophy. In her content-packed, ninety-minute presentation, she focused on a how in the community creation business, real meaning can be created in the places and brands built by creating from the customer’s perspective. She subscribes to the motto, “Listen. Help. Engage”, an approach that she applied to a range of communities in three countries.

Ms. Slavik-Tsuyuki pressed for new thinking by marketing and communications firms, architects and master planned community developers. Her credo referenced going off script to innovate, embrace change, giving consumers truth and meaning to create place, and how brands can live their intent and purpose. She councils the concept of the power of curiosity, and engaging that curiosity throughout the customer experience, both before during and after they purchase. She asked participants to consider that every part of their company touches the customer, and that they create ways for people to interact with the brand. She also pointed to the home buying decision as being both emotionally charged and a very rational decision-making process. She challenged the audience to identify places where these intersect, and create spaces and experiences that engage the buyer during their purchase journey, as opposed to just pushing out a message. From maverick naming conventions to creation of “sticky places” for socializing, Ms. Slavik-Tsuyuki reminded her audience they should not be afraid to “think by doing.”

“Be brave enough to reinvent,” she counseled, citing one example in Newland Communities’ Tehaleh near Mt. Rainier in Pierce County, in the state of Washington. Here the emphasis on branding, product design and the overall customer experience is centered on life in the forest, capturing the location, creating environments to which residents were naturally drawn. Things like chalk site plans, resident photo walls, social hubs that also serve food, and ways to engage people in their environment with an amenity strategy that ties to the core of the community brand,  all point to the multilevel way in which this thought leader shaped the success of the community. Tehaleh is reputed to be the Puget Sound’s best-selling community, and is home to eight different homebuilders with neighborhoods, including active adult, ranging from the $300,000s to the $600,000s.

Newland Communities’ Waterset in Tampa, Florida offered another look at Slavik-Tsuyuki’s approach. This multi-homebuilder community encompasses a wide range of amenities, and a system of customer engagement that begins in its one of a kind information center. She also covered ideas like being willing to let go of the old approaches when thinking about new home marketing. A better understanding of customers leads to the elimination of old standards like the model home trap fences. Customers find it off-putting, and thus it was counterintuitive to the brand. Phrases like “Be willing to let go of how you make sense of things.” “Think outside-in”, and “Go off script” encouraged attendees to embrace change.

Throughout her career, Ms. Slavik-Tsuyuki has utilized her vast experience in CRM and product innovation, and integrated marketing strategies. She founded and operated an award-winning marketing and brand design agency in Canada, and for ten years was the agency of record for Intrawest’s resort ownership business. As Chief Marketing Officer for Newland Real Estate Group, Ms. Slavik-Tsuyuki was the architect of the Newland brand, and its application in more than 40 communities in 14 states. Her emphasis on customer experience led to the creation of Newland’s innovative on-site customer experience. She serves as Vice Chair of Urban Land Institute’s Residential Neighborhood Development Council.

In addition to Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, a roster of leading top marketing executives and leaders in community development and homebuilding are participating in the ULI INDUSTRY LEADERS & MANAGERS PROGRAM, organized and led by John Martin of Martin & Associates. The program runs through November 2, 2016 with a break during the week of the ULI Fall Meeting, October 26.

Participants at every level of experience and various industry disciplines attend these valuable two-and-one-half hour seminars that meet Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at First Service Residential in Irvine. There are several ways to participate including special pricing for ULI OC/IE Members and non-members as well as students and the public. For details on these special programs or to register, email

The Urban Land Institute ( is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the ULI has more than 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

Published by : Fran Bangert
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