A change of name and a new approach to marketing their two retirement villages is paying off for the Victorian operator.
The Buxton Group was established in 1968 by Richard Buxton, delivering properties across residential, commercial, hospitality and recreation sectors.
In the late 90’s, he began to search for a retirement apartment for his parents. Unable to find a suitable property, the Group added retirement to their development portfolio, opening the luxury 71-apartment Rylands of Brighton in 2002 which became the brand name for the group.
They built two more Rylands five-star villages in Kew and Hawthorn to their portfolio – maintaining a stake in each – before the Brighton village was sold to Aveo and the other two villages were bought out by Stockland.
Plans for a third village underway
But as we reported here, the family re-entered the retirement living business in 2012, and bought out Aveo to regain Rylands of Brighton, now known as The Crescent.
In December 2019 – just over 12 months ago – the group completed their second 35-apartment development, The Granton, also in Brighton with plans for a third site in the same area.
With the Rylands trademark no longer in their hands, both villages had been operated under the Buxton family name until last year with separate websites for each village, when the family decided it was time for a fresh approach.
You can check out their new website here.
A family focus
As you can see, the focus is on family – a deliberate choice to reflect the values of the business, according to Richard’s daughter, Samantha Buxton, who joined the business in 2001.
Samantha tells us they did the initial branding work during the COVID lockdown with a consultant to capture their mission statement and values before turning over the project to creative agency Canyon – an agency which had no previous experience in the retirement sector.
“Most village names are quite traditional and more related to the building and less to the personal side of the business,” she said. “They gave us four options and we chose the most progressive,” she said.
They then embarked on a digital marketing campaign following the lifting of restrictions in Victoria to promote the re-brand, investing a considerable amount in new photography.
Enquiry on the upswing
Post-restrictions, there was still a reluctance from prospective residents to visit the villages.
“Some people didn’t want to come in,” Samantha says. “There was still that fear.”
But enquiry picked up in November and the group has now recorded five sales in December and January after doing no other promotion during the year.
Prices at The Crescent range from $750,000 to $1.5 million, while The Granton goes from $890,000 up to $4.6 million.
“I can’t say it’s because of the name but I’m hoping it is – it obviously really resonated,” Samantha added. “Even our existing clients have commented on it. It’s been a good endorsement.”