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In an unusual decision by a home builder, Pulte Homes, the nation's largest home builder, has launched a national brand development program, including a redesigned logo, in an effort to convince consumers that Pulte-built houses are better than anything on the market.

Brand awareness campaigns are rare among builders which historically have focused on selling specific homes in specific developments rather than name recognition.

However, according to a recent homeowner survey, 60 percent of homeowners do not know the builder of their own home while 35 percent of homeowners who live in a newly constructed home were unable to even identify the builder from which they purchased.

"On a national scale, there is limited brand identity associated with Pulte Homes or with any homebuilder," said Jim Lesinski, Vice President of Marketing for Pulte.

"As companies in other industries and product categories have done, Pulte Homes can distinguish itself by establishing a solid brand identity that resonates strongly with the consumer. The payback will accrue through increased consumer acceptance, lowered marketing production costs and the energy coming from a unified corporate culture."

Lesinski said the company was making changes to support its strategic direction and strengthen its market visibility.

"Pulte is committed to developing the strongest brand in the homebuilding business," said Lesinski, "Consistency with our presentation and message is the prerequisite for generating category-leading awareness."

The first step in the new image campaign has been the addition of the word "homes" to Pulte name - making Pulte Homes.

"This provides a clear signal of who Pulte is and what it does," Lesinski said.

The next step was recreation of a corporate logo. The new logo uses navy blue as the dominant color, "to signify integrity" and incorporates a "rising sun" icon "to suggest innovation in the limitless possibilities of a new day."

Lesinski said consumers would be introduced to the new name and logo during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in which Pulte is sponsoring a float.

Also, several national marketing programs have already begun this year, including the $250,000 Dream Home Sweepstakes, which will award one winner a $250,000 home.

In addition, national advertising, including a television campaign is being planned.

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