Better Apartment Branding Should’ve Happened By Now—Why Hasn’t It?
Better apartment branding should’ve happened by now—why hasn’t it gotten there yet? First, there’s confusion over brand versus identity. That means there are entirely different schools of thought around how to actually “do” branding. Second, there’s an old way—think Mad Men—and there’s a new way—think Google—which thrives on creating hyper-successful solutions that its consumers will come back to again and again. Drawing in, calling, beckoning in, instead of reaching out, hoping for a bite.
Yet, some are stuck in the old way. Because it used to work. It’s true that some of us are still out here going, “What makes a good apartment brand?”
Let’s dive in.
The Old Way of Apartment Branding
TOUCH OF VISUAL BRANDING
Mad Men had a whole creative team that worked on things that were advertisement driven. The logo. The colors. The fonts. The brand was relegated to become only the visual identity. (We will say: Don Draper did manage to get some more depth into some of the brands.) Once the visual identity was determined the marketing was considered done.
With the onset of the internet, websites began popping up for different brands. They were pretty terrible at first. And some are still stuck in that Times New Roman, poor photo quality, sharp gray gradient box pop up style, with no thought about user-friendliness or mobile-responsiveness or aesthetics!. “Just get the info on there and it’ll be good enough.” Not quite.
ADVERTISE AT ALL COSTS
Print, radio, TV ads—they all cost a pretty penny. And not every company has the advertising budget to even try to touch the competition. Just imagine if you freed up a percentage of that advertising budget for something else!
THE SHORT OF IT:
Advertising only works well today if you’ve already built an audience. Yet, so many apartment communities are still stuck in this old way—with bad websites and only a logo, fonts and a color palette to show for their entire brand. There are many things an apartment logo can’t do for your brand. Work towards freshening up your apartment branding approach. Go new school.
The New Way of Apartment Branding
DETERMINE OBJECTIVES AND VALUES
“Start with why” – Simon Sinek’s golden circle marketing theory isn’t about making a profit. Instead It’s why you got into the business in the first place.
Why→ Make every day living luxurious.)
What→ Provide a community for young professionals that’s elegant and easy
How→ Build a brand that echoes elegance from every corner, from fabric choices to font choices to new staff onboarding.
From the inside out, you have to drive your apartment community branding with values. Add in work on your mission, your vision, and get everything else built on that—or it will all crumble. Start. With. Why.
GET YOUR IDENTITY TOGETHER
Sometimes brands come to us and ask us for copywriting help, but they don’t have their identity together—this is like baking without a recipe. You might get something good, but unless we’re taking notes along the way, it won’t be replicable, and it might not be what you expect!
Do yourself (and us) a favor, and work towards getting your identity tidied up. We’re talking: voice, name, logo, colors, fonts, images—anything that can identify you. Get it squared away.
In fact, creating a brand identity is step #1 (of FIVE!) in Masterclass’ brand marketing guide.
ATTRACT THE RIGHT RESIDENTS
After your identity is determined, work toward:
Brand Awareness: creating an ideal resident profile helps with that
Brand Positioning: figure out why you’re different from the competition and *work it*
Telling Your Brand Story: we love a brand we can connect with!
Brand Loyalty: your loyal residents can be your best bit of marketing—they’ll tell their friends and leave good reviews, helping boost online perception, too.
THE SHORT OF IT:
Better apartment branding (“new school”) is focused on making awareness the top of the sales (or leasing) funnel. When you build up your organic audience (residents in this case) before you go to market, you get to spend less on advertising. Go for inbound marketing—create content your audience wants, and draw them in. Get on social media to be accessible, to entertain, build awareness and brand recognition, and build up your audience. And when you launch your new community, it will already be in front of the people you most want to target.
Better Apartment Branding Now
GET CLEAR ON IDENTITY VS. BRAND
Let’s explore a little phrase. When someone says “well that’s on brand for them” it means it lines up with what they know to be true about the company or about the person—it was expected. Their name is their identity. But: It’s not 100% who they are—that comes in with how they act, what they put forth, what they embody and value. Brand is the part that draws your ideal residents in, particularly around mission, vision, values. Creating these helps make your brand you, because you’ve started from the inside, out. (Remember the golden circle that starts with “why”?)
- Your brand is your tagline (identity described) actually played out!
- Your brand is the reason you’re the top choice—not just a different option.
- Your brand is the feel, while identity is only the look.
MORE THAN LOGOS
Logos do not equate to brand. It’s part of the visual identity. A logo is one tool in your entire branding toolkit. One part of…
One of our favorite things at zipcode! Strategy within apartment brand development is everything when it comes to marketing multifamily communities. You get to build trust, pride, and feature your favorite parts of your apartment brand. Research your audience (create that ideal resident profile) and take a look at the competition. Get your mission, vision, and values lined up. Tell your story. Make things pretty (we can help with this, 100%). Assess everything. Track all your marketing moves.
Hey, visual identity folks: Eyes up here—start branding with your heart and everything will get a little better.