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Lori Valenti Webb

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Money Worth Spending- Promotional Items Done Right

Money Worth Spending- Promotional Items Done Right
As far as partnerships go, the one that I have forged with a great promotional company has been one of my favorites.  Stephen McFadden and I collaborated for the first time many years ago, and that is when he taught me how much more there is to promotional items than what had always been done.  At that time, we started venturing into promo that was strategic and smart.  When promotional items were created and customized to a specific event or specific outreach, they had way more value to them. For example, when we were working on some student properties, instead of handing out generic stuff- the everyday koozie- we started creating ‘eye blacks’ that were branded for football games, and after a while, everyone knew we were the ones that gave out that material.  Next thing you knew, people were running around tail-gating with our eye blacks on.  The examples from there grew, and then Stephen started really thinking about how promo items can be a bigger value to ROI. There was an interesting pattern that he spotted.  Companies wanted to get his ideas on items that would showcase their brand and produce a converted lead, but they were not willing to invest the money.  Companies will spend $100ks of dollars on new branding and marketing/advertising material and then wind up getting super generic promotional items.  This creates the Brand Gap – How are future residents supposed to know you have a waterfall pool and $10,000 chandelier based on the $.50 stadi......
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How we snagged 35 leases in a weekend on a lease up!

There are many reasons that a property may need to pull off a very nice event; Grand-Opening, Ground-Breaking; large Leasing Weekend; Holiday Party/Resident Party; all of these take a lot of work.  From my experience of working with over 90+ lease ups and hundreds of stabilized properties, I wanted to compile an expectation list of what goes into planning an event.  It’s important to be aware of all the work that is involved.  The last thing that you want to do is have a big event on the property and then have the office team so inundated with the details of the event, that they begin to disregard their biggest priorities- leasing and running a property.  Often times, this happens, because there are so many details that need to happen to carry out an event that are successful.  The goal should be to pull off the perfect balance of keeping the team focused on their daily duties and have an event that is memorable, motivating, and exceptionally productive.  The following breaks down a list of what you need to be prepared for; especially if you are spending a lot of money on the event.  If you have a lower budget, you can follow these notes- but adjust per budget allotment. #1- Determine the Goal of the event.  You may have many reasons to have an event; a property rebrand, a big leasing party, a resident appreciation event, grand opening, event with city officials…  you get the idea.  Make sure to have a g......
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How to Think Different- recap from AIM keynote speaker

A super-fantabulous 7 minute recap of the Futurist key-note speaker from AIM 2017.  Rohit Bhargara, trend creator extraordinaire gave us not only a glimpse into future trends, but showed us how to curate them.  Well-known for maxims such as “Big Ideas Don’t Work” and “Most Trend Predictions Fail”, Bhargara teaches a framework for discovering and testing trend creation and putting the insights to work in a profitable way.  Sharing 8 of the Top Trends, attendees were on the edge of our seats, and we were not disappointed.  Better yet, we left motivated on how to think differently about ideas and current trends. Industry Leaders, we are in a believability crisis.  See through the noise; find the ideas that have meaning.  Teach yourself to spot ideas and make them trends.  Accelerate the ideas.    The TOP 8 trends for the next year.  Here is how they produced the trends: a.       Gather- save interesting ideas b.       Aggregate the data c.       Name the trend d.       Elevate e.       Prove TOP 8 TRENDS: Virtual Empathy- people want to understand the process.  They want to feel, touch, see everything- during all milestones.  This makes them feel connected.  Bring them into the story. Use VR, AR, and Mixed Reality to take people behind the scenes- Video is a big tool for this.  Fierce Femininity- YEAH! Take a stand and make a statement where you can.  Women are strong, hardworking, inspiring and fierce.  No longer seen as pretty girls. Passive Loyalty- these days, people choose convenience unless they are heavily r......
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Lead Mail with Apartment Guide; does it work?

Hey everyone, I wanted to share the case study that we published with Apartment Guide citing our success with Lead Mail for a specific event that we had- our Showcase of Apartment Homes.  Please see the full case study.   The Challenge | Making an event matter during slow season As the calendar year winds down, so too does leasing season.   There are two ways to respond to the slow down – accept that prospective renters just aren’t renting apartments or invest in capturing as many of those looking as possible. Associated Estates chose the latter in November of 2014. “It’s always a little slower at that time, but we wanted to close the year out strong,” said Lori Webb, Director of Marketing for Associated Estates. The challenge was reaching the smaller pool of prospective residents to choose an Associated Estates community over the competition during the slow months. The traditional methods just weren’t going to generate the response they needed. “We’re always looking for a way to reach more people,” Webb said. “The psychology behind an open house is something that really resonates with people, so finding a way to get the word out was something that we looked at very closely. What could we do that would reach as many qualified people as possible?”  Associated Estates’ portfolio consists of 55 apartment communities containing 14,524 units located in 10 states, which include two committed acquisitions with 681 units that are being managed during lease-up and five apartment communities with 1,446 units in various ......
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Where the pets play!

Where the pets play!
The picture attached is of my Milo.  He and his brother, Beckham, are like my children.  I would do anything for them, really- almost anything, and I'm not alone.  We are seeing, more & more, how much pets are truly becoming a part of the family.  If I was looking for an apartment, my search would start with my boys having a great quality of life.  Yes, pet searches are one of the top searches that renters look up, but they are also exploring a lot more- what's in it for the pet?  How can we create a pet paradise in our apartments? 1. Dog parks are so important.  Pets need a place to run, exercise, play and socialize.  If you have a pet park, market it.  Take your park a step further, add some agility pieces.  This is inexpensive to do, a see-saw like bridge, a tunnel to run through...  add some colorful elements to get more pets having fun at the park. 2. Happy Hour in the Dog park.  Everyone loves to watch their pets run around and have fun, while playing with other pets.  Everyone loves a drink!  Combine the 2 for a fun hour at the park. 3. Offer some pet services on the property.  Dog walkers, pet sitters, pet mobile grooming- have these services for your residents for their convenience and busy schedules. 4. Host fun Pet Meet ups at the pet park!  Or a pet walking Meet up...  Give people the time and place to......
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It's all about the Services Program!

It's all about the Services Program!
I've recently been traveling all over the nation with my position.  I've been from Atlanta to Charlotte to Dallas to LA trying to understand what different markets are doing, new trends on properties and what is being offered to the current resident base.  Every city that I go to has something different that stands out, but one underlying commonality among many different properties across the nation, is the shift toward Service Programs. Our Industry has adopted a shift toward offering a Lifestyle package at our properties.  We have seen that residents love the interaction on social, they come out and enjoy themselves when we host great parties, they have become interested in what the community can offer them.  Well, a natural progression was for us to start offering Services, and I have seen many being offered at all property types.  Many of the people that reside in our communities are looking for convenience.  Our residents work long hours, frequently travel, have kids that they need to cater to, are downsizing so that they can enjoy life; they are looking for events, services, and conveniences that will make their daily lives easier.  What I've liked most is a property that knows their true "Niche"- say they are LEED certified and aggressively try to make the community and area a better/greener place to be.  It's very cool to see Services that this type of community can provide that evolve from the Green lifestyle.  Some ideas: Recycling Services; Green Irene Services; Light Bulb changing; Organic......
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Invent your Reality

I recently read a great article on Apple's branding model in Entrepreneur Magazine.  It inspired me, as Steve Jobs always seems to do.  The article spoke about things that we always hear, how Jobs played by his own rules, pushed the envelope, created his own reality.  That stuck with me.  In our space we often find ourselves dealing with past problems, bad reviews, upset residents and obstacle & objections over and over.  Instead of shifting through all of this noise, cancel it....  Recreate a new reality.  At any time, you can change the rules and reset the stage.  Your property is a wonderful canvas for you to inspire, create and prosper.  Spring is here and this is a wonderful time for reinvention.  Come to the table, with team-in-tow, and lay everything out there, and decide on the property's new reality.  There are a few things to think about for a new beginning like this.  What do you want to accomplish?  What is truly important to you in your life, in your teams' lives?  What is really important in the overall big picture?  Just start to write down the things that your talented team members brainstorm is the best starting point.  Someone is an exceptional event planner (throws awesome parties in their personal life), someone's mom is battling cancer and would love support for the charity they sponsor, someone loves photography, animals, blogging, etc.  Here is your framework for the new reality you are going to build. Rewrite the pages of the......
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Real-Time Apartment Tours through Skype and Facetime!

Real-Time Apartment Tours through Skype and Facetime!

So excited to be a part of such a smart and convenient new way of touring.  We are constantly reviewing Google Analytics that show people from out of state/ out of country looking at our website.  Well guess what, these people are looking for apartments and cannot always get out to the community when they need to make a decision. 

In the day and age of super-technology, and the newest generation wanting everything at their finger-tips, we are here to oblige!  Our teams have started offering SKYPE/Facetime tours, where prospects can do their tour from the comfort of their living rooms! Now the person being relocated from China can lease an apartment without even visiting the property.  The excellence behind offering this option, is that a leasing agent is still hosting the tour and able to answer questions and view different apartments in real-time!  Our teams have embraced this and are excited to pioneer this awesome program.

Happy to announce that we have had our first leases this week from our live Facetime tours.  Associated Estates is always leading the charge to innovate and create and we are dedicated to creating the best leasing experience, from the easy & convenient tour from the kitchen table, to the exceptional service you will receive at one of our properties. 

#AssociatedEstates #EndlessPossibilities

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Kind, Random Acts in 2014

I received a letter in the mail a few weeks ago. This was a letter from my friend Kristin Oxford announcing her participation with Team in Training for the Leukemia society. Her note mentioned the natural details of the race and the meaning behind her participation. But here is what caught my attention.  Her team went one step further this year. Yes, they will send you an email and text thanking you for your donation. Here's what they are also doing: for every donation that Kristin receives, she will perform a Random Act of Kindness on behalf of the donor. She may perform a selfless act for an animal or an unsuspecting person and she expects nothing in return. These RAOK will be properly documented and will be Posted on Facebook with the donor being tagged. How fun is this!

 

i find this to be such a good example of how we can do great and unique, unexpected things. There are so many ideas and possibilities of incorporating this into our communities. I'd love to hear if this prompts you to create an event that may follow this pattern!  Good luck. 

 

Here is Kristins' page: pages://teaming raining.org/ga/Georgia14/koxfordfry

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Inspiration is Everywhere

I visited the dog park the other day with my 2 Maltese doggies.  When I arrived, I was surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of Corgis (funny looking, but such sweet dogs!)  I asked how they all knew to arrive at this time, and some of the owners mentioned that a "Meet Up" goes out for certain places so that Corgi owners can meet with others and give their dogs some play time in different environments.  This got me thinking: 1. How easy it is to arrange a Meet Up that will get people to our properties and surrounding areas, and 2. Inspiration really is everywhere.  I started to compile a list of some of the top places that I go for Inspiration. IKEA: IKEA is ingenious.  They are a marketing megaplex.  One of the things that struck me on my last trip- they had a mapped out layout of a single room, it defined the square footage and dimensions, then it laid out the room furniture according to these dimensions, but on the mapped floorplan it gave 4 different alternative room set ups with the same floorplans- and each looked very different.  IKEA is so creative and makes the most of what they offer. Fashion Magazines: Just reading through a Glamour or Cosmo magazine will clue you in to the trendiest colors, looks, pop culture, and just about anything else.  Some of the higher end magazines offer really gorgeous ads that will usually slap an idea into my brain! West......
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