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Multifamily Brand: Energy Makes the Difference


What is the difference that makes a difference when it comes to your multifamily management brand? The standard textbook answer might include words like awareness, trust, regard or esteem. Settle there however and you miss the key ingredient. Energy.

It’s All About Energy

John Gerzema and Ed Lebar discuss energy and what it means to a brand in their book:  The Brand Bubble. In chapter two they use a poignant quote from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall to set the stage for the difference that energy makes to a brand “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And what I think we got on our hands is a dead shark.”

Why is Energy Important

Any great brand must keep moving forward in order to remain relevant in the hearts of consumers and it takes energy to do that. The advent of the Internet coupled with the development of social mediums have made staples like; awareness, trust, regard and esteem simply the price of admission. Even then trust in brands has declined 50%, according to John who is the Chief Insights Officer at Young and Rubicam. Simply put, the reason energy is so important is that it boosts differentiation. People are tired and they are looking for stuff and things that pick them up and keep them vibrant. Brands that fill that void by staying fresh and relevant will win the lions share of loyalty in consumers - if there is such a thing anymore. Those who don’t will die like the shark that flips his fins for the last time.

What Can You do to Create Energy

You can dig deeper into the lives of your prospects and residents. Let’s step out of our industry and look at an example of this. Frito Lay dug in and found that the bulk of their consumers had more money on the first of the month than they did at the end of the month. Armed with that information, they decided to sell bigger packs during that time and scale back to smaller packs during the middle days of the month.

Could we maximize our brand building efforts on the same theory? Could we convince major ILS’s to allow us to scale ads up and down relative to the ebbs and flows of the prospect’s pocket book? How about the ebbs and flows of their search habits? Could we then provide relevancy and vibrancy on their terms and relevant to their emotions?

Energy is the difference that makes a difference for your multifamily management brand - what are you doing to create it?

Update: [6.22.9] Seth provides a great concept on creating energy…Circling the big domino

Comments from original post:

Eric Brown 1 day ago

Hi Mike, and Happy Fathers Day!
Great Post, but.........., How many multifamily executives put even a little focus on Branding? They don't, for whatever reason, Branding isn't all that important in our industry, which is mistake.

Take a poll multifamily executives, walk around on the street in your local community and take a random poll of say (25) people and ask the simple question, "What Apartment Company comes to mind"
mbrewer 1 day ago
E,

Thank you for the comment. I think it really comes down to the size of the community you are describing. And, not community in the general sense. One example: There is a community of traveling nurse recruiters that would likely be able to answer that question. It's a small community but they have a huge influence in the way of housing nurses across the country. They are appealed to by multifamily brands on a consistent basis thus they would be likely to name one. Another example: Former and existing residents, depending on the specific brand have a high likely hood of being able to name one.

To speak to that point more specifically, I think Essex, Bell Partners, JC Hart, Equity Residential, Avalon Bay and Post just to name a few have done a very good job of focusing on Branding. That is not to leave out Urbane - you have done a great job yourself - through different channels. But despite that effort - ask twenty random people anywhere America to name one multifamily brand and your right - maybe one out of the twenty could do it [my own armchair speculation]. On the other hand ask twenty current or former residents of anyone of the above mentioned brands and I think the number goes way up.


Good feedback - thank you for taking the time.

M
Allison Crabtree 17 hours ago
@Mike,
Awesome post. My fav line is, "Any great brand must keep moving forward in order to remain relevant in the hearts of consumers and it takes energy to do that." Rock on!

Bell Partners appreciates the shout out in the comments!

I like your idea about maximizing brand building by leveraging the industry's size with our advertising partners to scale ads with our properties' budgets, prospects search habits, and other macro factors that affect the our hopeful resident. You are dead on. Think about it...I believe the best ILSs will be those that can break away from the pack. Screw the marketing romance paragraph and the amenities and features list. Everybody's got 'em. Prospects can remember websites that are uniquely helpful. I will spend some $ on what is uniquely helpful. We want to BE uniquely helpful.

I heard a prospect say the other day..."I went to the [internet listing website] to get the price. I went to the [non-traditional listing media site] to get the personality. I wish I could see both at once." We then had a discussion about how apartments can have "swagger" (I think this should be the new web 2.0 multifamily word) and not all listing services online can show that under our current formats. I can't wait to see which ILSs can fully execute this strategy and deliver results. I've got my eye on a few for this. So can we convince "them?" I think so. We're on the same team. I think when the consumer's habits are changing we owe it to them to change. I believe for far too long our industry has been, uhh, a little less than "proactive" about this. Agreed?

Energy is where it’s at. Love it.

@Eric,
Good points. I can speak for a few of the larger companies in that branding hasn’t been big in the past. Why? Because there are so many special situations with 3rd party management, owner restrictions, budget obstacles, etc. When you start working in the tens of thousands, branding is something I think most everyone wants to do, but is incredibly difficult because you do not offer a standard product or lifestyle with a variable portfolio. Mike Whaling @30lines and I had this same discussion last week about GM and their strategy. A Buick ain’t no Caddy…but they are all GM. Since most of us larger companies can’t brand those things, we have chosen to brand the experience, the customer service, etc. Either way, it can be costly. Most companies have chosen to stay away, because in some form or fashion, the cost is past along to the resident, which no one wants to do, right?

-Allison Crabtree
Bell Partners

 

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