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Stop with the "Generic Marketing" and Start Selling Your Brand!

When I mention the word "generic" what images come into your mind? Probably black and white logos, very similar to the photo above. Generic might mean a lot of different things to people but what it really boils down to is ‘brandless'. And ‘brandless' is bad.

I've heard talk over the years that branding doesn't work in multifamily. And maybe it doesn't work in the sense of say, a McDonald's. I would be hard pressed to find someone who was so enamored of a company like Avalon Bay (a very good management company) that they would only rent from Avalon Bay. Unless they move to a city where Avalon Bay has a building or community, they are out of luck. Our industry is not ubiquitous, like the aforementioned McDonald's, Target or Best Buy.

But we CAN brand our advertisements, our amenities, our buildings/communities, our service and more. Most times, we don't. Here's some examples:

Our advertisements: We use generic language. All of our pools are 'sparkling', all of our kitchens are ‘gourmet', all of our fitness centers are 'state of the art' (a big "Thank You" to soon to be Mom of Twins, Mindy Williams of Rent and Retain for her study on generic language in advertising a few years ago!). It's time to get creative and make your advertising language stand out from your competitors!

Our amenities:The brilliant Jamie Gorski, now with Bozzuto Management,  'branded' some of her amenities when she was with Archstone-Smith. Her business centers became "Click Cafes". How smart is that? What can you call your fitness center? Your business center?

Our buildings:Alliance Residential out of Phoenix has a brand called "Broadstone" in their portfolio. Kettler out of the Mid Atlantic has a brand called "Metropolitan". BRE Properties has "Pinnacle". You can brand your brand, if you know what I mean.

Make your descriptions resonate by inventing new words to describe your building/community; set hiring standards for your team that you tout in your ads (all XYZ managers have an average of ‘x' years experience in the multifamily industry), deliver service that stands out such as "23.5 hour turnaround on all service requests" or even "47 hour turnaround on all service requests (you know what you can accomplish; don't overpromise), provide remarkable extras for touring prospects like charging their cell phones, offering Flip video cameras for them  to video their tours and more; create a website that engages, informs and educates - UDR's new site is a great example; put your teams in amazing career apparel that rocks and matches your demographic and not your CEO's opinion of what's appropriate and more.

Stop selling ‘apartment living' and start selling ‘apartment living XYZ style'. You'll see a difference in your results with both prospects leasing and residents renewing.

When I mention the word "generic" what images come into your mind? Probably black and white logos, very similar to the photo above. Generic might mean a lot of different things to people but what it really boils down to is ‘brandless'. And ‘brandless' is bad.

If you like my blog postings here, feel free to visit my blog site, www.ApartmentMarketingBlog.com, where I post on a much more regular basis!

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Great post, Lisa, and I would also apply this beyond apartment marketing. I've seen too many communities that were duplicates of each other that changes in marketing has it's limits. In my opinion, differentiation starts from day one.

  Brent Williams
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Agreed! I've always felt that way, too. As an *industry* we need to sell the benefits of apartment living -vs- home ownership, but as a *property* we need to individualize ourselves to the end user/renter/resident.

Thanks for weighing in! See you in Denver on Wednesday!

  Lisa Trosien

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