I was excited to go Christmas shopping with my wife on Sunday for the kids. After struggling to find a parking place and fighting off the crowd, my excitement quickly died down. Within 10 minutes of arriving at Target, boredom set in and I was surfing the internet on my DROID Incredible. I glanced up “Will you get off that thing and help me?” in time to see a row filled with merchandise for the new Disney Tangled movie. My first thought was that this movie isn’t even out yet. Then it got me thinking about how fantastic Disney is with their branding. Some Property Management companies choose to brand their properties and some don’t. Why?
Disney’s Marketing Machine
We know what the Disney brand stands for. Quality, family friendly programming and Hannah Montana. They excel at building secondary brands to reinforce their primary one. When you see an unknown entity like Tangled your first thought might be to ignore it. When you see the Disney name associated with it you know immediately what type of movie you can expect. Disney has build up their brand image to the point where it doesn’t matter what they release… people will watch it and buy it.
Is this really relevant for us little guys?
However, we don’t have Disney’s money or muscle. Their example does illustrate how branding effectively can really influence your customers. If you are a real estate developer and have a good brand image, people will be interested in seeing your new property because you have a name they can trust. If you have several apartment communities clustered in the same area of town with similar amenities and pricing, creating a brand image is one way you can separate yourself from the competition. It’s clear there are serious benefits. So why doesn’t everyone do it? Let’s talk about it:
Too much time and money
You’ll need to create logos, disparate social media programs, good catchy slogans, and find a consistent “voice” across your brands. Spread that across 40 or more properties and you’ve got quite a burden to manage. Effective branding takes 1 of two things (best case is both): 1) Lots of time to nuture it 2) Money. Just look at Disney. They’ve had plenty of time AND they are loaded.
You don’t need a brand to give GREAT customer service
Give good customer service, in fact go the extra mile for your customers. Customer service isn’t free but it’s the best way to get people to engage with others about your product. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising… just do it right. Changing your culture to make sure you provide the best service possible is an effective change you can make without creating brands.
Apartments are different than kids toys and movies
I’ve never seen a commercial for an apartment complex; never even heard a radio ad. Apartment marketing is out there but unless you’re looking for it generally you aren’t going to find it. I think the majority of searchers are leading with their price nose first and location nose second. Can you get your branding to overcome those obstacles?
Branding your properties isn’t for everyone. Some companies take the plunge and with the right strategy can be very successful. Let’s get the conversation started. What do you think?
Happy renting everyone.