If you have an apartment community, you have a brand. Having a solid understanding of what goes into building a successful apartment brand will make your property more valuable long term.
In this article, we’ll deep dive into how to build an effective apartment brand, so you can maintain consistent marketing efforts, and as a result, acquire more residents for your apartment community. At the very least, you’ll become a smarter apartment marketer.
Just like any of your other favorite brands – Starbucks, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Adidas, the list is literally endless – quick recognition is key. It probably takes you less than a second to spot any of these brands in any location – whether it’s on outdoor signage, the side of a truck, in a magazine, etc.
You want to establish that same brand recognition with your apartment community – and yes, it is 100% possible.
Recollection is also a major benefit of branding. When you need to get your morning buzz on, you immediately think of indulging in a venti, iced, triple shot something or other – and sometimes will take any measures necessary to make that happen.
Likewise, when someone needs or wants a new place to live, you want them to think of your apartment community, first and last, and then of course take action by scheduling a tour and ultimately signing a lease.
Delivering on your promise is crucial to retention. Your particular audience is unique in that they aren’t looking for a place to live quite as often as they’re looking for a caffeine fix.
The need to move typically only comes around once a year at most. So, you need to make sure that whatever your branding promises, is what your residents get once they walk through your doors. You promise luxury, they better get luxury.
This is the best way to retain your residents and ensure they stay in your building long term.
If you’re still unsure if branding is necessary for your apartment community, consider the following statistics:
Before you consider what your brand identity is, you’ll want to understand your brand image – which is essentially your apartment community’s “personality.”
Once you have your apartment community’s image established, you can create its brand identity – which includes the name of your community, a tagline, logo, color selection, fonts, and specific wording to communicate your message.
Your brand identity is how your community will be perceived by potential residents in all your marketing materials moving forward, from now to eternity (unless you rebrand, which is a whole different ballgame).
Apartment branding is a way to create consistency across all your marketing efforts. It ensures your community is easily recognizable to your desired audience, and more importantly, top of mind when someone is considering relocating.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering your brand image and identity:
Once you have solidified your brand image, you can start concepting and developing your visual identity to support it – which includes a logo, color palette, typeface, and shapes that will be used for each of your marketing assets, from your website to print collateral to signage. Here’s how:
Logo– Logo design is one of the most challenging aspects of multifamily branding, as it will really set your community apart. Read our article on Apartment Logo Design for a more in-depth look into the most effective ways to create the perfect logo for your community.
Hire a company or individual who has some knowledge of logo design and can show you some options based on your brand positioning. Our rule of thumb: keep it simple.
Color palette – Fact: the colors you select make a difference in how potential residents perceive your brand. All those colors you see in marketing are intentional.
Each color has significance and can have an emotional and psychological impact on consumers. So, how do you choose the right colors for your apartment community brand? With your brand identity in mind, consider the following:
Play with two to three colors (no more) to find a combination that best fits your brand. Here, you’ll find a super cool color generator to explore colors for different moods.
Typeface – Just like color selection, fonts should visually communicate the personality of your brand. Choose two to three complementary fonts that will be used across all of your communications.
The number-one consideration is readability – so choose a font that is simple and clear. Here are some strong font combinations for inspiration.
Shape – Believe it or not, shapes have psychological impact as well. Here is a quick guide:
Equally important to your visuals is your apartment brand voice. In order to communicate your message effectively, you need to understand your audience and speak their language.
Your tone of voice must also reflect your apartment community’s identity – for example, an upscale high rise would probably use a different tone than a trendy, urban loft space.
Here is a list of adjectives for different types of tones. Choose three that you think fit your apartment community, and make sure your writers can execute your tone throughout all of your communications:
You might want to also consider specific words or phrases that you want carried through each of your pieces. Create a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to word usage.
Additionally, a good solid tagline to accompany your logo can help establish your brand identity. Your tagline is one short sentence to sum up what your apartment community has to offer. Your tagline should be catchy and strong – so it not only captures a potential resident’s attention, it will also communicate who you are, quickly.
An “About Us” statement is also useful to give to writers working on your marketing materials. This would be one paragraph that demonstrates your tone and style and communicates your core message.
LMC in California creates separate branding for each of their properties. They take into account what each community’s competitors are offering, as well as the key messages that they wish to have associated with each brand. Most importantly, they work closely with the on-site staff at each location. These are the people who know the residents best and know what will appeal to others like them.
At the luxury end of the field, there are few brands who distinguish themselves better than Four Seasons. Through their Four Seasons Private Residences, they offer the same extraordinary experience that guests will find at their hotels and resorts. The palette reverses their black and white signature colors, but retains the tree logo and all-caps typeface for recognition.
Perhaps the most intriguing multifamily branding example comes from AvalonBay in Brooklyn, New York. This company has managed to create two distinct communities and brands within a single tower building.
The upper floors include a traditional high-end brand, Willoughby Square, which they describe as “elevated living.” In the lower half of the building, they house AVA DoBro, which has a younger feel and emphasizes community living.
While some spaces are shared, each community has its own entrance and amenities to preserve a consistent look and feel throughout the different parts of the property. Representatives from Avalon say that this dual-branding model allows them to appeal to a greater range of residents.
At the co-living end of the spectrum is X Social Communities. These properties have done a great job at branding themselves as a fun place to live by incorporating their tagline, “Life’s Better with Company” into all of their marketing assets. Their X logo is prominent, simple, and exemplifies the edginess of the company. Xmiami.com, Xchicago.com
The best way to ensure your apartment branding is on point is to partner with a legit branding agency with a good, solid reputation. Do your research by looking into what they’ve done in the past, meet with the team, and discuss your goals.
Have them present mood boards, then initial concepts and ideas for how to build your brand, and then final executions of your branding.
And most importantly, make sure that when your objectives are met, you’ll receive a branding style guide that will drive all your marketing going forward. Here is a list of deliverables you should expect from your apartment branding professionals:
Research has proven time and time again that a brand is always more successful than a non-brand. Apartment branding creates consistency that translates into residents in your homes and dollars in your pockets, so don’t cut corners or skimp on your efforts. You already know the apartment community you’ve developed is first class – now you need to brand it so the rest of the world knows, too.
Josh Grillo is a #1 Best Selling Author, Speaker and Co-Founder of Resident360.