HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - Balloon marketers take note: a dozen mylars and a handwritten "Now Leasing" sign isn't going to cut it in today's competitive apartment lease up market. According to the most recent March data released this week from HUD and the U.S. Census, developers plan on starting on 242,000 apartment units this year, and new developments coming on line are pushing the brand envelope in multifamily markets across the country.
Source: MultifamilyBiz.com / #AIMconf #Multifamily
For apartment marketers and community managers looking to stay competitive in the race for rents and leases, post-lease-up brand preservation has emerged as a key tactic in setting properties apart.
"We've gone from a period of hardly any lease-ups to now having several in the works simultaneously," says Jaime Ange, graphic designer for Greensboro, NC-based Bell Partners. Ange, who speaks on the Graphic Design and Branding panel at the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference next month alongside Primary Design president Jules Epstein and DZAP vice president and managing director Steven Ozbun, says brand execution continues to play out most often in the leasing office itself.
"Brand creation and design from agencies can be extremely powerful and compelling," Ange says. "But maintaining brand consistency at the site level can still be challenging, particularly for leasing professionals tasked with marketing but without the requisite marketing and graphic design background."
Given all of the activities that occur in a leasing office on a daily basis, community managers and multifamily marketing managers alike can benefit by updating their skills with simple tools and tracks of the trade already available in their software systems, Ange says.
"We're working on several projects now where part of the focus and concentration has been on brand preservation post-lease-up," says Ozbun. "Preserving the brand day to day can be difficult, and paying attention to brand dilution remain a challenge. There are still properties that spend a lot of money on branding initiatives and three months post lease-up the brand has been destroyed with all kinds of random collateral and messages and design. Like a 'now leasing' banner that doesn't match anything.
At AIM 2014: Conspire, Ange, Epstein and Ozbun are leading a boot-camp in graphic design basics and brand management for multifamily marketers, keying on easy tools to maintain brand consistency and timeless concepts for relating to brand partners, whether they be graphic designers, agency creatives, or leasing associates.
"People always want to hear new ways to preserve their brand, particularly on a budget," says Ozbun. "One critical area where you can accomplish that is by bringing your branding further beyond just a logo and your website. How you answer the phone can be just as important of a brand standard as the design of your logo. How you answer your phone is free, but still delivers a branded customer experience."
For full access to the strategies and tactics for maintaining brand preservation post-lease up with great design, register to attend AIM 2014 May 5-7 in Huntington Beach, Calif.