Douglas Van Praet and Laurel Zacher speak on the Unconscious Marketing Makeover panel at AIM 2014.

Douglas Van Praet and Laurel Zacher speak on the Unconscious Marketing Makeover panel at AIM 2014.

“Rarely do you find an industry so poised for growth through strategic thinking as you do in the apartment industry,” summed up marketing guru Douglas Van Praet during the AIM 2014 Unconscious Brand Marketing Makeover kick-off presentation. “That’s because nothing is more important than home and family: it’s life’s most precious emotional investment.”

Applying the fundamental processes of unconscious marketing to the apartment assets of Weidner Homes, Van Praet and Weidner Marketing Manager Zaurel Zacher keyed in on Praet’s mantra that “great brands think strategically not just tactically,” and that baked into multifamily real estate from the start are core marketing principles waiting to be leveraged, including emotional connectivity, identity, meaning, and community affiliation.

“Community has become the brand imperative for all of marketing,” Van Praet said. “We are profoundly social creatures. Where you live says who you are. But brands are just a trite display of who I am and who I want to be as a person. So as marketers we have to ladder up to something bigger, more abstract, more unconscious.”

At Weidner’s Ondie at Juanita Bay community, Van Praet’s campaign focused on selling social status of inner city hip and lumberjack chic rather than focusing on the brick and mortar apartments. Social currency is trending from inner city hip to lumberjack chic. Additional campaign components and ideas included having a blogger live on site and write about their experiences, creating resident brand ambassadors, and even partnering with Air BnB.

“We knew we wanted to stack and rank all of the ideas,” Zacher explained. “Which ideas that excited us, hit our business goal and branding strategy and still looked like they would be a lot of fun. The only idea the got canned was Air BnB.”

According to Zacher, the Weidner team will spend most of 2014 implementing almost all of the unconscious branding campaign ideas created by Van Praet. “There’s so much to apply, but we are eating through the elephant, so to speak. One bite at a time.”

Download the Douglas Van Praet Laurel Zacher Unconscious Branding presentation here.

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