While branding a newly acquired apartment community seems like a rudimentary first step, it can carry as much weight as the product itself.
Various, wide-ranging tactics can be effective when formulating a brand and the process should be thorough and unrushed, as a panel of experts imparted at the 2015 Apartment Internet Marketing Conference.
Some owner/operators brand each property separately. Some incorporate the company brand into every property and separately name the community (i.e. Camden Waterford Lakes). Effective examples of each were provided by at the session Who Am I? Finding Your Brand DNA.
Dana Pate, director of marketing for Matrix Residential in Atlanta, relayed the process of branding two nearby properties in Savannah, Ga.: the Monroe and the Jane. The former is a reference to Marilyn Monroe, who famously frequented bars in the area. The latter a reference to Calamity Jane, the putter used by iconic local golfer Bobby Jones. “We really want the brand to stand out as far as the community goes, with being focused on the hyper-local,” Pate says.
Matrix Residential also branded Charlotte-based properties Myers Park and the Gibson. The Myers name carries weight in the area and caters to aspirational residents. Gibson is a guitar reference and caters to more of the hipster crowd, residents that might be different at night than during the workweek. The property is in more of an urban area.
On the other end of the spectrum is Camden Property Trust. The Camden brand is highly visible and well regarded, so each property unveiled by the group carries the name (Camden Copper Square; Camden Montierra, etc.).
Camden director of strategic marketing Summer Austin notes that 36 percent of prospective residents recognize the Camden brand and that 42 percent of those deemed it influential. Camden employee uniforms are emblazoned with a Camden patch and an in-house scent permeates the lobby of each property. “It’s not like people will walk in and say ‘Oh, that smells like Camden,’” Austin says. “But scent carries a subtle emotional trigger.”
The Bozzuto Group is a proponent of ingredient branding. One of its key properties is based in the former Charleston Chew factory in Boston. Embracing its history, the group rebranded the property The Batch Yard.
Numerous details play off of the candy-rooted history. The Batch Yard’s slogan is The Sweeter Side of City Living. Residents who wrote a review were given a Golden Ticket, which was entered into a $5,000 drawing. At the big reveal, the original Charleston Chew signage was unveiled on the rooftop.
Much of the architecture incorporates the iconic yellow associated with Charleston Chew.
“All the details are very deliberate and intentional,” says Khushbu Sakaria, director of brand development for the Bozzuto Group.