While property management companies, developers, and ownership groups often put great care into marketing the communities in their portfolio, some approach corporate real estate marketing with hesitance and trepidation. After all, marketing a community to potential residents is a completely different ball game from marketing property management services to development partners or development services to potential investors.
As a real estate marketing agency, we’ve worked with corporate real estate brands to not only connect residents to their communities, but also to earn new business for our client partners. From brand guidelines to advertising to website design and more, here are the top takeaways that we’ve derived from years of helping our clients grow their portfolios.
Embrace Your Key Differentiators
Oftentimes, corporate real estate brands get so caught up in meeting expectations that they are afraid to break the mold and show off what really makes them different. But when you’re competing for attention among a sea of competitors, standing out is essential.
It’s understandable to be hesitant. We’ve worked with plenty of property management companies and developers who just want to make sure that potential investors and partners find them trustworthy. Sometimes that desire leads to lackluster branding, websites, and ad copy that demonstrates they are just as trustworthy as anyone else…but not very interesting or unique.
So take time to really consider what sets you apart, whether that’s the region you specialize in, the approach you take to resident experiences, the types of developments you build, or the services you provide for clients. You may have dreams of expanding beyond some of these areas (such as your regional focus), but in the meantime, embracing what makes you unique will help you find the right investors and industry partners to help grow your portfolio and put you in a better position to reach those goals down the road.
Show Your Value With Engaging Case Studies
You can talk about your methods and promises all day, but most potential partners are going to want to see some proof that you can deliver. One great way to do this is with case studies. But not all case studies are made equal.
First, whenever you add an asset to your portfolio—especially those big projects that get everyone excited—lay the groundwork early to collect the data and social proof you’ll need to show your success down the road. Select a leasing management software that makes it easy to track your leasing velocity against the market average and set up Google Analytics and ad tracking so you can accurately measure the success of your marketing through metrics like website traffic, click-through-rates, and conversions. Ask residents to leave reviews on your GMB page and follow you on social media. Even better, get video testimonials from your most loyal tenants and/or industry partners. Collect engaging visuals like renderings, photography, and video as the asset is built and marketed, including images from events like groundbreakings or resident events. Having some or all of these elements in place will help you tell the story of your success when it comes time to create your case study.
There are lots of different ways to execute a case study, so pick one that is well suited to your audience’s interests and the asset you’re showcasing. You might choose to shoot a quick video highlighting your leasing success over time or create a collage of stunning imagery and happy residents to show off the uniqueness of your development (alongside proof points like stats and testimonials). Whatever format you choose, make sure it’s engaging and that the key takeaways are easy for your audience to identify. In other words, don’t just provide a wall of text or a series of images with no context. You want your case study to be short, sweet, and to the point, digestible in five minutes or less so that your audience actually makes the effort to read it (or view it).
Develop Distinct Brand Guidelines for Tenants vs. Partners
While a playful, tongue-in-cheek brand voice may resonate with residents, it may not get the best results from investors or development partners looking for professionalism and reliability. Knowing your audience is essential to effective branding, so consider developing separate brand guidelines for tenants vs. partners and clients. You don’t necessarily have to adopt completely different brand identities for each, but attention should be paid to how your brand voice, colors, patterns, and other elements translate differently when addressing each audience.
This advice is primarily applicable to property management companies who are most often in the position of addressing both tenants and partners on behalf of their corporate real estate brand. While developers and owners are less likely to need to address tenants, the need to adjust your brand expression for different audiences may still apply. Consider the aspects of your branding that best resonate with different audiences—for example, investors, media representatives, developers, and team members may all respond to your brand identity differently, from the key differentiators you highlight to the voice you use to the patterns you incorporate into your communications.
Demonstrate Thought Leadership In Your Market
One of the primary goals of corporate real estate marketing is to inspire confidence in the potential partners who are considering working with you (as well as current partners whose loyalty you hope to inspire). One great way to show off your expertise and unique approach is to create and share content that demonstrates your knowledge of your industry.
So consider sharing articles on social media and writing your own articles on a blog on your website. Or you can create videos covering topics you’re knowledgeable about, which can earn even more engagement than written content alone. Whatever content you create, ensure that potential partners have line of sight to them by posting them on your website and sharing them over social media or emails to your growing list of leads. We also recommend using industry-specific hashtags in social posts. When sharing content made my someone else (not affiliated with your brand), be sure to include a quick commentary or even an in-depth breakdown that shows you have an informed point of view that may be advantageous for your potential clients.