100% Pre-Leased
92% 5-Star Google Reviews
Scroll down
The Client
Thumb print
Avant Student Lounge
Avant is one of the first purpose-built student housing communities in Canada. It is ideally located on Gerrard Street, which has a long history as a centre of vitality in Downtown Toronto and places the property and its 343 student residents directly across from Ryerson University and minutes from the University of Toronto.

The Problem
With outdated units and amenities, no digital marketing strategy, and poor reviews, this property was seen as a “last resort” among Toronto students. Varsity Communities knew this community could be rehabilitated, but first it would need extensive renovations, completely new branding, and a diverse advertising mix to garner excitement for the upcoming changes.

Starting at 55% occupied and commanding rents 15-30% below market value, Varsity Communities partnered with Threshold to create a new brand, new website, and enhanced digital presence so they could start pre-leasing quickly.
The Dream
With a great location and renovations underway, the client set their sights on lofty goals that would transform the community dramatically:
  • Complete a full property rebrand
  • Launch a new website and digital web presence
  • Improve community sentiment in the market
  • Generate 1000 digital leads in 4 months
  • Generate 500 completed applications in 4 months
  • Re-lease units at 10% higher rates
  • Increase Net Operating Income by 10%
  • Achieve 97% pre-lease occupancy by September 1st, 2021

The Strategy
Xs and Os
Market Research
Discovery & Market Research
To ensure the new brand would resonate with the target audience and contribute to improved community reputation and engagement, we conducted extensive market research before launching into branding.

Combining insights from the property management team, target audience demographics, and the history of Ryerson, Gerrard Street, and Downtown Toronto, we moved into the branding phase with a complete picture of how this community could stand out in the market.
Avant Branding
Naming & Branding
Using an iterative and collaborative process with the Varsity Communities team, the name Avant was chosen as a representation of the innovation that Ryerson and Downtown Toronto are known for as well as the modernizing renovations that were already transforming the community.

From this name, logo, colors, brand voice, and other branding elements followed. We selected vibrant brand colors that complemented the colors of Ryerson University but did not replicate them, helping us differentiate Avant among the market while still highlighting the location directly across from campus. The logo design incorporated an upward slant to indicate forward progress and new heights for the community.
Avant Webste
Web Design & Development
Building on the vision established by our branding process, we worked quickly to get a new landing page up and running so that we could direct digital ads to a conversion-optimized page where leasing staff could start collecting leads.

Once the landing page was live, we would also continue work on a full website that would provide excellent UX and clear calls to action so that potential residents would be inspired to start their lease application.
Avant Digital Ads
Digital Advertising
Digital advertising would play a huge role in informing the Ryerson community of the exciting new changes and drive qualified leads to Avant’s website. We helped Varsity Communities implement digital lead generation campaigns through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google Display Ads. Amid this competitive urban market, we leveraged geotargeting tactics to ensure we reached the most qualified audience so that no ad dollars were wasted.

Web Development
Digital Marketing
The Results
Rebranded and refreshed, the Avant community soon began earning results that surpassed the already lofty goals established by the client. Because of our well-researched brand positioning, user-friendly web presence, and aggressive digital marketing strategy, the leads started pouring in, much to the excitement of the leasing team.

In just a few months, this new marketing strategy delivered 2,037 qualified leads and 703 completed applications. This was more than double the goal the team had originally set for lead generation and paved the way for an accelerated lease-up. Instead of achieving 97% pre-leased by September 1st as originally hoped, the leases shot past all the way to 100% pre-leased a full month ahead of schedule.

Not only did the community earn new leases, but with ample buzz and well-executed renovations, these new leases also came in at a 40% higher rent per square foot than had previously been charged, contributing to a 24% higher Net Operating Income. Once again, the client had achieved double what they’d originally hoped for. And the wins don’t stop there.

Since all these improvements, Avant has enjoyed 92% 5-Star Google Reviews since September 1st, 2021, completely rehabilitating its online reputation and setting it up for successful lease-ups in the years to come. It now has a loyal community of engaged residents and has earned a spot as one of the leading competitors in the Ryerson student housing market.
Increased rent by square foot by 40%

Avant Creative Examples