You have your property amenities sorted, your pricing figured out, and your interior design developed. But what does that all mean if you don’t have a name that fully captures the specialty of your real estate building?
Choosing a brand name is one of the most significant aspects of a brand development process. The right name creates an image of your property and brand in the mind of potential customers, sharing the idea of what you’re all about. And, it’s the most important keyword for internet searches.
A strong brand name should be:
- Meaningful: It communicates a brand story and creates an emotional response
- Unique: It should be memorable and stand out from your competitors
- Easily Understood: Avoid words that are hard to read or pronounce – they won’t stick in people’s minds
- Visual: It should lend itself to strong brand colors and imagery
- Future-Proof: You want your name to work now, and ten years from now, so veer away from names that feel really timely
Work backward. Decide what your brand identity, such as target audience, culture, mission, and purpose, will be, and then begin brainstorming names that line up with those needs.
Feeling stuck? Follow along for some tips for determining a successful name for your brand.
Reflect On Your Company Values
Think about your property’s mission statement or parent company’s values – what is it your company stands for, and how can your name tie back to that? Spend time with what your property is trying to achieve, focusing on your purpose and vision. Determining the heartbeat of your brand can lead to a stronger name association down the road.
Connect Your Name To A Story
We communicate in stories, and talking about a brand is no different. Effective marketing connects to a larger target audience through storytelling, which is why your property name needs to mean something. If someone asks you why you named the property what you did, and all you have to say is that it sounded cool, you’re missing out on some really good marketing.
Think about the history of the city your property is located in, what it’s known for, or what interests your target audience has, and then go from there.
Having a great story also allows for stronger visuals (think website design, brochures, signage, temporary leasing space designs), as the logo, colors, and brand patterns all have a north star to draw from.
Less Is More
Short and snappy wins the race! You want to limit the length of your brand’s name, as anything longer than three or four syllables will only be harder for your potential audience to remember. The final name should be punchy, and this is best determined by running any potential names by those who aren’t part of the brainstorming, allowing for fresh eyes and fresh opinions.
Here is where you’ll also want to factor pronunciation into the mix. Your property name won’t only live on signage and a website, it will be said by residents in passing, and therefore shouldn’t be something that’s hard to say or spell. So remember to say any names aloud!
Remember Your Competitors
The last thing you want is to come up with a really amazing name, only to find out a direct competitor has something similar. Standing out from your competition is a key factor in your brand name and final brand visuals, which is why doing research on your market early on is essential.
Consider Creating A New Word
The best way to avoid having the same name as someone else? Create a non-dictionary word. Your name should still have meaning behind it, and not just be created out of thin air, but there are a few ways you can create new words, like:
- Mashing up two words together
- Spelling an existing word in a new way
- Creating a word where each letter stands for something
Plus, what’s more fun than being the owner of a completely new word?
Think About SEO
You heard it here first, do not skip thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when it comes to naming your brand or property. SEO plays a key factor in determining how popular a potential name is for organic and paid searches.
Say you’re naming your property Dragon (not a great name, but work with us here), then Googling that name will bring up a lot about dragons themselves, the television series “House of Dragon,” a speech recognition software called Dragon, and restaurants in your area with Dragon in the title. A generic name like that could make it hard to stand out in the very competitive search engine space.
Psst. This is why creating a new non-dictionary word might help!
The success of your brand and property depends largely on the branding, which begins with a really great name. A name that’s meaningful to your audience, lends itself to great visuals, is short and snappy, and is easy to remember. A name that stands out from your competitors and can be relevant for your audience today, and in many years to come.
Don’t let determining a name feel overwhelming! Have fun with the process and see what unique options you come up with.
For more tips and information about company and real estate branding, take a look at the rest of our blogs, right here on our website! You can also subscribe to our email newsletter, or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
Name: Haley McCarley
Title: Digital Marketing Specialist
Haley takes apartment marketing ideas and turns them into dynamic social media campaigns, effective PPC ads and a whole lot more. Her student housing marketing knowledge helps the entire digital team get a leg up on the competition, keeping CTRs high and spirits even higher.
Get to know Haley below!
What are 3 words you would use to describe Threshold?
Organized, Excited, Inventive
If you had an office nickname, what would it be?
“The lone female on the digital team”
What is your favorite line from a movie?
“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
If you were stuck on an island, what three things would you bring?
Paddleboard, Dos Equis, and The Harry Potter series
What is the title of your autobiography?
How Haley Got Her Groove Back
What is/would be your motto or slogan?
Hook ’em horns m/
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Flying, so I wouldn’t ever have to drive or park in Austin again
What is your hidden talent?
I am pretty awesome at doing makeup, even though I rarely wear it ;P
If you were famous, what would it be for?
Longest Netflix binge in the world
Favorite Austin eats?
Homeslice Pizza and Hopdoddy Burger Bar
The demand for creative residential marketing ideas for apartments is higher than ever in this saturated market. After all, the seven year luxury apartment boom may finally be ending. U.S. apartment rental rates have increased 26% since 2010, however, rents only grew by 3.8% in 2016 compared to 5.6% growth in 2015. Furthermore, the Commerce Department has released figures that suggest fewer newly-constructed apartments being rented out this year than last year. In short, rent prices have stopped skyrocketing and new developments are slowing down.
Differentiation is more important than ever in a saturated market. In Threshold’s many years of experience in residential marketing, however, we’ve learned that differentiation is an easily misunderstood concept. Differentiation is not just a unique amenity or industry-first service offering. Differentiation is answering the question, “Why would your ideal resident choose your property over the property down the street?”
Some communities try to differentiate by offering services like bike repair, tanning beds, and even dog washing areas. While the overall service and amenity offering is important at any apartment community, it’s unlikely than any one amenity will convince someone to choose your property over the competition.
Differentiation is as much about identifying your target audience as it is about having a unique marketing message. Here at Threshold, we work with many different residential industry clients and as a result, we end up creating marketing collateral for many different audiences.
When crafting a marketing strategy for senior living communities, we must consider both the potential resident and their child who is often the final decision maker. The same holds true for student housing, though the audiences are obviously vastly different. It’s vitally important in that industry to create messaging that speaks to Generation Z students, but to not do so in such a manner that we alienate the parents who are actually paying the student’s rent.
Multifamily housing presents a different challenge altogether. In that case, the potential resident is also the decision maker, but that person could be anywhere between 22 and 70 years old. Marketing to millennials is just as important as marketing to empty-nesters, and we often have to accomplish both using the same messaging, design and marketing collateral. Advancements in apartment digital marketing tools have helped target specific audiences, but market research and understanding the client’s property is still just as important.
Differentiation doesn’t happen just because your property has the biggest pool in the market or the lowest rent. Differentiation happens when your property is properly positioned—through strategic messaging and design — to fill a gap in the market. Threshold has positioned over 3,300 properties during our combined 242 years of residential experience. Here are a few examples of positioning the client’s property as filling a gap in the market:
- The no-frills, affordable apartment that still offers a hint of luxury.
- The place to gather for a diverse community of young professionals
- The rustic living space in an urban environment
- The senior living community that helps residents maintain an active lifestyle
- The student housing community closest to campus
- The student housing community that doesn’t feel like student housing
As you can see, positioning can be as simple as a location or as complex as a lifestyle promise. Of course, each of these positioning statements requires many hours of research and competitive analysis. In the end, by identifying the target audience and comparing the client’s property to the competition, we’re able to find the differentiation opportunity. It then becomes a matter of crafting the messaging, digital campaigns and residential marketing collateral that best speaks to the primary differences between your property the one down the road.
A recent survey of 2,352 marketers revealed that content marketing and big data are expected to be the two biggest marketing trends in 2017. We say trends, but these two residential marketing tools are going to be around for a long time. The truth is, property managers can no longer expect to drive digital traffic or foot traffic with advertising alone. The market is so saturated and the competition is so fierce, brands need to provide something of value before they can expect to receive any customers. That’s where content marketing comes into play.
Effective content marketing is both highly valuable and remarkably difficult to get right. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as, “creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content.” The problem is that the definition of “valuable” changes depending on your property’s target audience, as does the definition of, “relevant.” At Threshold, we combine audience insights from our digital team with copywriting services to create effective content marketing strategies for our clients. Understanding the pool of potential residents is the first step toward developing creative marketing ideas for apartments.
Big data will steer marketing decisions in 2017 in many ways. Modern data measuring tools haven given marketers the ability to accurately measure the success of marketing campaigns, reveal and analyze target audience demographics and target potential customers by filtering through dozens of audience identifiers.
Marketing automation is another digital marketing tool that will drive leases in 2017. Marketing automation can take on many different forms. At Threshold, we developed HOLA (Handy Online Leasing Ambassador) to nurture our clients’ leads from the first point of contact through the signing of the lease. HOLA and other automated marketing tools are much more valuable than simple e-blasts because they’re dynamic. Prospects are funneled into different channels depending on their level of interest and follow-up. Automated marketing systems are especially popular in the residential industry for a number of reasons. For starters, automated systems like HOLA free up the leasing staff to focus on in-person leads and community tours. Secondly, marketing automation can be used to build and maintain digital relationships with current residents, increasing the likelihood they’ll renew.
Geo-specific mobile marketing is another way to increase leads and draw residents away from your competition. Everyone carries a GPS in their pocket these days, which makes marketing to millennials a whole lot easier. Savvy residential marketers are now able to use smart phone location functionality to target prospects within a certain geographical location. We take advantage of this in a couple ways here at Threshold. First, we use geo-targeted advertisements to display a client’s mobile ads to prospects who happen to be near that client’s property. The other method is to target residents who currently lease from the competition. Geofencing allows us to define areas as small as a single building (like the other luxury apartment building down the block) in which to display mobile advertisements. Hey, it’s a competitive world out there.
If your properties don’t have the latest apartment digital marketing tools, contact Threshold today and let’s get your property on the path towards 100% occupancy.
If Threshold’s skilled residential marketing designers only cared about getting the most information to the customer, our websites would look a lot like this blog post. We’d see a whole lot of text and the sites would have very little visual appeal.
That approach works well for blog posts and articles, but websites are a sensory experience; a virtual market where people spend their time enlarging floor plans, scrolling down lists of amenities and clicking through gallery images.
Of course, many prospective residents don’t spend much time on websites at all. Marketing to Millennials is all about keeping their attention, but plenty of lost customers see the homepage and immediately click away after deciding the property isn’t for them. In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at the most important elements to keep residents interested in your property, and get them to click on those important action buttons.
Animation helps communicate messages with style, drawing the user’s eye towards moving images instead without them having to load a video or click a “play” button. Animation can be as simple as rotating sliders on a homepage or as complex as animated water in a resort-style pool. Even the most simple movement can be the difference between grabbing and losing a customer’s interest.
Material Design and Beyond
As anyone in the digital marketing industry knows, when Google makes changes, the rest of the web follows suit. Google was the first big company to take “Flat Design” and turn it into something with depth and layers. Material Design pairs geometric shapes with shadows, movement and overlays to create visually appealing websites and web apps. That’s not the say that Material Design is the only way to make websites, but it’s certainly a look that internet users are familiar with and understand intuitively, which is always a positive. Speaking of making sure users can understand your website…
Most property sites need the same standard pages in the navigation bar: About Us, Floor Plans, Amenities, Gallery, and Apply Now. Obviously, there are some exceptions, but every property website needs to cover those basic pages before moving on to anything else. Navigation doesn’t have to only happen via Navigation Bar though. In fact, more and more websites are using the “long-scroll” look, where all pages are accessible when the user simply scrolls down from the top of the homepage.
The whole point of a website is to get the prospect to take action, so keeping the complex navigation to a minimum helps steer prospective residents toward the “Schedule a Tour” button or the “Apply Now” button without too much extra fluff. Most properties sell a lifestyle just as much as they sell an apartment, so it’s important to convey that lifestyle with big, bold images and impactful design. People will locate the amenities and floor plans if they are interested in learning more, but they won’t be interested in learning more without a simple, impactful message on the home page.
Customized Google Maps
Most of your website’s visitors will be familiar with the look, feel and functionality of a Google Maps plug-in, it’s very common in residential marketing. So much so, that they may just glaze right over it. Customizing your Google Map, however, offers prospective residents a totally new experience with a tool that they’re already familiar with. At Threshold, we often highlight certain locations around the property, such as restaurants, shopping centers, gyms and coffee shops. This gives residents an idea of what life will be like living in the neighborhood.
The best website designers know how to quickly — and beautifully—convey the lifestyle promised at every property. This is where animation, navigation tools, and customization come into play. Each element helps create a feeling within the website visitor that (hopefully) convinces them to explore the website and property further.
Is your property’s website up to date? Let Threshold’s designers come up with some creative marketing ideas for apartments in your portfolio. Our website development team will then create a responsive websites that drive traffic to your front door.