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The four crucial elements to every successful multifamily development brand

Creating a brand is a lot like developing a building. While a sexy rendering is what gets everyone excited, it means nothing without a strong foundation.

Similarly, when it comes to branding it makes no sense to jump right into print ads, brochure and website mockups without developing your core foundational elements. That would be like starting work on the 30th floor before you’ve built the first.

Here are the four foundational elements every effective luxury multifamily development brand needs to start with:

Brand Character: The character is the personality of the brand. The goal is to turn your development into a living, breathing, thinking and feeling individual. The more you can bring your brand character to life, the easier it will be to know how your brand will carry itself no matter what.

Brand Voice: Just like people, every brand has their own voice. It’s important to specifically define the voice so that every verbal element sounds like it is coming from the same character.

Brand Identity: Colors, typefaces, and photography should all be defined and consistently used to make sure the brand is always visually communicating its character.  

Brand Name/Logo: Combining the character, voice and identity you can then start work on developing a name and logo. As the two pieces that will be used across every touchpoint, the name and logo should be considered a foundational element of the brand, rather than a marketing exercise.

Once you develop these four elements you’ll not only be able to develop a complete marketing campaign. You’ll be able to effectively weave the brand into the very fabric of the building and experience itself.  

That’s why these foundational elements will ideally be developed before you ever start design on the development. The more you can define these elements on the front end, the more likely your architect and your staff can integrate these elements into their work.

For example, if your brand character speaks to tranquility your architect may decide to include meditation spaces or a yoga room, while a brand character that emphasises adventure may include a rock climbing wall, mountain bike rentals or kayak storage. Textures, colors, lighting, staff uniforms, sales pitches, policies and more should all come from and reinforce the brand character.

Finally, the key to success is specificity. Have your brand character, voice and identity take a definitive position. Not only will it help you stand out in a crowded market, but it will greatly simplify your decision-making process. Instead of having to make arbitrary decisions based on a vague brand, you’ll be able to use your brand elements to ensure every decision you make is consistent and correct.

In our eBook How To Differentiate a Square Foot we show you the seven essential steps for building a luxury real estate brand that sells. By following our process, your brand will become a personality that can ultimately sell itself. Download the eBook now.

Why your value proposition is the foundation to your development

For the past several years luxury multifamily apartment and condo developers have experienced phenomenal returns on their investment as rents and sales prices continued to climb. But according to the winter 2017 edition of the Yardi Matix U.S. Multifamily Outlook, the good times are coming to a halt.

The problem is one of supply. As developers chased after the higher rents and sales prices luxury rentals and condos command, they flooded the market with luxury developments everywhere from megacities like Chicago and New York to smaller cities like Milwaukee, Kansas City and Jacksonville.

And the supply isn’t slowing. Yardis reports that 2017 will be the biggest year for new Class A supply since the financial crisis, with 320,000 new units expected to come online.

As supply starts to outpace demand, developers are beginning to struggle to command the top-dollar prices they’ve become accustomed to. A generic “luxury” brand is no longer enough. Now more than ever, it’s the development with a strong value proposition that’s going to stand out and make the sale.

Your value proposition acts as the entryway to your entire brand. By making it distinctive and inviting, you’re able to more easily stand out in the mind of your audience and make their mental shortlist.

Imagine the entryway to your building. Does your doorway blend into the background? Are your walls plain? Are your windows opaque? Is there anything about your entry that makes it stand out from the dozens of other entryways on your street?

Just as you would do whatever you can to increase your curb appeal and stand apart, you should work to make your value proposition as equally as compelling.

A value proposition works to define and articulate the reason why people should want to live at your development. The most compelling reason is often a point of differentiation, which means your value proposition should be defined before you even start development. A powerful value proposition will then literally be built into your building and your brand, leading everything from the design of the building to what amenities you offer to how you approach service.

If your development is already built, look for the aspects that make it special and develop your value proposition from there.

But what if your development is just another luxury building in a sea of similar offerings? That’s when you need to focus on your audience.

Remember, in a city of millions, you don’t need to create a value proposition that appeals to all of them. You need to develop a value proposition that truly resonates with only few hundred people or so. The more you can understand a highly specific audience, the easier it will be to connect with and ultimately convince them to check you out. The goal is make them feel like your building was built just for them. A tightly defined value proposition is just what it takes to get them in the door.

In our eBook How To Differentiate a Square Foot we show you the seven essential steps for building a luxury real estate brand that sells. By following our process, you’ll be able to create a brand that adds value and becomes it’s own differentiation point. Download the eBook now.

When luxury is standard, how do you become exceptional?

Every person has a different definition of luxury. While stainless steel appliances, European faucets and stone countertops are common high-end features, what is “luxury” in Omaha may be very different than what is designed, priced and sold as luxury in Manhattan.

And luxury isn’t just the design, fixtures and finishes of the home itself; luxury is the lifestyle that goes along with it. In addition to the high-end materials, luxury developments compete by including lifestyle amenities such as on-site yoga studios, a personal concierge, social spaces, organized gatherings, pet centers, room service and more.

For your audience, the problem isn’t defining luxury. The problem is too much of a good thing. Not too long ago,
it was easy to be the only high-end building in the neighborhood, putting your development in rarified air. But if you’re the third luxury building on the same block with two more developments coming online in the next quarter, it can be difficult to stand out.

With multiple options to choose from, “location, location, location,” that sacred mantra, is no longer enough. With every development featuring marble baths, hardwood flooring and a pool table in the common room, consumers have no good reason to make any one choice.

So how are you supposed to compete? Throw more amenities at the wall and see what sticks? Hope there’s more demand than supply? Lower your rates and compete on price?

How Social Media Is Making Real Estate Developers Rethink Marketing

When creating their real estate development’s integrated marketing strategy, often the marketing department can get too distracted with checking off tactical boxes to focus on the important work of storytelling, design, and building a brand people want to spend time with.

Social media is different. It requires you to tell an interesting, compelling, and consistent story to be a success. And with the way social media has become integral to our lives, especially millennials, social media success is often directly tied to business success. Consider these numbers:

  • 81% of US millennials use YouTube. YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the US.
  • 84% of people 30-49 years old use Facebook; for people age 18-29, that number jumps to 88%.
  • 28% of adults use Pinterest. Nearly 1 in 3 of those Pinterest users are Millennials.
  • More than 85% of US millennials in the US own smartphones. They look at their phones 45 times a day.

Why is this important? Here’s a few more stats:

  • There are more than 75 million millennials in the US, making them the largest portion of the population.
  • Nearly half of YouTube’s users have incomes of $75K or more per year.
  • 77% of all online adults making more than $75,000 are on Facebook.
  • Millennials spend more than $200 billion annually and will spend $10 trillion in their lifetimes.

The upshot of all these numbers? There are millions of millennials with billions of dollars to spend, and they are all looking at social media all day on their phones.

Of course, many luxury real estate developers are already focusing on millennials as an audience. However, old-school thinking has their marketing departments treating social as just another tactic to check off the list, one that is often underfunded or managed by junior staff. That’s a costly mistake. If your high-end apartment or condo development is focused on attracting millennials–and looking at the numbers, it should be–then you need to place social media at the center of your brand.

Social media can be used to build engagement, excitement and investment years before your first unit is ready for lease or sale. From the very first announcement to opening day, social media can be used to tell your brand’s story, let customers behind the scenes and steer the conversation.

This means you need to shoot video, take pictures, share renderings and tell stories about your brand months or even years before you have anything to sell, all in a thoughtful, strategic and cohesive manner. By investing in quality content and sharing it appropriately across your social channels in advance, you’ll pre-sell your development in a far more cost-effective and efficient way than waiting to roll out an expensive, traditional advertising campaign when you’re ready to start selling.

Not only will social media allow you to interact with your potential customers and friends they share your content with. It’s also a compelling way to gain PR exposure. Journalists, bloggers and new media websites routinely monitor social media for story ideas. The more quality content you put out there, the more likely others are going to want to share your story with their audience.

One more stat to keep in mind: 5 out of 6 millennials connect with companies on social media networks. Your audience is out there and ready to listen. The question is: do you have something interesting to say?

In our eBook How To Differentiate a Square Foot we show you the seven essential steps for building a luxury real estate brand that sells. By following our process, you’ll be able to create a brand that’s worth liking, sharing, pinning, tweeting and talking about. Download the eBook now.

How Defining Luxury Is Crucial to Competing in Today’s Crowded High-End Real Estate Marketplace

What does luxury mean? We use the word to define the finest materials, products, and brands. It connotes desirability, great worth and scarcity.

But in the real estate world, particularly in the large multi-unit skyscraper developments increasingly dominating downtowns around the world, luxury is anything but rare. According to RENTCafé, 75% of all large multi-family rental developments completed in 2015 were high-end.

However, a saturated market combined with economic and political uncertainty has already resulted in a slowdown in markets, with sluggish price growth nationally and slumps in major markets such as Manhattan, Miami, and Los Angeles.

With luxury no longer a rarity, developers need to find new ways to get their luxury units leased or sold. A well-defined brand can be one of the most important tools for doing so. But before you can define your luxury brand, you must first define what luxury means.

That’s because there’s no single standard for luxury. While luxury traditionally meant housing in the top percentile of transactions in a given market, the term has been liberally used by developers to describe everything from multimillion dollar homes to $3,000 a month apartments.

While alternate terms such as high-end, extravagant or affluent have been used to try and stand apart from luxury, the problem remains: luxury is subjective. Your idea of luxury might be chandeliers and gold faucets; mine might be stainless steel countertops and a heated pool; another’s might be ocean views and a starchitect-designed building.

When marketing a luxury development, then, it’s not enough to define your development as luxury. You need to define what luxury means to you, how it’s expressed in your development and what that means to your ideal customer.

Once you’ve defined luxury for yourself, seek ways to bring your definition to life throughout your brand. Beyond photography and a list of amenities, you can convey your definition through the endless choices to be made in color, typography, voice, content, marketing materials, and even the types of content you share on social media.

Alone, each of these elements are subtle. Together, when done correctly and consistently, they add up to a cohesive brand that signals your definition of luxury to the world. Those with a common definition of luxury will feel a clear connection to your brand and be inclined to put your development on their shortlist above the countless ill-defined competitors on the market.

In our eBook How To Differentiate a Square Foot , we show you the seven essential steps for building a luxury real estate brand that sells. By following our process, you’ll be well on the way to creating your definition of luxury and communicating it to your audience. Download the eBook now.