What Changing Seasons Mean for Apartment Complex Marketing

If you want to win in the apartment marketing game, you need to be a “brand for all seasons”. Here’s what that designation means.

Perhaps you’ve heard the old joke about auto mechanics telling new drivers that they need to add more “blinker fluid” or replace the “summer air” in their tires with “winter air?”

If you tell someone who doesn’t understand the apartment rental space that you need “summer marketing” and “winter marketing,” they too might feel that you’re having a bit of fun at their expense. The truth, however, is that apartment marketing is highly seasonal. To do it effectively, you need to be a brand for all seasons.

Let’s take a closer look at why apartment marketing is seasonal, and some relevant strategies you can employ each time the weather changes.

Why Apartment Marketing is Seasonal

If you’re wondering why marketers need to vary their approach by season, the answer is simple: Because buyers vary their behavior. Most leases end in the spring and summer, which means that the market experiences its highest volume of prospective buyers during the warmest months.

If you’re a savvy marketer, you prepare for this influx of interest. It’s also important to understand why rentals peak in warmer months. The start of a new college year, for example, results in a rush for new rental accommodations. Marketers need to be aware of this and tailor some of their offerings to the college demographic.

Other reasons rentals spike from May to September include:

  • Wedding season
  • Better weather
  • Higher birth rates, necessitating new living spaces

Marketers who are ahead of the curve consider all of these elements and calibrate their campaigns accordingly. Additionally, when interest drops off in fall and winter, marketers can adjust their approach as needed. If too much inventory remains unrented, marketers can design campaigns with special incentives to encourage prospects to move sooner than they were planning to.

Some On-trend Ideas for Apartment Marketers

360 degree videos and virtual reality. Today’s apartment renters are extremely tech savvy. They use popular real estate platforms to explore properties and neighborhoods from the comfort of their couch, taking full advantage of tools such as Google Maps and Street View. Smart marketers understand that “couch browsing” has become an unofficial national pastime. 360 degree walkthrough videos show off a property in a way that static photography simply cannot match. By providing 360 degree videos and VR/AR walkthrough content, you can differentiate your offering and give browsers exactly the type of experience that excites and intrigues.

Offer seasonally targeted marketing initiatives involving your complexes. Is it spring? Then partner with a local college to co-sponsor a gardening class. Is it fall? Then organize pumpkin carving or trick or treat experiences within your complex. Is it winter? Then build a massive snowman outside of your complex and add an advertising sign to go with his corncob pipe and button nose. No matter what season it is, be fun, creative and relevant. 

Create a YouTube channel with interesting content and do-it-yourself tips for renters. This is a great way to engage with people and build awareness, but it’s important to make a commitment to produce strong content on a regular basis. Additionally, you should make an equal commitment to optimizing your video content so it’s seen by large (and geographically relevant) viewers.

Finding the Right Apartment Marketing Partner

At Bigeye, we’re the apartment marketing specialists. Contact us today to learn how we can help you maximize your marketing potential — in any season.

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How to Make Brand Videos That Move Audiences

If you aren’t taking advantage of the power of brand video, then you’re ceding an important edge to your competitors. Here’s what you need to get started.

Let’s say you’ve got an exciting new product and you want to introduce it to consumers in the most impactful way possible. How would you go about it? If you’re not immediately thinking “brand videos,” then we urge you to keep reading.

Why Brand Videos Have Become an Indispensable Marketing Tool

Right now, you’re reading a blog — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Blogs are a tried-and-true medium for short, informational content. Yet the blog should be merely a single arrow in your quiver. Audiences don’t always have the time or inclination to read, yet they can almost always find time to watch a short video — provided it reaches out and wrests their attention away from the other dozen things competing for it.

That’s one reason you’ve likely been deluged lately with explainer videos and all other sorts of branded video content. Videos simply work. People engage with them at higher levels than seen with ads or written content.

There’s another factor motivating the brand video proliferation: The learning curve and production costs associated with professional video creation have declined radically in recent years. This means that brands have no reason to avoid joining the revolution.

So How Do I Tell My Brand Story Through Video?

Here’s the good news: Connecting with audiences via video is relatively simple, provided you can follow a few smart practices. When creating brand videos, here are some key things on which to focus:

Story is paramount — and so are people. Creating brand videos simply because “everyone says people prefer video” won’t accomplish much. You still need a compelling narrative that audiences will relate to. Think about a simple yet effective way you can frame your brand story around human characters. Any newspaper editor or photographer will tell you that images of static buildings or landscapes don’t reach people or move copy. As humans, we are naturally drawn to each other, and this extends to our engagement with photos and video. Forego the facts, figures, and product features (or at least consign them to secondary status) and put people front and center in your videos. By focusing on one person, brands can make larger and more complex issues more relatable.

Our Approach

Take a deep dive into how we approach our work. Learn about our creative thinking and our strategical approach

Forge an emotional connection. Savvy brands have long known that a true emotional connection with audiences is the gold standard in advertising and marketing. Nothing converts and builds long-term loyalty like sparking a visceral, emotional reaction. Fortunately, brand videos are a fantastic format for forging these kinds of connections. By using images, dialogue and music to full effect, a great brand video can tell an emotionally resonant story in as little as 30 seconds.

Reach for the original. Remember how we mentioned that proliferation of video? That’s why it’s essential that you take creative risks and push for something original. Audiences today are extremely savvy and cynical about brand messaging. Yet you can penetrate their defenses by delivering something that delights or inspires. Here’s one great example. It’s important, however, to understand your limitations — nobody is looking for an avant-garde HVAC brand video.

Maintain your messaging. Your brand videos are ultimately an extension of your overall brand messaging. They should speak with your voice, project your values, and be calibrated to appeal to your specific audience. While it’s important for your content to reach for creativity and originality, this must still occur within the larger context of your brand messaging.

Don’t skimp on video production. This one is easy — there’s no excuse for a cheesy (unintentionally, at least) or cheap-looking brand video. The cost and skill needed to produce respectable content has plummeted.

The Benefits of Working With the Right Brand Story Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at both brand story and video production, and we can help you take your brand videos to the next creative level. Contact us today for more information. 

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Apartment Branding: The Missing Piece of the Marketing Puzzle

Most multifamily marketers know the importance of promoting the features of their communities, but fewer fully grasp the importance of apartment branding.

Multifamily marketers tend to spend a lot of time highlighting their available vacancies, touting structural and functional details that range from vaulted ceilings and granite countertops to scenic views and smart appliances. While this marketing approach is certainly valuable, trying to implement it without first establishing a solid apartment brand is like trying to put a coat of paint on a building before pouring its concrete foundation. 

Real estate industry statistical research firmly supports this view of apartment branding as supremely important. The Harvard Business Review, for example, reports that 64% of people cite shared values as their principal motivation for developing a consumer relationship with a particular brand. Covering the other side of the consumer/business coin, the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report has shown that 57% of small business owners regard strong relationships with consumers as the chief force behind ongoing/repeat business.

In short, it is absolutely essential to create, institute, and cultivate an apartment branding strategy that says something powerful and unique about your multifamily community. Furthermore, it is vital that you continually monitor the overall effectiveness of your exiting brand to ensure that it is squarely connecting with your chosen audience.

Building an Effective Brand from Scratch

When it comes to establishing a brand that reflects your company priorities and values, creative and strategic apartment naming and logo design are key…but they are only the beginning. Your name and logo will serve as a launching pad for all of your subsequent marketing strategies from overall messaging style and content delivery to the development of specific promotional efforts and advertising campaigns.

Want to optimize your apartment branding process to make a tremendous impact on the marketplace? By following the three steps outlined below, you can ensure that your branding efforts get off on the right foot and continue down the path to success.

1. Research

Surprisingly, this important first step in the apartment branding process is one that many multifamily marketers fail to invest in. This is, quite frankly, ridiculous. In the absence of adequate preliminary research, your branding efforts will be little more than a shot in the dark, and you will have little chance of hitting that elusive branding bullseye. Key areas of branding research include consumer demographics/psychographics, consumer behavior/lifestyle choices, and geographical/financial market analysis.

2. Brand Identity

After conducting in-depth research, you must give extensive thought to your proposed brand identity. Keep in mind that this identity must extend throughout every element of your comprehensive marketing efforts, from the color of your chosen logo to the tone of your written promotional copy to the videos and images that appear on your social media page. The two keys to brand identity are relevance to company values and consistency across all media channels.

3. Implementation Strategy

The final step in the brand-building process consists of positioning your fully developed brand within the marketplace. This necessitates a comprehensive implementation of all brand elements (signage, letterheads, promotional messaging/events, website/social media design, etc.) with a firm focus on lead generation and positive public relations. It is absolutely essential to develop a prudent implementation strategy that fits the specific characteristics of your brand. As Executive Magazine contributor Samantha Chalmers puts it, “when promoting a LEED-certified community with composting stations and community gardens, it wouldn’t make sense to place a print ad in a Range Rover catalog” or “serve coffee or water in Styrofoam cups in the leasing office.”

Brand Optimization and Rebranding

No matter how much time, effort, and care you took to develop your initial apartment brand, it is important to realize when, in the words of Multifamily Executive Magazine contributor Jamie Matusek, “your brand becomes more of a liability than an asset.”

When this occurs, it is time to optimize your brand or rebrand entirely.

A successful rebranding effort requires marketers to follow the same comprehensive steps that drive the initial branding process. But when is the right time for your apartment complex to rebrand? Events and situations that often trigger a rebrand include planned remodeling or structural capital improvements, a floundering reputation in the consumer marketplace, and a general desire or need to expand your overall audience base. 

Your specific brand optimization or rebranding strategies will depend entirely on the events that necessitate them and the weaknesses in your brand as it currently stands. If your apartment complex is plagued by poor resident ratings, for example, you will want to reach out to existing tenants to precisely identify key areas of concern and then reformat your brand to address those areas specifically. In this case, your new brand should reflect a distinct break with the old brand, clearly stressing the value of a fresh start. As part of your rebranding efforts, it will be absolutely essential to communicate what, exactly, will be different about your company as you move forward. Furthermore, it will be even more important to honor those messages through conscientious action. 

For more information

Bigeye is an apartment branding agency that places a supreme emphasis on creativity and forward-thinking business strategy. Whether you’re looking for a multifamily marketing agency to build your brand from the ground up or to optimize the brand that you’ve already developed, we can help. Don’t hesitate to contact Bigeye today.

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Why Package Design is a Critical Decision for CBD Brands

Your CBD package design could be the difference between a lawsuit and increased profits. Work with our creative & production team and save your chances.

Think package design is relatively unimportant? One billion unboxing videos on YouTube would beg to differ. Great packaging has become an ever more important differentiator — and CBD package design is no exception.

Why brands need to get CBD package design right

The CBD market is experiencing propulsive growth, as consumers use oil-infused products for everything from health and wellness applications to beauty and skin regimens. As one of the fastest-growing consumer markets, many businesses are eager to jump into the fray and claim a slice of that ever-growing pie.

While that urgency is understandable, elements such as package design should not be de-emphasized in the race to get to market. Why? It’s simple:

  1. Great CBD package design is a competitive differentiator in a highly crowded market.
  2. CBD marketing ideas are subject to laws and CBD marketing regulations, and all designs must stay compliant. 

For years, CBD sat inside a “gray area” in terms of legality. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill provided more clarity, legalizing CBD products on the federal level. Yet many restrictions remain in place, and some of these restrictions involve marketing and advertising.

First, it’s important to understand that CBD companies are under much greater regulatory scrutiny. If there is a misstep, fines and penalties may be assessed. This means that brands must exercise caution when determining what to include on their packaging.

CBD products need to be designated as either a food item or a health supplement. This may sound straightforward, but it’s not — many CBD products exist in the space where foods and supplements overlap. Once this determination is made, an FDA-approved food or supplement label needs to be affixed to each package.

Sellers must also include many of the standard labeling items:

  • Product volume
  • Ingredient list
  • Nutritional breakdown
  • Potency
  • Brand information

It’s also important to be aware that packaging and labeling requirements vary by jurisdiction. Indiana, for example, requires CBD package design to contain QR codes that can be used to reveal information about batch numbers, lab results, expiration dates, CBD / THC content, etc.

One more critical consideration: Brands need to be exceedingly cautious about making medical claims. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have been cracking down on CBD brands that make unsupported health or medical claims about their products. The FDA alone targeted more than 450 CBD websites in 2018 for making unsupported marketing claims. 

This means any claims found on packaging need to be fully vetted and beyond dispute. Language that emphasizes words such as “natural,” “sustainable,” “healing,” etc. is far less likely to draw regulatory attention than language that makes a claim such as “CBD oil can be used to treat / cure” a specific disease.

CBD package design aesthetics

In addition to compliance, it’s also important to consider aesthetics. In this case, it’s essential to consider your audience. CBD brands that target a market where there is significant carryover with cannabis use will generally use product designs that are established within that space — think aggressive, not especially refined, and full of cannabis-related puns.

On the other hand, brands that incorporate CBD within their existing product line tend to follow current designs. An upscale skincare brand may use elevated design elements with an understated “infused with CBD oil” tagline included at the bottom.

For brands targeting a more general market, it’s advisable to avoid design elements or language that ties too closely to “4/20” culture, as this will have negative connotations for a sizable audience segment.

Instead, focus on natural and sustainable themes and a premium feel, as these elements are aligned with current consumer preferences.

The takeaway

Great CBD package design is an imperative for brands, both in terms of compliance and aesthetics. Our experts help clients realize their marketing objectives by creating visually stunning product designs, supported by innovative ad campaigns. Ready to take the next marketing step for your business? Reach out to us today! 

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Frequently Asked Questions on Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.

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4 Helpful Apartment Marketing Ideas for the Holidays

Despite the typical seasonal slowdown, don’t let your apartment marketing endeavors take a vacation over the holiday season!

While few renters would say no to a bigger and better apartment, absolutely nobody looks forward to moving day itself. And while changing residences in the heat of summer certainly isn’t fun, moving in the cold months of autumn and winter is, for many people, virtually unthinkable.

The hassle and expense of the holidays only make matters even worse for the apartment rental sector. So it’s not surprising that, despite the inherent joy of the season, real estate professionals tend to approach the stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Years with nothing short of dread.

However, despite its notorious reputation among property renters, the holiday season need not spell absolute doom for those with the right apartment marketing skills. The real estate market may slow during the holidays, but it doesn’t stop completely!

A wise apartment marketing professional or multifamily marketing agency will tailor their existing marketing campaigns to effectively reach the small amount of renters who absolutely must face a cold weather move. After all, people accept new jobs, establish/terminate relationships, and face a whole host of professional and personal changes all year round.

Looking for even more good news in advance of the upcoming holiday season? By leveraging the unique marketing opportunities that the holidays present, you can actually present a Thanksgiving or Christmastime relocation as a plus rather than a minus… a blessing rather than a curse.

Here are just a few apartment marketing tips that can help you weather the holiday season in fine form.

1. Tailor Your Online Presence to Fit the Season

If you are on top of your marketing game, you are already updating your website and social media pages on a regular basis. Why not use the upcoming holiday season as an excuse to change key elements of your website and other online destinations?

Switching website design to reflect the holiday season is a great way to connect with your existing resident base and reach out to future residents in a positive and heartwarming way. The feelings of general goodwill and togetherness that go hand in hand with the holidays serve as a great opportunity to welcome people into a new home.

2. Encourage Online Sharing to Boost Engagement

Yes, the holidays are great at bringing people together. This holds true whether you are gathering physically around the dinner table or meeting in the virtual space of social media. By sharing holiday photos, stories, and other seasonal content, you can effectively reach out to prospective tenants by reminding them of the traditions and values that so many of us share. Get creative by encouraging employees and existing tenants and to share beloved family recipes, musical playlists, and anything else that may strike a common chord during this special time of year.

Of course, the reciprocal nature of social media always begs for a response. Boost overall engagement in a major way by exchanging favorite memories and current moments of celebration throughout the holiday season.

3. Offer Creative Seasonal Incentives

One need look no further than the holiday tradition of Black Friday to realize an indisputable truth: Nothing brings people to the marketplace faster than the promise of a sale.

Since most members of the general public know full well that the holiday season is notoriously slow in the real estate sector, you can play upon this conventional wisdom by offering special incentives. While the precise nature of these incentives will obviously depend on the financial and operational constraints of your particular real estate organization, it is absolutely essential that prospective renters feel that they are getting a worthwhile bargain in exchange for signing a lease during the winter or late autumn months.

Of course, the key to this strategy is publicizing this bargain in a manner that will draw people to your door (or website). By acknowledging the seasonal rental slump and/or adopting a general holiday theme, an effective marketing campaign can present even a relatively small incentive as an exceptionally big deal.

4. Partner with Worthy and Appropriate Charitable Organizations

There is truly no better way to acknowledge the holidays than by lending a hand to the less fortunate among us. Why not make a seasonal charitable donation to a reputable charitable nonprofit that has special meaning, either to your team in particular or to the real estate industry in general?

Do you offer pet-friendly rentals? Consider partnering with your local Humane Society and perhaps even hosting an on-site pet adoption fair. The holidays traditionally engender a boost in pet acquisition because…well, what kid doesn’t want to find a new puppy or kitten under the Christmas tree?

Regardless of your charitable affiliations, be sure that your existing tenants and the public at large know all about it. Post key information, pictures, and other charity-oriented content on your official website and social media pages. Write and distribute a press release to local media outlets and other organizations that might appreciate and/or share your charitable involvement.

For More Information

A different type of marketing agency, Bigeye stresses creativity and strategy in equal measure to help drive successful campaigns no matter what the market or time of year. If you’re looking for a multifamily marketing agency with a deep understanding of the property rental sector, please contact us today.

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