Telling the right story: Does your apartment branding resonate with renters?

Sep 7, 2022

Male and female renter pointing at apartment branding on a laptop

Today, more than 90% of renters begin their apartment search online. And I think we all know that “online” is a crowded and distracting place. Your rental listings are competing with memes, recipes, Reels, TikToks, unboxing videos, cute animals, AI image generators and just about anything else the human brain can dream up.

As marketers, we have to use our skills in apartment branding to create and deliver memorable messages that stop the scroll.

But what makes us stop and look? And what does it take for branded content to catch our eye?

How do you create an engaging ad, social media post or website for your apartment community?

To help answer these questions, I’m going to share some of the apartment branding strategies we swear by at REACH by RentCafe. Get the recipe to create a brand message that stands out using branding essentials, emotional storytelling and copy that compels.

5 essentials for your apartment branding

If you want to stop the scroll with creative content, your brand story or brand vibe is paramount. It’s got to do a handful of things really well. Your brand must quickly and simply show your customer what you’re about, and your message should easily be reshared from person to person — which dramatically increases its stickiness.

When your story is good and really sticks, your audience will do the work for you by sharing, reposting and telling friends. That’s when you’ve struck marketing gold. So here’s what you need to do:

  1. Keep it clear and simple: Your message should be short and to the point.
  2. Use engaging visuals: Quality photos and videos go a long way.
  3. Share life-changing benefits: How will you positively impact your customer’s life?
  4. Provide proof: Share testimonials that back up your claims.
  5. Include a call to action: If you don’t make it easy to engage, your customer will keep scrolling.

The best branding uses powerful design to pull all these elements together in a cohesive and visually consistent way everywhere your brand appears.

The 3 most powerful emotional responses to your brand message

Three of the most effective emotional reinforcements are attention, approval and affection from other people. The possibility of feeling any of these things while scrolling contributes to the urge to pull down and ‘see more’ over and over again.

Your customers like:

  1. Feeling seen
  2. Feeling liked
  3. Feeling cared for

When something they click on does not reinforce these feelings, it’s likely they’re going to switch pages, switch apps and go back to whatever was making them feel these ways.

As an apartment brand, it should be easy to create content that makes viewers feel cared for. Show prospects how your community and your apartments will take care of them and their needs.

6 storytelling concepts that stick

Taking the above into consideration, when you’re developing your brand’s messaging, remember that it’s not actually about you. It’s about your customer and how your brand solves their problems. Most obviously, they need a place to live, and you have apartments to rent. But so do lots of other brands.

What can you do to stand out?

These are the concepts you can use to stop a scroller in their tracks:

  1. Reduced anxiety
  2. A peaceful life
  3. Satisfaction
  4. Happiness
  5. More time
  6. Closure

Everyone wants to feel happy and at peace in their new home. Use these storytelling concepts on your website, in your ads and in social media posts to appeal to prospective renters.

The 3 measures of successful content

Successful content does at least one of these things:

  • Interests me: Does it pique your curiosity?
  • Humors me: Does it make you smile?
  • Adds value: Does it make my life easier?

It’s important to evaluate the success of your messaging after it’s created. In addition to assessing your brand elements by the measures above, you should also use all the other data points available to you.

If you’re sending emails to prospects and residents, what is the open and click-through rate? On social, what’s your engagement rate? Are people stopping what they’re doing to pay attention to what you’re sharing?

Instead of just hoping your brand message is resonating with renters, use data to prove it.

Consistency is everything

As you’re developing or expanding your apartment brand, be sure to pause and take stock of what you’ve created so far. Is it cohesive?

Being consistent doesn’t mean copying and pasting the exact same thing across every platform. But it does mean keeping a consistent mood.

The overall vibe should feel like it all came from the same place. Think complimentary. Be mindful that it’s the look and feel that is being received and reacted to by the viewer.

That said, it’s always a good idea to repurpose your content in a way that’s appropriate to each space. Using the same content in many ways not only increases the value of the content you’re paying for, but it also creates consistency.

Consider requesting your hero video saved at multiple ratios and in shorter clips to use for social media and additional web content. Turn a brief clip from your footage into a 5-second gif and make your own meme.  Add a few vertical photo requests to your shot list because most real estate photographers are looking to provide you with horizontal/landscape shots only. But for social media channels like Instagram and TikTok, you need to ask them for a few shots framed vertically. Then your brand can get more visibility on platforms full of potential renters while staying consistent.

Branding IRL: It all comes down to service

I’d like to leave you with this final reminder: Your apartment brand is so much more than just your logo and color palette. Even the most beautiful creative content will not defeat unhappy clients.

Center your brand first around serving up quality service. Then back that up with positive apartment reviews.

The awesome creative content you produce is the whipped cream, caramel drizzle and cherry on top!

(P.S. If you feel like you need a little help with your content, feel free to get in touch. Logos, web pages, photos, social … we’re here to help!)

Jewell Green

Jewell Green is a creative marketing specialist at REACH with many years of experience in branding and marketing. Based in Raleigh, she has also been a real estate agent and understands this multifaceted industry from its many different sides. Outside of the office, you might find her with a camera in hand, capturing beautiful spaces, places and faces.

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