Biggest failures, craziest campaigns, and the best big ideas brought into multifamily rental housing.
Multifamily isn’t known for its cutting-edge branding. Spending astronomical resources to build a national brand just doesn’t make financial sense when your product isn’t available in every market in the country.
But that doesn’t mean branding isn’t important. There remains a lot of opportunity and upside to building brands that deliver exceptional experiences to residents and prospects alike. And the most impactful way to make that possible is to look to other industries that must have exceptional brands for ideas.
That’s exactly what Robert Gasteiger, vice president of marketing & communication at Steadfast Living, and Kainoa Clark, chief marketing officer at The Wasatch Group, did and shared during the 2021 AIM session Outside In: Marketing Secrets from Outside the Industry.
“My mantra in marketing is that experiences create beliefs and beliefs influence action,” said Clark, who participated in improving the brands of some of Hollywood’s elite before entering the multifamily industry. “If we can leave someone with the right experience that leads them to the right belief that leads them to the right action we get the results that we want. Everything I do in marketing is built on that.”
Those experiences occur everywhere a prospect or resident might interact with a multifamily brand and they create beliefs.
“Experience is one of those things that is so critical to everything that we do,” Clark said. “From an online experience to when you walk into a property and your in face-to-face contact with a leasing agent or a maintenance technician. They’re going to have a belief about your company, your business, your style, based off of that first experience. It is critical to nail those experiences.”
When a brand doesn’t nail those experiences, it creates negative experiences, which also lead to beliefs and actions. Fortunately, multifamily operators who haven’t been delivering the best experiences can course correct.
“When you’re looking to rebrand or to change an experience overall, you first have to identify the things that you aren’t good at,” Clark said. “What is leading people to the belief that is negative, because those are also experiences, they’re negative experiences. Let’s first identify negative experiences and then find out how to turn those into positive ones. That’s much easier to do than to say I have this great big idea of what I want to be. Well, let’s first figure out what we need to fix first to get there.”
Some of those negative experiences could be coming from interactions with onsite associates, which is why it’s important for operators to simultaneously think about the associate experience while considering the resident experience.
While taking a wine tour in Sonoma, Gasteiger had such an incredible experience with the winery that he was signing up for wine club before the sales associate even made the ask. The team members delivering the experience were just that good.
“The difference wasn’t service. We know what customer service is. This felt different,” Gasteiger explained. “If you don’t deliver the right experience to your associates, how can you deliver the right experience to your residents?”
Gasteiger returned to the office and translated his experience at the winery to the Steadfast Living experience by creating a visual guide of what it meant to deliver an experience for associates and residents.
“What we have seen since then is the difference between someone who is passionate about what they do versus coming to work and doing their job,” he said. “It’s what makes the difference for an associate to say I’m going to stay and work for this company because I’m working in the right culture and for a resident to say these people care about me, I’m interested in staying.”
- Lisa Trosien, Multifamily Educator, Consultant and President, ApartmentExpert.com
- Kainoa Clark, CMO at The Wasatch Group
- Robert Gasteiger, VP of Marketing & Communications at Steadfast Living