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Refreshing your brand identity

Refreshing your brand identity
From online to outside, tips for a successful re-brand

When the weather turns nice, often it’s outdoor tasks like landscaping and exterior painting that become the primary focus for residential property managers. But the reality is, before a potential tenant even steps foot on a property, he or she will have already encountered its brand in some shape or form—whether it’s on a website, in a rental magazine or on a social media platform. That potential tenant will have already begun formulating an opinion about the property, and for this reason, it’s imperative to keep  branding efforts as fresh as possible.

Rethinking your company logo

Is your logo’s design and colour scheme dated? Potential tenants will notice this seemingly small detail and use it to decide whether or not they want to rent with you. According to a recent study by WebDAM, 65 per cent of people are visual learners who will use what they see to make a judgement call on you and your properties.

Updating your website

When deciding where to focus your rebranding efforts, start with the path your potential tenants will normally take when researching places to live. More often than not, they are going to search online—and this is where a fresh, intuitive website will help you stand out from the crowd.

“When we looked at what would make our website better, the first thing we decided to revamp was our landing page,” said Jeff Birman of Cando Apartments. “A strong landing page encourages apartment seekers to spend more time searching your website, as they can find all of the information they want and need with ease.”

Cando Apartments’ landing page features a search widget front and centre, allowing users to start their apartment hunt immediately.

“An important aspect of our website was to capture the attention of a number of demographics and audiences on one page,” says Jessica Green, Director of Corporate Communications for Greenwin. “We decided to add a section that was specifically for students so they wouldn’t have to waste time clicking around and trying to guess if an apartment they were interested in would be close to their school.”

Consider the audience you want to speak to, and give them the tools to find what they need immediately.

Using social media

Though you’ve probably heard this before,  let’s say it again: If you want to succeed, you must have a social media presence. In fact, according to Hubspot, if your company page on Facebook has over 1,000 likes, you will receive nearly 1,400 visits to your website each day.

“We have found that the more engaged we are on social media, the more our website has received traffic,” said Steven Clarke of CAPREIT. “To us, social media is a way to show our personality while communicating what we have to offer that no one else does. We also never shy away from responding to any negative feedback on social media, which helps to build confidence in our brand.”

Indeed, a recent American Express study found that 88 per cent of consumers are less likely to do business with a brand that ignores complaints on their social media accounts. This tells us that social media is powerful and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s not just the content, but it’s how your brand looks. Ask yourself: are we projecting a professional image? Are we showing potential tenants who we are through creative and engaging banners and campaigns? If not, perhaps it’s time for an overhaul.

Improving your signage

With the online world conquered, it’s time to shift focus to the way your brand is incorporated into your properties, hitting home where it really counts. Street signage should reflect the image you have carefully crafted online, including your logo, your colours and your motto.

“Having a cohesive image in every possible aspect will help with brand recognition,” said Sheryl Erenberg, of Sheryl Erenberg & Associates, a leading Canadian rental and marketing consultant.  “The goal is to get to the point where consumers can identify your brand simply by logo or colour alone.”

After a long and harsh winter, your street signs are probably in need of a little love. If they are constructed of wood, give it a fresh coat of paint. If they are constructed of metal (the preferred material for longevity), don’t be afraid to get out there and give them a good scrubbing with soap and water. A person walking or driving by will see this sign and immediately form an opinion about the quality of your property based on how well kept and informative the signage is.

A recent infographic put together by Rentseeker.ca found that 53 per cent of people responded to yard signs, so don’t allow them to fall into disrepair.

Coming up with a cohesive marketing strategy

The final piece of the brand makeover puzzle is your marketing material—from brochures to the ads you place in newspapers and trade magazines. As with the outdoor signage, your marketing collateral must reflect the same brand image as your online efforts. A lack of cohesive branding not only creates confusion, but looks sloppy. If you will be using these materials at local events and charitable drives, you absolutely must put your best foot forward.

Now that you have the tools to begin your brand refresh, it’s time to start brainstorming. What do you have that helps to put you one step ahead of the competition? Take that information and craft a brand image that reflects you in an unforgettable way.

RentSeeker.ca offers landlords & property managers and owners a full suite of marketing services. Visit www.RentSeeker.ca for more information.