For the second time this year, a REIT is launching a rebranding initiative. Last month, before second-quarter results came out, Denver-based Aimco, the nation’s seventh-largest apartment owner, announced that it was revamping its logo to meet the tastes of a new generation of 20- to 35-year-old renters. And there’s more to come.
“We continue to have a new set of younger customers that are coming of age,” says Keith Kimmel, Aimco's executive vice president of operations. “We felt like it was time for us to step back and revisit it [the company’s branding].”
One of the most noticeable changes is in the name. Instead of an all-caps AIMCO, the REIT decided to lowercase last four letters in its name. Kimmel says the company wanted to convey a message that it’s not “overly controlling but to show it’s a partnership.”
”The spacing between the letters is a little larger than you would typically find in a typical font,” Kimmel says. “That was a specific strategy in that it would represent the feeling of openess and accessibility we like to provide to our customers.”
The new key-shaped logo also includes buildings. “There was no connection to apartment building or multifamily [in the old logo], so we added that,” Kimmel says. “The logo is intended to look like a key. We wanted to represent that we are a key to your new home and a key to a community.”
The company used customer focus groups to develop its new logo. “We found a variety of renters,” Kimmel says. “Some were Aimco renters today. In some cases, we were more focused on finding folks in the age demographic that rent apartments. We presented to them a variety of the different designs and found out which they responded well to.”
Aimco then had to roll out the new program to its 607 properties across the county. It did a webcast with its employees across the country and has briefed its corporate staff. It also had its area vice presidents follow up with local regional managers, community managers, and site staff. The marketing team also shipped the new logos, sales collateral, and letterheads out to the sites.
Aimco is targeting a November unveiling of its new website. “It’s been a tiered approach,” says Cindy Duffy, director of corporate communications for Aimco. “Getting the collateral to the field in peak leasing season was the first priority. We'll be following that with an updated website in the next couple of months.”
While Wall Street analysts aren’t usually interested in the rebranding (and are indifferent about logos), in general, they are supportive of website upgrades. “A new website can be very positive if the functionality is upgraded,” says Andrew J. McCulloch, a senior analyst for Newport Beach, Calif.-based Green Street Advisors. “An advanced web platform is a must these days, given a tech-savvy consumer.”