The role of the multifamily marketer has morphed drastically in the past decade. Modern-day marketers are more research-driven and tech-savvy, and they play a much larger role in the organizational framework.
Now their talents are being further tested.
With leasing demand not quite where it was just a couple of years ago, marketing teams have had to get even more creative to make their properties stand out. Two operators shared stories of unorthodox methods they successfully have deployed at the 2023 Entrata Summit session “The Art and Science of Capturing the Attention of Today’s Renters.”
RangeWater Uses Innovative Approach at Skylark
RangeWater Real Estate faced unique challenges with Skylark, a new development in the Chosewood Park neighborhood of Atlanta. The submarket was in a transitional stage, construction delays were stalling progress, pandemic-related issues remained, the company was facing presale pressure, and, as a kicker, snakes inhabited the area.
The RangeWater marketing team met the challenges by leaning on the community’s proximity to the Atlanta BeltLine, studying the generational tendencies in the arts-infused locale and analyzing the psychographics of the target audience—such as how they make purchases and consume media. RangeWater also utilized a Zeno study that granularly broke down the ways consumers gravitate to businesses with a purpose.
“We used that information to form a hypothesis about how infusing property with a purpose would help create engagement and foster quicker purchasing decisions,” said Dana Pate, managing director of marketing and public relations for RangeWater. “Part of that purpose was to beautify the neighborhood in an arts-centric fashion.”
RangeWater hired three popular local artists. Megan Mosholder created a compelling piece along the stairway, Eric Nine contributed three murals, and Lacey Longino added her expertise, including the resident-facing piece “Them Pretty Weeds,” which greets residents as they enter from the parking area. It helped the community complement the charismatic qualities of the neighborhood with an aesthetic that is compelling both to residents and passersby.
As a result, the Skylark accrued more than 100 leases in 120 days, RangeWater social channels experienced a 36% increase in engagement, and the company was selected as the Institute of Real Estate Management's 2022 Innovator of the Year.
The Scion Group Reimagines Branding Strategy
Student-housing operator The Scion Group had acquired a cluster of communities and recognized an opportunity to rethink its branding approach. Rather than install a different brand for every community or one overriding brand, the company broke the portfolio into four defined buckets.
“We have our garden-style, mid-rise, cottage townhome product, and our high-rise,” said Lauren Merritt, vice president of brand and experience for The Scion Group. “As we started to research the residents of each product type, including what they’re looking for and what they’re aiming to achieve while they’re in college, we discovered defined tendencies with each.”
As such, The Scion group developed four identities—self-starter for garden style, go-getter for mid-rise, free spirit for cottage townhome, and trendsetter for high-rise. The company then developed four corresponding brands with a two-word tagline for each—Alight (live smart), Lark (live savvy), Redpoint (live large), and Ion (live ahead).
“Those who live at Alight and Lark are future-focused and know what they came to college to do,” Merritt said. “They crave more approachable price points rather than a certain product type, but it’s not because they can’t afford it. It’s because they know what they want to achieve, and they want to save now so they can spend on what matters in the future.”
Redpoint is the company’s “middle child” and features larger homes, the largest contingent of green spaces, and the most attractive amenity spaces. Ion, meanwhile, has refined interior spaces and caters to renters “with the highest expectations,” said Merritt, who added that the brands provide a mental model for teams to consider when catering to the preferences of each.
The brand strategy has helped The Scion Group bolster its standing as a leading owner/operator of off-campus student housing globally. The company’s portfolio consists of 81,500 beds spanning 125 communities.