Archive for August, 2020

Three Basic Principles of Property Branding

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By Rebecca Kappel, Strategy Director

Creating a Community

Creating a property brand is creating a community. For the end user, it will be more than a product or service — it will be what they experience each time they enter and leave their home. For the business owner next door, it will be more than a passing thought — it will be their neighbor. 

Our award-winning property branding agency team starts each project thinking about three basic principles. Every time. To build on these, we spend time at the beginning of the project experiencing the neighborhood, interviewing project stakeholders and working hand-in-hand with architecture, real estate and construction marketing partners. 

1. Origination

Or we can call this location, location, location. Understand the neighborhood, the community, the development plan, any zoning restrictions and any discussions that went into approving the development. Know the why. 

Did it take two years to go through planning and zoning? Are there historic tax credits or architectural restrictions in place? Know your history and why this particular property was developed in that particular location. 

Properties may need a brand story that supports development approval before the brand is fully built out. A solid messaging strategy can be instrumental in the success of a project. 

2. Segmentation

The identity and corresponding materials should first and foremost relate to the target market and support a robust real estate marketing and sales team and the lead generation funnel. But there’s more to a property brand than signing leases. 

You’ll want to make friends next door. So consider how it fits with or departs from the current neighborhood vibe and adjust messaging when reaching out to the surrounding community to promote events and partnerships. If it is a mixed use property, you’ll want to speak to potential business tenants differently than residents. 

Develop personas for each audience and work to understand their motivations in order to build a sense of trust. Be prepared to alter your message and goals for each of these personas. 

3. Differentiation 

Housing choices abound for both renters and owners. Why live here? What’s truly different? You may find out that the brand needs to stand out visually. You may find out that the messaging needs to carry the weight. Either way, be distinct and be authentic. Make an emotional connection.

Carry that differentiation past the sign on the door or the social media asset. Look for opportunities to collaborate with architects and interior designers to align wayfinding signage and common space experiences.

Take a look at our recent success in property development branding as well as other architecture/ engineering/construction brand and marketing work.

Five Qualities of Higher Level Higher Ed Communications

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By Rebecca Kappel, Strategy Director

Making it work in a changing communications landscape.

I am a marketer, but I am also an end-user. My professional inbox is flooded daily with B2B communications. My personal inbox is overloaded with B2C communications, and for the last year or so, it’s been inundated by higher ed marketing.

As a parent of a 2020 high school senior, I have witnessed the shift from pre-covid communications, eager to build a relationship with me as a parent and my daughter as a potential student, to pandemic messaging assuring families that the institutions that have operated for so long in the same manner are actively addressing my concerns for safety, continuity and the quality experience I want for my child. 

The best communications in my inbox have a few things in common:

Subject lines and headlines are crafted to clearly and quickly communicate what’s in store for me in the content below. If you are communicating critical information, such as deadlines and process changes, be direct. Keep in mind the sea of emails that the audience is wading through, and make requests actionable. 

Plans and strategies have been laid out, but the potential for shift is acknowledged and understanding requested as they navigate future changes. This allows for information transfer earlier in the process and management of student and family expectations. Sharing details about the decision-making process fosters understanding and empathy.

In-person events such as orientations and campus visits were replaced with dynamic virtual meetings and tours. Migrating something experiential to something virtual is no small task. By connecting with admissions counselors virtually early on, potential students can still build personal relationships. Layering on perspectives from current students maintains the feel of “inside information” that is the best part of the student led campus tour. (ie, which dining hall has the best pizza, the quiet place in the library to study, etc etc) 

Opportunities were offered to crowdsource information. Relying more on social media channels and closed groups to crowdsource information from other parents keeps procedural calls and inquiries down, especially in housing, supplements institutional messages and creates community. 

Brand aligned: 
Voice and visuals are consistent cross-channel. Strong and recognizable visuals and a consistent tone make it all come together. Having a relatable and consistent “personality” is critical to students and families feeling like they know you. 

The 2020-21 academic year promises to be an evolving and continuous communications challenge. While communications and marketing professionals are not on the front lines, what we bring to the table can ease tensions and calm fears. A well-informed constituency becomes a loyal base and will advocate for your brand.

Why ‘why’ is the most important question

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By Rob Kessler, Partner/Operations Director

“It’s good to be curious about many things.” – Fred Rogers

Anyone who has kids or has been around kids knows the inevitable question … why? Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why can’t Purdue make it to the Final Four (maybe that’s just asked at my house)? 

Kids are naturally curious. They want to know why things are the way they are … sometimes ad nauseam. Then somewhere along the way, that magic of curiosity begins to fade. They believe asking those types of questions is a sign of weakness and lack of understanding.

We all need to understand that asking ‘why’ will always be the most important question when it comes to your brand and messaging. But sometimes organizations forget this and focus on the what.

Tell your story, answer the “why”

When building your brand narrative, focus on storytelling that engages and shares your purpose. Why are you in the business that you are? This is especially true in internal communications. Employees want to belong to companies that have a strong purpose, and they want to understand how they can guide and be a part of that bigger picture.

At Magnetize we always focus on the ‘why.’ It’s a key pillar to our culture … to be naturally curious so we can learn and build strategies, messaging and creative that best share a client’s purpose. Even if it’s a simple campaign, knowing why there is a need for the initiative, product or service goes a long way in building a narrative that connects and engages with both internal and external target audiences.

So find your inner child and go back to asking “why.” 

Why? So you ensure you stay purpose-driven and continue to strengthen your messaging.