Branding Your Student Housing Community
Serendipit shines light on why it is important to create a strong brand for your student housing community.
Your student housing community’s brand is the single most important component to keep in mind because that is what the students resonate with. David Ogilvy, known as “The Father of Advertising,” described a brand as “a collection of perceptions in the mind of a consumer.”
In other words, your community’s brand is what students think of when they hear or see your brand name/logo. Thus, it is critical to establish a cohesive and creative brand that fits within your target demographic of students. When done correctly, the following process is typically utilized.
- Research: This phase is critical to the branding process. You must understand the marketplace you are entering as if you have lived there for years. What is the vibe of the campus, the surrounding community, the student population, etc.? Who is, or will be, your biggest competitors? We suggest hosting multiple on or offline focus groups to truly understand the student population.
- Persona Development: Understanding the personas of the students you are marketing to is key for creative development, messaging and the leasing process. We like to understand what makes each student tick. What type of cell phone do they use? What car do they drive (if any)? What are their motivations? What are their needs and wants? Every student is different; however if you develop persona segmentations you will be able to more accurately develop a brand and marketing strategy that speaks to their individuality. This will ultimately make them want to live at your community.
- Key Messaging: Once you have developed your personas, you can easily craft key messages that speak to each segment. These messages should be utilized and customized for all marketing materials.
- Creative Development: This is my favorite part of the branding process. Students today are visual and are used to seeing everything as a picture. As marketers, we are more visually challenged than ever in this Instagram/Youtube/Facebook era. Therefore, developing a logo and brand image that students get excited about and want to associate with is very challenging. Make sure that your graphic designer and marketing team are SUPER STARS in this area.
- Cohesive Strategy: Lastly, and most importantly, is the element of cohesiveness that ties all of this branding jargon together. Without a cohesive brand, you will fail. Students are extremely distracted today and cannot process multiple variations of brand, a tagline, colors, signage, etc. For a student housing community brand to be successful, it must use the same logo, colors and tagline throughout all marketing and communication materials.
At Serendipit, we know branding like the back of our hand and we also speak the college student lingo. This is why we pride ourselves on being the marketing experts in the student housing industry.