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More Than New Paint: Rebrand and Reposition the Right Way

Whether you’re rebranding a property or repositioning a property, it’s not enough to just slap a new name or logo on a tired building and consider the job complete. Knowing where and how to spend your dollars to maximize returns and truly enhance the property’s image is critical in both a successful rebrand and repositioning. 

Barbara Savona, Chief Executive Officer of Sprout Marketing, has been a part of numerous rebrands and repositionings, and shares her three best tips for those about to undergo either project. 

Do Your Research Before Spending a Dime

“It’s not about taking something undesirable and just polishing it over, but about taking the critical factors and really changing them,” Savona says. 

That said, make sure you know what your priorities are and what type of investment will yield the biggest returns. If you have a limited budget, you might want to reconsider whether you change the exterior or the interior of the building first. 

“Sometimes people put a lot of money into the exterior, on things like landscaping, painting and parking areas, but people spend more time in their apartment home,” Savona says. “It’s a lot easier for people to get past maybe an unattractive exterior than an unattractive apartment home because they just walk in and out of the building. But their home is the most intimate place of their life. With that said, though, if you have had a bad reputation for a long time, you might have to start with exterior changes to get noticed. That’s where the legwork comes in.”

Consider “Soft Amenities”

“A lot of places just can’t compete on the amenity level, but what are some things we can do to make their life easier? Soft amenities are a huge value-add,” Savona says. 

Savona describes a “soft amenity” as a service that can help make a resident’s life easier, but isn’t necessarily a tangible product. While typical amenities might include a fitness center, laundry facility or activity center, soft amenities might include concierge partnerships. For example, partnering with local businesses to offer residents dog walking services, meal and grocery delivery options and how-to courses on a variety of topics could be soft amenities. 

“These are things that the property is helping to facilitate, but not necessarily paying for. It’s almost just getting the benefit of saying, ‘we bring these services to you via vetted partnerships’,” Savona says. 

Get Full Buy-in From Onsite Staff

Many times the same staff members who were at the community before the rebranding or repositioning are the same ones there after the changes. Savona recommends focusing on how the shift in your community translates to onsite staff. 

“When the product is right, you can’t miss the mark with the people aspect. One of the biggest obstacles is when people don’t know where they’re going or what the big picture is. Starting with the leadership, make sure all staff members have a clear direction. What do we want this place to look and feel like? When people walk through the door, how do we want them to instantly feel?” Savona says. 

One way to do this and minimize pushback from staff who are used to doing things the way they’ve always been done is to outline realistic hiccups they will hit, such as a resident saying, “It’s always been like this,” and finding ways to keep the momentum going. 

“Give your team incremental wins. If your team feels like they’re making progress in little areas it’s going to help them continuing to move in the right direction, even when they hit challenges,” Savona says. 

Education Conference


Want more?

For 10 easy and actionable steps to craft a cohesive marketing plan, and three tips on how to get your staff to implement and buy into real change, plan to attend Savona’s breakout session, “Why the ‘Lipstick on a Pig’ Approach Won’t Cut It,” on Thursday, June 25 at 9 a.m. at the 2015 NAA Education Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.