The Branded Landlord, Part Two: Finding & Creating Your Brand
In Part 2 of this three-part series on the Branded Landlord, we move from understanding why having a brand actually matters to how you can start to create your own brand. You’ll come away with a few simple exercises to help uncover a brand positioning statement that shows tenants how you stand above the rest. Not sure why you need a brand? Read part 1 of this series to find out 3 ways brand-building will boost your rental business.
Having a brand doesn’t mean having a logo or even investing in a big marketing campaign. It’s simply conveying what is special about your property and you as a landlord. Tapping into your existing passions – like your green thumb or your thorough knowledge of the best coffee shops in the neighbourhood – is the best place to start. Taking time to explore, document and define who you are, what you value and what unique offering you provide as a landlord can help you connect with more tenants, and find tenants who are a perfect long-term match for your property.
STEP ONE: UNCOVER YOUR VALUES
It all starts with discovering and defining who you are. Most of us haven’t ever sat down to really consider what makes us or our businesses different from everyone else. This is the starting point for your brand – and the results might surprise you.
Get a stack of Post-it notes and a pen (and maybe an Americano on a sunny patio). Write one word on each Post-it that answers questions like: What do I love about landlording? Why did I become a landlord? Or even more broadly: What is important to me? What do I get excited about?
There are no wrong answers – it could be something as simple as Italian wine or travel. Maybe it’s cooking or community building or making newcomers feel at home. Write until you run out of words (or Post-it notes). Now lay your notes out so you can see each one and group similar ones together until you land on 3–4 groups of related values. For each, pick a value that best summarizes or encapsulates the words in that group. Maybe the thing you love about Italian wine is that it brings people together – your value might be “community.” Or maybe the thing you love about travel is celebrating different cultures – your value might be “diversity.”
Try to end up with 3 or 4 top values – 5 at the most.
STEP TWO: DEFINE WHAT YOU OFFER
Next, use your values to inform your specific offering. Let’s say your values are the outdoors, community and sustainability. Think about how you can bring these values to life in your properties. Could you build a community garden at your building to encourage neighbours to connect and to grow their own herbs and vegetables? Could you find ways to make your homes or suites more environmentally friendly by upgrading to a learning thermostat like Nest, or introducing a composting program? Your values can begin to inform the small and big decisions you make when it comes to your properties. And each of those decisions become stories you can tell when marketing to prospective tenants. Good tenants want a landlord who shares their values – offering a designated hybrid charging station, for example, could be the difference that makes a tenant choose you, even if your rent is higher.
Think about ways your values can show up in your property business. Can you host a quarterly wine social for tenants? Or an annual international potluck? If communication is a value, maybe you could create a Facebook group for tenants to share resources and neighbourhood tips.
Even if you only have one property, your values can show up in creative ways that enrich the tenant experience and make great tenants stick around.
STEP THREE: WRITE YOUR BRAND POSITIONING STATEMENT
You might have heard it called an “elevator pitch”, a “unique selling proposition” or a “tagline”. Whatever you label it, every well-defined brand has a memorable and concise sentence that explains who they are, what they offer and why they’re valuable to others. We’re going to call it your brand positioning statement.
This statement should not only define your brand, but eventually should drive all of your marketing efforts. It should be a concise sentence or two that is easy to share with others, with no additional explanation required. Think about a brand you love (maybe it’s a clothing company, a favourite snack or a fitness studio) and how you’d describe it to a friend. Ideally, your statement is unique enough to stand out, but easy to understand so others can remember it.
Take the example above of the landlord who values the outdoors, community and sustainability, and offers composting programs and community gardens in their buildings. Their positioning statement could look like this: “I’m an outdoor enthusiast who builds community through sustainably-minded rental buildings.” This statement could help you name your buildings – maybe after mountains you’ve hiked or your favourite tree species. It could help you choose natural design elements for your lobby, or inform the graphics on your business card. Maybe instead of just advertising that your suites come with storage, you call it out as storage for sporting equipment. You are much more likely to attract like-minded tenants who share your values and will offer fewer headaches in the long run.
Consider your brand positioning statement your north star, and use it to guide the decisions you make for your business. Ideally, when marketing elements like your website, ads or social media channels come together to support your brand positioning statement, you end up with a consistent, recognizable brand presence. Use this to stand out in the sea of landlords, and to attract dream tenants who will stick around for the long term.
Next time we’ll give you ways to effectively share your newly-created brand on your marketing and social channels. In the meantime, start talking about your brand using Pendo’s easy-to-use advertising websites.