Updated on May 23, 2022
What is your property management company’s brand?
This question isn’t always as simple as it seems. And maybe you don’t think of yourself as even having a brand.
But, you do.
Even if you haven’t spent the time to cultivate a brand and to create a unique identity for your company and what you do, there’s already some branding attached to your name. Maybe you’re the local property management company that’s been family-owned and operated for generations. Maybe you’re the boutique company that specializes in upscale neighborhoods and high-end rental homes. Maybe you’re known as the property managers who get all the best tenants.
Your brand is what you’re associated with, especially among the people you work with and the community you operate in.
We are talking about branding and identity in this blog today, and we’re going to tell you why it’s so important to be consistent in your branding. First, you need to establish that brand. Then, you need to promote it.
Consistency is key.
What do we mean by ‘Branding’?
Surely, you can think of some of the world’s best-known brands.
You see something that one of those companies puts out, and you immediately know it’s them. Those Amazon delivery vans roaming your neighborhood look exactly like the Amazon website. Coke in a can has similar branding to coke in a bottle and Disney has consistent branding from theme parks to merchandise.
You don’t have to be a tech powerhouse or a major player in global sales to have a strong, consistent brand that’s favorably thought of. Your property management company’s brand is part of building your business and setting yourself up as an expert.
So, what do we even mean when we talk about your brand or your process of branding your company?
Branding and identity are two words that professionals in the marketing world love to use.
Let’s break down what they really mean.
Vocab Quiz: What is Branding? What is Identity?
When we talk about branding and identity, we’re talking about the image you put out to the public.
Image is everything. Especially now, when we’re living in an increasingly visual and digital world. You’re online. You’re on social networks. Maybe you have a physical office with signage and company t-shirts.
When you set up a booth at a conference or a trade show, you’re thinking about your image or your brand. You put out a video or you write a blog and guess what? You’re branding yourself. You’re expanding the reach of your property management company’s image.
What is it saying to people?
Anyone who searches for you on Google will see what you have on your website and on social media. If they come across your booth at a conference or a trade show, they’ll see your banners and your brochures.
There are two questions you need to ask yourself:
- Is my brand the image I’m hoping to reflect?
- Are all those messages consistent?
Your brand is your public identity.
Effective branding requires you to have an identity that’s easy to associate with who you are and what you do. You want the same look and feel to everything you put out.
For just about every business, this starts with a logo. Your logo should be prominent on everything, whether it’s digital or printed. The colors should be the same. Your identity must be consistent. You don’t want one logo for digital spaces and another logo for print pieces. You want the same logo.
Everywhere and always.
Establishing Your Property Management Brand
Successful branding can be achieved in just a handful of steps. If you’re a property management company that’s been in business for many years, you likely have an established brand. These steps can help you determine whether your brand is aligned with your mission. You can decide if your identity actually speaks to what you do.
Here’s a quick look at how to establish your brand if you’re just starting out or you’re looking to grow your business and you need a brand that’s a bit bolder.
How to Build Your Property Management Brand in 6 Simple Steps
Know Your Target Audience
This is where it all starts. Who is going to benefit from the services your property management company provides? You’ll actually have several different audiences – tenants, owners, investors, vendors. All of them need to be able to identify your brand. Your perfect client, though, will be a rental property owner. Think about that client when you’re branding.
Position Your Company
Next, you need to position your company within the market. What does your company do and what are your unique value propositions? How are you different from all the other property managers in your area? How can your customers benefit from working with YOU?
This is your brand position. It must shape your image and identity.
Make a Promise
Why should customers trust your brand? Why should people work with you? You need to establish what you’re promising to deliver every time you work with someone. This is your brand promise, and it should show up in everything you do, from your website to your landing page to your blogs and your emails. Consider the expectations your employees, partners, owners, and tenants have for you. Every decision you make should speak to that promise.
Personality, Not Popularity
Sometimes, the battle of brands can seem like a popularity contest. But it’s not about popularity. It’s about personality. What makes you unique? How do you want employees, owners, tenants, and vendors to describe your property management company? That’s your brand personality..
Tell Your Story
Branding is a lot of storytelling. Who are you? What are you about? That “About Us” page on your website should do more than share a few bios. It should provide your company’s history. It should explain why you’re passionate about property management. You need a one-minute elevator pitch and a 10-minute story. Prepare to share it.
Finally, you need the logo, the colors, the shapes, and the pictures that match your brand. This is what goes on the top of your website and on the bottoms of your emails. It’s splashed across a banner and a poster. It’s on the door in your office. Make sure the brand associations reflect all of these previous steps. This is where your image comes together.
Establishing Brand Consistency for Your Property Management Company
Let’s assume you have a brand.
Is it consistent? Is it easily identifiable? Do people look at your logo or your company name and still have to ask what it is you do?
There are lots of reasons that consistent branding is so important. Wondering what those are?
Let’s talk about them
Customers Need to Recognize You and Your Company
Consistency builds trust. It sets standards.
It’s going to help your current and future customers recognize who you are and what you do.
Let’s think about adventure for a moment. Maybe you’re a property management company in Colorado Springs or the Pacific Northwest where outdoor adventure is something that a lot of people love. So you could be building a brand where adventure is a major theme.
How does that translate into your marketing?
Let’s imagine that you’re doing a series of postcards that you’re sending out to attract self-managing landlords who might want more time to pursue their passions. It positions you as the company that can take care of their rental homes while they’re out climbing mountains or jumping out of airplanes.
On the first postcard that gets mailed out, you might have a mountain climbing image, and on the second postcard, maybe there’s a picture of someone surfing. The next postcard is skydiving, and the marketing plan has a flow. You might have people calling to inquire.
Then, all of a sudden, you send out a postcard with someone in a cozy armchair with a cat on their lap, reading a book.
Sounds nice, but it doesn’t make sense. It throws off your theme and it removes all consistency not only from your specific marketing campaign, but from your brand as a whole. This will only cause confusion and set you back in your marketing plans.
The postcard of the cozy chair and the cat is completely inconsistent with the adventure of the previous postcards. This is the opposite of consistent branding because branding and identity are meant to make sure that when potential customers see something that you’re putting out into the world, they know it’s you at first glance.
Think of any major brand. You know what Coke and Pepsi look like. You know Apple and Google. They have consistent branding and messaging.
You aren’t competing with Pepsi or with Apple (thankfully). But, you want to follow their lead in terms of how they brand their company and their separate products. Make sure you’re easy to identify.
When we say you need to be easily identifiable, we mean that you need to be easily identified everywhere:
- On your website
- On your social media platforms
- In your ads and your brochures.
Even business cards and email signatures must reflect your brand. If not, there’s confusion. There’s questioning.
It simply doesn’t look professional.
Make An Effort to Keep Your Branding Consistent and Your Identity Intact
How can you ensure brand recognition is seamless?
We have a few suggestions.
Set Up Written Brand Standards
Some companies call this a Style Guide. Some call it a Brand Book. For some, it’s a simple list in your corporate documents that establishes what images, colors, fonts, and slogans should be used. Don’t forget tone and voice. You can’t publish a blog today that’s in third-person and formal when all of your other blogs have been first-person and conversational.
Make Materials Versatile (and Reusable)
At Fourandhalf, we’re big fans of repurposing your content whenever we can. Let’s make your video into a blog. Let’s turn your blogs into an eBook. Branding across different platforms is easy to keep consistent when you’re using some version of the same message.
Establish Some Platform-Specific Guidelines
Maybe only one person or a small team in your company should be authorized to post on Facebook and Instagram on behalf of your company. This will keep things consistent. You also need some guidelines on how content is shared on each social media platform. Your landing page will look different from your Twitter feed. But, the branding still needs consistency.
Keep a Consistent Online and Offline Brand
A lot of your branding happens online. This doesn’t mean you can afford to neglect your offline image. Property management is a relationship business, and your brand needs to work in person as well as it works online. You want your potential customers to know the humans behind the logo.
What Happens When You Re-Brand
Sometimes, companies re-brand who they are and what they do.
There are several situations in which this may be especially useful to a property management company:
- Maybe you’re moving into a new market and you need to introduce yourself to the expanded region or create a company brand that reflects your work in two states instead of one.
- You could be moving into a new business area. Perhaps you’re a property management company first, but now you’ll be helping clients buy and sell real estate, too. Or, you’re setting up a new maintenance division and you need to re-brand to include that revenue source.
- Perhaps there’s new ownership. You’ve bought a property management company or you’ve sold your company to a larger brand.
Mixed identities and brands will often confuse people unless there’s a lot of planning that goes into the rollout.
You don’t want to confuse your customers. If they aren’t sure who you really are and what message you’re conveying, things will get messy. You’ll have a hard time attracting new business.
You might find yourself re-branding your company. That’s not always ideal, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember what we’ve been talking about throughout this entire blog – consistency is the key ingredient.
Don’t let three different images or identities start popping up on social media sites, landing pages, and newsletters. You don’t want your former color scheme to be forced onto a new logo where it doesn’t quite fit.
Your Google Ads, even once you’ve re-branded, need to look exactly like your Facebook photo and the sign on your door. Business cards need to be updated as quickly as your website to reflect a new name, new leadership team, or new office location.
“Forewarned is Forearmed.” – Abraham Tucker, noted 18th century philosopher and early branding expert
If you want to re-brand, think about your strategy in advance.
Be ready to launch the new brand at one time. Have all of your marketing materials and images and assets available to switch over at the same time. Prepare to upload your new cover photos on social media. Make the banners match your website, and update your email campaigns and brochures so everything changes at once and there are no mixed messages.
What Have We Learned Here?
Consistent branding, we hope you can see, is important to you as a property manager because you’re trying to earn new business. To do that, you need to have an identity that’s easily recognizable to the people who are seeking the services you provide. Your image cannot change every week.
Mixed identities and scattered branding can confuse a potential client and create the perception that you’re not organized. We said this earlier: it just looks unprofessional, and it’s hard to attract new clients if you aren’t putting your most professional foot forward.
If someone who is thinking of doing business with you receives a postcard that looks one way, but your Facebook profile looks like something completely different, it might put them off.
When a potential landlord looks for you and sees your ads and your website and your social media presence and everything looks consistent, you will demonstrate that you’re organized and attentive to detail.
This will elevate the level of trust your company has with that landlord.
Prospective clients will be more willing to let you manage properties.
Now would be an excellent time to take a look at your own branding. Is it consistent? Is it telling the story you want about your company and what you do?
Look at everything from the perspective of a current owner. Now look at everything from the perspective of a potential owner who is looking for a property management company to help lease, manage, and maintain their portfolio of rental properties.
They don’t want to be worried about your ability to look clean, polished, professional, and consistent.
If you need help with your own property management branding, we’re here for it. Contact us at Fourandhalf with questions about this important topic or anything pertaining to property management marketing.