Standing Out Like Gaga with Your Real Estate & Multifamily Marketing

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Branding Tips for Real Estate & Multi-Family

Hey Sprouters!

Last time we talked about Lady Gaga and branding… creating a consistent voice and image for you or your community. (If you missed it you can catch up here). But there is so much more we can learn from this queen of dance and marketing, and that takes us to our next lesson from Lady Gaga.

Let’s start with her quote: "You laugh at me because I'm different. I laugh at you because you're all the same." So back to what we were saying, it doesn't matter whether you love her or hate her, you recognize Lady Gaga because she's different, right?

When it comes to marketing our communities or ourselves, we can easily, and I'm going to say this for multifamily, fall in line with what everybody else is doing. And we look in our industry and we say, "Oh, they're advertising here, gotta do that. Oh, they're doing this, we gotta do that. Oh, I gotta follow suit. What's the latest with the technology? I gotta do that."

And the reality is is sometimes when we step outside of our industry, that's when we get the real ideas. In fact, a lot of times I try not to look at too much stuff from our industry because it all starts to look the same after a little while. Just like Lady Gaga, she's not a follower. When she first came out, she wasn't trying to be Hilary Duff, Britney Spears, or Christina Aguilera. She came out and it was like nothing that anyone had ever seen, and it resonated because there's enough people that it resonated with. Remember, you don't have to be for everybody, you just have to be the right somebody for the right people.

Human brains are hardwired to notice small differences. When everything blends in and it looks exactly the same, our minds just kind of glaze over it. What we notice are the differences. Even if I'm listening to a podcast and somebody's so goofy, it's totally maybe not something that I wouldn't normally say or do myself, but they're different, and all of a sudden I'm thinking I like that about them. It's interesting to me, so I'm going to follow and I'm going to listen to them. Those differences make us stand out.

As a realtor, property manager, however this is speaking to you, what makes you different? Is it your style? Do you always wear a certain kind of a tie or certain fun socks? Or is it something about your personality? What is it that makes you be memorable when people are deciding to choose who they're going to do business with? Is it the music that we play when they walk into our leasing office? Is it the events that we're doing? Is it the way we're communicating on social that does not look like every single other community? How are we standing out as different? And that's huge, right? Even when you're thinking about if your brand is your community, don’t forget you are a portion of that brand.

For example, let's say I'm your leasing professional and I'm giving you a tour. I'm going to talk to you about the things that make me different. I might tell you the story about how I'm half German, half Mexican and I was raised by parents that had completely different styles, right?

Or I might talk to you and say I'm a huge dog lover. I've had two dobermans. They're my babies, I just love them. Or I might share those personal differences because on those differences we're going to find connection points and that's what you're going to remember. And then when I send you a follow-up and I say, "Hey, it was so great to tour you today. I'm Barbara. Remember, I’m the girl that's got the Doberman named Jax, blah, blah blah." We connected on that, or whatever it is. That is a great way to stand out as an individual in your customers mind.

The next thing in Gaga’s playbook is: look for partnerships that align with your brand. Keep good company. So when Lady Gaga was doing this reinvention, it's like now you think Lady Gaga, you think Bradley Cooper, right? Do you think that there's a lot of Bradley Cooper fans that before this were not Lady Gaga fans, but now they are and vice versa?

See, strategic partnerships within our brand can make for a much larger audience and so that's really good. We a lot of times we think about brands in competition with us. Absolutely not look for synergies with other brands. So if your residents like to shop somewhere, or if your clients connect with other brands that you know, look for ways that you can partner to expand your reach.


Partnerships, affiliates, like-minded brands, all they do is amplify your brand. Get connected with your community, foster what you're building, and then show your “little monsters” some love. Now I'm not talking about those residents that are literal monsters and that you're so over. I'm talking about the monsters that Lady Gaga has made into her fan base. This is another thing, I love about this woman.

When she first came out on the scene, she decided that she was going to unify her community and she called them her little monsters, and she was the momma monster. It's like Lady Gaga's world and we're just on the sideline. She had a manifesto written for them. She did a website. She has an app for them. She showed tons of love for her little monsters.

Times when they were standing in line to get tickets two days in advance, she'd send pizzas down. She'd show up and make live appearances. Now here's the flip side of it, her other lessons that we can learn about what not to do when she hit a low. When some of her fans didn't like what she was doing, they turned on her, and because her brand is so personal she kind of pulled back a little bit. And so for the last couple of years, the interaction wasn't quite as personal anymore. But I think she might be changing that.

Even at the Grammys she actually thanked her little monsters for her grammy win. So she brought them into her success. And that has been her secret from day one. So she'll bring up fans up on the stage to make them excited about what ... She's a rockstar, now they're rockstars. They're living her moment.

The reality is when we foster community, we have to understand what community we're building. Years back, I worked with a apartment community, I think they still do this, they called their residents the 12-21ers. And every post was like that for us. For our community it’s our Sprouters. We love our Sprouters.

What can you do, not just in your words, but how can you foster community? Could it be a special Facebook group? Could it be just in your interactions, do you have a special name for your community? And then think about how your community likes to do business. Especially because that's what we're talking about is that loyalty.

How do your residents like to communicate? Do they prefer email, do they prefer text? Look at your policies and procedures. What's outdated? What are we forcing them to do our way that's no longer the way they want to do business that there is wiggle room for? And then what communications methods work?

I wanted to make a point of this because as times change at our communities or even in our real estate industry, we have to be willing to change too, to speak to our audience. So let me ask you this. Are you forcing face-to-face interactions when your clients don't want them? (I'm not saying that we're doing away with all face-to-face, but I'm saying what are the best times).

I mean, I think about it when you text somebody and then they give you a phone call, and you're thinking, ooh, I don't want to talk on the phone, I just wanted a text, right? Well, what are ways that we're doing that to either our clients or our prospects? What about your events? Are your events speaking to your audience? Again, if it's an open house, what type of house is it?

Who's the target demographic? What are you doing to build that sense of like, "Hey I understand you and I'm speaking to you." Same thing going back to even our apartment communities. If we're doing speaking events and people don't want that. What about hosting virtual events? What about hosting grab and go events? We're doing a lot of that in our Sprout community.

One of the things with our Sprout membership every month is trying to showcase “how do you do an event where people can grab something and head out the door and enjoy it in the comfort of their home?” It still builds loyalty, but it's not tied to an interaction that is uncomfortable for them. Now at a different community, it could be totally opposite. It’s all about understanding and speaking to your specific community.


Lady Gaga is so great at fostering community. You saw the good, the bad, the ugly. She says, "Art is my whole life. The monsters are my medicine." Look at how you're communicating with your people. Are you making them feel a part of it? Are you including them in your journey? Is there an insider's type of a club?

The other thing is don't always think that things have to be huge to be impactful. Recently, this was kind of a cool thing, Lady Gaga showed up at an advanced screening and people speculated. They had other places that have movie theaters with hundreds of people and she showed up in a small location with just a few people that were watching this advanced screening, and it made their day.

Now here is what happens when loyalty builds. She showed up, she gave a heartfelt speech, you can check it out on YouTube, and she just basically said, "Thank you for supporting me in doing something so different from what I started in." And here's what I guarantee you. All of those people took pictures, shared them socially and they will probably be Lady Gaga fans for life.

Because she did this inclusive and exclusive at the same time event, she built Loyalty. Think about ways you can provide that kind of feeling too. We don't have to always demonstrate experiences in huge ways that cost a ton of money. With social media, you can give people the personal connection they crave in a way that is legitimate and real. You can have a personal connection in a video, but people have to feel that you legitimately care about them. Paying attention to how you can show up for your residents or your clients is huge.

Personal connection is always going to be king because at the end of the day, we're human beings. That's how we connect, right? We connect from the heart so people are going to make the decision to buy or to sell their home with you if you're a realtor because of that connection. And the same thing, even in our apartment communities, features and benefits are great, but a lot of people have features and benefits.

So how do you stand out as different? What makes you special? What kind of unique experiences can you provide for your clients that will leave a lasting impression? Think it over because next time we will cover one last Lady Gaga tip to improving your marketing and brand!


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