The Power of Storytelling in Multifamily Marketing



Multifamily marketers don’t have to make effective brand impressions by repeating the name of the leasing property in rapid-fire succession like those annoying late-night commercials. You know, the kind that repeats the phone number five times in about two seconds.


While it does take some amount of repetition before someone remembers your brand (Rule 7 says seven times), a brand impression doesn’t have to be limited to one product or service or approach.


Brand impressions are those interactions through advertising mediums that entice consumers to engage. They can be as simple as the first impression like the outward appearance of a leasing agent to something more complex like defining and executing a flawless renter lifecycle.


The physical property, apartment website presentation, and social media status are typical first impressions. And sometimes that first impression – if it’s a bad one – can negate even the most creative apartment marketing campaign. Whatever the impression, it underscores brand reputation.


With the average attention span of consumers shrinking almost hourly these days, meaningful brand impressions are more important than ever.


The best imagery tells a story better than words

Lifestyle imagery is a big seller. It’s a type of brand impression, like many, that appeals to our human senses.


The best imagery often tells a story far better than any amount of words. The world will never forget the “Afghan girl,” the young woman girl with the piercing green eyes that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. Her haunting stare expressed the turmoil of war and hard life and hardened her soft features.


Life didn’t seem as fast in 1985 as it does today when brand impressions must be convincing to stand out within the barrage of messages that reach consumers not just daily, but hourly. While the “Afghan girl” might have competition for positioning today, Sharbut Gula captured the world in her red scarf and won’t be forgotten.


Julian Zeng, Assistant Managing Editor at the American Marketing Association, says “marketing is, and should always be about, capturing the consumer’s attention (even imagination) and filling a need in a visually enticing, productive manner.”


In multifamily, it’s about showcasing the best of an apartment community and resident life with immersive videos or community photography. These can be images of renters celebrating their lives in shared spaces or activities and amenities inside and out of the apartment. Cool water drenching renters in the pool on a hot summer day is fresh and invigorating to the eyes and speaks a thousand words.


Content marketing driving Olympus Property to new levels

At Olympus Property, investing in an optimized apartment marketing strategy has strengthened the company’s brand through four years of aggressive growth. A big focus is lifestyle imagery, which lately has become a key piece of content marketing for high-quality website presentation or messaging on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.


Mobile is by far the preferred digital media type to get the message across, says Alexis Murrell, Olympus Property’s National Director of Marketing and Communications. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company, with a portfolio valued at more than $3 billion, sends out its messages via phones and tablets 80 percent of the time compared to 20 percent by desktop. Olympus uses other mediums like radio, television, and print sparingly. 


“Every community is unique,” Murrell said at Apartmentalize in June in Denver. “Every property is different, and we don’t want to lose that, so we spend an excessive amount of time curating this imagery. It’s about what the customer is looking for. They want to get a sense of what life is at the community.”


The strategy is part of a new direction for Olympus’ website and has helped generate a 12,000 percent increase in page views. The content is contributing to generating most of the portfolio’s leads while decreasing the cost per lead up to 70 percent at the properties. Inbound leads are up 105 percent.


“The power of storytelling will create a connection with your customer,” Murrell says.


The connection starts with reaching influencers, people who fit the targeted audience. They can make a lasting impact by sharing stories about the product that draw others into the fold and create emotional connections, those lead to lifelong allegiances. The Harvard Business Review notes that when companies engage consumers emotionally it pays off big.


And it all traces back to a message that is strong in content and imagery. Is your apartment community making a great brand impression?

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