Connecting emotionally to customers is a priority for every business. It helps build brand awareness and loyalty. This is no different for your apartment community, where residents want to feel at home from the moment they sign a lease and all the way through their tenancy.
Your community’s leasing office is part of your brand. It’s likely the first building potential renters walk into when they visit your property and serves as a gateway to vacant units and the community at large. Your leasing office is also a building that current residents visit from time to time and serves as a place where your staff can build relationships with those residents.
A leasing office should do its part to attract and retain residents. These days, property managers are working hard to create sights, sounds, and smells that evoke positive emotional responses from staff, residents, and potential renters alike.
Your first steps, of course, are to clear the office of clutter, repair or replace damaged furniture, and set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Next, revamp your leasing office so that it engages renters’ senses the moment they walk in the door:
Fragrances are an effective way to market to customers, as high-end hotels, luxury apartment communities, and even smaller brands have discovered. Fragrances are powerful cues to memories and emotions, so fill your leasing office with a pleasant signature fragrance. Your current and potential renters will not only recognize the fragrance every time they enter your office, but will also look forward to it and come back for more.
To encourage fragrance recognition, forget supermarket air fresheners and invest instead in a diffuser that dispenses a commercial-quality fragrance. Scents that feature notes of tea, citrus, and essential oils are especially trendy right now.
Like smell, sounds evoke very strong emotions. When used strategically, background music can turn your leasing office into a brand-building soundscape.
Remember that selecting background music isn’t about playing your favorite songs. It’s about connecting customers emotionally to your brand.
Let’s consider a few examples: Have you ever walked by a teen clothing store and heard loud, thumping Top 40 hits? These stores are trying to attract customers who see themselves as cool and as fun-loving as the songs make them feel. Have you ever taken a hotel elevator and heard the subdued instrumental versions of those Top 40 hits? Hotels want to transport guests to their floor with a sense of restfulness.
Similarly, the sounds in your leasing office should send the right message to potential and current residents. You’ll want to skip the elevator music, which nowadays sounds a little clichéd and won’t appeal to millennial renters. You’ll also want to avoid Top 40 hits, which often contain offensive lyrics and will send the wrong message about your apartment community.
Assemble a custom playlist to create a soothing, yet energetic atmosphere. “Ambient music” and “chillstep” have gained traction in recent years because they pull listeners into a receptive frame of mind without taking too much attention away from conversations–in your case, signing new residents and assisting current ones. Explore Pandora, Spotify, or YouTube to find selections that make your leasing office a happy place. Avoid selections that sound sad or weird.
Spend some energy improving your leasing office’s appearance, so that it works in harmony with your fragrance and background music. The colors should catch residents’ attention without being garish. Replace headache-inducing fluorescent lights with lamps that have a modern design and distribute soft lighting. Open the blinds during the day to save energy and take advantage of the appeal of sunlight.
Don’t forget about your decor. To make your leasing office stand out visually from your competitors’ offices, display artwork that will intrigue renters and create a memorable experience. You don’t want to settle for generic, mass-marketed prints. Nor do you want to go overboard on bizarre or expensive pieces. Instead, scope out local studios and art dealers who are selling interesting artwork at a good price.
Do you have residents that are artists or photographers? Offer to display several of their most appealing pieces on a temporary, rotating basis, or purchase several pieces you’d like to keep for a permanent display. Doing so shows support for residents and ensures that your decor is one-of-a-kind.
Engaging the senses aren’t the only way to build brand recognition in your leasing office. Train everyone on your staff to provide superior customer service. Make sure that staff members are knowledgeable about all facets of your apartment community. That way, your leasing office becomes the place for enjoying pleasant interactions and getting questions answered.
Also, remember to use your revamped leasing office as a gathering place for resident appreciation events. Holiday parties are excellent opportunities to create a festive ambience with decorations, music, and food. Your early-morning breakfast bar is another great way to draw residents into a well-designed leasing office, where they will emotionally connect to your brand on a daily basis.
How do you build brand awareness in your leasing office? Share your ideas in the comments below!
Before you go, check out Four Cost-Effective Apartment Makeover Ideas.