Posts Tagged ‘Brand Management’

Highlights from the 2014 Income Property Management Expo

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Pasadena, CA – March 25, 2014

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We hope to see everyone back in Pasadena in 2015!

www.IncomePropertyExpo.com

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The Value of Public Relations in the Multifamily Industry

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

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Contrary to popular belief, public relations (PR) means more than just press coverage and media interviews. There are several aspects of PR, from press releases, to internal communications, to reputation management, and many things in between. PR builds your brand’s visibility and fosters a positive perception. In the multifamily industry, there are a variety of reasons why PR is relevant to you. Here are a few instances where PR is valuable:

Market Launch. If you are in the process of building a new apartment community, having a focus on PR is extremely valuable for the development of your brand. You’ll need to put a launch strategy in place that includes communication efforts internally as well as externally. Pitch information about your new community to local newspapers and lifestyle magazines, and consider participating in events within your neighborhood to spread the word about your new apartment community. It’s always best to begin planning a PR strategy as soon as possible, in order to build anticipation and interest before you actually begin the lease-up.

Brand Awareness. Whether your community is newly constructed or well established, you want people to know about it! It’s critical to stay at the top of people’s minds in order to build your community’s visibility in your local area. From participating in local events, to branded materials, to media coverage – it all plays a role in reinforcing the power of your presence. Scope out events or media opportunities where you’ll be able to showcase your community and draw the attention of potential renters. Occasionally, you may find that your community has important or exciting news that is worthy of writing and sending a press release to the media. MultifamilyBiz and PitchEngine both offer free press release distribution services.

Reputation Management. Managing your reputation is arguably the most important aspect of PR – regardless of whether the buzz about your community is positive or negative! You should have a social listening platform in place in order to accurately track what renters and prospects are saying about your community. If you’re receiving positive feedback, that’s great. But don’t stop there – let the positive reviewers know that you appreciate them sharing kind words about your community. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way! If you have any negative feedback, be sure to address the concerns of the reviewers and do what you can to correct the situation. You would be surprised at how easily you can turn a negative into a positive by showing that you truly care about the situation and are willing to work hard to fix it! Take a look at this Reputation Management eBook for more tips on how to build and maintain a positive brand reputation.

Utilize PR as a vehicle for growing your company. Every press release you send, every consumer interaction you are a part of, and every event you participate in contributes to the establishment of your brand. Always seek ways to put your community’s name out there – often, you can find PR opportunities that are no cost or very inexpensive. Try your hand at blogging, create social media pages for your community and engage with fans and followers, or cross-promote with other brands to expand awareness for your community – all are great, inexpensive forms of PR for your community!


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Brittany Worrell Boyce | Company Website | LinkedIn | 
Brittany is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at For Rent Media Solutions. She specializes in creating internal and external communications for the brand, including press releases, industry articles, sales collateral, and email marketing. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech.

So You Got a Bad Review? Don’t Panic, Chatmeter Has The Answer!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Chatmeter | www.Chatmeter.com

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A few months ago, we wrote about how Yelp is cracking down on paid reviews (check it out here) and that they were increasing their filtering service to try to deter companies from producing fake reviews. Now, along with the help of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, chatmeter would like to give some tips and advice on responding correctly to reviews. Responding to reviews can be an extremely helpful tactic if done correctly; but if done incorrectly, you may just be adding fuel to the fire. These tips should be directly incorporated into your review management strategy and referred to whenever you respond.

Yelp has developed a new video series, called Inside Yelp, which is designed to help customers and businesses better understand their services. In one of the first videos, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman explains the reasons behind the review filter and also offers a few points on how to respond to a negative review. The first thing he says is that you need to accept that you will receive negative reviews. Bad things are bound to happen that may be out of your control. You can’t expect that every single person who comes into your business will be 100% satisfied. Things do happen. Here are his 3 tips:

  1. Take a deep breath and think about it. You want to give yourself time to really think about the comment and reflect on it.
  2. Think about the “big picture.” Consumers know that they will see negative reviews on your business page. One review will not be the end of your business and that one review doesn’t count for everything.
  3. Take the negative review as constructive criticism. You want to take these reviews to heart and learn from what your consumers are saying.

Although these tips are a great place to start, we think there are some other things you need to consider before you respond to a negative review.  First, you need to thank your reviewers. They took the time to write about your business, so you need to show your appreciation, even if you don’t want to hear what they are saying. You don’t need to respond to every single review, we recommend that you respond to the negative ones and 1 out of 5 positive ones. Next, you need to be nice with your response. You don’t want to get into an online argument with an angry customer. Not only will this make the customer even angrier, other people may see this threat and think negatively about you. You want to keep your responses courteous, useful, and relatable. The last tips, is you need to make sure you don’t take the reviews personally. Your customers are reflecting on their experience, not about you personally. You want to reply in a manner that addresses the experience.

Just because these tips were primarily from Yelp, they should be considered when responding to a review on any type of review site or social media site. These tips should also be taken into account for all businesses, regardless of your size. It doesn’t matter if you are a franchise with 100 locations or a small mom and pop shop with only one, correctly responding to a negative review is extremely important. You need to remember that just one bad review can cost you upwards of 30 new customers! Consumers based websites are not going away so you need to make sure you know how to manage them correctly. The biggest takeaway you should get is that you should not respond irrationally. You need to think about what you are going to say and it should reflect your business and the experience you want your consumer to get.

We’ve also done the research and here are some of the review-based websites that allow your business to properly respond:

  • maps.google.com
  • local.yahoo.com
  • yelp.com
  • yellowpages.com
  • yelp.ca
  • blogsearch.google.com
  • facebook.com
  • twitter.com
  • foursquare.com
  • citysearch.com
  • insiderpages.com
  • superpages.com
  • tripadvisor.com
  • yellowbook.com
  • urbanspoon.com
  • dealerrater.com
  • hotels.com
  • apartmentratings.com
  • edmunds.com
  • cars.com
  • merchantcircle.com

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chatmeter_logo

As the first Local Brand Management (LBM) platform, we help large franchises and agencies with hundreds of locations measure and improve their marketing effectiveness. This is actionable local intelligence that has never been available before. With the fragmentation of local search marketing today, it’s become impossible for agencies and national retailers to properly manage the brand at the local level. The chatmeter service measures the online marketing effectiveness for each location by analyzing its online visibility and reputation, benchmarks its performance against other local competitors, and provides personalized recommendations for improvement via a simple dashboard and daily email alerts. Armed with this information, marketers can understand which locations and channels to focus their efforts. By taking ownership of online visibility and the customer experience, marketers can have can have a significant positive impact on reaching new customers.

Income Property Management Expo

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

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Apartment News Publications Inc. is teaming up with the Income Property Management Expo to provide Apartment Owners/Managers & Commercial Property Management Companies with tools for efficient, cost effective management, operation and maintenance of their communities & facilities!

Join us May 7, 2013 for the Southern California Income Property Management Expo at the Ontario Convention Center!
Click here to Pre-Register Online!
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Southern California Attendee Information:

  • Apartment Owners
  • Property Managers
  • HOA
  • Commercial Property Management Companies
  • Service & Maintenance Staff
  • Industry Partners & Vendors

This expo will host FREE seminars throughout the day addressing CA Energy Efficiency Programs, Landlord Legal Updates, Tax Code & 1031 Exchanges, Property Maintenance and more!  The goal of the Expo is to provide attendees with the opportunity to network with other industry professionals while enjoying fine food tastings, the PGA Experience, Luxury Car Display & Test Drives, raffles & giveaways and the expo floor which will have over 100 exhibitors!

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special features

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To learn more about the Income Property Management Expo, how to attend for FREE, or learn how to reserve a booth for the Expo Floor, visit IncomePropertyExpo.com!

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Are Your People Ready to be the Face of Your Brand?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

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By: Rommel Anacan | The Relationship Difference

Until they merged with United Airlines I made a decision that I would NEVER again fly Continental Airlines. Ever. This was all because of one bad experience I had with a member of the Continental flight crew while traveling.

After this experience whenever I saw a commercial or marketing piece for Continental, I thought of this crew member and how she treated me. No amount of colorful airline livery or fancy marketing would ever replace the fact that to me that flight attendant was Continental Airlines. And since I didn’t like my experience with her, I didn’t like the company. Period. End of story.

What does this have to do with your company?

I don’t care if your CEO has degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford; or if your executives have every certification given in the multi-family universe; or if your regional managers are the most intelligent and articulate groups of regionals the industry has ever seen . . . to the average customer, they are not your ‘brand.’

The people sitting behind the leasing desks are your brand. The people answering the phones at your community, responding to emails, monitoring your social media spaces and taking clients on tour are the face of your company to the average customer.

Remember your first day?

My very first property was an ultra-luxury community in Newport Beach, California. Rents for a one-bedroom home started at $1,860 and went all the way up to over $4,000 per month. Now how much time and effort do you think was spent preparing me to be the face of this mega-multi-million dollar community and of the company’s brand before I met with my first client?

One hour!

On my first day I was given the tour, handed the keys to the model and golf cart, showed where my desk was and given the book of 23 floorplans and a site map. I shadowed the business manager on one tour and then was then let loose to help customers and become the face of this iconic community.

How good do you think I was in my first 30 days? Not very. The adjustment to the property management industry was tougher than I expected. While I was a “nice guy” to everyone, I just wasn’t very good as a leasing agent in my early days. Our office was very busy, with everyone having multiple things on their plates, so I was really expected to figure things out on my own until I received my formal training a month later. Thank goodness the senior leasing agent showed me some of the ropes!

When I got the chance to manage my own community I didn’t want my people to go through what I went through. I didn’t want someone to become the face of my community and company (and me!) without preparing them for the role.

Here is what I did:

  1. I developed a leasing on-boarding program. I walked my people through all aspects of the leasing process, giving them all of the tools, techniques and secrets that I learned during my career. (Eventually my company adopted some of these ideas and created an on-boarding program for all associates.)
  2. I didn’t allow my new hires to help clients until they went through the program and felt they were ready. This period lasted anywhere from one week to two weeks, depending on the person.
  3. I personally worked with and trained my new team members because I wanted to be the dominant influence in the early stages of their careers.

I’m not going to lie, doing these meant more work for me! There were times I thought I was nuts to do this. But when the first shops came in at 90% or above, I knew it was worth it! When my leasing agents achieved things in their first couple of months that took me much longer, I knew it was worth it.

When the office could essentially run itself and I didn’t need to be involved in the minutiae, I knew it was worth it!

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RA picture 1ARommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm based in Orange County, California.  He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way.

You can reach Rommel at www.RelationshipDifference.com and on Twitter @rommelanacan

Quick Community Upgrades to Get The Most Bang for Your Buck!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Cathy Macaione  | Cathy Macaione Consulting Services | LinkedIn Connect

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With more apartments coming on line, it’s time to plan your interior selections upgrades. We all know that renters want to live in apartments that have a modern, updated look. Upgrading your vacant units so they have what renters want will help decrease vacancy loss. If you’re not sure what’s in demand in your area, tour new home communities, read decorating magazines and watch Home Improvement Shows to get ideas. The following are some quick tips to help you implement what you learn without breaking the bank.

CabinetDoorsHave a well thought out plan to make sure your selections will last.  Quality doesn’t always mean super expensive. Make a list of your “must-have” upgrades and devote ample room in your budget to those quality items. You can make cut backs on the “nice to have” items.

Upgrade in phases.  There’s no need to do everything at once. You can update the flooring, cabinets, counters, and lighting in each apartment as it becomes available for rent. This will enable you to spread out the cost of the investment.

Offer packages.  Offer renters two upgrade packages—one with total renovations and one with partial upgrades. For example, if you’ve already changed the cabinets, and the countertops are in good condition but the color is outdated, select a paint color that will change look and feel of the kitchen so the countertops don’t look dated. Then offer the apartment as partially upgraded.

laminateflooringInvest in flooring.  Carpeting gets ruined very easily. Make your flooring last longer by installing a laminate floor. A good selection could be a distressed wood look. It’s in style and will hide wear and tear.

Think green.  Install dual flush toilet conversion kits. They’re inexpensive at around $40 each. It is also easy and low-cost to install low-flow shower and faucet aerators. Additionally, installing fluorescent light bulbs will show a noticeable reduction in utility bills. Look for incentives and rebates to help trim costs even more.

granite1Granite for less.  Yes, you can offer granite-like countertops. My favorite sources for countertop makeovers are Giani Granite (http://www.gianigranite.com/) and Appliance Art, supplier of Instant Granite (http://www.applianceart.com/). Check them out.

Upgrades and renovations don’t have to drain your bank account or be a source of anxiety. Carefully planned upgrades can be both simple and profitable. So start your upgrade plan today to make your apartment offerings more desirable. Before you know it, you’ll have a fully leased community!


CathyMacaioneCathy Macaione, President, Cathy Macaione Consulting Services, an Apartment Marketing and Management Specialist, has more than 28 years in the Real Estate Industry.  She demonstrates her creativity and expertise through the exploration and implementation of alternative marketing methods.  Prior to starting her own consulting business, Cathy held numerous positions, ranging from leasing professional to property manager to marketing/training director, for several large management companies.

Five Things You Can Do To Effectively Manage Resident Complaints

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Rommel Anacan | The Relationship Difference

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Have you ever heard the statement, “Customer service would be easy if it weren’t for those customers?” Sometimes that is just too true, isn’t it?

After all we know that sometimes residents:

  • Don’t read their leases
  • Don’t think their leases actually apply to them
  • Cause the problem then get mad at you for the problem
  • Can be unreasonable
  • Can be dishonest
  • And on and on and on and on

The challenge that you face is even if a complaining resident is all of the above, you still have to deal with the situation don’t you? In other words, the fact that a resident may be all of the above doesn’t mean that you can just brush off their complaints. Well you could try but then you still have ‘Harold’ standing in the middle of the leasing office wondering why he can’t “speak to the manager!”

So what can you do…or what can you encourage your teams to do to manage these situations? After being in contact with thousands of people during my career, both onsite and at corporate, I have isolated FOUR effective things that people can do when someone complains.

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One: Help the customer feel important

The most important “people-skill” that I believe all of us should learn is how to make other people feel important. If you are able to make an unhappy resident feel important, you will go a long way towards resolving any issues, even before you get to resolving the issue.

I cannot tell you how many times I spoke with people who just needed to vent and feel as if they were important enough to be heard. And even when I couldn’t give these people what they asked for,  I still got lots of “thank yous” and even some apologies after I took the time to make sure they felt important.

Two: Remember it’s not a battle

One of the most common mistakes that associates make is approaching a customer complaint as if it were a battle to be won or lost. How many times have you seen this when you’ve lodged a complaint with a company? Don’t you often want to say, “Look I’m not the enemy here, I’m just unhappy about this!”

A battle with a resident is battle you cannot win, even if you’re right. And the issue shouldn’t be about trying to prove who is “right” and who is “wrong” but how the issue may be resolved.

And the more you fight with a customer, the less important you make them feel . . . which means they will continue to do what they have to do to prove they are important!

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Three: Lose the snark

Four: Use some warmth

When someone has a complaint, she often braces for “impact.” In other words, she expects the associate may give her some grief (especially if the resident secretly knows she was in the wrong), so she is prepared to dish it right back.

Remember that scene in the movie Top Gun when one of the pilots says, “I’m going to guns!” An upset resident is often prepared to go to guns…so when an associate fires a round of snark, the resident is prepared to pull the trigger.

Not the best way to diffuse a situation, huh?

When you’re genuinely warm and sincere with a customer, that can immediately diffuse things. I mean, how can someone argue with, “I’m so sorry. I see that we really fell short and I’d love to see what we can do to help you.”

business help or solution to problem isolated on whiteFive: Look for solutions

As I talked about earlier, associates often see these situations as battles to be won; so the search for solutions takes a back seat to putting the customer in his place. But the truth is, there are always solutions to be found aren’t there?

Sure, sometimes the solutions are not what the customer wanted initially, or what associates were able to do initially…but there are solutions everywhere. You just have to be willing to look for them.

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RA picture 1ARommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm. His passion is helping people succeed by helping them improve the quality of their relationships. He is a multi-family housing veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for solving common industry challenges in an uncommon way.

You can reach Rommel at www.RelationshipDifference.com and on Twitter @rommelanacan

Gotcha! Yelp Cracking Down on Paid Reviews, Making Review Management Critical

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Submitted by www.Chatmeter.com

Review based websites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, have always been popular with customers when it comes to picking products and service. They give the customer the opportunity to read what people just like them think of something. They aren’t hearing the bias reviews of the company; they are hearing it from the people who actually use the product/service. 84% of Americans say online reviews have an influence on their decision to purchase a product or service. This statistic makes review management that much more important.

review websites

Although most companies do not like these types of review sites, they are necessary and are not going away, so they need to respond in an appropriate manner to negative reviews. Instead of investing in legitimate brand management companies, like chatmeter, some places like to cheat the system and buy reviews, which ultimately is deceitful and deceiving for the consumer. People will read the fake reviews, thinking that they are from real customers, and may make their decision whether to buy or not. These tactics are not only unfair to the consumer but they are also unfair to the competition. This is a form of “black hat” review management and Yelp is taking a stand against it.

Yelp has always had review filters, which weeds out fake reviews through an algorithmic process. Unfortunately, real reviews are sometimes picked out by this process and tagged as fake reviews. This can be incredibly frustrating for businesses because the filter deletes their hard earned reviews and makes review management even harder. Yelp’s first priority is ensuring that the customer gets the most legitimate information so sometimes it’s the business that loses out.

In an effort to stop these fake reviews, Yelp will start posting a “consumer alert” that will say, “We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business.” The alert will be posted on the offender’s page for all to see. It will have a link showing the consumer exactly which reviews are fake, as well as the company’s emails trying to hire reviewers. Yelp says the alerts will be posted for 90 days (longer of the company continues to post fake reviews).

Businesses need to know that buying positive reviews is not the only way to improve your online reputation. Although they may think it will help them, being caught will hurt them even more.  Consumers will remember that they were a deceitful company and take that into consideration when looking for that product/service again. Ignoring the negative comments and trying to bury them with positive ones is only a quick fix to their online reputation and there ultimately a bigger problem with in the company. Companies need to understand that they can’t sweep their problems under the rug and pretend that everything is perfect. Companies need to respond to negative reviews and let the unhappy customer know that their comments will be taken into consideration in the future to help improve whatever needs to be fixed. By responding, it shows that you care about their feedback and that you are actually going to do something about it. This is what managing you online reputation and a business is all about.

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chatmeter_logo

As the first Local Brand Management (LBM) platform, we help large franchises and agencies with hundreds of locations measure and improve their marketing effectiveness. This is actionable local intelligence that has never been available before. With the fragmentation of local search marketing today, it’s become impossible for agencies and national retailers to properly manage the brand at the local level. The chatmeter service measures the online marketing effectiveness for each location by analyzing its online visibility and reputation, benchmarks its performance against other local competitors, and provides personalized recommendations for improvement via a simple dashboard and daily email alerts. Armed with this information, marketers can understand which locations and channels to focus their efforts. By taking ownership of online visibility and the customer experience, marketers can have can have a significant positive impact on reaching new customers.


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