Branding your rental business may not be the first thing on your mind when you think about your duties as a landlord or property manager, but it should be at the forefront of many of your business choices during your day-to-day operations.

This is true whether you are a property manager who has hundreds of units, or a small landlord with a portfolio of a handful of properties.

What is branding?

Branding is a marketing term that describes the overarching associations customers will have about your business. A brand refers to the intentional or traditional marketing items a business puts out to the public (like your logo, or brand name), but the concept of branding goes a step further to touch on all associations and meaning for customers.

Building a brand is far more valuable than simply choosing colors your logo will display. Building a brand is about evoking certain associations when customers think of your brand. Making deliberate choices with your services provides the opportunity to further strengthen your brand.

Why is branding important for your rental business?

Branding is key for any business. It helps you and your team stay focused on meeting the needs of your target customers, and can help you refine your practices to ensure they reflect your brand. People-focused businesses like property management can be especially effective when run with brand values at the forefront of any day-to-day choices.

Customers are the heart and soul of any business, but when you provide a service as essential as housing, there’s no doubt that great customer service, empathy, and a good attitude can go a long way.

Your branding can help your team make choices that reflect your values while interacting with current tenants and it can go a long way to show potential tenants the experience they will have when renting from you. A focused brand ensures that potential tenants find you more quickly and that current tenants stay longer, reducing turnover and filling vacancies faster.

How to Brand Your Rental Business:

Your brand should connect with your ideal tenants’ values and goals. Finding your brand may start with finding your ideal tenants. Finding your ideal tenants will require you to assess your portfolio and determine what renters have been most successful at your properties. Renters who had a good experience at your properties and meshed well with your team should be key indicators of your ideal tenant.

Imagine Your Ideal Tenant:

Imagine what the ideal renter for your properties would look like and how your property will fit their needs. Your ideal tenants will want to work with you because they know the value you and your properties provide.

  • What is their general demographic?
    • Families, Young Professionals, College Students, Retirees?
  • What Sets Your Team or Portfolio Apart from the Competition?
    • Any unique selling points of your properties should be evaluated:
      • Walkability
      • Unique amenities
      • Nearby hotspots (parks, coffee shops, dog parks, businesses, ect)
  • Do they have any specific needs that you meet?
    • This could be a dedicated online portal for tech-savvy young renters, a focus on green living, or a concierge service for high-end renters.

Understanding your ideal tenants will help you form a brand that conveys the message that you are the ideal option for a tenant with those needs.

Keep in mind, that while this can be a helpful thought exercise to get you started, you must always follow Fair Housing guidelines when promoting your properties, vetting tenants, and implementing any practices.

Learn more: The Fair Housing Act: Anti-Discrimination Laws for Landlords and Property Managers

Create a Brand That Resonates With Your Ideal Tenant

Your logo, website, color scheme, and any taglines, social media text, and advertisements should all convey the same messaging that is in line with your brand values. If your portfolio is diverse, this may require you to pick a few ideal tenants and use a little creativity to find a brand that fits all of your ideal tenants.

If your portfolio consists of mostly apartments in a college town, your brand choices should resonate with a younger generation of renters. This may mean highlighting nearby local eateries, and access to local colleges and universities, as well as ensuring that the units have access to high-speed internet and the ability to request maintenance or pay rent online.

Learn more: How to Attract Gen Z Renters

Keep Your Customer Service on Brand

Great customer service is a must for any successful rental business. In all brand cases, empathy, careful listening, and prompt responses to maintenance issues are key to reducing tenant complaints. However, a successfully branded business cannot rely only on this alone.

Your customer service should also reflect your brand values.

If your customer service is inconsistent with your brand, your brand will suffer. A brand that is designed to attract a young renter will have difficulties if all customer service matters must be handled over the phone and if rent must be paid in person.

Your customer service should anticipate and reflect your ideal tenants’ needs before an issue arises and help them to get their issues resolved in a way that best suits their needs.