Five Laws of Branding for Multi-Family Residence

In this atmosphere of internet marketing and social media, everyone is putting so much emphasis on permeating these new venues, and forgetting the most important thing – that all media should be about promoting and reinforcing the brand. Without a solid, cohesive brand and consistent message, all the Twitter feeds and Facebook fan pages won’t mean a thing. Social media and internet marketing is meant to supplement- not supplant the brand.

So to get back to the basics, building that all encompassing brand that compels and leads in the competitive marketplace, here are some basic rules about branding for multifamily residence, whether urban mixed-use or suburban garden style, that are vital to know and use.

Rule #1  The Law of Consistency – Creating a Branded Community is about creating a complete consistent theme.

The most frequently violated law is the law of consistency. We see logos and ads for properties twisted and tweaked and the message that gives the consumer is an inconsistent, sloppy one. All elements in the brand of a multifamily community need to conform to a consistent style guide: logo, font family, color palettes, imagery and style need to stay consistent throughout all the media, including the brochure, all advertising and signage, and throughout the interior design style as well. This gives the sense of stability, security, responsive, with attention to detail, all in all it says ‘upscale’ to the resident.

Rule #2  The Law of the Name – The name of your property may not only tell the status of the property but the date as well.

Naming your community is much more important then you may think. Names come in trends just like colors and styles, and your name can tell a perspective resident the basic age of a property ( words like ‘Heights’ ‘Commons’ and ‘Greens’ were very popular in the 70’s and 80’s). Also doing a market study of your target demographics should also influence the naming process. The Millenials are attracted to certain names that they can relate to, just as other demos are attracted to other names, based on generational, as well as personal, experiences. Take this into account when repositioning a property, as well.

Rule # 3  The Law of Color – A brand should use a color palette that stands out from the competition. Color is one of the most essential elements of the brand. It conveys the message you want, or it subconsciously repels. Since colors trend every 5 years or so, the color palette used in the brand and on the property will also date your product, and give your customer an idea as to the quality and maintenance. More about color in the next post.

Rule #4  The Law of the Company – Brands are brands. Companies are companies. There is a difference.

Nothing causes as much confusion in the branding of a new community as the proper use of a company name (ownership company or property management company). The important thing to remember is the brand (community name and complete theme) should always take precedence over the company name. Perspective residents don’t buy into the company name, they buy into the experience. So by creating a separate name and theme for a community, you are selling the experience to the consumer. By simply repeating the company name, look, graphic style and color palette to all of the properties, whether urban or suburban, the perspective resident receives the perception of a cookie-cutter community.

Rule # 5  The Law of Quality – Quality is important, but the perception of quality is just as important.

Quality, or the perception of quality, resides in the mind of the consumer. But where does that perception come from? A multitude of elements, but the brand is one of the most vital. A brand that conveys quality with a strong name, identity and consistent elements will be perceived as the community to choose. Kaleidoscope Design ( has been creating quality brands for multifamily communities for 15 years and understands the constructs of a solid brand, and how it can succeed in all venues.

2 thoughts on “Five Laws of Branding for Multi-Family Residence

  1. Great advice Cynthia! I think it’s fun to see how google plays with their own logo (e.g. changing it during the holidays). They are breaking Rule #1: The Law of Consistency. But, I guess there are exceptions to every rule – or, when you reach the size of google you can ignore the rules?!

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