Do you ever visualize your company becoming the Southwest, Starbucks, or the Apple of property management, at least in your local area?
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Due to popular demand, we bring back Lisa Wise with Nest DC on how she turned Nest DC into the well-known property management brand that it is today. Many property managers recognize a big brand when they encounter it, like Coke or Nike, but don’t understand what a brand really is, or its value to a local business. Brand is not a logo, it’s not a tagline, and it’s not a list of promises. Brand is what you want your prospect to think of when he or she hears your name, the image that your company projects.
This is a big, yet important subject, but you can get started with a few key concepts:
The Perception of Property Management
When you start a property management business, there will unfortunately already be negative perceptions about you whether you like it or not. There’s the common perception that property managers never answer the phone or emails, and are only interested in your money, which gives the industry a slimy reputation. And according to Lisa, for the most part, the property management industry deserves that bad reputation.
Reputation and brand are interrelated. Brand is the image your company is trying to project and reputation is what people actually think about you (how you are perceived). It’s important to know how you are perceived and to ask yourself if you are interested in changing that perception. If you are, then you must decide what you want it to be. Branding is how you change it.
Brand Begins Within
The image Lisa wants Nest DC‘s brand to communicate is that they provide “great spaces for great tenants.” They then do their best to follow up on that maxim with great service, as well. Nest DC builds that brand by making sure that they:
Take care of people
Have great spaces
Make them available
These four activities are all essential to establishing her brand.
There are two ways to get people to think something about your company and that’s either:
advertise the hell out of it
or live it.
Let’s face it, companies that advertise a brand that they don’t embody, are always found out. Do we really think ExxonMobil is all about the environment?
Your company’s policies and procedures should reflect the values at the core of the brand you wish to project. Start with showing you care about your clients’ wants and desires. Examples from major companies include how Southwest offers two free bags, or Nordstrom’s “no questions asked” return policy. Find ways where you can go the extra mile to take care of everyone you come across, including tenants.
Living Your Brand
If you want your company to project a particular brand, start with living those values. The way you and your employees go about doing your day-to-day business is the real seed from which your brand is grown. The classic “branding” pieces – logo, company colors, and t-shirts, all come after the fact.
The number one thing that can derail your property management branding efforts is your employees. Property management is a service, so every employee, staff member, and vendor that has contact with the outside world is an extension of your brand, and thus, your reputation. To deliver excellence and great service, Lisa has to have happy staff members – if you don’t have a happy team, you don’t have a happy customer. That’s always been Nest DC’s bottom line.
This may not have been what you expected when reading this article, however, this is paramount if you are thinking about establishing your brand – starting within your company is how you change the perception of the industry itself. The people who work for you are the ambassadors of your brand. When they go out and say, “we’re the best company in the business,” they can mean it. They aren’t saying it to make a sale but rather because they believe they work for the best company in the business. That conviction is contagious, and it’s how you become attractive to potential clients, tenants, and other customers. Eventually, word of mouth and online comments and reviews will make your reputation reflect your brand.
Hearing more from Lisa: PM Grow Summit
Lisa and Alex have done a podcast called “On Empathy for Growth.” So, check out the podcast on The Property Management Show. More importantly, Lisa will speak at the PM Grow Summit in West Palm Beach this January. If you miss this summit, you might miss a lot of vital information that can help push your business forward. Lisa is a key speaker with transformational content. Thank you, Lisa, and we’ll see you at the PM Grow Summit this January 25-27th.
If you have any questions about the summit or the topics Lisa covered today, please contact us at Fourandhalf, and we’ll gladly tell you more.