Student Housing Business

SEP-OCT 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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Page 84 of 88

SMARTER OPERATIONS September/October 2018 84 Heather James-Wyrick 404-832-8262 R E G I S T R A T I O N & G E N E R A L I N F O : Terri Kelly 781-724-0159 Debbie Huard 404-832-8262 S P O N S O R S H I P, E x h i b i t & S P E A K I N G O P P O R T U N I T I E S : France Media Inc., publisher of Ancillary Retail magazine and Shopping Center Business, has launched a new conference for retailers, wholesalers, leasing and shopping center professionals. The Ancillary Retail Expo will be held January 14 - 15, 2019, at the Hilton Daytona Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida, and will feature two full days of exhibitors, educational sessions, and networking opportunities. w w w . a n c i l l a r y r e t a i l . c o m / e x p o 2 0 1 9 A N C I L L A R Y RETAIL EXPO INTERFACE CONFERENCE GROUP AND FRANCE MEDIA PRESENT 2 0 1 9 J A N U A R Y 14-15 · H I LT O N D AY T O N A B E A C H I f y o u ' r e a r e ta i l e r , e n t r e p r e n e u r , l e a s i n g r e p r e s e n tat i v e o r m a n a g e m e n t p r o f e s s i o n a l l o o k i n g t o b u i l d a n c i l l a r y r e v e n u e a n d c r e at e s u c c e s s f u l b u s i n e s s e s , t h e n t h i s i s a M U S T - A T T E N D E V E N T ! Reputation management is protection of your real asset: your brand As a business, your reputation is the most critical asset you have, so it should be the thing you work hardest to protect. Your reputation is not how you think of the brand. It's the perceptions, beliefs and experiences that potential buyers have with your brand. It's important to get things right and to make things right when things go wrong. Creating a posi- tive brand reputation — online and off — helps build loyalty and con- sumer confidence, but it's also the major driver of purchase decisions. In student housing, creating a bold, compelling brand identity that resonates with your potential residents is absolutely critical to success. A solid, relevant brand and reputation can mean the difference between a building having multiple vacancies and a bad reputation and one with full occupancy and an enthusiastic waiting list. Brands require a buyer to make a choice that impacts how they think or feel about themselves. The brand of the community they identify with the most becomes something they want and choose to be associ- ated with — ideally, a brand complements their sense of who they are and what they stand for in life. Of course, the overall design and ameni- ties of the actual physical structure they're moving into matters. Add an incredible brand that students can identify with and your reputation for excellence in customer service, and you're halfway home! In this digital and socially driven world, the easiest place for your reputation to gain positive and negative traction is online. Word of mouth travels fast. In fact, it's likely there's a conversation going on about your brand right now. Under the right circumstances, the conversation can go from zero to viral. Sadly, they're usually the wrong ones, which is why reputation management is something you cannot ignore. Implement crazy, big campaigns and off- the-wall ideas that help your brand garner positive attention on social media, engage your target audience and elevate your brand to the next level. Things like giving away a rock-star experience with tickets to the Grammys and an all-inclusive trip including a walk down the red carpet. Maybe you wrap an RV and drive around town and campus hosting mini extreme sports events. Maybe you try to break a world record. These are the kinds of things that capture attention and cultivate a feeling of desire to be associated with your brand. Most important of all — manage that repu- tation! One idea: set up alerts so that you are immediately aware when your brand is mentioned on social media and be ready to jump in and respond quickly and publicly to any negative comments to show that you are aware and you care. Buyers notice. Ask for online reviews from your best customers, the people who are really happy in the moment, and create a mechanism for them to leave a review on the spot. Perhaps you take a quick video of them sharing why they love the community. Consider setting up alerts for your competi- tors on social media so you can see what they are doing well and where they fall short, and you can capitalize on those things. Often, someone else's blunder can open up the floodgates for you if you are prepared to jump into the conversation with a positive message and an invitation. MELISSA DIGIANFILIPPO Partner and President of Public Relations, Serendipit Consulting

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