How to Identify and Leverage Your Multifamily Brand Storytellers
What is a multifamily brand?
A multifamily brand is a promise for all stakeholders and the inspiration that should drive you to do your best. It is essentially a filter for making business decisions.
As a marketing and multifamily branding agency, we conduct an unofficial survey on the perceptions of branding every time people ask us what we do.
Many things about a multifamily brand are visual. Design elements, fonts, and colors can evoke a property’s look and feel with just a first impression. And yet, this narrow thinking — or rather, misconception — about what a brand entails is why so many people in real estate are failing to connect with their audience and with a growing millennial and Gen Z demographic.
More Than an Apartment Logo
Multifamily branding is more than a recognizable name and emblem. A brand’s value can be found within the associated perceptions and emotions that it conveys.
Let’s take the Nike swoosh, for example. On its own, Nike’s logo is quite simply a checkmark (that’s the extent of its complexity). And yet, we associate that “checkmark” with concepts and values far beyond itself.
Simply placing the Nike swoosh on a product represents a promise of quality. We associate the swoosh with images of athletes, perseverance, and passion. The final minutes of a championship. The strength and talent are only earned through hard work.
That’s a pretty powerful “checkmark.”
Take any other well-known logo — The Ritz Carlton, Whole Foods, BMW, etc. — and consider what kind of brand images and emotions it triggers. These perceptions, whether consciously or not, guide consumer purchase decisions.
Now apply the same principles of perception to multifamily branding — like a luxury high rise or a neighborhood community.
What brand images are associated with your property? What architectural vision or lifestyle is conveyed?
Creating an Honest Brand From the Inside Out
Our challenge as a multifamily branding agency is finding out how to create a brand experience that resonates with the consumers. We want the experience to be echoed back to the customer in the visuals. The best way to build brand loyalty is by creating an honest brand. Open lines of communication between designers and leaders of the company are essential to designing honestly.
Good brands start from the inside out. The leaders create the vision. The vision creates the visual language. And the visual language turns into a system that is unified enough to be recognized as a cohesive brand. In this way, every communication of the brand is unified, from the way the CEO talks about the company, to the visual language, to the customer service.
How to Better Control Your Multifamily Brand Story
As a multifamily branding agency, we are tasked daily with creating or furthering a story for the brands we represent. However, so often, that story is thought of as one to be consumed via TV, radio, print, outdoor, or the web.
Sure, we all talk about mobile, building responsive websites, useful apps, etc., but it’s not often that we focus specifically on mobile storytelling.
As digital marketers, we pride ourselves so much on our ability to tell a brand’s story, but in reality, we have very, very little control over what that story is.
So, who are your brand storytellers? And how do you approach each of them?
- Your brand → Your brand should always communicate the “why.” People don’t buy what you do, but rather why you do it.
- Advocates → You have to recruit influencers, inspire them to keep advocating for your brand, and reward them for doing so.
- Fans → Your fans like your brand, and hopefully, you’ve been able to build a community around them. But these people aren’t brand advocates just yet. Give these people props when they do talk about your brand, and hopefully, you can convert them into advocates.
- Haters → Your haters will always be there, no matter the industry in which your brand exists. However, you really need to listen to these people and heed the things they are saying about your business, even if you don’t want to hear it. Engage with them, and make them like you.
In order to fulfill all of this, brands need to figure out how to tell the story from the middle.
Traditionally, stories have a beginning, middle, and end. But, with social media, your multifamily brand is constantly having to keep up. You should tell your story from the middle, in the “right now.” There is never an end.
Finally, brands need to know which kinds of stories to tell. Tell a story that is inspiring, entertaining, or trending. Tell stories of how your brand cares, and most importantly be human.
Real Estate’s Roadmap to Nike
We’ll let you in on the secret to Nike’s brand success: it was deliberate. In the early stages, the company sat down and asked themselves:
- What is Nike?
- Who are our customers?
- If Nike was a person, what kind of personality traits and values would he or she internalize?
Every great brand has a plan. And in a crowded market, a great brand can resonate and differentiate.
Multifamily branding is more than an apartment logo — it’s an emotional experience, a taste of a lifestyle, and a framework through which to grow.
The first steps of multifamily branding may seem like silly introspection, but don’t be fooled. Building blocks can seem quite simple, until one day they’re a building.
In today’s technological world, people are inundated with content — digital, social, news, books, magazines — the list goes on. In fact, we create 140 million tweets, 1.5 billion pieces of content, and 2 million videos each day. This is why visual information such as infographics is becoming increasingly popular.
Infographics can be an incredibly powerful multifamily marketing tool for your business. According to HubSpot, “businesses that publish infographics grow their traffic an average of 12% more than those that don’t.”
Infographics provide significant value from a content-supporting standpoint. Companies are constantly generating content, but the bulk of it is often heavy and wordy. At our multifamily branding agency, we create content daily for our clients and focus on utilizing the visual aspect of infographics to break up the copywriting.
But the critical balance when designing an infographic is to create the right visual information and present it in the right way to capture your audience’s attention.
Below, we explore the role of infographics in multifamily marketing and five benefits of creating visuals for your audience that we learned as a multifamily branding agency:
Infographics can help capture the essence of your content in a very appealing way by telling your readers a story. With imagery and words, infographics allow readers to easily dissect a complex subject and help sustain the reader’s interest. Infographics that simply depict a list of unrelated statistics will lose the audience’s attention. Rather, the infographic should balance compelling text with relevant data to create an efficient and appealing visual.
For example, consider this infographic idea below that our multifamily branding agency created for ResMan. The content in this infographic could have been relayed in a blog post, but applying it to a timeline makes it easier to digest and more fun to read.
An infographic can translate heavy blog text into something that is digestible, scannable, and easier to understand. We are such a visually focused culture, and if we cannot scan through something quickly, or have visuals to help complete the thought, the text may not make as strong of an impact. The visual impact that design provides is important in the full understanding of the content itself.
People only see 20% of the text on a page on average during a website visit; infographics allow readers to skim the content quickly to decide if they want to find out more. Additionally, 90% of the information transmitted to your brain is visual. This is why many people would rather look at an infographic than read the text version.
3. Shareability Across Social
Infographics should not only be easy to consume, but easy to share. These visual assets are a great resource for our multifamily branding agency and our clients to download and share across all social platforms.
Blogs may not be a proper fit for sharing on certain social media sites, but infographics can be shared across all platforms to help drive engagement. Pinterest, for example, is geared toward image curation. Pinterest users interested in your business often miss out because you are feeding them the wrong kind of content.
Another great infographic idea is this visual our multifamily branding agency designed for Midlothian Economic Development. The topic is heavy, so translating this into a visual asset with key stats highlighted makes it a much more consumable piece of content — and much more shareable on social media.
4. Brand Awareness
Enhanced brand awareness is another benefit of commercial real estate infographics. Visual content is used as an asset to further promote your multifamily branding and make you an authority or subject-matter expert.
The most important aspect of an infographic is that it should represent and reflect your brand well. Visual content should serve as another consistent piece of multifamily marketing for your brand, and therefore consider design aspects like font, colors, iconography, callouts, etc.
5. SEO and Website Traffic
Commercial real estate infographics are also a great way to drive more traffic to your site to increase conversions and ROI. Think about the last several commercial real estate infographics you saw, and where you saw them. Infographics are prevalent in emails, blogs, advertisements, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. One of the biggest reasons companies have found these so useful from a multifamily marketing perspective is because of this versatility; they can make your multifamily branding much more visible.
Additionally, by adding alt text, a title, and a description of the visual asset using targeted keywords, you can boost your website’s ranking on Google. Other ways to boost apartment SEO go back to ensuring your infographic idea is shareable, which would encourage blogs, websites, and even influencers to share your asset and increase your chances of backlinks.
Take this infographic by the numbers below that our multifamily branding agency created for Rentlytics. We took a plethora of stats and data that are normally lost in the shuffle of reports and displayed them in an easy-to-read visual aid. We not only shared this in email newsletters for Rentlytics, but we also included an optimized landing page and links driving to this infographic from blogs. With descriptive alt text and meta details, our multifamily branding agency helped drive a significant amount of downloads and leads through this offer.
6. Less Is More
Sometimes companies try to communicate too much in an infographic, slowing down the reader and negating the benefits of having the graphic in the first place.
Some infographic ideas are over 10,000 pixels long and offer multiple sections and content to consume. Think through the content and story you want to communicate and then create it in a digestible framework.
Want more helpful tips like this from our multifamily branding agency? Download our free Multifamily Branding Guide below to get the inside scoop on how to make your brand a smashing success.
How to Elevate Your Multifamily Branding Without Overthinking Your Design
In yet another example of how branding is an inescapable reality that all businesses need to address, let’s take a look at multifamily branding. Not so long ago, simply smashing together a couple of aspirational-sounding words in a fancy script was enough. “The Hills at Forestwood” or something like that.
Potential residents have become more brand-savvy over the years, and branding your development with a great name and a great multifamily logo has become an absolute necessity.
Some groups have done this better than others, of course, and in doing so have created a real brand that speaks to their residents.
Below, we highlighted five of the best multifamily logos we have seen, and why they are so successful at conveying an apartment brand personality.
Developed by Crescent Communities, NOVEL is a suite of multifamily brands that includes NOVEL Tampa and NOVEL Deep Ellum (among more than a dozen other brands). The NOVEL logo finds a striking balance between being a modern abstract letterform and also two cropped-in corners of buildings on the top and bottom. The building corners featured in the logo symbolize the multifamily development aspect without being overly direct.
The simple yet engaging multifamily logo also projects movement as the arrows give off an allusion to moving up and down. The NOVEL multifamily logo is one of our Creative Director’s favorites as it boasts a sophisticated, elegant, and modern look and feel while projecting a cool design concept.
The NOVEL logo is also a great example of how less can sometimes be more when it comes to your branding, and you do not always need a bunch of colors to make your properties stand out.
For the Waverly, this is mixed-use development plans a focus on modern design and progressive building techniques to create a live-work-play environment for the hot Charlotte, N.C. area.
The letters “W” and “V” featured in the logo are simple, elegant, and upscale. With the clean font and contrasting blue and green colors, this multifamily logo is memorable and really stands out as being unique yet simply stunning.
Another one of our design team’s favorite multifamily logos is that of Aven Apartments. This Los Angeles-based luxury apartment community prides itself on offering an electrifying and desirable residential neighborhood with uncompromised views and expansive amenity offerings.
This “electrifying and desirable” atmosphere is well presented in its iconically simple letterform logo. The “A” represented in its logo shows balance, angular direction, and modern design through simplicity. The angular direction of the logo pointing upward also alludes to the community’s high-rise, living-above-all-all-else undertone and messaging.
Logan Lofts located in Philadelphia features a plethora of historical nuances and elements throughout the building and its messaging. As such, these new, modern loft apartments utilize a multifamily logo that strikes a balance between referencing the “L” in the name “Logan” as well as the historical architectural design of the building’s windows. The logo icon is simplistic, balanced, and unique to the specific community.
The River District
The River District is a master-planned multifamily development located in Charlotte, N.C. The beauty of its multifamily logo is that it communicates a lot of elements while not being overly busy or complex, which any good graphic designer will tell you is no easy task!
The main letterform is actually a combination of a “D” and “R.” Furthermore, the directional arrow points to a star which signifies that “X” marks the spot. The elongated curve of the “R” also represents the geography of the river that runs through the development as a subtle but prominent feature.
Everything about The River District’s multifamily branding is inspiring and unique; all the way down to its multifamily website and messaging that alludes to a “bountiful community” that is “breaking boundaries.” This multifamily logo is a creative representation of what the community stands for and it portrays a sense of splendor, adventure, and excitement.
Add Value to Your Multifamily Branding
Logo design is not as simple as sketching at random and hoping for the best, nor is it simply waiting for inspiration to hit you out of the blue. An apartment logo design should be strategic, thoughtful, and yes, even aesthetically pleasing. As any good multifamily designer will tell you (and what our Creative Director tells us often) is that good design adds value faster than it adds costs.
Just some multifamily branding food for thought.
Interested in learning more about multifamily logos and what are the key steps to successful design? Check out our blog for 3 Steps to Successful Multifamily Logo Design.
Arguably the most important feature of any branding effort, multifamily logo design is an oft-misunderstood art.
Logo design isn’t as simple as sketching at random and hoping for the best, nor is it simply waiting for inspiration to hit you out of the blue. Multifamily logo design should be strategic, thoughtful, and yes, even aesthetically pleasing.
When branding for multifamily, logos can often become complex — the logo not being just the extension of the building or its amenities, but also of the community, the culture, and the reputation. In short, branding a multifamily project is critical to its success.
There is no easy way to ensure your multifamily branding project will bring the success you desire; however, there are three simple steps you can take to ensure your logo design is as successful as possible:
Establish the “feel” first. What kind of organization are you designing for? Obviously, as a multifamily development, you may have different brand needs than a hip new restaurant but dig even further than that. Know your business and which people need to be involved.
Things to think about include:
- What is the internal culture?
- What is the public-facing culture?
- What separates you from other similar properties?
A great way to answer all of these questions is to start out with word exercises; a mind map can help you make a connection you didn’t see at first. All of these elements need to be represented in some way with the brand as a whole. The logo is one of the first aspects of your property that people see, and it shows on every piece of a multifamily brand. Be sure to make a good first impression.
2. Just Keep Sketching
Sketch, sketch, sketch. It’s highly unlikely that any great (or even good) multifamily logo design has ever been developed start-to-finish on a screen. Pencil and paper are still the best free-form way to get ideas started.
Remove any ideas of “pixel perfection” or perfect lines and fully rendered visuals, as this allows you to think more fluidly and discover ideas that might have been missed if the first step were to fire up Illustrator.
Only after sketching, more sketching, pulling the interesting ideas out from the boring ones, and refining the sketches should you turn to your software tools. That logo should be designed in the program of your choice that allows for fully-scalable vector art. Designing something in pixels in Photoshop might be fine for now, but what happens when that logo needs to be scaled? Always be conscious of future needs.
Think about applications. A logo always looks great on a blank white page with nothing else competing. Consider the following:
- How is that mark going to be used?
- Does it look good in a one-color variant for black and white printing?
- What about reversed out over a dark background?
- How much clearspace does it require to not get lost in a busy application?
- What if it needs to be really large or really small?
- Does it scale well?
3. Presentation Is Everything
Presentation is key. When the client sees the logo for the first time, it should be presented without any ornamentation or competing elements — then show the applications. Black, white, alternate brand colors, if providing a logo system.
Mockup major applications, like signs or collateral. The presentation needs to show the main applications in a way that allows the client to really visualize how the new logo fits into and helps their brand position.
Building a Successful Brand
Creative pursuits are fun and exciting because processes can vary from person to person. While this process is not the only way, it’s rather important to have some semblance of a process that brings you to the place where your creative output is best. Not only does your creative need to be strong, but you have to have the strategy in mind for what makes a multifamily logo design work and why it will help that brand become successful.
“Creative office” has become a buzzword in today’s market, particularly as it relates to workspace design. What used to describe the types of spaces occupied primarily by marketing firms and tech companies has now become a popular trend across nearly all industries.
This demand is largely derived from an employer’s need to recruit and retain top talent. Most companies are now looking at their office spaces as a recruiting tool and a way to promote company culture and branding.
Let’s take a look at some of the top trends in workspace design:
Prioritizing Employee Happiness in Workspace Design
Employee happiness and wellness are much more of a priority now as compared to years past. Thus, many companies are not only looking at the price per square foot but also whether their employees will be happy and productive in the location (given that personnel costs and training new employees are a bigger line item than real estate costs).
This means that employers are placing a large emphasis on buildings with on-site amenities and services. Properties with fitness facilities, walkability to restaurants (or employees’ apartments), and other shared spaces are desired. Additionally, bright spaces with natural light, especially in interior spaces, are critical as happier and healthier employees are more productive.
Shared Workspace vs. Private Cubicles
Another shift in office workspace design is a greater emphasis on shared areas for employees to collaborate. Private offices, even in more traditional industries, are shrinking and the word “cubicle” makes most human resources directors cringe.
Instead, employers are attempting to give their employees more flexibility with breakout rooms and common areas where they can take their laptops and work away from their desks. Additionally, employers are beginning to offer larger kitchens and break areas where employees can feel as if they’re in a coffee shop or “hoteling” — where employees can set down their laptops at a docking station and go. This is how many millennials want to work (and supposedly) do their best work.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Creative Workspace Design?
- Culture and Branding — A company’s culture can be promoted through the way they design their workspace. This creates cohesion within the organization.
- Recruiting — Not only can the culture create cohesion within the office, but employers can also use their office space design to create an atmosphere that tells the “story” of their company to prospective employees and other guests.
- Productivity — One’s environment shapes the way one feels, thinks, and works. A creative workspace design can inspire creativity as well as improve employee efficiency.
- Collaboration — Workspaces that encourage collaboration help build that sense of “team” which generally helps with employee retention. Collaboration can also get a company one step closer to that “big idea.”
- Wellness — Employee wellness is critical as personnel continues to be one of the largest expenditures on a company’s balance sheet. Gone are the days of entry-level employees in dark interior offices with no windows or cubicles. Instead, open layouts with modular furniture and lots of natural light are the norm.
Overall, if your employees enjoy their environment, they are more likely to want to spend time there (i.e., longer working hours without it feeling like “work”).
Take Creative Office Aspects Into Consideration
In Dallas, the majority of creative office is located near the Central Business District in several distinct pockets such as the West End, East Quarter, Deep Ellum, and The Cedars. Whether a company is considering a unique 100-year-old brick building or creating this office workspace design in a newer high rise, it is critical that business owners take these creative office aspects into consideration as the generational gap in the workplace widens.
This article was written by Jayson Montoya. He is an Executive Vice President with NAI Robert Lynn’s Office Division. He assists office space tenants and users with lease renewal negotiations, relocations, building purchases, and other real estate needs. You can reach him at 214-256-7136.
When people hear a truly great story, they look for an opportunity to tell that story again to someone new. The same holds true in the business world: When you receive exemplary service or purchase a great product, you want to spread the word.
As a marketing and branding agency, we have seen word-of-mouth communication as a powerful force — especially when it comes to building brand trust.
Are you more likely to watch a video advertisement or a video that a close friend shared on Facebook? Most likely, you answered the latter because your friend is someone you know and trust.
For most businesses, building brand trust is of utmost importance, particularly during a time when consumer trust is on the decline. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, only 48 percent of the U.S. population trusts businesses, which is down from 58 percent last year. And the general trend has been moving downward over the last decade.
However, creating an honest brand built on consumer trust does not always require deep pockets or extensive resources. In fact, building brand trust all starts with customer testimonials.
Why Are Testimonials Important for Building Brand Trust?
Customer reviews are pure gold for businesses. Why? Because your prospective customers will trust the opinions of your current customers more than they trust your website content, blog, or advertisements.
According to BrightLocal, 85 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Moreover, 91 percent check reviews before making a purchasing decision.
As people research your company and check out your reviews, they become leads that were virtually free to generate. Further, those buyers are more inclined to purchase from you because they trust your customers and your brand.
At Criterion.B, many of our current clients are from word-of-mouth referrals. As a smaller marketing and branding agency, establishing and maintaining an honest brand is something our team prioritizes not only for ourselves but for our clients. This is why we designed an entire page on our website dedicated to case studies and customer testimonials.
We have also helped our clients incorporate customer testimonials on their websites as well. (See below for an example from property management software provider ResMan.)
The True Impact of Testimonials
When it comes to using testimonials to build brand trust, the numbers speak for themselves.
- 72 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more.
- Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business, which is up from six last year.
- About 50 reviews per product or service can result in a 4.6 percent increase in conversion rates.
- When consumers interact with your review, they are 58 percent more likely to convert.
Additionally, testimonials can also drive traffic by increasing SEO. Product-specific content can increase your keyword rankings and search traffic. For example, when a business earns 10+ product-specific reviews, it can result in a 15 to 20 percent rise in search traffic.
Test the Waters With Experimentation
From multiple-page case studies, to video reviews or quick quotes from customers, there are a wide variety of testimonials that you can incorporate into your branding. The important thing is to experiment with the different formats to find what resonates best with your audience. Use your discretion of where and how often you want to display them, and include different types of testimonial content throughout your website and collateral.
Testimonials are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways when building brand trust, so it’s time to start taking advantage. Not convinced? View our case studies to discover strategic marketing and branding can enhance the brand experience.
We have said it before, and we will say it again: There is more to a brand than just a logo or company motto.
Your brand is both tangible and intangible. It’s a way for customers and clients to connect and engage with your business and differentiate you from competitors. Your identity and how customers perceive your brand are among the driving forces behind their decision to work with you.
In fact, 89% of consumers only consider purchasing from brands that show they understand and care about their customers. Essentially, today’s consumers only want to purchase products or services from businesses they like and trust.
So, how do you turn your brand into a high-performing asset with loyal customers?
Why Does Your Brand Exist?
First, determine your purpose and examine how your identity affects your business — internally and externally. Much of your success hinges on consistency, hard work, and a long-term strategy.
Keeping your message aligned with your mission and core values helps your customers gain a true understanding of your company. This helps build trust, optimism, and clarity, and is integral to long-term success. However, to keep your message authentic, it’s important to understand why your company exists. Who is your target audience? What difference are you trying to make for them? A purpose-driven message should be the foundation upon which your brand is built.
Making money is obviously an important goal for any business, but the companies that place more importance on service and community — rather than profitability — are the ones who foster the strongest consumer experience.
For example, Chick-Fil-A emphasizes that the company is about more than its delicious breaded chicken sandwiches. The fast-food giant upholds strong family and Christian values and has a corporate commitment to putting the happiness of customers and employees before profits. In 1946, Founder Truett Cathy decided to close the restaurant on Sundays to allow employees to rest or worship if they choose — a practice Chick-Fil-A still upholds today.
Chick-Fil-A’s approach is appealing to many customers because it demonstrates the business’ commitment to the communities in which it serves and to providing value beyond the point of sale.
Aligning Business Goals With Your Strategy
Before you can turn your multifamily brand into a high-performing asset, you must first set clearly defined business goals. They should be attainable, measurable, and focused on the big picture.
Do you want to position yourself as an innovative leader? Are you trying to attract more customers? These goals should give your multifamily brand direction for growth.
Integrate Your Multifamily Brand Into Everything You Do
The key to any successful multifamily brand is consistency, both internally and externally. In other words, you should integrate your messaging and vision into every aspect of the business. It should be visible and reflected in everything your customers and employees see, hear, or read.
If a customer walks into your headquarters, your logo should be on display and your staff should interact with customers, clients, and vendors with your core values in mind. On your company website, make sure to incorporate your unique voice, personality, and messaging into the content.
As your business grows, your target audience will change and it’s important to evolve in unison. Maintaining relevant, consistent messaging takes time, resources, and commitment. Your brand is an investment, and we’d love to help you maximize it.
Brand identity is one of the most valuable assets of any business. On the surface, brand identity consists of the name, tagline, logo, typeface, and color palette. But there is more to your brand than these physical traits.
In fact, all forms of messaging run central to your brand and should reflect the value and perception that your company is trying to bring to the market. A brand needs to be carefully crafted to authentically represent your business.
Why Is a Brand Refresh Important?
Think about some of the best brand identities in the market. What names come to mind?
According to Interbrands Best Global Brands 2017, the Top 10 Global Brands are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Samsung, Toyota, Facebook, Mercedes, and IBM.
These iconic brands, with their well-established identities and household awareness, did not start out that way. Over time, these companies have painstakingly built up their brand identity.
Customer needs are constantly changing, especially in the multifamily property industry as Gen Z renters enter the buyer’s market. As such, your business and its brand identity should be flexible to meet the needs of customers, both new and old. And as your business grows and adapts to the ever-changing market, so too should your brand reflect fresh and up-to-date messaging, imagery, website presence, and social media all with a clear vision.
Auditing and Assessing Your Brand
As you consider a brand refresh, the first step is to begin by auditing and assessing your brand and marketing materials. Do they speak directly to the customers you want to reach? Is your key message accurately reflected? Do they represent the lifestyle potential renters can expect?
When auditing for a refresh, it is important to note that your brand does not need to be scrapped. In fact, there are likely many key parts that are valuable enough to retain and refine — such as your name, services, or product lines.
There is a lengthy list of materials to consider when auditing and assessing your brand, from printed collateral and digital content to mission and vision statements. Consider the following for a full evaluation:
- Value Proposition
- Competitive Analysis
- Case Studies
- Internal & External Documents
- Social Media
- Display or Remarketing Ads
Keeping the brand message aligned with your core values and mission helps the audience gain a true understanding of your business. One of the most important aspects of auditing and assessing your brand is keeping your message authentic. This helps build trust, optimism, clarity, and is integral to long-term success.
Reinvent, Refresh, Reassess: Case Study
Criterion.B was challenged to reinvent the original ResMan brand into a more sophisticated, trustworthy, and competitive marketplace option. We approached the project with a very thorough “Discovery and Interview” process of key stakeholders to fully understand the changing vision and products for ResMan. Next, we analyzed company insights and growth goals to make sure that the brand updates aligned with their business objectives. Finally, we reviewed the competitive landscape and helped ResMan further define its brand position in the marketplace.
Criterion.B was tasked with embracing the young technology company culture while highlighting a more approachable competitive edge. Thus, we created a vibrant logo, brand guide, new website, and ongoing content strategy. The end goal was a modern brand that still offered a sense of familiarity for the multifamily industry. We updated the original logo character into a stronger icon that promotes ResMan’s dynamic personality.
The end result? Traffic to the ResMan website spiked 268% year over year.
A brand refresh is not taken lightly by the Criterion.B team. As part of the auditing and assessment process, we interview key stakeholders both inside and outside our clients’ business. These interviews help us obtain a 360-degree view of the business. We then identify key opportunities with the content, visual language, and business goals, to make smart and measurable recommendations.
Promoting a product without knowing who your target audience is (or what they want) is an impossible task. You will just be making decisions based on what you think they want. That is not sustainable over the life of any brand.
That’s why creating user personas is important for any company that wants to grow. The research involved in putting together a user persona report will not only help you understand your target audience, it will also help you create a better product for them.
Things like life goals, education level, age, and common problems will determine how you serve these customers in the future — especially when it comes to making marketing decisions. Even small factors like location or salary can influence how those people make decisions, and in turn, use your product.
User personas are important for creating a targeted multifamily marketing plan, and for influencing your growth strategy.
Not sure where to start? Here are 20+ user persona examples, tips, and templates to help you create some amazing user persona examples from scratch:
1. Create 3 to 5 unique and detailed personas to start.
If you are creating your first customer or user persona guides, I would design one for each of your main customer groups. Most resources recommend between three and five distinct personas, and I am inclined to agree.
For example, Michael Szczepanski created four unique user persona examples below, they just happen to be dogs. I believe that this is the perfect range to make sure you cover all your bases and gain insight, without getting too in-depth.
2. Highlight products your audience already uses in your industry.
Including well-known products in a user persona guide is a simple way to add a wealth of secondary information. For example, if this user only buys Apple products and only shops at Whole Foods, you can make a lot of assumptions rather quickly.
Or like in this persona guide example for a reading app, the books that they love can help shape that persona. I mean, a user that reads romance novels at home is going to have different needs than one that reads only comics on the go.
3. Use a customer journey map template to help create each persona.
If you are having some trouble putting together your user personas, a customer journey map may help. This is a great way for you to look at the customer’s journey from a different angle, and hopefully come out the other side with better insight.
Just like in the below example, you can learn a lot about your personas by just studying how they use your product.
4. Use icons to emphasize information in your persona guides.
I am a huge fan of icons and illustrations, especially infographics. These little visual helpers allow you to add context and information rather effectively. Plus, people are relatively familiar with icons, so there is no learning curve.
Because of that, they can also be used on a persona guide to illustrate a complex concept or idea. Just take a look at the below example, there are a plethora of useful icons. From the music icons in the interest section to the ones that help illustrate and organize the whole guide.
5. Find a common metric to track across your different personas.
When it comes to analyzing your different user personas, you should try to have at least one similar metric between them. Otherwise, you are going to compare really abstract things like their bio, keywords, or some other written metric.
Something like a score or point can generally be compared across the board. Then, you can use icons like stars to visualize these metrics, like in this user persona example from ABWS Digital.
6. Keep layouts consistent between persona guides.
Other than creating one of the most unique persona examples in this collection, this example from Shopify does something exceptionally well, almost as well as they know e-commerce, entrepreneurship, and inventory management. The designers kept the layout consistent throughout each card.
Consistency is key when creating an effective user persona because it allows for quick comparisons. It is not efficient to have people aimlessly searching for information because the designer wanted to switch things up.
7. Visualize persona data in a memorable way.
Providing real stats and metrics is a fantastic way to take your persona guide to the next level. But make sure that the data you are presenting is actually useful and memorable.
You can achieve this by creating data visualizations as we see in the example below. By combining icons with important data, the designers were able to create a visual that can be easily recalled.
If you do not have much (or any) experience creating data visualizations, starting with a user persona guide template can help.
8. Highlight the differences between your personas.
Different people have different goals, problems, and preferences. To help keep your marketing campaigns segmented and your product features focused, it can be helpful to highlight the differences between your personas.
Take a look at how this user persona example uses pie charts and custom illustrations to show the differences between each type of person:
9. Turn your user persona guide into an infographic.
Infographics are an outstanding way to communicate visually. So, why not turn your persona guide into an infographic?
The designers at LOLSMG used visuals like icons, decorative fonts, and conceptual images to make their user persona guide more engaging. Plus, there are already a ton of free infographic templates that you can use as a starting point.
10. Make sure the designs reflect the personas.
To make your user persona guides more memorable, use design elements that reflect each individual persona. Think about how you can use design to reflect their age, jobs, and interests. For example, if one of your personas is a 20-something in the tech industry, use bold, quirky fonts or colors in their persona guide.
Take a look at this gamer user persona, and how the design reflects his interests and problems.
11. Thoroughly research your users’ motivations and pain points, then highlight them.
When you start the actual research into specific personas it is important to look at both the motivations and pain points of each. A few guides that I saw while collecting user persona examples focused on only one or the other.
To truly create an accurate user persona, you need to thoroughly research both your users’ motivations and pain points.
For example, this highly qualified influencer finds it difficult to attend events (maybe because he’s a cat), and maybe your product can really help them out.
12. Include goals that your product or service may not directly impact.
Obviously, the goals that your product or service directly impacts should be featured in user persona examples. But you should also take it a step further and highlight the other goals this persona may have.
Maybe your product is a fitness app, like in the example below, which features traditional and nontraditional health goals. Now, these indirect goals may not be something your product will influence or impact, but they are still important in understanding the persona.
13. Begin your user persona guide with a helpful introduction paragraph
Part of creating a well-rounded user persona is giving them a backstory. It really does not have to be much, but enough to help highlight key traits or aspects. You can use this intro to talk about what makes your personas tick. Outline why your company should care about this persona. Or make it purely biographical, like in the user persona example above.
I like this approach because you can use it to tell a real story instead of just listing facts and figures.
14. Design a fully visual persona.
There are no rules that say your user persona has to be a document, a poster, or even an infographic. Honestly, it can be whatever helps your brand build better experiences for your users.
If you can create one that does not fit into any of the traditional conventions, like Jason Travis did below, then more power to you. I mean, with just a handful of items, he was able to paint a rich tapestry for each user.
15. Include details like geographic location and salary range.
Factors like location and salary are extremely useful, especially if your customer base is mostly in one geographic region. This user persona example from GB Lee made sure to feature both, but some guides omitted it completely.
Think about how different customers living in LA and NYC are, or how different the rent is when living in San Francisco and Kansas City.
Those are massive things that you cannot afford to ignore, or your user persona guide will be a wasted effort.
16. Use sliding scales to accurately define a user.
Generally speaking, the more specific your user persona guide is, the better. Take a look at the previous tip to see a few of those concrete factors. However, other sections or factors are better defined if there is a little more gray area.
Like in this example, where personality traits are more accurate if they are graded on a scale. It is better to say that Rory is a bit more introverted than extroverted. Labeling him at either extreme would paint an inaccurate picture.
17. Assign each user persona example a real name.
Thinking about these personas as actual customers or people can make the whole process of developing personas more effective. That is why I believe that assigning them a real name is so essential.
Take a look at this user persona example, if they had used a single keyword or something like “Runner McGee” the facade is broken immediately.
Then you run the risk of your user persona guide being just another document that your team ignores. Your personas should guide your multifamily marketing plan.
18. Break down a day in the life of your user persona.
To help think like your persona, it can be helpful to imagine what a day in their life is like. An easy way to illustrate a daily or weekly routine is by using a timeline infographic. You can use icons to illustrate the different activities they do or obstacles they face.
Like Monica Miller did in the user persona example below, you can impart a lot of information in a rather small package.
19. Present all personas guides on one page for easy comparison.
Comparing the similarities and differences between your personas can be helpful when creating your marketing plan. You can make comparisons easy by showing your personas on one comparison sheet (or even a comparison infographic).
In this user persona example, they presented all three personas on one graphic. You can compare each aspect in a matter of milliseconds, instead of swapping screens or shuffling papers.
20. Summarize each user persona with a few keywords.
What drives each of your user personas? Try and summarize them in a few powerful keywords.
These user persona examples come from our friends at Mailchimp. I can confidently say they are my favorite in this roundup.
Not only are they visually unique and can be used as posters around the office, these guides also tell you all you need to know about each persona with only a few keywords.
21. Highlight social media or tech use.
The social media platform or technology a persona uses on a daily basis should definitely be included in each guide. This tip (and user persona example) is especially useful for any brand or company that is internet-based. Not knowing both of those factors could spell trouble from the beginning, because if we were to target one of these personas on the wrong device or platform, all our efforts would be a waste.
So, take the time to really find out where your personas are hanging out, and what device they use to do that.
22. Never use recognizable faces or celebrity photos.
I mentioned already that you should give each persona a real name, and the same can be said when it comes to using images or headshots.
Creating the impression that this is a real person is key, so do not use any celebrities, people from your office, or recognizable faces. This could lead to people subconsciously adding traits from these people to the personas.
In this user persona example, they did the right thing and used a random person. It is almost like you are looking at a blank slate, which really is ideal.
Now that you know how to create an ideal user persona, it’s time to actually go do it! These are going to take a while, and involve a lot of research but do not get discouraged. In the end, they will be worth it because you will be able to help your customers better. When in doubt, start with a persona guide template.
Ryan McCready is the Content Editor and Design Analyst for Venngage. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in economics and international business.
American Airlines: Safety
I still remember my first visit to Houston. I was five years old and traveling to see my cousin, now coworker, Margaret. Those were the only trips I took alone. I remember meeting an American Airlines flight attendant, who walked me onto the plane and told me that she would be around for anything I needed. She gave me a wing pin to wear. Although those wings are just a brand element, to me, they mean that American Airlines will keep me safe.
Brands that are built on the company vision resonate best with consumers. Safety is one of many values that American Airlines runs on. However, it only resonated with me because I saw it in action. So when I hear their brand promises, “The safety of our customers and our employees is the foundation of all we do,” I believe them. American Airlines has won my trust. In this type of honest branding, the choices in regards to employees, product quality, and manufacturing tactics, match the visual language.
My challenge as a designer is finding out how to create a brand experience that resonates with its consumers. I want their experience to be echoed back to them in the visuals. The best way to build brand loyalty is by creating an honest brand. Open lines of communication between designers and leaders of the company are essential to designing honestly.
Good brands start from the inside out. The leaders create the vision. The vision creates the visual language. And the visual language turns into a system that is unified enough to be recognized as a cohesive brand. In this way, every communication of the brand is unified, from the way the CEO talks about the company, to the visual language, to the customer service.
Adobe is a great example of a consistent brand experience. We’re currently looking into new solutions to manage our Adobe Creative Cloud solutions at Criterion.B. As we were talking about the price of the software, I made an observation, “I couldn’t do my job without Adobe!” That’s a pretty incredible statement. The livelihood of designers around the world depends on one company. And, Adobe has a logo that works with their values. The A breaks the box. It feels limitless.
Adobe has taken their brand statement, to “empower everyone … to bring digital creations to life,” and crafted a visual language around it. Their Instagram features versions of their logo created by artists and designers. Lights hung in the shape of their logo. Tape strung across the room that forms the logo from the right perspective. A fish tank made out of the logo. The vision of the company works through designers. But in Adobe’s case, they are allowing designers to be a wider audience. This concept is at the core of their company — inspiring creativity in as many people as possible.
American Airlines and Adobe are just two examples of brands that have visual identities which flow from their company purposes. The designers’ job is not to create the company vision. Rather, it’s to tap into the lifeblood of the company and create a visual language that expresses it. That’s the type of brand experience that consumers feel passionate about.