Enhancing Your Product Value

Your community’s curb appeal is critical to enhancing product value, but it’s just part of understanding and creating an overall experience that conveys your property’s unique personality in the most effective way.

By Lori Snider, Lori Snider Co.

Your community’s curb appeal is critical to enhancing product value, but it’s just part of understanding and creating an overall experience that conveys your property’s unique personality in the most effective way. The goal is to provide a product, messaging and experience that convey the highest quality and create an irresistible appeal.

What kind of experience is consistently delivered to the prospects, residents and their guests at your community? Great curb appeal simply isn’t enough. To be effective today, you must deliver an experience that is novel, informs, educates, entertains, grabs attention and commands the senses.

Inform and educate

Is signage very clear? Is it easy to find your office? Once in the office, do clients know where to go? Keep messaging clear and to a minimum—items like touch screens can be overwhelming here.

Map your sales zones. Starbucks has 11 sales zones in each of its stores, carefully mapped, that serve up information regarding new product offerings, partnerships with other vendors, etc. Observe the traffic patterns in your office. Where do people stand around? These areas are ripe to catch attention with a message such as videos or to share information regarding an upcoming charity function. Be clear, and always work to show the client why they should, or continue to, do business with you.

Touch screens are increasingly popular for their interactive opportunities and should be placed in an area you want people to experience more. Make sure the area contains a shelf so people can free up hands and interact to their heart’s content.

If the developer has gone to great lengths to ensure open space or build in an environmentally friendly way, this provides an opportunity to create value perception and insight to the company’s character by letting the client in on these efforts. If a tree has been protected, a small sign that reads, “This tree has been preserved for future generations,” creates a “wow” moment for the brand.

Look for non-traditional opportunities to inform and educate. Lease-signing day can be an exercise in endurance, full of long addendums, rules and regulations. To enhance the experience, run a video of current residents sharing how to be a great apartment resident—a “We’re all in this together!” informational piece. Make it different and novel, and in the process, inform and educate.

Entertain and grab attention

Clubhouses and models designed to appeal to the masses can end up appealing to no one. In their effort to play it safe, they become boring, staid and anything but memorable. Take a look at your demographic; what are their ages, interests and professions? Speak to that demographic through your merchandising. For example, if your community has a young, single demographic, consider making the traditional dining area an office, or add a Foosball table and create a “Rumpus Room.” Use vivid paint colors; don’t be afraid to get “out there.” The point is to create something your clients will remember.

Don’t forget about areas that traditionally aren’t packaged well, but get a great deal of use, like laundry rooms, parking garages and mailbox areas. Who wants to hang out in a room that’s as inspiring as the motor vehicle department? Ask the local high school art department to paint a mural—or paint it yourself. In your parking garage, define zones by color, or the words “Welcome Home!” in different languages. Look around your community. Where is the opportunity to create interest and add value?

All five senses

A true experience encompasses all five senses—not only what people see. In his book, Whiff! The Revolution of Scent Communication in the Information Age, C. Russell Brumfield states that humans imprint over 10,000 smells that they can actually identify, and each of us has stored a catalogue of memories and feelings associated with specific aromas. What images are conjured when someone gets a whiff of your clubhouse, model and common areas? Are you effectively working your “scent angle?”

Also consider what people hear when they enter your community. Architects today utilize pavers that demonstrate—to our feet and ears—the beginning of something great. Provide opportunities for touch (think touch screens and textures, like carpet samples, for example) to enhance the overall sensory experience. Curb appeal is critical, but not the whole story. Focus on the overall experience to engage and captivate.

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