‘On the Ground’ with Eric Brown: Branded Media’s Hidden Benefits

There is something known as the corridor of opportunity. The gist is that many times some of the greatest fruit bears itself once we are immersed in the process.

When we talk to apartment marketers about building out their branded media for their apartment portfolio, there is typically much skepticism. Which is understandabe, as marketing that works effectively today is very different from what worked yesterday and our beloved apartment industry is pretty slow to react.

Companies taking the social media plunge experience several internal and external phases as they transition into a succession of building their own branded media. Perhaps, the sweetest one is around the 36-month mark, when enough content has been created to have a solid digital footprint large enough to consistently drive more web traffic than the apartment marketer needs to sustain acceptable occupancy levels. At such time the savvy apartment marketer can begin to make well-informed decisions about how to redeploy marketing dollars into more effective channels and pocket savings along the way.

There is something known as the corridor of opportunity. The gist is that many times some of the greatest fruit bears itself once we are immersed in the process, and if you do not start the trek down the corridor, you never see the hidden opportunity. There have been many such circumstances once we started to build out our own branded media platform, many of which have become partnership marketing opportunities.

A recent such example has been with the Detroit Music Awards. The core of your branded media platform is your blog or online magazine. With that, you need to constantly find interesting topics to write about. But the real payoff comes when other people share what you are writing about. In this case, Vitamin Water, a sponsor of the show is giving folks the chance to grab some tunes fresh from the Motor City with a Vitamin Water Revive media player. Folks can download their favorite tracks free and vote for the people’s choice award. The artist with the most downloads wins.

Our play was to interview many of the artists, and to do feature stories on each as articles in our online magazine, The Urbane Life. That landed us an opportunity with Vitamin Water to allow us to place one of the their Vitamin Water Revive media players, with full voting capabilities right on our site.

Certain types of content are more sharable than others, and anything with pets likely is number one, but music, particularly local music, is right up there. As a result, our web traffic has skyrocketed, and folks are sharing links frequently as each new interview rolls out. We have become part of what the hyper local community is following, most of which are active renters. The cost to Urbane was zip, as we need to post a certain amount of articles anyway.

Eric Brown’s background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for Village Green Companies, a Midwest apartment developer. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.