Using U2’s New Album Strategy for Multifamily

A lot of new and surprising things were revealed during Apple’s announcement this week, besides the fact that we’re all throwing out our current functioning phones to get the iPhone 6 (which is neither new nor surprising, but rather old news, and, at this point, frankly a cliche): We can soon pay for everything with the same device we use to send people requests to play Candy Crush! We will be able to send our resting heartbeat to our friends via our watches, for some reason! And U2 is releasing a new album and giving it to everyone for free!

Look, we all like U2. Joshua Tree was an awesome album. But, really, has anyone really given them any thought recently? Personally, I searched my brain, and my only passing thought about them was when some friends and I went to their concert maybe five years ago and one person, who was a UK citizen, and an adult, wasn’t allowed to buy beer because he didn’t have a US driver’s license, which we found hilarious both because he was an adult who wasn’t allowed to buy beer and because the band was also from Europe. But that was more a thought on the concert than on the U2. Music-wise—well, nothing really comes to mind.

And that is why their decision to both announce their album at the Apple announcement and give it away for free was genius.

It accomplished several things:

  • It got people talking again about U2. Again, when have you really last thought about them?
  • It got them tons of press. Definitely more than if they had released their album the normal way.
  • It got their music out to everyone. If you heard they had a new album, would you have bought it? Maybe? Or maybe just a single? Well, now you have the whole thing. Even though U2 didn’t make money on it, they’ll make boat loads of cash when people go to their concerts to hear these new songs and from people who don’t like their new stuff but remember how awesome their old stuff was and go back and download their back catalogue.
  • It associated the band, which isn’t the hottest thing around anymore, with something cool, the iPhone 6 (and, to a lesser extent, Beyonce, because she also recently released an album in a similar way).

And guess what? You can totally implement this strategy at your community to entice prospective residents. (Or your team could. With or without you. See what I did there?) Give your residents something for free that everyone else charges for. Maybe you can include cable or Internet with their rent. Or offer a free year of gym membership at a local gym if your community doesn’t have it’s own gym. Have a playroom with a qualified babysitter and every Friday night offer free babysitting for two hours so parents can get out. Or have a pet area and offer that same type of service but for dogs instead of kids (they’re both just as slobbery anyway). Use your imagination, but offer something people want. It will get people talking about your apartments, and your brand will get positive feedback.

Will it cost you a little more upfront? Yes. But you can’t buy that kind of goodwill. Just ask that in return, if your residents are happy with their living situation, that they write a review for you on apartment review websites. Tell them to tell all their friends who are looking for apartments too. Especially in urban areas where there are tons of apartment options, anything you do that residents could see as a bonus will benefit you. And then that minor cost for cable or a babysitter or dog sitter will seem particularly worth it when your vacancy rates go down.

What are some other things you could give to your residents that could pay off in the long run? Do you do this at your communities? What color iPhone 6 are you going to get?

-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor