This post was originally written by Kerry Sugrue, former Social Media Specialist at Apartments.com.
I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man. – Jay-Z
Last week I was called to the Mother Ship with the rest of the super cool social media nerds, gaming dweebs and techy geeks. South By Southwest Interactive is a massive conference in Austin, Texas that draws technology gurus and eager-to-learn marketers from around the world. After attending a handful of sessions every day for five days, there was one that really stood out to me: Y Rappers R Better Marketers Than U. The name of the session immediately drew me in and the Creative Directors from SapientNitro , who presented, did not disappoint. They discussed seven lessons they learned from rappers, not all of which I agreed with. Below are my four favorites and how we can apply them in the multifamily industry.
1. Stay Legit – Understand who your audience is and create a persona for your brand that appeals to them; then stick with it over time. Like Jay-Z’s hustler persona, it’s ok to evolve, but don’t stray too far from the core. As a management company, who is your key audience? Are you a high-end community for urban professionals? Are you close to a university and attracting undergrads? Develop your marketing materials and online voice (persona) in a way that appeals to your audience.
2. Name Check – There are no rappers that talk about drinking Sunkist and driving in their Dodge Neon. Although these brands are liked by many, they don’t support the persona rappers strive for. The lesson here is to associate your brand with others that reflect the image you want and then leverage that relationship. If you are in student housing, asking the inexpensive burger joint to contribute coupons to your move-in package is a great idea! The same relationship may not be as well received in a downtown high-rise.
3. Master Social Media – You may think I threw this one in here because of my own agenda, but I assure you I could not have been happier when social media was on the list. Rappers are some of the most progressive and intelligent users of social media to further their business. Soulja Boy used YouTube to release his hit single Tell Them – Crank That for free and now has nearly 120 million views. Chamillionaire attends tech conferences to learn about using social media in new ways; and he engages with his fans to gather feedback on the quality of his product. Management companies should be using social media as a direct line to residents. Ask how you are doing, listen to the responses and evolve your product to meet your residents’ needs.
4. Forget the Rules. Innovate – This is the radio edit version of the lesson, but the message is the same. Don’t get bogged down by the what if’s and, instead, be brave enough to take a risk. With so many apartment communities to choose from, be the one that stands out to renters. Take your marketing to a new level, launch the program you have been talking about, change up your processes. Continue to innovate, while staying true to your brand.
There is a lot every business, including the multifamily industry, can learn from rappers. Do any of these four lessons apply to you? Can you think of any other qualities performers have that we can learn from?