I recently visited Magnolia Market in Waco Texas, the home & lifestyle store that supports multiple lifestyle brands by Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper show, among many ventures.
Chip and Joanna are beloved lifestyle entrepreneurs, with a home improvement empire that includes the Market, Magnolia Homes, books, the Hearth & Hand line at Target, a restaurant, vacation rentals, a magazine and multiple branded product lines.
At Magnolia Market and Silos, I was blown away at the incredible attention to detail in every facet of the store. Around every corner, there were vignettes set up in ways that looked fresh, friendly and inviting. Even the guestbook when I walked in the store looked like I was coming to a family store. That’s the beauty of a powerful brand. It’s much more than just a logo. Do your properties have a memorable brand? Do they make residents and their guests feel welcome and at home? Here are a few things we can learn from Chip and Joanna’s branding that we can incorporate into our own businesses.
- It’s More Than A Logo
Whether you’re into home improvements or not, it’s unlikely you haven’t heard of at least one of Chip & Joanna’s business ventures. But did you realize all of their brands have a similar look and feel? They are all based on the values of fresh, classic and functional. Whether you’re looking at their line of paints at Ace Hardware or spending a small fortune on home décor at Target, the Gaines have both aligned themselves with trusted brands and BECOME trusted brands. Their Magnolia-branded lines evoke the feelings of family, comfort and freshness before you even see them.
How would your clients and target audiences describe your brand? Have you asked them? At Ascent, we have built our brand on the foundation of expertise in the multifamily industry, advanced technological capabilities and the firm belief that outsourced accounting is the future of our industry when it comes to managing back offices efficiently.
- Be Real With Your Clients
There is truth to the adage that “people buy from people they know.” Our target audiences, especially millennials and gen Z, are inherently skeptical of companies and brands they don’t know or trust. That puts the responsibility on our shoulders to be as real as we can in our communications with them.
Joanna and Chip are as real of a couple I have ever seen on TV. They tell stories that aren’t flattering because they know we remember how they reacted to situations, not how the situation came about. Joanna has famously said, “I always thought that the “thriving” would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good.”
Her message, like her brand, is one of acceptance. It permeates every line she has, and she never deviates from it. We should all strive for the same message in our properties. If prospective tenants know your brand is behind the property, will they be more or less willing to spend their money with you? Or will they move on to another brand they know?
- Find your style
Joanna Gaines had a distinct style long before it became popular. Her base of white colors with mixes of old and new pieces highlights her attention to minimalism. Do your properties have a distinct style? If you specialize in turning around old properties, do you update them with modern touches to create a perfect blend of “classic” and modern? If you specialize in building or managing new properties, do they have a unique mix of amenities for the modern renter?
Research has shown that renters enjoy social activities far more than those who live in single family homes. Do you create spaces for socialization at your properties? Whether you have a unique style for a movie theatre or game room, or a special look for your pool furniture, those visuals let current and prospective tenants know that management cares about their comfort.
Whether you own or manage 30 year-old or brand new properties, your branding matters. It does more than tell your customers you care about them. It shows them. You don’t need to make a trip to Waco to imitate the style of Magnolia Market. You can create your own.
Get in touch with Mike at Ascent to learn more about how you can improve your corporate and properties’ branding and build your portfolio.