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The Art and Science of Branding, Repositioning Student Housing Communities

When prospective college student residents and their parents first encounter a housing property, be it in person or online, the brand is undoubtedly one of the first things they notice. 

Along with the name of the property, they’ll notice the logo and color scheme, and gradually the story told by other aspects of the building as well, from amenities to design choices. Returning students will usually have heard about the property one way or another, and will have an idea of what sort of reputation it enjoys around campus.

Creating and maintaining a consistent, desirable brand is one of the paramount functions of student housing owners and operators, especially in today’s climate where there are usually many choices and discerning students carry high expectations into property tours. Student housing marketing agencies have in turn spent more and more time perfecting their brands in recent years, hoping to create an entity that aligns with students’ values. 

Creating the perfect brand can take months of research to discern how to match it to a specific campus or student demographic. A crucial decision is whether to run a “local” brand at each specific property, or a “global” brand that can run at dozens of campuses across the country.

And finally, when a brand needs to be repositioned, either because of new ownership, a refresh or to hit the reset button on a property with a so-so reputation, the process begins anew. Repositioning carries its own challenges, with the added burden of changing perceptions of an established development. 

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