Using Apartment Marketing to Create Emotional Connections


Brand Laddering Cartoon by Tom Fishburne

I’m a fan of Tom Fishburne’s business and marketing cartoons. He has a great way of boiling down marketing and business concepts to their essence and presenting them in visually and clever ways.

He recently published a cartoon that made me stop and think about how the multifamily industry does apartment marketing. I’m not referring to all the avenues, outlets, and technology available to optimize your multifamily marketing but making emotional connection with a potential. But probably not in the way that you think.

Creating Emotional Connections with Apartment Marketing

In the cartoon posted above, I was introduced to the term “Brand Laddering,” a common marketing tool that, according to Fishburne, marketers use to drive growth and loyalty by elevating the benefits of brands from technical to functional to emotional.

Emotional connections? To apartments?

How can the multifamily industry take a “boring” product and elevate it past square footage, number of bedrooms, and community amenities to something that resonates emotionally with potential renters?

With more and more Millennials entering the rental market and increased numbers of people embracing renting as a lifestyle, essentially redefining the American Dream, it is essential to differentiate (dare I say elevate?) your apartments from your competitors.

But instead of emphasizing swimming pools, community theaters, crown molding and granite counter tops; perhaps it’s time to explore the creation and marketing of the emotional benefits of an apartment and the surrounding community.

Unfortunately, trying to make that connection potentially opens up a can of worms about different messages for each demographic. For example, what resonates with me, a 43-year old male, will be drastically different from what a 25-year old female will emotionally connect with.

What do you think? Is it even possible for property managers to use apartment marketing to create an emotional connection between potential renters and an apartment unit or community before they live there?

I would love to hear your thoughts and examples.


Contributor, Property Management Insider

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Michael Cunningham is Content Marketing Manager at ProofHQ, and the former Managing Editor of He worked as a social media manager for RealPage, Inc., a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multifamily rental property management business functions. He is responsible for promoting the company through various media channels, including editorial, print and online advertising, and social media. Michael received his education at Indiana University where he majored in English.

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