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Beat the REITs with Better Branding

Written by: Ashleigh Hinrichs Posted: 1/4/2018
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What is in a name.. and a self storage brand? Gone are the days of creating a name that will get you listed first in the yellow pages. With an increasing supply of self storage facilities and powerful REITs, it is more important than ever to stand out and differentiate yourself.

The first way to do this is through your brand. A brand is more than just a name, slogan or design. It is the perception someone has of your company and what it represents to each individual consumer.

REITs wield an advantage over smaller operators through their nationally-recognized brand names. However, if you are a smaller operator, there are plenty of tools and resources available to heighten your brand and increase its notoriety. If you do it right, there is an opportunity for you to position yourself as the best self storage solution for your target customer.

Establishing Your Brand

A brand not only conjures an emotion, but also lays the foundation for your entire marketing strategy. Your brand should drive your messaging, communicate your unique value proposition and define your place in the local market.

The following are three questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the unique value that your facility offers?
  • Who is your facility’s target demographic?
  • What seems to be your facility’s most important message?

Your answers to these questions should help guide you to develop a brand that resonates with your target market and identifies you (and not your competition) as the sole provider for their needs.

Curb Appeal - Online and Offline

Today, there is no longer a distinction between your physical business presence and your online presence. Your digital presence is your presence.

On average, it takes five to seven brand impressions before someone will remember your brand. Developing consistent collateral both online and offline is an effective way to ensure your brand sticks in your customer’s head. However, this mixture of online and offline marketing creates more room for error to inconsistently represent your brand. Unreliable branding creates confusion and conveys an untrustworthy nature to your potential customer. Did you know that presenting your brand consistently has the ability to increase your revenue by an average of 23%? That is a big incentive to ensure all of your facility’s marketing materials — website, signage, brochures, paid advertisements, etc. — work together. Creating cohesive assets will help to create awareness, fulfill an interest, impact your buyer’s decision and guide your prospective customer to take action.

Brand Identity and Conversion-Focused Design

Increasing leads can be difficult, especially if your competition, including REITs, has a straightforward and attractive brand message. However, establishing a clear brand identity will help you to effectively reach and convert leads online. Your website should capture your prospective customer’s attention and communicate your brand’s value proposition clearly in the first view, before they have to scroll down. The user should be able to see your brand’s values, what you are offering and why it matters to them. The main text should convey more about what you can do for them, your value, rather than information strictly about your business. All of this while keeping your website clean and uncluttered which may require you to make careful decisions on which message grabs attention best. Only then will he or she feel compelled to go deeper into your website and convert from a prospect to a customer.

End Goal

What are we trying to achieve? Creating a reputable, reliable and trusted brand name that will lead to better leads, more leases and higher NOI. It is time to beat the REITs and combat the power of the larger-branded facilities with better branding. The first step is to find the right partner with market knowledge, a well-rounded creative skill set and strategic know-how to ensure you deliver a fully developed and cohesive brand identity to your target customer. For more stats on the power of branding, download the Brand Engagement Infographic.

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