Connect with Multifamily Residents Using Brain-based Research

Design and communication can create trust as you connect with multifamily residents

Property managers and leasing agents, step away from the spreadsheets and data sets for a moment. As you try to connect with multifamily residents, you need some awareness about what they really want and need – and that goes way beyond most data you can gather.

Start with attention

Look around your lobby and tell me what you see (ok, pretend you’re telling me and that I am listening in rapt attention)…

You see humans having whatever kind of day they are having, right? Maybe you overhear one person arguing with their boyfriend on the phone. You see a couple playing with their new puppy. A fashionable woman walks in quickly with an iced matcha latte, and an older man sits by the window reading a book on his Kindle. 

You will pick up more in that 10 minutes watching the residents in your lobby than you will poring over customer relationship management software reports. 

Whether they are rushed or relaxed, stressed or elated, each of these humans has chosen to call your property home. When they walk through your front doors, they want to feel an instant sense of home and belonging even before they reach their individual apartments. You have the ability to meet those deeper needs by making several key choices, but let’s talk about the why first…

What do people want anyway?

Start with yourself, because much of what others want applies to all humans universally. We all need a sense of safety and security. A comfortable space where we can eat and sleep well. We need home to be a place to recharge and reset before each work or school day. We also want it to support our relationships with family and friends. 

Once you have those basics covered, humans respond to specific cues in their environment that help them feel a sense of abundance. 

This interior design writer offers:

“As practitioners of interior design, understanding the intricate psychology behind luxury design empowers us to craft spaces and thus curate environments that exude opulence and encourage positive, transformative experiences. Through careful attention to detail, thoughtful consideration of human emotions, and a deep-rooted awareness of the psychological nuances at play, we shape spaces that uplift spirits and ignite inspiration for those who engage with them.”

That designer’s post focused specifically on luxury interior design, but designing to evoke emotion extends well beyond the luxury market. More affordable communities might not have the budget to select high-end finishes, but you can choose paint colors, furniture and art that represents the same underlying human needs. 

For example, this article shares the recommended colors for each room in the house based on several studies around color psychology: 

“For instance, our brains associate warm colors—think red, orange, and yellow—with feelings like passion, comfort, anger, and power, according to Neurofied, a brain and behavior consultancy firm. And on the other side of the spectrum, cool colors (blue, green, and purple) have the opposite effect, creating a calming atmosphere that counteracts feelings of anxiety.”

This interior design firm, which specializes in pet-friendly design (that’s important to your residents!) also points out the emotional power behind shapes in design: 

“…the use of circular shapes can evoke feelings of warmth, security, and safety. In contrast, the use of angular shapes can evoke feelings of power, strength, and stability. By understanding the psychology of shapes, designers can create spaces that look good and evoke specific emotions and feelings in those who use them.”

Texture, pattern, empty space and light can also contribute to how a person feels within a space. 

Emotion in graphic design

The psychology of design applies to the page and the screen as well as the space itself. 

For example, as this graphic design blog illustrates, shape impacts how a person perceives a company’s logo:

“Multiple studies demonstrate that people have different reactions to certain shapes. One study found that customers who value competence prefer angular shapes. Another shows that round shapes evoke feelings of happiness. Picking one shape over another can change how people perceive your brand.”

As we begin a branding design, we consider all of the factors above, as well as our client’s brand personality. (Don’t have a brand personality? Don’t worry! We help with that, too.)

Take these three brands, each one a client of ours. Each one uses a circle element (which, as noted above, evokes feelings of safety and warmth), but the font treatments, colors, textures and images used in the branding materials create very different emotional experiences for the viewer:

What emotions or words emerge for you as you view these different brands? Clovis Point might convey serenity and grounded comfort, for example, while Revel expresses fun and uninhibited joy and Union Pointe offers modern luxury with a soft treatment. 

Putting it Together

Understanding the emotional connection created by different forms and colors makes up a large part of what we do as designers and multifamily branding specialists. Consumer buying trends only go so far when deciding how to communicate the essence of a brand. What matters a lot more in our work is a deep understanding that humans want a home and they want that home to: 

  • Feel safe
  • Support basic needs: sleep, comfort, nourishment
  • Serve as an extension and representation of their lifestyle and personality
  • Create fun, community and joy
  • Allow room for pets, children, friends and others to create memories 
  • Provide a sense of belonging 

For those of us who work in the multifamily industry, we have an incredible opportunity to deliver an elevated experience for apartment residents. That experience doesn’t always mean luxury finishes or amenities; it can mean a thoughtful approach to designing spaces, in real life and virtually, and then communicating on an authentic human level. 

Want to learn more about how to deliver an elevated experience to your residents? Reach out to us. We specialize in a human approach to multifamily branding and marketing.

Posted By

Sara Bess