No one has a perfect life. Regardless of what the carefully curated photos and videos on Instagram and Facebook want people to believe, life is real. And real can mean imperfectly perfect.

More and more people, particularly those in the Generation Z (Gen Z) and Millennial demographic, have a strong desire to see more the real side of things. From the celebrities they follow to the brands they wear – to the places they want to live – they want the realness over manufactured, no matter how imperfect. That’s why, for example, a celebrity who opens up about a challenge they are having, even what seems like a very minor one, reaches more of their fans, and makes those fans feel more connected. That connection can turn a sometimes fan into one who will absolutely go see the next movie that actor is in because they feel a genuine connection.

The same goes for more tangible things, like a rental property. Today’s Millennials and Gen Z want real experiences, not overly produced or manufactured ones. They don’t want to feel as though they are being marketed to – they want to have a genuine experience. Read on to delve a bit more into this trend among this highly desired demographic.

Media Consumption: Millennials and Gen Z are more plugged into social media than any other generation. They grew up with the internet and being able to share aspects of their lives with people all over the world. Online is simply where they are. However, as that connectedness has progressed, the more filtered and produced sharing has become. The pendulum swift was inevitable. When broken down by age group, these groups are the most likely to watch and create live streaming video. Live videos, the realness of them, are much more appealing. A November 2016 UBS Evidence Lab study found that 63% of US internet users ages 18 to 34 watched live video. It’s what they watch, it’s what they create – it is what they want from the brands they interact with.

Home Ownership & Rental Behavior: Part of the desire for genuine and real experiences has led Millennials and Gen Z-ers to value those things (experiences) beyond even the physical things. They are much more nomadic than previous generations and, because of that desire to experience and travel rather than own and put down roots, they are having a major impact on the rental market. According to the 2017 Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report, Gen Z represents 14% of the rental market. That may seem small but those renters are just the cusp, the start of this generation of renters. Their younger counterparts are mostly still under mom and dad’s roof. Once they are out, they’ll join that 14% in droves. Millennials, on the other hand, represent over HALF of the rental market today. 

Given their comfort with using the internet and the fact that 83% of all renters search for a new place using online tools, having an attractive internet presence is the only way to truly break into and connect with those demographics. But it takes unique finesse. For the Millennial and Gen Z audience, there is an innate desire for a combination of highly personalized, high-touch service and FAST. How fast? These audiences allow only around 12 seconds of attention to any number of companies targeting them.

Putting it All to Use: So why does real matter and how do you use these trends to your best advantage? Millennials and Gen Zers are actively looking for places to rent. That’s clear. They are also looking to align with brands that do not seem fake or manufactured. They are looking online first when searching for a new home. So, when marketing a rental property, the smart move is to put all of those things together and be real and transparent in all you do. Find the best ways to showcase an available unit or your community as a whole as well as the surrounding community through videos, both live and recorded. Post them on your website, send them to prospective residents and post them on social media. Posting real, quick, mobile videos via the native social media application can be a great way to attract attention. Once you have that attention, go live with them to allow that prospect to truly see a property, imperfections and all, ask their questions, and build a relationship with your onsite team. This live interaction doesn’t have to replace that prospective resident visiting in person, but is a much simpler, quicker way to establish a connection with these demographics and build trust into the process which will make them want to come visit in person. Also, having already seen the community, they will likely come to the property much closer to being ready to make a decision as well. 

For today’s multifamily owners, managers, marketers, and leasing agents, marketing needs to quickly follow the direction that other successful industries and brands have already well adopted. And that means making your marketing real – less produced and gimmicky – and more genuine. After all, real is what life’s all about.

If you want to learn more about equipping your community and team to create and host these live experiences for prospective residents, please reach out! We’re here to help. 

Until next time…keep it real!