Any time a business is attempting to develop a brand identity, the first step taken should be to identify the audience. In the case of branding a business for students, businesses should recognize that they are not only selling to those students, but also to their peers and their parents. Attempting to simultaneously send two different messages to two different generations can seem difficult, but it isn't as daunting as it seems.
The second step in the process is understanding who the audience is -beyond their label - and the 'needs' and 'wants' of these key audiences. In the case of a student property management company, the main age for their younger demographic is approximately 18-22; the age range for their parents is typically 40-60, and the resulting age difference will result in the values of these two groups differing greatly. Students are looking for what is in-demand, popular, and convenient. Their parents are looking for safety, value, and quality.
How then can we complete branding a business for students and their parents? A multi-dimensional brand image can touch on each of these key values, while still retaining strong brand integrity. Clean, well-constructed language can combine a young, 'cool' approach to communication will still retaining a level of quality and professionalism that parents will respect. Sending a message that treats both groups as adults will win the respect of the younger generation, while continuing to include their parents in the value and quality message of the brand.
Identifying the quality aspects of the business being marketed goes a long way in the positive branding to all audiences. What is 'cool' is rarely the most affordable, so both students and parents will need to see monetary value in what they are buying. Some of this work may be done by the student himself, convincing his mom or dad to put forth the funds to get him what he wants. Others may not be quite so easy. The answer is to find the middle ground between the 'cool' and the 'value' and speak to that in the branding messages addressed to both parties.
Is your property close to the campus? If so, the property is both convenient to the student, and a value for the parent. A message such as 'Whether you're meeting friends or heading to class, our property is close to it all" speaks to both the social nature of most college students as well as the desire for parents to see their kids easily getting to their classes.
Through truly understanding your brand, its qualities and personality, and the audience to which it needs to speak, your business can successfully make a connection with its customers. This strong connection can not only turn these potential customers into loyal patrons, but it can help the breath a life into the brand that will bring new customer referrals and strong brand recognition. Few businesses could ask for more of their identity. When who you are is what they want - and they know it - you truly have it made.