IT'LL BE GREAT. TRUST US.
Formerly headquarters of the American Life insurance company, this 13-story historical property is an Opportunity Zone project (Birmingham’s largest) — a tax advantage which has enabled the owner to redevelop the building for apartments, with rents starting at roughly half the price of comparable nearby properties.
In our market research, the Lofts’ key demographic (“urban hipsters,” if you will, age 25 – 34) most frequently reported “Character” as a quality they want in the place they live (in other words, “Somewhere cool. Like me.”) — followed closely by “Affordability.” That led us to develop both a brandline (Find Yourself Here) and a descriptive tag (Affordable Downtown Apartment Living) for our messaging.
Our Biggest Pre-Opening Challenge?
No surprise, the biggest challenge was attracting renters with no finished units to show them. So for months, we alternated our Social Media between posts documenting the project's construction progress with photos & videos highlighting key attractions of the property and location, plus occasional shout-outs to various political leaders — local, state and national — for their support of the Opportunity Zone initiative. At the same time, our paid social campaign focused on key area "attractions" (IE: downtown-skyline views and proximity to popular bars & restaurants). We launched that campaign with a focus on brand awareness, then — six weeks before the October 1 Open date — shifted the tactical focus to conversion.
We further underscored the development’s significance in the community, and the American Life name, by producing written and video profiles of six individuals who, together, present a panoramic snapshot of why we believe this city is such a great place to live.
So, Did It Work?
Within two weeks of officially opening its doors, the Lofts was already 35% Moved In or Pre-Leased (49 of 140 units). Within four months, that percentage had doubled. Both numbers, owner Ed Ticheli is thrilled to report, are the best for any development he's ever been involved-with — and he's been involved with dozens during his career.