At Sequoia, we believe the most important question you can ask yourself when choosing a home is: Can I imagine myself making memories here? In this campaign, which was the first of its kind in the multifamily real estate industry, we focused on life’s moments, both big and small, that happen in our apartments. While we could have centered our campaign around our newest renovations or most attractive amenities, we know apartment living is so much more than that.
We created this multi-channel campaign in an effort to increase brand awareness by targeting the top of the marketing funnel. Aside from positioning Sequoia as a thought leader in the multifamily industry, we set out to increase our overall website traffic, as well as increase following and engagement across our social media channels. To do this effectively, we leaned heavily into emotional appeal by telling a story that felt moving, yet familiar to viewers.
Sequoia partnered with Open Light Films, a boutique agency and production company, to bring our vision to life in a cinematic video format. The short story portrays life through the lens of a newly adult female, who is leaving home for the first time to attend college. As she prepares to set out on a journey of her own, she takes one last look at the place she has called home for many years, and the moments that led to this one. Core memories, both good and bad, jump across the screen in flashbacks. Our character is nostalgic and ambivalent; grateful for the home that housed so many of life’s moments, yet excited for a new chapter.
Open Light Films was a key player in the success of this video; their commitment to quality storytelling is evident. Their team has worked with internationally known brands with budgets much larger than ours. Open Light Films was able to help bring our vision to life, while working within our budget, a challenge that we faced throughout the proposal process.
Once the video was complete, Sequoia launched this video as paid media on Hulu, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, driving viewers to our website to explore our apartment communities and get familiar with our brand. We ran a digital advertising campaign with Google Ads, retargeting ads, and an email campaign with the same call to action.
In addition to our paid push on social media, Sequoia ran a social media-based contest, in conjunction with the campaign. We asked users to share their favorite memories, both big and small, that happened in their Sequoia home for a chance to win cash prizes. The purpose behind this additional mini campaign was to deliver more user generated photos and videos that we could use across our social media channels at a later date, as well as helping expand the reach and impressions of our campaign through the use of tags, mentions, reposts, and hashtags.
In the multifamily industry, marketing is often very product-focused, in a literal sense. While we know that people care about the look, feel, and location of their homes, we also know that housing means more than can be seen with the naked eye, which is why Sequoia set out to be the first in our industry to appeal to what can’t be seen: the memories made that will last a lifetime.
Sequoia generated over 800k total views across all channels, exceeding 1 million impressions. With almost 250k total engagements driving viewers to our website landing page, the goal of increasing brand awareness was ultimately achieved.
Although the impressions, views, and engagement results were impressive, bottom line business results are ultimately what matters. Communities from across our portfolio had an increase in quality leads over the duration of the campaign. Jay Parsons, Chief Economist at RealPage, shared that demand for apartments plunged throughout the industry in Q4 of 2023, which is already the slowest quarter for leasing historically. Despite this industry trend, Sequoia’s lead volume did not see a decrease compared to prior years during Q4. In addition to this, Sequoia’s sales numbers dramatically outpaced previous years. Comparing 2022 Q4 to 2021 Q4, Sequoia’s portfolio saw a 55% increase in gross lease applications within 30 days of launching the campaign on October 1, 2022 and finished Q4 with a 31% increase in gross leases YOY. Lastly, while many marketing campaigns that are focused on brand awareness generate leads, they fail to drive qualified leads. The sales success that Sequoia saw in Q4 was a result of qualified leads. Looking at Q4, Sequoia’s lead to lease ratio was 14.4%, which is 3.1% higher than Q4 2021 and 2.7% greater than Q4 2020.
Overall, the campaign, Life’s Moments Happen at Sequoia, not only increased brand awareness, but also increased sales numbers during a time when the multifamily industry saw a decline.