What’s in a Name?

By on Jun 7, 2016 in Marketing

It’s important to think through all the possibilities before you name yoshutterstock_194325365ur community. You don’t want to turn off potential renters.

Bart: He lied about his name! 
Lisa: His name doesn’t matter, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  
Bart: Not if you called him Stench Blossom.  
Homer: Or Crap Weed.  
—The Simpsons

Names don’t determine the personality traits of a person, but they do matter. And people do judge you by your name, even if it’s subconsciously. That’s why I didn’t name my daughter Kandy Kane Fiur. There will never be a supreme court justice named Kandy Kane (probably).

The same goes for apartment communities. People put a lot of effort into naming their communities, which is why it’s sometimes baffling when you see communities that have names that could possibly be misconstrued. And it’s not just trying to avoid names that are offensive to people, which should be an obvious thing to do, but it’s looking in context. Take, for example, Plantation Flats. This name, in and of itself, isn’t so terrible. In fact, it’s kind of nice. But it’s a community located in South Carolina, which, for some people could have some negative connotations when they think of the name. Especially with all the controversy going on there right now.

Maybe I’m just sensitive. (I mean, I did just bawl through the newest Pixar movie Inside Out, but, to be fair, I had just run out of popcorn, which definitely isn’t OK!) But it’s important to consider every possible meaning and association with a name before slapping it on a building. Be careful not to offend anyone or turn off potential renters.

When naming a community, you should also think of the name’s longevity. For me at least, when apartment communities use “@” or other Internet symbols, it’s always a turn off. It just feels like it’s trying too hard to be cool. And all us cool kids know that trying too hard is the opposite of cool. Right? I totally get it. Can I sit at your lunch table now? Anyway, something like that can seem dated really quickly. What’s next, buildings with just an emoji as the name? (Though, for the record, I’d totally live in the ??????? ?community.)

Then again, you don’t want a name that’s too common. (Trust me, I’m a Jessica who was born in the ’80s. In school I was always known as Jessica Last Initial.) After all, you want to positively differentiate your community from those around you, especially if you’re all pretty similar. It’s good to stand out. You just don’t want to alienate potential renters by getting too far out there.

People do their research. So if a community has a slightly off name, but still has cheap rents and great amenities and an amazing location, people will probably still live there. Just like it’s still possible for the president to one day announce the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Kandy Kane. But it makes it harder to attract potential renters. You’d have to do more marketing, more outreach.

What do you think? Do you agree that names matter, or do you think renters don’t care what the community is named? Have you ever come across a community name that has given you pause, and what was it?

This post previously appeared in Multi-Housing News