To get noticed in a busy college town with many student housing options, sometimes you’ve got to make a little noise. Literally.
It was the fall of 2013 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and the Middle Tennessee State University fall semester was in session. Days were shorter. Temperatures were cooler. Leaves were turning. And the MTSU students were eagerly anticipating the start of basketball season.
There was also another change happening in town. The Hayman Company began managing College Grove Apartments, a luxury student apartment community of 864 beds under 240 units that is close not only to the MTSU campus but also favorite local restaurants and bars. College Grove was undergoing a number of improvements as well as a rebranding, and the staff wanted to spread the word and get students talking about the community.
Since the Blue Raiders have a fervent fan base, finding a way to integrate the College Grove brand into the game in a way that would gain attention of hundreds of fans—without breaking the bank—was the challenge. Enter the Spirit Clacker Gloves. These colorful fingerless gloves have a special “ball” in the palm that clicks and clacks when pressed together, amplifying the sound of clapping as fans cheer.
“Our goal was to attain a product that all the students would ask, ‘Where did you get those,’ and lead to the inevitable answer of ‘College Grove,’” says Amanda Abrigo, community manager.
To distribute the spirit gloves, the College Grove staff set up outside the basketball arena and handed them out as fans filled in for the game, guaranteeing recipients would wear and use them to cheer on the Blue Raiders.
And it worked. By the time the second game rolled around, students were lining up before games to get a pair. “The program was quite successful, as there was a lot of buzz with everyone asking where they could get the gloves,” Abrigo says. “Prior to the games, students immediately rushed to the exhibit table to attain a pair, which provided us the perfect opportunity to market the community.”
So what makes this promotion successful? It’s all about understanding what will appeal to the intended audience and then developing a campaign around them. College students have a lot of pride when it comes to their university’s sports teams, so being able to align a promotion that complements game attendance, rather than detract from it, is key to having success in this situation. Also, the young demographic flock to products that are unique and have a sense of novelty, so having an item that passes the “cool” test is essential.
By really looking at the property’s audience and determining what would truly grab their attention and continued interest, a simple, yet extremely effective, promotion was created to brand College Grove Apartments. Through the giveaway, the property’s staff was able to talk to prospective student residents and let them know all the community has to offer.
Being able to introduce College Grove to MTSU students in this way is an opportunity that wouldn’t have existed outside of the promotion, which is why planning for the 2014 promotion is already underway. Because of the initial response to the promotion, Abrigo has doubled the order of the clacker gloves for this fall’s basketball season. It’s another winning combination worthy of applause.
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