Why Beauty Matters in the Spaces You Create
I’m In Marketing…
As the Marketing Strategist at Model55, I am tasked with the challenge of communicating why what we do is so important to the industry and verticals we serve. You can probably imagine that this is no easy feat in a market that is jam-packed with a myriad of services that promise to boost the resident experience. When it comes to the success of multifamily owner and operators, there are so many possibilities that the importance of model apartments (and how they are staged) can easily get lost in the flurry. From vending machines that carry bicycle fixtures to social apps that help bolster the community, the decision makers who run large apartment communities have a world of options at their finger tips – at least when it comes to how they choose to up the ante in terms of marketability and pizzazz.
So, now that you know what challenges I face as a marketer in a marketplace of seemingly infinite possibilities, I can begin to explain what this post is about…
The Passion and Desire to Make Beautiful Spaces
As a multifamily vendor, Model55 attends a number of conferences and expos each year. At the start of the marketing timeline for any given show, I will sit down with our sales and strategy departments to brainstorm and discuss campaign ideas, execution timelines, and so on… About a year or two ago I was in this kind of a meeting, mulling over how we were going to approach our communication in the months leading up to the show. Now, if you’ve ever been involved in any kind of meeting like this, you probably can relate to the feeling of frustration that can settle over the team when you cannot seem to find the light bulb moment in any of your ideas. Well, we were having one such meeting when I decided to backtrack the conversation. I asked our CEO, Sharon MacDonald and VP of Sales, Sue Durfee, “What motivates you both to keep this company going and what motivated you to get it started in the first place?” They both quickly agreed that is was, and still is, the passion and desire to make beautiful spaces. Well, that was easy.
Still, I don’t think we used that verbiage in any of the subsequent campaigns that year. In fact, I don’t think I found a way to market or explain this profound sentiment in any of the campaigns that have followed that meeting. At least, that is until now…
What Is Beauty?
Flash forward to about a week ago when I was driving in my car, listening to my favorite NPR program, TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz. I was streaming a past episode titled, “What is Beauty?” – and really not thinking about work or much else – when suddenly something brought up in the podcast brought me back to that place in time when Model55’s longest standing employees explained the essence of the company to me in just a few simple words (the passion and desire to make beautiful spaces).
In the podcast the famous philosopher Dennis Dutton is featured giving a TED Talk about how beauty is so much more than something that is, “in the eye of the beholder.” In fact, he makes the case that beauty is a central and innate part of human evolution because of the way we use our senses to survive. For example, most individuals around the world agree that a sprawling landscape with scattered trees and nearby water is beautiful. The reason why is because of the story engrained in such a landscape – these are stories that we don’t necessarily think about on a conscious level, but that were so important to the survival of our ancestors. The sprawling green land with low grass indicated an environment where one could see further distances, leaving time to prepare for any encroaching danger on the horizon. The trees tell a story of life and abundance, as does the surrounding water. So, in much more detail, Dennis Dutton goes on to explain how beauty has physiological effects on the human brain that are positive in nature. In essence, we as a human race equate beauty to good.
The Story Beautiful Tells
Now that we know the idea of beauty is rooted deeply in the origins of the human race, we can begin to explore how our relationship to beautiful things and places has evolved to the current state of mankind. Take the sprawling landscape for example: If we as humans no longer need the benefits of a well placed vantage point to survive on a daily basis, why do we still find landscapes that offer one so beautiful? I think it is because the feelings of hope and promise that were once associated with general survival have evolved with humankind and become the equivalent of what survival once was, and that is to thrive.
Another famous philosopher, Alaxender Nehamas wrote, “So long as we find anything beautiful, we feel that we have not yet exhausted what [life] has to offer. That forward-looking element is … inseparable from the judgment of beauty.”
In essence, the ability to find beauty in our surroundings is integral to whether or not we feel that our surroundings hold the key to a life that promises a good and bright future. Today’s standards of beauty don’t promise safety, but rather, hope. And that is what lies at the heart of Model55 and the services we offer. We create beautiful spaces that speak to very targeted demographics. To get very granular about it, a beautiful model apartment is like the modern apartment hunter’s equivalent of what a sprawling green landscape was to our pre-historic ancestors.