Lessons in Branding as Taught by Cardi B - Student Housing Edition

What in the world does Cardi B have to do with…student housing? You’d be surprised!

Cardi B has created not just a following, but an EMPIRE. Love her or hate her, it’s undeniable that this chick knows how to make a BOOM! She’s the name on nearly everyone’s lips and rightfully so! She has 20 Hot 100 hits… like is this real life?!


Okay, so how does that help us with student housing? Well, when we talk student housing and branding, specifically, we need to understand three CRITICAL strategies.

  1. Defining your target market

  2. Branding to reach your target market

  3. Hustling like crazy to get ahead of your comps

Let’s see what Cardi B can teach us in these three areas.


Defining our target market comes first in ANY and EVERY marketing strategy/campaign. Cardi B knows exactly who she wants to follow her. It’s evident in the way that she speaks, her song lyrics, the brands she promotes etc. Exhibit A: Her vocabulary consists of words like “SHMONEY!” and “OKURRR!” which we can now add to the Urban Dictionary. She uses words that, really, only the urban youth population can fully grasp. There, my friends, is her target market! She has defined her target market clearly and she is attracting exactly what she is putting out there. No confusion there.

So get that target market locked down, because your branding will cater to that specific population. Every choice Cardi B makes is for her audience. And Cardi B began self-branding on Instagram long before her songs were even on the Top 100, so it’s never too early to start! Remember: being AUTHENTIC in your branding will earn the target market’s trust in any industry.

As student housing specialists your target market is basically defined for you… students, right?! But not all students are the same. What type of students are you targeting? What’s the profile of the students in your area? And what is your property doing to draw in the right peeps?

Branding to Reach Your Target Market: Where Can You Find Your Ideal Student?

Cardi B is an ENTIRE brand. She’s not just an ex-stripper from the Bronx, or just a reality TV star, or just a rapper. Cardi B is a public figure, a whole personality, she’s her own dang aesthetic. Again, love her or hate her, she’s figured out how to brand Cardi B. Her success is largely due to her knowing her audience. So once you have identified your ideal student profile, you need to think about where you are going to target them. Where can you find them? And how can you use that information to cater to them.

Think about what sort of things the students in your area like to do for fun - is there a river nearby or popular restaurants? Is your community located close to the school they attend?  Use this information to know what their interests are but also where you can physically go do your outreach marketing. Definitely include all of that information in your marketing campaigns.

HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE: How Will You Reach Your Ideal Student? Hustling Like Crazy to Get Ahead of Your Comps.

Do you really think Cardi B has gotten as far as she has by slacking off?! Hustle is the name of the game, so...

How can you achieve Cardi B branding status? We can help.

A major factor that contributes to any successful branding, especially in the competitive student housing industry, is being UNIQUE! How are you different from every other student marketing option? Cardi B is as unique as they come, agreed? OKURRR! Be the Cardi B of Student Housing.

According to the BBC, the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds today! Your community has to make a real effort to stand out and be remembered, especially in your social media presence, outreach campaigns and resident events. Follow Cardi’s example when she says, “I yam who I yam. I’m not somebody, like, standard.”

Don’t be standard! Be the best YOU! With the Sprout Membership, we give you 31 unique outreach marketing and retention ideas each month. We call it The Daily Dose Method.

If your community just starts by working on these three simple things -Defining your target market, branding to reach them, and hustling to get ahead of the competition- think of everything you can accomplish! You will more easily be able to reach the right people in the right ways. So take this last bit of advice:

In an industry as competitive as student housing, you can’t afford to just push marketing aside or only focus on it when the semester is coming to an end. That is so NOT OKURRR!

Make every effort to ensure your prospects know you want them to be a part of your community while also convincing THEM, they want to be a part of it too! Use all your marketing resources, cover all your bases and of course: perks, perks, perks (USE THEM!)

Step it up when it comes to your marketing efforts. Try a little something like this:

  • Create a mascot that represents your community that way you are easily recognizable - this would also create a number of other outreach opportunities like “Mascot Sighting Contests” etc.

  • Partner with an influencer in your field to gain exposure and reputation.

  • Partner with campus fraternity or sororities for a “Pass this apartment down to your Little” style campaign.