Imagine for a moment an apartment community absolutely no frills or amenities. This means there were no granite countertops, appliance upgrades, or hard wood floors inside. And there was no pool, no gym, or no community clubhouse in the community itself. If you took away all these elements, you would still have a big construction project, right? It would still be a big real estate endeavor, but it just wouldn’t have anything special beyond a stack of boxes. In other words, it is still a lot of wood, appliances, plumbing, etc, but it is fairly uninspiring.
For many apartment communities, that is how they plan their community events. They get a basic theme, a basic plan for catering, and some basic decorations, but they miss the added elements that make it unique and interesting to the residents. Recently, we were working on an event idea on Resident Events for a Gumbo cook-off. It was actually inspired by some friends of mine, and it sounded like a fun thing to do as a community event. Now, here is how most communities would share their event: "Gumbo cook-off! Cook your best recipe and we'll have guest judges determine the winner!" That's all fine and good, but it's the equivalent of just a stack of boxes apartment community - there isn't a whole lot there beyond the basic idea.
However, as I started getting deeper and deeper into the planning, I realized there were so many opportunities with partnership marketing. For example, wouldn’t it be neat to have a local restaurant participate in the cook-off? Or what if you could talk to a restaurant and explain the contest, and see if they would be willing to feature the winning dish for a small period of time in their restaurant? Many people would think that is out of the range of possibility, but there are actually a ton of benefits for a restaurant to do that, including free marketing and a great story to tell.
My point is that if you stop your brainstorming after you have decided you want a Luau and select a caterer, you are only providing the most basic of community events, one that will likely not entertain that many people. So learn to dig deeper – devote some time to let the planning simmer in your head as you drive to and from work. Don’t plan it last minute where brainstorming is more difficult, but rather let the ideas float around for a while well in advance. Eventually, you will learn what that secret sauce is for your apartment community event!