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What is your digital front door? And how does this impact your property’s performance? How does marketing measure performance?

Joe Melton, Vice President of Marketing and Management Support Services for the Morgan Group, digs into property differentiation, marketing, crisis communication, and more.

Distinguish your property with an enhanced digital front door with Joe Melton

What is your digital front door? And how does this impact your property’s performance? How does marketing measure performance? Joe Melton, Vice President of Marketing and Management Support Services for the Morgan Group, digs into property differentiation, marketing, crisis communication, and more.

Priorities and KPIs are broken into three main buckets [5:00]

  • Sales: i.e. number of leases, price/square ft, number of lead opportunities
  • Existing customers (residents): i.e. reputation score, support and resolution times
  • Marketing: i.e. website traffic, conversion, PPC and SEO

Important for corporate marketing to actively engage those running the individual property [08:00]

  • Involve community/regional managers in the decision process upfront
  • Build understanding of the “why” and get feedback.
  • Don’t attend a meeting unless you’re willing to participate

How you gauge and track reputation management [10:30]

  • The key is to leverage data
  • Survey, survey survey - prospects and residents
  • ROE - return on energy; What is the energy that you've invested to make something right? To get something right.

Defining what Resident Experience means for Morgan Group [13:20]

  • Make it easy for residents and engage and interact with them in a normal ‘day-to-day’ way.
  • Provide residents the ability to show up on their own terms - they get to choose and live on their own terms.
  • For residents, just to have the options on how to communicate, how to interact, how to engage is powerful.

Other industries multifamily can learn from - and pull in employees [18:00]

  • Look to hospitality where communication is powerful - restaurants, retail, hotels.
  • Property management companies should be looking to these industries to pull in a diverse and quality workforce. It is all about the person’s ability to communicate that creates success in our industry and it is this quality that people from these industries have.

It’s also about the employee experience [23:30]

  • Lots of data that happy employees treat customers better
  • Provide employees an environment where they can thrive and take ownership

What is the digital front door [25:30]

  • If someone were to come to your website or happen upon your community, what does your digital handshake look like?
  • Flipped the funnel some ways. You need to be able to put it all out there - all the options and looks - (online) and allow the prospect to identify and choose their path
  • The resident is doing all their research before ever approaching a sales/leasing person
  • Brand is more than the finishes, it’s your people and service. Simply, it’s how you treat people.

GUEST

Joe Melton

Joe Melton joined MORGAN in 2013 and serves as the VP of Marketing and Management Support Services. He is responsible for all areas of marketing for existing assets and all new development for the company. Prior to joining MORGAN, Joe was the National Project Coordinator for Camden Property Trust in Houston, Texas where he worked for 14 years.

Joe is experienced in conventional, repositions, websites, reputation management, employee training, and new construction lease-ups. Joe has 22 years of multi-family experience and has been involved in the development and opening of over 30 lease-ups nationally. He has worked in multiple markets throughout the country and was the recipient of the HAA Honors award for Training/Marketing Director of the year in 2018.

Transcript

Nick Latz: Joe, welcome to the show. Thanks so much glad to be here, guys. Appreciate you hopping on and joining us today. Um, so Joe, you've got a really great deep background in multi-family. Can you tell us a little bit about your path in the industry and how you ended up at the Morgan group?

Joe Melton: Absolutely. Yeah. Um, so, you know, celebrating just over 22 years, um, in the multi-family space, um, you know, my story is not much different than probably 98% of the people you might talk to. I started out as a leasing agent, um, many, many years ago, I was, um, for lack of a better expression, a starving artist, if you will. And somebody thought, thought I had a nice personality idea, did salesperson and that kind of where it was, you know, it was just kind of a bridge. So the next gig, right. And as many of us fall into this, um, industry, it became a career. So I always talk to people about this being definitely a career touched about 30 lease ups nationally in my career, woken up in multiple markets. Um, you know, kind of cut my teeth at Camden property trust, um, for two and a half years there and celebrating seven years now at Morgan.

Nick Latz: Okay, great. Um, that's great. So tell me a little bit, Joe, about your current VP of marketing role at the Morgan group. What are you responsible for it, Morgan?

Joe Melton: Yeah. So it's, you know, I'm vice president of marketing and management support services, probably the longest title in the company. Um, I'll say it very often because I work with a team of five other individuals who by no accident are much smarter than me in many aspects. Um, but I'm responsible for, um, all areas of marketing for the existing assets, all of our construction and new development. We are a full shop here at Morgan. You know, we have construction development and operations here. Um, so really anything that falls into marketing, marketing all the way down to signage and kind of brand, um, all comes in under my probation. And then also I handle any of the, of support systems into the things that we use on site. Um, whether it be our CRM or mobile doorman, um, things like that. Um, my, myself and the team that works with me runs all of those systems.

Nick Latz: Got it. So you got a good, broad, broad per the purview that you get to work on. Um, how, how do you generally split your time between some of the new developments you mentioned you've been involved in a bunch of lease ups and maybe some of the more stabilized assets in the portfolio. How does that shake out?

Joe Melton: Yeah, you know, when I got to Morgan seven years ago, you know, I, it was really kind of me, um, pre me, they had really outsourced, um, much of what, um, fell into the marketing bucket. And so now we've really grown to have more of a team. And so I handle a lot of the front end. Um, part of that once the community is actually open, um, it transitions more, um, you know, full time to our marketing associates, our digital media and marketing manager. Um, but you know, we pride ourselves here and wear many hats, but player coaches, we, um, you know, one of the things that, you know, if you ask the question why Morgan, um, you know, we had an award winning culture, we were named two years ago, the best mid size company to work for Houston, Texas. That's a huge accolade, you know, we're very proud of that and we pride ourselves in support.

And so I would tell you that, you know, while this past year has become a little bit of a remote work environment for many people, how has kind of been remote? You know, we try to see the sites and we've heard, you know, many times as people come to work for us, that, you know, they don't see people that, that have, you know, my title and digital media marketing manager, those are kind of back of house type titles many times. Right. And so it's really important that we stay focused on the people who are our most important asset, um, and stay visible. So to answer your question, you know, a lot of the planning and development rate lies heavily upon me. Um, but I, I try to stay engaged in the whole process. You know, you just miss out on the experience, if you don't.

Nick Latz: Yep. Got it. That's great. And in terms of, as you built out the marketing organization at Morgan over the last six or seven years, how do you guys think about your, your top objectives? You know, do you have certain priorities or certain KPIs that you look closely at across the marketing org to assess how you're doing?

Joe Melton: Yeah, it's a great question. You know, I mean, I think anybody who's been in the industry for a good amount of time and, and, and more importantly in the last two years understands that you see more and more as transitioning to hospitality. Um, it's all about service. It really is. I mean, at the end of the day, there's lots of pieces that make it all very successful. Um, but it's really all about service. Uh, I like to break up KPIs, you know, more formally into three buckets, sales, your existing customer, and then kind of marketing and kind of break that down for you. Um, you know, sales KPIs, if we're looking at them, that's more, that's the data like number of leases, uh, average price per square foot of your list. Number of qualified means, right. Um, and I don't, I don't, I call leads opportunities.
Um, we we'd like to not miss an opportunity. And then of course, reputation management, um, another KPI would be the existing customer, right? So these are the people that know, you know, what it's like to live at your community.

These are the number of residents that you've written in. So this is your lease expiration management, right? Um, your reputation score is important there. And then I like the idea of watching, um, support and resolution time. So as we support our existing residents, w how quickly we are resolving issues, um, that's important. Um, and then the big one is the kind of high level, you know, the 80 pound elephant marketing KPI, which is your traffic to your website, your qualified leads and then conversions, but really kind of your PPC and your SEO. Those are the big ones, right. But, um, you know, we don't operate from kind of a portfolio down type type, um, kind of structure, right.
We look at each individual asset and treat it very locally.

And so, um, you know, we do dig deep and I think one of the things that's that makes you go successful and our peers do this. It's not unique to Morgan, but we'll probably do this as well is, you know, talk often, you know, you give your marketing some shelf life, but set times to speak in a good frequency. Don't wait six months in our world. Uh, can you manage your, to tell you that all day long, if you wait two weeks, it's not even a problem anymore. There's a new, there's a new softball in two weeks, something else is on fire. Um, so talk, we talk often and we use that data to make decisions.

Nick Latz: That's great. I like those three buckets, Joe, how you broke it down. He said, you know, marketing KPIs, top of the funnel, who's coming to the website, the sales KPIs, you know, focused on driving leases and new heads on beds. And then the existing customer side, which is around reputation management and resident satisfaction and renewals. As, as the marketing leader at Morgan, do you tend to, to be tasked with one of those buckets more than others, or do you, do you spend time and, you know, in one category more than others, or are they truly kind of, of equal importance to you?

Joe Melton: You know, I think that, you know, I spend more time looking at the bigger picture and from that we create our focus list and then we kind of drill down and, and we deploy some in and, you know, reactive help is not always bad help. We tried to be reactive holding it for marketing fraud, but, um, and then we deployed some help as needed. But I think one of the things that you know, is important to us is that we engage the people who are running the business. You know, it's not fair for myself or our digital media marketing manager to vet out something and then push it down to the people and just hope that they understand and accept what we have found. Right. It's important that they see those as a viable resource and a tool. And so for that reason, we engage them on these calls.

We invite our community managers and regional managers to our PPC calibration calls. Um, we, we, we take their feedback, you know, we share our broader, um, kind of what we're seeing in the market as we shop and, and have kind of brought industry knowledge, but we, we utilize, um, their fault to really drive, um, success. And in turn, you know, the good work is really their good work. You know, we were just there to help craft and kind of packages up, package it up and perhaps guide them, you know, because we may see a little bit water, but, um, everybody, everybody gets to be involved in, you know, it's, it's one thing it's like, and Morgan, when you're asked your opinion and you give it, chances are it's taken a news. Also, we make decisions really quickly. You know, I always encourage people if you're invited to a meeting, don't just accept. If you don't understand what the agenda is, or you're not willing to participate. It's super important.

Nick Latz: Yep. Yeah. I like that a lot. In terms of the buy-in and involvement process, you mentioned, we do see, you know, customers, other people that we talked to in the market where, uh, you know, a technology decision or initiative was made at the corporate level and kind of pushed down to the property level or the regional level. And a lot of times the buy-in adoption just isn't there, right? Cause the, the teams that are using it, the teams that are interacting with residents to understand the why, and maybe don't understand the wisdom of what's in it for them to make their life easier. And so I really liked that, that kind of practice that you're doing of bringing them into the decision process to understand the why up front. What about Joe? You also touched on reputation management is one of your KPIs. Um, and I liked that. How, how do you guys go about thinking about reputation management and how do you track it?

Joe Melton: Well, you know, it's always in, it's always been important in our industry to monitor and care about what people think. Um, you know, one thing that, that we take from that data is it helps us build better products, right? That this is a fluid, um, process that we work in. You know, the apartments today look much different than they did 20 years ago. I remember when we had one or two two-bedroom floor plans, one, one bedroom floor plan. Now we're building very complicated, beautiful apartment communities that have 36, 38 4 plans. Right. So it just, it just seems silly to not take that data and, and leverage that to continue to do better and up your game. Um, reputation management to us is kind of where we it's like, it's the beacon for us, right? And so we, we will, um, survey our prospects, our residents. We want to hear about what they're saying.

We want to hear, you know, I, our idea of what is our, um, you know, most effective tools and we're spending the most time. And, you know, I mentioned this, um, a couple years ago and, and, and I heard it and it sticks with me and it just seems like there's always a place for it. I'll just say that, you know, an asset manager and owner would hate to hear me say ROI is not important. It is more important than ROI. ROE has the return on your energy and your time, right? What is the energy, um, that you've invested to make something right. To get something like, right. So nobody knows better than, than the people that are trying to live in our communities. Um, we, we take great pride in reading all of these schools good and bad. Right. Um, and we leverage those to make decisions and rethink, it helps move the needle.

Nick Latz: I liked that. I circled that ROE, and I ha I haven't heard that term before using this context. I liked that a lot. Um, cause it, cause the end of the day, you know, the in, in consumer is, is what matters, right? So you're spending your time on something and knowing kind of the feedback of how the resident, how the customer cares about these different initiatives that folks are spending time on is, uh, is important. I really liked that. Um, so Joe, one of the things that we focus on at Zego and we talk about a lot is helping operators, improve resident satisfaction, retention by focusing on the resident experience. Uh, and what we find when we talk to our customers, we talk to other people in the market is resident experience can mean different things to different companies, uh, at Morgan group. How do you guys think about the resident experience? What does it mean to you?

Joe Melton: Yeah, so, you know, I would say high level, there's two things that we have to check when we engage any type of partnership, any type of process, you know, the one is kind of the obvious one and that's price, you know, if it's something that makes sense in terms of spin, but the other one, um, I think is, is it easy? You know, does it, does it help? Um, is it a distraction to the business? You know, if it is that we have to take a step back and think about it. Um, and one of the things that we love about, um, the platform that we have with a resident app is that we're just trying to make things easier for residents and speak to them and engage them in the way that they just interact and live normal day to day. Right? So, you know, one of the things that we see when we record phone calls, and I think this would be for many operators out there, you'll see this week, we have a large percentage of phone calls that are not really even prospects because people were Googling their apartment community to find a phone number, to call and give a work order.

Right. It's a huge number, you know, so, so we allow them to have these platforms where they can just through text or through, um, you know, mobile doormen, um, put in a work order or ask a question. Um, so we allow them this experience this a little bit more, um, just it's easy. Right? Um, so it's, it's high on our list. I think it means different things to different people, because I think some people think about the resident experiences about the ongoing kind of like, you're always, you're always renewing somebody, right? You're always doing things actively renew somebody so that they take the two or 3% increase. Right. I think that's part of it, but I think that people just want to, you know, and even more so now, you know, I think that we've lived in a world of past year where we've been told so much of what to do.

You can't leave the house without wearing a mask. You can't do this without staying six feet apart. And so these kinds of these opportunities where that show up where it's like, oh, on my own terms, that really resonates really nice with my subconscious. I didn't even know what happened, but I get, I get to choose. Cause we just don't feel that right now. Right. And so when he gives somebody an opportunity to interact and experience living at what your communities, how they like to on their own terms, it's a home run. And what's great about that is that doesn't mean you have the best, the most, the most expensive technology start small, right. Just start small and, and somehow let them engage in kind of live in drive. Um, and that would be a home run.

Nick Latz: Yeah. I liked that in terms of interacting with the residents on their terms and that that can apply to communications. I'm sure that can apply to how your residents interact with their maintenance teams that could maybe apply to how, how your residents interact with, with their neighbors and other folks in their community. But I, but I definitely agree with you there that, that people like choice, right. They don't, they don't like to be told, Hey, if you want to talk to us, you have to come in. And the leasing office at this time, during, during Monday through Friday, right there, there's probably some segment of your, uh, residents that like to do that. Um, but there's probably some that like to do it on the community app that you mentioned, there's probably some that would rather that, you know, get an email. And so, uh, I think, I think providing that that choice is critical. Right.

Joe Melton: You know, Nick resident experience is consumer experience, you know, and you could, you could think about it, you know, in a different vertical, I mean, think about if you're going to, you know, a retail outlet and you're looking for a white dress shirt, you may walk in and find the one, you just pick one up. It's like the school white price. It's what I like. Perfect. But I bet you nine times out of 10, because this is what you give yourself as a consumer, you offer yourself choices, you might have the shirt in your hand, but I bet you get to look around real quick and just make sure there's not something else there that might catch your eye cheek. Right. And so it's the same thing with the resident experience that they may know what they want, but just to have the options on how to communicate, how to interact, how to engage is powerful. And it makes them feel like they somehow continue to drive their experience, which in turn makes them feel like they are driving their own living experience. And so when it comes time to renew, they've created that for themselves. Right. So I love living here. I've created some buyer for myself. I engage the loud one to engage, you know, this is great.

Nick Latz: Yup. Yup. I agree. And you mentioned hospitality earlier and then you just gave a retail example. There, any other industries that you would point to that you think multifamily can learn from as it relates to in customer service?

Joe Melton: Yeah. You know, I, I'm here in Houston, Texas, and we heard a kind of state of Houston, uh, you know, a year or so. And, and someone spoke about how they, they thought that our city would lose around 9,000 sales jobs that year. And if you think about that, um, in terms of, um, recruiting talent, um, it can greatly handicap your ability to get good talent. We haven't been able to go and find the best five-star waiters, the great salespeople at the retail schools. Um, you know, we just, I mean, I, I don't know that you've ever stopped an Amazon driver and said, Hey, this you look nice. I want a sales job. I mean, that probably doesn't happen. So we, we, we've been a little bit handicapped by the pool of people we normally see. Um, but I think we can learn from anywhere where somebody is dependent on somebody to help with a transaction.
Right. Um, it could be as simple as, you know, Adam drive through, you know, and just somebody having to create that transaction and just taking the time to like, food is slow to just not just close the door, but to say, you know, we're cooking your food, but we'll be right with you. It's very little things, you know, communication is powerful, right? So, um, I think anytime you engage with somebody, um, that helps you with a transaction, that's an opportunity. Um, and we shouldn't be boxed in by, uh, we got them from, you know, the nicest steakhouse we got on from the, the top retail store, um, from the five star hotel chain. I mean that, that, that all is great resources, but, uh, I think we're coming back into the environment where people coming back into the workforce, where we should be really open.

Um, and you know, at the Morgan group, we are very, very interested and I'll say this and I'll make another comment because it, it it's even better is we are greatly interested in diversity and inclusion here at the Morgan group. And what's really wonderful about the Morgan group is we were founded 61 years ago, um, by, um, bill Morgan who just turned 96 last week. Um, he's a Holocaust survivor and he came to this country with nobody. He lost his entire family. And so, you know, diversity and who we are has is, has always been our legacy. It's w it's what we've always done. And so we're really lucky. Um, and we're just, we're just upping that game. But, um, you know, I think that to answer your point, um, we've got opportunities, vast opportunities, and every interaction that you have with another person, um, to get really qualified good people.

Nick Latz: That's great. Cause that's, that's certainly a challenge that a lot of folks in the industry have in terms of attracting quality, talent and the retention of that talent. And I think you're spot on to where, Hey, there's been dislocation of talented people over the last 15 months. It will be coming back into the market. And, uh, and, and how do you scoop some of that up? And then also the, the, the DNA and the focus on DNI is it sounds like the Morgan group, that's not something that's, that's a new focus over the last 12 months because everything's going on, it's something that's been core to what you guys do for a while. And I think, I think that shows through and is typically a differentiator for folks versus folks that are, you know, just thinking about this now for the first time.

Joe Melton: Well, and you know, if everybody has a shot in it, then you are not missing out on everybody's skills. Neither are so much out there skills and things that people can bring to the table that you miss out on by not giving everybody a shot. And we are, you know, very Camille keenly aware of that. Um, you know, and we have a 96 year old founder that reminds us of that every day and no models keep on trucking. You know, it's like when you're having a bad day, it's like my gosh, feel bad about yourself. You'll Morgan's 96. And at recently with, um, an employee that was anxiously awaiting a promotion, we had an opportunity with a new assignment and listening to this individual to a LA a same role. And what I realized in that moment was some people don't know, they think they want, they don't necessarily want to promote it.

They want to project. And, and, you know, sometimes when somebody feels like they're stale or they're not inspired or engaged or not fulfilled, it's not always a promotion, right. It might just be finding a project or something for them that just reengages them. And, um, we're moving so quick. Sometimes we don't think about that. And I, I recently had that experience where I realized that of this person and, um, in just two weeks of the transition, this person is thriving more so than they had previously and they're incredible asset to our company. So it was like, it was good to see that aha moment and be served back a little bit of calm down, take a beat and notice, you know, so we, you know, all our key values, the first thing is the people and it really is all about people.

Nick Latz: And it sounds like based on some of these things that you've talked about, it sounds like Morgan has, has a key focus on employee experience as well. Do you, do you think these two things of employee experience and resident experience are related, have you seen any antidotes or data that, uh, that support that, or what's your, what's your view?

Joe Melton: Well, you know, I think that there's lot, lots of data to prove and show that, you know, happy employees treat customers, you know, much better, you know, you know, maybe even cliched a little bit that statement, but, but I find that when people are given an environment where they are allowed to thrive and in some way control and kind of, you know, have, you know, we will say own it here, you know, own it, um, have ownership of what their role is and make of that. Then they work much harder for, you know, that this past year has been a great example of the support team who has been 100% remote for almost a year. And they work harder. They work longer hours. Um, because we, we, we recognize, um, you know, what, we love the company, but we recognize that sometimes sitting down for just five minutes at 7:30 PM, instead of having to put that on your plate tomorrow is okay.

And you're willing to do that because you work in an environment where, um, you do have the balance, but I'll say this, you know, I'm not a millennial, but I know that we important, um, you know, many millennials in our sales positions and they're wonderful individuals, but I was reminded of one time where, you know, we were raised, you know, find a work-life balance, but to so many people in these sales roles now day, it's all just life. You know, it's just, it's just all life, you know, it's like, sorry, I'm 10 minutes late. They will have kombucha at the corner store. Like, what is that? You know? So, uh, you know, I, I think that we thrive and work harder and a better employees when we, you know, you're allowed not told to own it. Um, and we see that everyday here.

Nick Latz: Yup. I think that's spot on. So shifting gears a little bit on ego, one of the things I've heard you talk about before is this concept of, of a digital front door and how this cuts across the Morgan portfolio and your different, different asset classes. Can you walk us through what you mean by that? And what do you mean by the digital front door?

Joe Melton: Yeah, so, you know, it's not something new it's always been there. It just was recently in the past year that at some point that might've been the only option to see a business. Right. And so our digital front door is, you know, I always say people say to people, you know, if someone were to come to your website or happen upon your community, what is your digital handshake look like? How would that experience be? And so anywhere where we can be found, um, through a mobile device theater, desktop, um, through media, anything is that is, that is telling your story, right? And you don't have control of that. You hope you do, if the opportunity comes your way. But, um, you know, the, the old, you know, the old kind of same and multi-family was like curb appeal, right? Make sure your flowers, the right, this is the same thing.

It is today's curb appeal. It is how people were seeing and based visually, um, on what they see and what they're able to research and find they have made up their mind and they have an opinion of what you are. Right. Um, and so you have to be ready to, um, to have those conversations. Um, we, we, we are very clear to our sales teams that it's not one person that is there. You have to understand all the different kinds of people that walk in and quickly identify who that person is, what that render is, what, what motivates them, because the same does not that it's different for age groups. It's different for, for gender. It's different for, if you're somebody who is going to be living in our community and driving commuting a long way, or you're walking to work, there's so many different things, um, that kind of play into that.

Um, and so we want to make sure that we put as much as we can out at our digital front door. And it's so funny because the sales funnel was changed. Right? So we, we used to be able to say, get them in and get them narrow down to like their favorite, full plan right away. And then, you know, work that don't fill them all from too much where you can't even, even have the ability to even try and close them. Right. Well, it's really been flipped upside down. Right. You might have one chance to show them all your job. Right. And so I spoke at a conference early and I said this, and, and, and I didn't mean it literal, but they wrote it as a topic. So I'll say it it's like you got to get naked or, you know, wait to show them all you got because you might have one shot. So it's kind of flipped the sales funnel. So put everything you can out there, right. Make it meaningful, let them, let them be able to funnel down and identify whether or not you are, or aren't a good option. Right. Um, and hopefully you'll get served up an opportunity,

Nick Latz: Right. Because residents are doing so much research on their own. There's so much self-service available. And, um, and, and to your point, if you don't have it there, you know, readily available for them to research, they may never come into the property. You may never get, get your opportunity. Yeah.

Joe Melton: Well, and Hey, you know, they'll hear a sales person who has a great person. I say, I want to see them in person. That'd be more powerful than me calling them person hand. I would agree with that to some extent, but don't, don't be value. The digital lead. This is the most, honestly you can give somebody sitting by themselves at a mobile device or at a desktop putting in information out, lying to themselves, right. This is the most honest, true meat you can get. Um, and, and so that those opportunities are powerful. Um, they're the best information to work from. Um, and so w we, we w we try to engage and take as much advance as we can. And Hey, we're like every person who lives, we'll listen to this in the industry, we struggle with follow-up, we struggle with, you know, you know, somebody would say the phone rings and nobody never answers. You know, that's not just your pocket and that's other places too, but we do understand and value our digital and understand that, um, it is honest at the end of the day, that's the best thing we can get from an opportunity is just an honestly. Yep.

Nick Latz: And you talked the lead flow opportunity, or the demand gen opportunity from the digital front door. Is there also, um, do you guys also think about the opportunity from a branding perspective and is that hard to do, is it, you know, you talked about all these digital assets that are out there from the website, from, you know, the, the mobile community app from the desktop portal. Is it hard to connect those from a brand and a look and feel perspective?

Joe Melton: Yeah. So, you know, it's a great question because I had a learning lesson many years ago of, of really understanding what a brand, who he is, what that really means. Right. And so I think that many times we get into this brand, the bucket of thinking that the brand is it's, it's not full term, right. So that we have the most beautiful cabinets, the best finishes, the most amenities. Right. And so what I realized a long time ago was that brands don't expire, right? And so brands are not finishes. They're, they're, they're not brands are your people. They're, they're what people think they might experience when they get there. It's the service. Um, it, you know, it's, it's making decisions quickly. Um, it's, you know, being, being available, you know, again, you know, one of the questions were asked when we have opportunities, why Morgan, the support structure being available to a client, um, you know, that's the brand, right?

And we want people to know that at any community, based off that in the warden portfolio, they will be treated the same way. They, they will be served up the same level of customer service, whether they're looking at a studio that starts at $985 or a penthouse, that's, you know, local $4k, um, you know, we treat everybody the same. And so your brand is how you treat people, it's everything in your organization that does not expire. Uh, and it's, that's, that's a work in progress. I would challenge anybody to say, Ooh, what is that? And sit down with a pencil and paper and say, let's write things in our company that we're proud of, that don't expire. Right. And you'd be surprised how tough it is to get that list together. But once you have it, you truly in greatly understand what your purpose is and how you're serving the community.

Nick Latz: Yeah. I like that linkage. Cause it sounds like the Morgan group, it has a strong set of values that kind of underpin how you think about your employees, how you think about the residents. And, um, and it sounds, sounds like that's definitely linked to your, your brand image. The two go hand in hand. Well, Joe, uh, one final question for you here who are two other guests that you think we should invite onto this resident experience podcast?

Joe Melton: Yeah. So I, I, in preparing for this, I know this is one of the things that you've prepped me with. I appreciate you doing that because, um, I just got off vacation. And so I might've just said Mickey mouse and just hold it in. I will tell you that, um, you know, who like right you admire in the industry, his name is Dylan Brown. He's a training associate for, um, James Hunter research. I, I think that he is, um, uniquely tied into, um, you know, what we do, you know, he embraces learning nothing more powerful than just allowing yourself to learn something new every day. I see that in him when he sends emails and when he, um, does webinars and joins us. And so he would be a great person. I really a unique, um, point of view and voice for, um, you know, peers in my industry to, um, here.
I know the hardest thing for many of us to do is just to be quiet and listen. Right. It's a tough thing to do. Uh, I find when he speaks, I, I, I I'm quiet and I listen. And so I always learn something from him. So, um, you know, and in this moment I'm feeling like I probably have never told him that. So shame on me. So that's the process, but, um, he's great. And then the other would not be a person specifically by name. But one thing that we realized is I'd love for you guys to talk to a seasoned service team member of lead maintenance. Someone who's been in the business for many years, these people are aging out by the month, they are highly qualified. They are the people that see our residents that, um, you know, are, are most in tune with the, what, what they've seen change over many years.

And, and it it's different for them now, um, technology, um, you know, many of them work with larger teams, um, you know, the people and, you know, by no means, am I saying, you know, find younger people. What I'm saying is you need to find people that have a shelf life of your culture in your business and your organization that will serve you for the next 15 to 20 years. Right? Many of the people that are our strongest assets, they've been doing this for a long time.

And I feel very competent may, you know, are, are going to do what we all are headed for hopefully one day and retire and enjoy that time earn. Um, and I, I see these people every day and I think, oh my gosh, you know, how do you drop water on that person and create a mini meal?
I just don't think we collected here. We are. I think we're collectively thinking about that every day. Um, they, they are, you know, our, our prize possessions. So it would be wonderful to have some sort of a lead maintenance or seasoned service team member, um, you know, just speak some truth in chart industry and, and hopefully engage in and, you know, perhaps, um, educate people, um, on some reality of what they do every day and hopefully find the next round of people that in 34 years, we're talking about, about finding their next, you know, replacement, you know, they, you know, the same, hire your replacement, never more, never more important today. And I had a student in our service team homes. That's, that's

Nick Latz: A great idea. I like that one. Well, Joe, this was a great discussion. Thanks so much for joining us today. Really, really learned a lot and appreciate it. And we will let you get back to, uh, to Disneyland if you're still there, if not safe travels back home to Texas.

Joe Melton: Well, I appreciate that Nick, that he so much I'm that back at work back to the grind, but appreciate spending time with you. They thank you so much. Thank you.