The Psychological Impact of a Vibrant Community featuring Fatima Dicko

Having a vibrant community means having connectivity among your residents. The company Sugar was named on the concept of borrowing a cup of sugar – something that involves friendly interaction, a conversation and building of trust that can bring you closer, and a shared moment that enhances friendships. Nothing will make people renew a lease like feeling part of a community.


So how do we achieve a vibrant community? What tools can we use to help us get there? How might a sense of engagement change in the future, and how can we adapt and keep up?

  • (3:00) Dicko’s focus is to turn mere buildings into communities. That’s done through micro-interactions and residential engagement. Isolation can be devastating. 
  • (5:40) The convergence of old ideas can lead to great new ideas. Being first isn’t necessary if you’re different or better. 
  • (8:00) Product adoption needs to combine utility and community engagement. The app has to have a reason to be in the app every day and be excited about it. They have to be able to hold the user’s attention too. All of this leads to product stickiness.
  • (11:55) The apps we use are going to switch from focusing on productivity to connectivity. They need to go beyond the bare necessities.
  • (16:30) Research and data can help with lease renewal. Studies show that if residents know at least two people within the vibrant community, they’re much more likely to renew their lease. You can use analytics to track how often people are using certain amenities, so you know what’s hitting best.
  • (19:50) Sugar is trying to understand the difference between features and benefits. Engagement features are only as good as the amount of time people spend in the app. Understand the biggest problems and figure out how to fix them. Use what people are writing on Yelp and Google to do that.
  • (26:40) When people contribute to the wellbeing of a space, they’re more invested in it. They take greater pride in the vibrant community and feel more connected.
  • (27:40) If you get a bad review, respond to it quickly! That shows engagement from management and displays that they’re willing to address a problem or intervene to fix it.
  • (32:10) Apps should integrate with other technologies. It’s important to figure out what your residents are happy about experiencing. 
  • (35:20) The market is evolving, and the future is unknown. Use data to lead your marketing. 
  • (39:11) A vibrant micro-community involves a self-sustainability component. That means removing the barriers of making things difficult to share. Sharing both relies on and builds trust.
  • (42:40) What are things that are going to change over time, versus things that will stay the same? What will apartments look like ten years from now, and how will people interact? The need to connect will always exist.
  • (45:20) Keep in mind that everything you do needs to somehow loop back to a return on investment.
  • (46:40) The pandemic has given the multifamily industry a good opportunity to reflect, rethink, and reimagine connection.

Connect with Fatima and Sugar:

Instagram: @timadeex

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