by Sean Hathaway, Account Director
The unprecedented building boom in Boston is hardly a new phenomenon, but it does cast a light on the value of investing in public relations for helping spread the word around new development projects. With a high volume of activity in the market, property owners are confronted with two challenges: how to keep their audiences informed of progress and how to stand out from competitors. Although PR can take different forms to align with objectives, the aforementioned items are critical for success.
Depending on a project’s needs, public relations can be part of the equation well before any shovels hit the dirt.
Public processes, like zoning and permitting, can be very contentious, requiring effective messaging to communicate a project’s vision in community meetings and public hearings. In especially dicey processes, having effective communicators by your side can help with managing difficult questions that may be posed by media or members of the public so that answers reflect the project in the most positive light. Being able to articulate benefits is essential to create supporters in the community and to get decision makers comfortable with approvals. Often, projects are assessed by the plans as well as the entity/entities pursuing them, so trust also needs to be established or reinforced.
Occasionally, another project will have left a bad taste in people’s mouths, so it’s important to be able to demonstrate why this time is different.
Once a project comes online, or more likely, when it’s close to approaching that milestone, pr serves as a valuable tool to spread the word. After all, what good is a new office building if no one knows about it? A pr team can recommend and manage key announcements to share with media to ensure news coverage highlights important updates. Depending on the scope of the pr program, this can also include mentions of the projects in trend stories or even features, if there is something unique or notable to communicate. Whether a project is residential or commercial, there is a lot of competition in the market. Bringing a pr team into the fold can help a project stand out in a variety of ways.
At any point in a project’s life, from acquisition to marketing, there are key audiences to engage.
These audiences may change depending on the project’s status – for instance, prospective renters will likely not be a target before a building is ready to lease units – but there are always folks to communicate with.
A pr team can determine the best avenue to promote a particular item by working back from the objective of who you’re trying to reach. Some of the factors to be assessed might include: traditional or social media, broadcast or print/digital, which social channels, b2b or consumer focused, and geographic reach. Knowing what audience(s) you want to reach and then meeting them where they are can maximize the impact and value of the effort.
Not all news is right for all audiences, but having a pr team on your side can help ensure word spreads where, when, and how it needs to.
PR is a tool that can help a project stand out and be seen in a crowded real estate market. Before entering your next project, it’s wise to reach out to PR professionals in your network to see how they can support your objectives.