by Anna Rabin, Vice President
In one of the most lucrative and competitive industries in America, it can be incredibly challenging for real estate firms to stand out among their peers. In 2022, building your brand isn’t as simple as putting out a press release or creating a website. It’s about having effective messaging and disseminating those messages through multiple channels and tailoring that message for specific audiences. Even more, companies around the world are held more accountable today than ever before. You need to demonstrate what impact you’re making beyond the business, whether in your local community or worldwide.
To start, below are some overarching themes to consider when building your brand and establishing yourself in the world of real estate.
Define & Distinguish Yourself
Distinguishing yourself from competitors through clear, concise messaging is key. Yet too many firms muddle the message with complex language and jargon in describing themselves, leaving people to wonder – what exactly is it they do and why should I care?
Be straightforward about what your firm does and what differentiates it from others – whether that be through notable projects, clients, or awards. You should work with your team to develop a set of key messages that infiltrate everything from your internal communications to external messaging.
Furthermore, the past few years have driven companies to think about how they fit into the context of broader global social issues. Many corporate brands have jumped into the conversation around timely issues on everything from racial inequity in America to the war in Ukraine, standing in solidarity with those affected by injustice.
While talking about key issues is important, companies often make the mistake of thinking that is enough. The world expects more from corporate brands today, and the curtain is up on firms seen as performative. Companies must support their claims with true, meaningful actions.
Whether it’s a timely issue, or a cause that your company is invested in such as ESG investing, combatting climate change, or finding solutions for homelessness, be clear about your mission and what your company actually does to abide by that.
Crisis Preparedness is Key
Hope for the best and expect the worst. It may be a negative outlook but if the past two years have taught us anything it’s that you never know what is waiting around the corner. While It may sound negative, but many firms underestimate the need to think proactively about scenario planning for what could happen, instead taking a “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” stance. Unfortunately, by the time you get there, the bridge has crumbled, and you’re picking up more pieces of damage than you would have had you otherwise been prepared.
That is why creating a well thought out crisis communications plan is crucial. Consider everything from evacuation plans on project sites to draft media statements for a myriad of situations that you may need to respond to when the reporters inquire.
Or, hire a good crisis communications firm to do it for you.
Tell Your Story Strategically
No successful real estate brand started with reporters begging to tell their story. That’s why we call it earned media.
With regards to media relations, it’s important to decide what your goals are. Perhaps it’s as simple as expanding brand awareness or putting your company in front of potential clients in key markets to support your bottom line. Either way, that will help shape the types of outlets and stories you target.
The foundation of a strong media strategy is relationship building. Seek out key reporters and find opportunities to engage with them, whether that’s on Twitter or through introductory conversations. Be responsive when they reach out, even when it’s something you can’t necessarily comment on. These relationships will result in more coverage and have long term positive effects on your brand.
Most importantly, utilize your best asset – your people. Create a spokesperson grid that outlines which employees can speak to what topics. Identify opportunities to raise their platform, whether that’s inserting that person into a trend story or securing a profile opportunity. And if you’re not sure where to begin, media training is a great place to start.
Equally as important as what your message is, is how your message is disseminated. We live in a digital-first world. To maximize success, consider a holistic strategy that ties everything together through cross channel marketing.
The most effective way to illustrate your assets, offerings and company culture is through social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. each have their unique attributes for marketing, but the key takeaway is that social media is a way to connect with your stakeholders on a more personable and meaningful level.
93 percent of online experiences begin on a search engine, which makes it even more important that your name appears in those searches through search engine optimization. For real estate firms trying to market their products, that’s crucial, particularly in the residential market when targeting potential residents searching online for new homes.
Whether just starting to build your company from the ground up or going through a rebrand, the abovementioned themes apply to any stage in order to ensure a successful strategy.