There is no question that real estate is an exciting industry. It shapes our cities, creates places for us to shop, work and even shapes the places we take our children to play. As a result, to be involved in the development of new projects – and see them rise out of the ground – is truly an inspiring vision.
Building an integrated public relations plan that will launch a real estate development – or support a real estate company – is much the same process. Just like a building that needs a strong foundation, developing the right communications strategy requires a strong foundation to make sure it’s successful.
As a result, the best program must be based on a building block platform that includes dedicated research to make sure all the elements come into play. Here’s a five-step process that will make sure a program is successful.
- Understand the audience.
This is part of the planning and research that must be done before the program is created. Who is the right audience? Is there more than one? (There usually is.) What are their demographics? How do they communicate? All of this research plays into creating a program that uses the right tactics, with the right message that will resonate with the target audience you truly want to reach.
- What are the differentiators?
What does this development bring that offers a solution to the end-user? Price points? Amenities? Location? Or if it’s the company itself, what is happening now that’s creating a need for the development of a communications strategy? Once these differentiators are determined, the right message can be crafted that will resonate with your audience. This becomes the foundation for your communications moving forward.
- What is the timeline?
For a construction project, there is a groundbreaking, a topping off, a completion. For a real estate company, there may be projects that have been awarded, there may be staff changes that need to be managed, or there may be an acquisition or merger. Whatever the action is, there will be a timeline. This will tell your communications team what needs to be done when, so they can accurately gauge the work and manage the workflow effectively.
- What communications channels does this audience use?
Everyone has their favorite communications channel. While a strong media relations program is part of the mix, reaching out should involve a multi-channel approach that includes the PESO (paid, earned, shared, and owned) media to truly get the most out of your communications. This may involve digital advertising, creating e-newsletters, implementing social tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. Choosing the right tool truly depends on the desired outcome.
- What is the available budget?
Without addressing this issue, it will be impossible to design the best program. It’s a bit like buying a house; is it a one-bedroom condo in the suburbs, or a luxury mansion at the beach? Both are places to live, but they will be very different experiences for the owners. Be realistic. If it’s a small budget, focus on the strategies that will give the best ROI for your program, then build on it as the company moves forward.
Creating the right program is essential to supporting the company and its projects. There is no question that investing in the right research will create the best foundation for the program. Then, as with any real estate project, the roadmap is in place to lead the way to a successful effort. And when it comes to real estate, that’s money in the bank.