Building an Effective Property Campaign

propertyThere was on average one property exhibition a week in Hong Kong during Q4 2012. These roadshows are selling their high-end, luxury developments off-plan to Chinese buyers, attempting to satiate Hong Kong and mainland China’s growing appetite for overseas real estate. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, South East Asian buyers account for more than half of the sales of new London properties off-plan, with Hong Kongers making up 24%, Singaporeans 12% and mainland Chinese 10% from November 2010 to April 2011.

With a “sales pitch” a week taking place in Hong Kong’s five star hotels, supported by impressive models, property agents and similar claims of high yields, investors and the media are fatigued. So, how can a company or property set themselves apart?

We orchestrated four successful PR campaigns for property companies in the final quarter of 2012. We found the following insights key in building and delivering effective campaigns. It may sound like common sense, but it is fundamental in being able to achieve results.

Firstly, you need to dive into the back-story to create a compelling narrative interwoven with the overarching business objectives. A formidable developer with a scheme that has unique selling points – such as a famous architect, tallest building, neighborhood landmarks like Buckingham Palace, location above the new Mark Gehring restaurant etc., is more often than not, not handed to you on a plate. It’s essential to find the stories that are not being told in the one page fact sheet or sales brochure.

For example, Land Securities is the UK’s largest property company with GBP13 billion in assets. With nearly seventy years owning and managing some of the UK’s most well-known landmarks, including The Piccadilly Lights at Piccadilly Circus and new development, One New Change, the launch of their high-end residential development Kings Gate was a much bigger story than the CGIs showing luxurious interiors and stucco facades. They are investing GBP2Billion in transforming London’s often overlooked Victoria district over the next five years, bringing in both famous architects (Chipperfield, Pelli Clarke Pelli) and up-and-coming firms (Lynch Architects). With over 3 million sq ft under development, they are single-handedly behind the renaissance of both Victoria and Belgravia.

Secondly, you need to have spokespeople who are willing and able to share the property trends they are observing in the context of the global and local news agenda: for example, their analysis of property markets against a backdrop of the Euro-zone crisis, the upcoming change of leadership in China, and property market cooling measures in Hong Kong. Whether they are targeting high-end luxury publications, local dailies or regional broadcast media, their macro-projections and top-line insights will set them apart from other exhibitors. There is a broader opportunity to do some real brand-building and this is one not to be missed.