That’s a wrap.. PHM’s 2019 year in review

2019 has been a year of rolling with the punches; Brexit stops, starts and delays have dominated social gatherings, the political landscape and not least, the property market.

However, even against this backdrop, we’ve worked on some fantastic campaigns this year and welcomed a number of new clients into the fold. Whatever the background noise, we believe in the power of PR and in great story-telling.

Festive connections

This time of year conjures up images of carol singers, Christingle services and nativity plays so it’s seasonally apt that we’re currently working with Guildford Cathedral and its delivery partner VIVID to encourage the community to get involved in shaping designs for potential new homes near the Cathedral ahead of the submission of a planning application in Spring 2020.

If you live locally but have still never visited this iconic landmark, do pop in; its fabulous white marble interior is an amazing contrast to its red brick architecture. Christmas Fact: Consecrated by The Queen on 17th May 1961, did you know it’s the newest cathedral in the country that’s been built on a new site; Liverpool’s and Coventry’s Cathedrals are built on the sites of existing churches.

 New Year, New Clients

We’re also very excited to be working with a number of new clients as we move into a new year. As well as our work with Berkeley in West London and for St Edward in Hampshire, we’re now providing PR support on three new sites with Berkeley’s North East London division: 250 City Road is a luxury collection of apartments close to Silicon Roundabout, Woodberry Down is an exciting, regenerated urban oasis in north London and Trent Park in Enfield provides an exciting range of new and converted homes set amongst 416 acres of parkland.

Moving into 2020, we’re really looking forward to providing a fresh PR perspective for Abbey Homes; from community events to sales support, we’ll be bringing some new, creative ideas to their marketing plans. We’ll also be welcoming another new client, Fusion, a boutique house designer who is creating fabulous new homes around London.

One sector of our portfolio where we’re seeing much growth is our work with a number of local authorities. A number of London borough councils are getting creative in their generation of income; self-delivering homes for sale to fund new affordable and social housing in their areas. Our first client in this area was Broadway Living, Ealing Council’s development arm. This year, we’ve also started working with councils in Westminster and Bexley to guide their communications programmes and execute PR strategies.

And the award goes to…

Congratulations to all of our award-winning clients this year. Industry awards continue to be a significant part of our yearly calendar; we prepared a whopping 79 entries in 2019 and 1 in 3 of them have won a coveted prize in their respective competitions. We look forward to working on even more award-winning schemes and corporate initiatives across the property sector in 2020.

It’s time for 2020 vision

We’re looking to next year with 2020 vision. We build expert-led comms strategies and specialise in traditional and social media, community engagement, reputation management, events, award entries (including design) and all forms of copywriting. Our work and the advice we provide is underpinned by years of experience, but we don’t believe in always doing what has always been done; we think and work creatively – looking above and beyond the obvious to catch the attention of your audience.

 

If you think you can benefit from a fresh look and a keen, clear eye on your communications, get in touch on 01483 561119.

 

We’re heading into the New Year with 2020 vision

It’s no secret that the PR landscape is ever-changing; in a digital, time-poor age, people are always looking for a faster and more engaging way of communicating with each other and experiencing content. And while no one knows for sure what the New Year has in store, we’ll be starting a fresh decade with 2020 vision.

Here at PHM, we’re very good at rolling with the punches. However, we’ll always have a crystal-clear outlook of what we want to achieve.

Here’s just three of our ‘PResolutions’ for 2020:

 

  1. Be brave(r)

Risk mitigation is part and parcel of our approach to PR, but that’s not to say it doesn’t pay off to do something left-field every now and then. It’s a saturated world out there – journalists’ inboxes are overflowing and online feeds are never-ending – so it’s never been more important to cut through the noise with original, brave ideas.

 

  1. Collaborate

A good PR machine is a well-oiled one; communicate often and communicate well. Brilliant ideas are like gold dust and they so often happen when you are engaging with and bouncing ideas off other people, whether it’s your colleagues or your clients. Collaboration is key to reaching maximum potential – from campaigns to stunts – and carving out time to enable this is essential; getting your head down and things done quickly is sometimes necessary, but investing some time will usually pay off.

 

  1. Aim high

Overall, it’s been a great year for PHM; alongside a range of stand-out digital campaigns, a plethora of media coverage and some brilliantly executed events, we’ve also submitted 76 awards on behalf of clients and one in three went on to win one of the coveted prizes. In addition, we welcomed four new PR clients on board in the last six months. But we won’t stop there; setting clear goals within a time frame and measuring success holds you accountable and drives success.

 

If you’d like a fresh take on your PR strategy in 2020, speak to a member of the PHM team on 01483 561119.

Where PR leads, the industry follows?

By Lisa Flounders, Director

 

Among the many diverse discussion points at this week’s Homes UK conference, there was an unmistakeable theme running through the sessions that PHM attended and it is one we’ve seen a number of our clients embrace over the past year or so. Building homes is not about, well, building homes. Instead, it is about building sustainable communities. It is people, not product.

 

As this focus continues to gain momentum among developers, we’re again reminded of the power of a great narrative and the role of communications in recognising – and staying ahead of – industry trends. The property media has looked for people-led stories for a long time and a humble press release announcing the launch of a showhome or highlighting an impressive specification is no longer enough on its own. High quality product, one speaker at Homes UK noted, shouldn’t be a selling point. Surely, in 2019, it should be a given.

 

At PHM, we have been working with our clients for some time to go above and beyond a milestone-led approach to media relations. Buyers want to understand how a new home will make them feel, not just where it is or how many bathrooms it has. A great story – people not product, remember – can do exactly that.

fireworks-night

Set your PR campaigns alight with Property House Marketing this Bonfire Night

By Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

On Bonfire Night last year, you may have read our tips for creating fireworks with your email pitches. This time, we’re setting your PR campaigns alight by sharing some tried and tested methods for adding value to your content and making it work extra hard. Take a look to find out how PHM can ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck.

 

  1. Marry up your PR and marketing

We believe the two go hand in hand. Not only should your PR content mirror your marketing and advertising campaigns, but you should be recycling both. Tell PHM about your latest sales incentive and share your brochure with us…we can come up a good story angle to pitch it into target media and widen your reach. Do you have a press release you’re really pleased with? Don’t waste good content – turn it into a website story!

Across our clients, we work alongside some of the best marketing and ad agencies in the business to deliver a cohesive campaign across the board.

  1. Look at the bigger picture

Think about your story as part of the wider news agenda. Not only will this help you time your announcements and your storytelling (don’t try to compete for front-page space the day after a big housing announcement from the government), it will encourage you to be a part of the bigger picture. Are you launching a new development in an up and coming area? How can that tie into the latest stats on commuting from one of the big banks? Are you prioritising biodiversity? Does it tie in nicely with the government’s new policy on environmental concerns?

PHM will bridge the gap for you, creating stories which will put you at the front of popular discussions.

  1. Collaborate

Consider some joint PR. Working alongside brands that complement your product can put you in front of a whole new customer base, one which already buys into your values. PHM has worked on a number of campaigns and events that offer benefits on both sides – blog swaps are a low-cost way to associate yourself with some good causes, while a package with a social media influencer means guaranteed digital prominence and measurable results.

 

If you’d like to add value to your PR campaigns then speak to a member of the PHM team on 01483 561119.

Three frightening PR superstitions

By Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

Witches, ghosts and vampires are enough to scare the living daylights out of you this Halloween. What shouldn’t scare you this autumn however, is PR.

For those of you considering a career in the industry, or if you’re wondering how PR might help your business meet its marketing objectives, we’ve taken a look at three of the most frightening PR superstitions and debunked the myths.

  1. It’s all prosecco and parties, darling!

There is a common myth that PR is an extremely glamorous career full of star-studded glitzy parties and glasses of fizz. Of course, there are fun events to attend (our awards success means we get to attend plenty of industry ceremonies with our clients) and we get to organise events too, but our day to day activities have plenty of variety which keeps them interesting and us motivated.

Site visits, media liaison, relationship building, public consultations, award entries, creating social media content, brainstorming ideas; this is just a taster of the things we get up to.

  1. The only requirement is that you have to be a ‘people person’

Although it really does help to be friendly and approachable, this is just a part of it. A PR professional has to be an exceptional communicator and a keen storyteller across many channels, whether face to face or in writing. In an agency, you also need to be efficient, creative and great at seeing the bigger picture.

  1. PR and marketing do the same thing!

As social media becomes ever prevalent, the lines appear to be blurring. However, PR and traditional marketing do differ. PR focuses on the reputation that you earn, such as third-party testimonials and journalist coverage, while marketing focuses more on the channels you own. Both seek to drive sales or share key messages and if you take a collaborative approach, work very well together.

To bust more scary PR superstitions, get in touch with the PHM team.

Dust off the cobwebs: Keep your social media in shape this summer

Here at PHM, we like our content to shine bright on the never-ending feeds of social media and with the summer months finally here, what better time to help you dust off the cobwebs and bring you three essential top tips to keep your social in ship shape:

  1.   Cut waffle in long posts: your audience don’t have all day!

Many people using social media are simply scrolling; recent stats are claiming that the average person scrolls through 300 feet (90m) of social media content daily! With so much to consume, your audience doesn’t want to be reading long paragraphs with no substance. One way to keep people engaged in your posts is to stick to the point and cut the waffle. It’s important to keep content concise without compromising on quality.

  1. Know your audience and stay up to date with them

We know the majority of a beauty blogger’s audience will have no interest in bird watching, so why should your audience maintain engagement with seemingly random and unrelated content? Tailor your posts to trending topics to keep your following engaged and up-to-date without jeopardising your message. Does it suit their interests? Are they the right demographic? Is it the type of content the target audience would choose to spend their time consuming?

  1. Add pictures and graphics

Pictures are processed 60,000 times faster by the human brain than words, so it’s important to keep your feed filled with photos. However, it’s often difficult to keep creating new visual content from scratch. Here at PHM we use sites such as Unsplash and Canva. Unsplash allows you to browse and download high quality images for free, avoiding unwanted repetition. Canva is a site used to create visually interesting content for social media. The website offers templates and graphics which you can utilise to personalise and refashion your posts in order to keep things fresh.

If you’d like to find out more about how PHM can help with your social media strategy, contact the team on 01483 561119.

Work experience at PHM

By Hermione Hampton

After finishing my GCSEs, I was lucky enough to do a week of work experience at PHM to get an insight into working life and have the opportunity to dip my toe into the world of PR. I decided to do work experience in PR as I knew it would be useful ahead of starting to study English A-Level and I have since found out it has been incredibly advantageous for an interest in a writing career. Overall, I have come to know the importance of PR.

What I’ve been doing:

During my time at the office, I was tasked with several jobs which included reading and cross-referencing press coverage to familiarise myself with the property industry. I was also given the responsibility of planning social media coverage for PHM, which allowed me to see the level of work that goes into PR and how the business generally operates. Amongst my other tasks, I also got to research local areas for new and upcoming developments across a range of clients, as well write a press release.

What I’ve enjoyed:

I found that researching was my most interesting job, as I got to learn many fascinating facts about places which I was not familiar with as well get to know the factors that come into play when developing a property. I also enjoyed reading press coverage, as I could see the variety of properties and developments with which PHM is involved. I also really liked the few writing jobs I got to do, especially writing a press release, as I found them engaging and good practice for the future, especially as I am looking to enter a career in writing.

What I’ve learnt:

My week at PHM has been greatly beneficial in many ways. Not only have I now got a better understanding of the property and PR world but my research tasks have helped me develop vital research skills, which will prove themselves useful for further education. The few writing tasks have also been good experience to help prepare me for studying A-Level English in September. In addition, my experience has given me a sense of what working life will be like after leaving school.

PHM’s last call for entries for the What House? Awards 2019!

By Louise Jarvis, Account Manager

We might be busy, but we love this time of year at PHM; awards season is in full swing and the deadline for the What House? Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the property industry – is exactly one month away, marking our last call for entries!

If you’re thinking about incorporating awards into your marketing strategy, the What House? Awards 2019 is a great place to start and we’re looking to repeat last year’s success; in 2018 seven of the entries we prepared for clients scooped Gold prizes, two won Silver and three won Bronze! But before you embark on entering awards for your project(s), it’s important to identify your objectives and why getting a pat on the back will be useful for your sales, brand and or future land acquisitions. We can prepare one-off entries or create a long-term strategy for multiple site-specific and corporate entries, targeting the right categories and competitions at the right time for your project and your company.

Get in touch today on 01483 561119 if you’d like to discuss how we can help with your award entries this year, or, if you’re still unsure whether to use awards as a marketing tool, here’s just three reasons why you should:

  1. Third party endorsement

A winning award entry, or even a commendation or shortlist position, can provide the same gravitas as a great piece of editorial – a recognised and respected endorsement of the home or homes you build by a third party with no vested interest. The power of such an endorsement cannot be underestimated, it is the reason why media relations is such a key part of marketing strategies, showing your customers that people besides yourselves consider your product to be better than the competition.

  1. Industry recognition and awareness

Most of us are communicating with more than just our end buyer, raising our profile with peers and potential partners and staff too. Winning an award, especially on a large-scale platform, demonstrates why you are a step above the rest. What’s more, the networking at national competitions provides further opportunities to meet people informally.

  1. Brand reinforcement

Of course, the most important component of an award entry is indisputably the development or home in question. However, as with all marketing channels, consistency of message and brand reinforcement is paramount. Your award is not just an award, but another tool in your kit with which to promote and market your product.

The What House? Awards deadline is 12th July, but there are other fast-approaching awards you should consider too; the deadline is 28th June for the Building Awards and 18th July for the Inside Housing Development Awards.

Three social media tools we’re coupling up with this summer

By Louise Jarvis, Account Manager

It is official; Love Island has returned. Cue eight weeks of recoupling and viral memes.

Here at PHM, we like to pay attention to every trend, so we’ve been embracing this summer’s hot topic and thinking about how important it is to inject a little love into your digital PR campaigns.

That’s why we’re bringing you details of three social media tools you should be coupling up with this summer…

  1. Management platform

For agencies like us, juggling multiple clients’ many social media channels (not to mention fostering media relationships, strategising, copywriting, event organisation and more) a social media management platform is essential.

This type of tool is really useful for optimising posts for engagement, reporting and scheduling, and doing so consistently and efficiently. But don’t fall for the first platform you meet. Do your research and see whether you’re able to trial a few before committing (speed dating at its finest).

  1. Canva

If you’re not already using Canva, it’s a great free graphic tool with which you should definitely be getting acquainted. The website is home to thousands of social media templates and layouts suited to every kind of platform, which you can personalise and edit to suit your brand.

It’s user-friendly, it’s a great way to mix up message presentation and it has become one of our most-used tools for creating quick and engaging content for social media where visually led-content is the top property.

  1. Unsplash

Where visuals are king and feeds are saturated, it’s important to switch up your imagery on socials – after all, first impressions count.

As photography and stock imagery can be expensive, sites such as Unsplash are an easy way to browse and download high-quality photos for free, implementing fresh and exciting content to avoid too much repetition in your use of imagery.

If you’d like to talk to PHM about how we can bring your social media channels alive – and take on the time commitments you can’t fit into your calendar –  call us on 01483 561119 or email info@housegroup.co.uk.

Bow Garden Square crowned Development of the Year at the RESI Awards 2019

By Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

We were absolutely delighted to see our clients Poplar HARCA and Telford Homes win one of the most coveted awards at last week’s RESI Awards.

Bow Garden Square – their outstanding joint venture scheme in Bow, East London – was crowned joint winner in the Development of the Year category alongside Television Centre by Stanhope.

At Bow Garden Square, the partners have regenerated the former Burdett Estate and delivered 109 tenure-blind new homes, a state-of-the-art primary and nursery school with superb amenities, a new community/sports hall, a new public park and a stunning new mosque which is now welcoming visitors from around the world.

Importantly they sit side-by-side, all sharing the same space in a stunningly efficient use of land. Sustainability features are also excellent.

The annual RESI awards are organised by Property Week and took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on May 14.

If you’re considering entering awards for a development or project of which you’re particularly proud but not sure where to start, speak to the PHM team today on 01483 561119.