The role of property PR beyond the mini-boom

Three months of pent-up demand, growing uncertainty from mortgage lenders, a generous stamp duty holiday and a looming ban on anyone except first-time buyers using Help to Buy? We have a mini property boom in the middle of a recession. As a result, new-build stock, ‘nearly ready’ homes and second-hand properties are barely making it onto Rightmove before being reserved.

Great news for now. However, what comes next for developers? How can we market the off-plan launches, the city-centre apartment buildings and the three/four-bedroom homes which are currently much more affordable thanks to Help to Buy? What happens when the holiday ends?

As a PR agency, we’ve seen first-hand how the media landscape has changed since March. We believe this change, like the way so many people now work and whether we still commute or not – or how often – will be long-term.

We’ve always advised our clients that the launch of a new showhome is not enough to secure high-quality media coverage. This is especially true in the current environment. Yes, it is a call to action, a key takeaway, but it isn’t a story. And these days, in the wake of communities coming together and finding a sense of perspective about human connection and what is truly important, journalists and influencers want stories. They want content which is reflective of, or relevant to, a news agenda that won’t sway from the pandemic for a long time yet.

This is an exciting opportunity, beyond the stamp duty holiday – to be a part of the evolving conversation and to directly influence it.

Speak to PHM’s storytellers

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.

What House Awards Logo

PHM ‘over the moon’ at this year’s stellar What House? Awards

By Harriet Bolt, Senior Account Manager

 

PHM is over the moon after its clients scooped ten stellar industry awards at this year’s space-themed What House? Awards 2019.

Hosted by astronaut Major Tim Peake and comedian Dara O’Briain, the awards ceremony – known as the ‘Oscars’ of the housebuilding industry – recognised the homes and developments that are truly out of this world.

One in three of the entries PHM prepared for its clients this year took home an accolade.

  • The Berkeley Group scooped the Silver prize for Best Large Housebuilder
  • Berkeley (East Thames) won the Gold prize for Best Public Realm for its transformational scheme Kidbrooke Village
  • Berkeley (North East London) won the Gold prize for Goodman’s Fields for Best Mixed-Use Development
  • St William scooped Gold for Best Interior Design at its scheme Prince of Wales Drive
  • St James took two accolades for Albert Embankment; Silver for Best Luxury Development and Bronze for Best Development
  • St George had a very successful evening, winning Silver in the Best Apartment Scheme category for London Dock, and two Silver prizes for One Blackfriars in the Best Exterior Design and Best Luxury Development categories
  • MTVH, which comprises private sale homes and shared ownership homes by So Resi, achieved Bronze for Best Starter Home Scheme for Times Square

However, there is no time to rest for PHM’s awards team as we are already looking ahead to the next season; The London Evening Standard New Homes Awards, The Planning Awards and The First Time Buyer Awards are all now open for entries.

If you’ve worked on a star development or project that you believe deserves to sparkle in 2020, get in touch with the PHM team on 01483 561119 in five… four… three…

…you know the rest!

Four things to consider before you embrace influencer marketing

By Louise Jarvis, Account Manager

There’s no denying the rise and rise of influencer marketing, most social media feeds have been peppered with third-party advertisements and brand partnerships for a while now.

But are we becoming more cynical? Does an influencer’s credibility plummet once you realise that they’ve been paid to talk about the product or service they seemingly love? And if so, why bother in the first place?

Despite these concerns, if done properly, we think this is an area of digital marketing that can add a lot of value to your strategies, however there are a few things to consider if you want to add influencers to your toolkit:

 

  1. Research, research, research

If you’re serious about incorporating influencers as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need to invest some time in researching who’s out there. Find out what they have to offer you: what is their content’s reach and what does their audience demographic look like?  Before approaching them, you’ll need to know why you want to work with them; in short, your brands need to be aligned. Does your messaging synchronise with their narrative? If the fit is wrong, it’s likely your campaign will be less effective, so take your time and make sure you’re connecting with the right people.

  1. Micro vs Macro

When people think influencers, they tend to think big – or macro. Look at Kylie Jenner for example, who has a whopping 130 million Instagram followers. But with a following so vast, how can you ensure you’re targeting the right people? Targeting influencers with a large following will also most definitely be expensive and you may not always reap the return you’re after.

Depending on what you’re marketing, it’s very much worth looking into micro influencers; these people tend to have a smaller but niche and trusting following. This makes it easier to assess whether you’re reaching the right people via their channels.

  1. A tailored approach

As with all PR, it’s important to tailor your approach. With however many hundreds of thousands of influencer profiles to choose from and a sea of content to compete with, you’ll need to think of a ‘big idea’. With the digital marketing landscape so regularly changing, you might not get the best results from merely imitating campaigns you’ve seen before. So, brainstorm and take risks. What type of content would your target audience like to see and spend their time consuming? Decide your objectives, pick your angle and run with a creative approach.

  1. Contracts

Once you’ve cemented your relationship as a brand and advertiser with your chosen influencer, it’s important to get it in writing and create some form of influencer contract. It’s key to ensure everyone involved knows what their role is within the partnership or campaign. Here’s just a few things to include:

  • The basics: names and parties involved, the date and a description of what the partnership should achieve
  • Timeframe: How long is your partnership going to last? Is it one campaign or longer term?
  • Output: What exactly do you want from them? Include details, for example, the exact number of social media posts or the length of a blog
  • Veto list: Write down anything you’d like them to refrain from saying and include brand guidelines
  • Payment terms: in what form will payment be made?

 

If you’d like to talk to PHM about a bespoke approach to your PR requirements, call us on 01483 561119 or email info@housegroup.co.uk.

So Resi Wokingham

The magic number: three stunning So Resi shared ownership developments in Wokingham now available

Wokingham is one of the UK’s best places to live based on average employment levels, earnings and long life expectancy, according to the 2017 Halifax Quality of Life Survey. However, a great quality of life can come at a price. Average current house values in the area total £510,603 – £187,934 higher than the UK average of £322,669*.

Homebuyers hoping to purchase in this popular Berkshire town will therefore be pleased to know that So Resi is offering superb new shared ownership homes at three developments across Wokingham. So Resi Kentwood, So Resi Wokingham and Hatchwood Mill are delivering homes that boast high-quality design, superior specifications and great locations – all at very accessible prices.

So Resi Kentwood is a new collection of two and three-bedroom homes with generous private gardens and allocated parking on the outskirts of Wokingham. Each property delivers comfortable living spaces, contemporary kitchens and sleek bathrooms.

The homes are also great value; guide prices for a two-bedroom house start from £141,750 for a 35 per cent share (full market value £407,500).

The village-inspired development is ideal for young families, offering plenty of green space to play and relax. When So Resi Kentwood is complete, walking and cycle routes will weave through the development to the town centre and train station, just under two miles away, with train journeys of just nine minutes to Reading and 50 minutes to Paddington. When Crossrail opens at Reading station in 2019, passengers can travel through central London without changing trains.

So Resi Wokingham is part of the new Matthews Green Farm community, which enjoys an attractive semi-rural location on the outskirts of Wokingham. The development will incorporate a range of shops as well as a new primary school, landscaped open spaces and play areas.

Due to the development’s popularity, only 11 homes remain. A 40 per cent share of a two-bedroom apartment start from £132,000 (full market price £330,000). Prices for a three-bedroom home start at £176,000 for a 40% share of the full market price of £440,000.

There is a choice of traditional two-storey houses with three bedrooms or spacious four-bedroom townhouses which are arranged over three levels. Every house has a rear and front garden as well as a car port or garage.

Wokingham station is also less than two miles away and residents will enjoy being close to excellent sports facilities, including tennis courts, at Cantley Park.

Hatchwood Mill, close to the attractive village of Winnersh on the outskirts of Reading and Wokingham, is another great opportunity to get on the property ladder. The shared ownership properties comprise contemporary one and two-bedroom apartments, ideal for first-time buyers, and detached four-bedroom houses suitable for larger and growing families.

Only 13 homes remain. Prices start from £82,250 for a 35 per cent share of a one-bedroom apartment (full market price £235,000), £100,625 for a 35 per cent share of a two-bedroom apartment (full market price £287,500) and £177,625 for a 35 per cent of a four-bedroom house (full market price £507,500).

Each house has a private garden and all residents can enjoy the landscaped communal grounds and cycle routes. Allocated parking for the apartments and secure garage parking for the houses are provided.

Travelling by train to nearby towns and village is easy; journey times are six minutes to Wokingham and 12 minutes to Reading from nearby Winnersh railway station.

Find out how So Resi makes it easy to buy a new shared ownership home by calling 0208 607 0550 or visiting www.soresi.co.uk.

*Prices sourced from Zoopla, correct as of 08.10.2018.

 

I LOVE GUILDFORD BECAUSE…

Guildford Vision Group launches campaign to find the best of the town centre

Our friends at Guildford Vision Group (GVG) have launched their ‘I love Guildford because…’ campaign, a survey and competition to find out exactly what Guildford’s residents, workers and visitors think of the town centre. As Guildford residents ourselves, we’re in full support of this great idea!

Get involved today and share your views on what you love best about the town; GVG will announce the results at their next public meeting on Tuesday 16th October.

Answers are welcome in a variety of ways, whether you wish to provide a written list of all your favourite things, you just have a preferred shop on the high street and you want to let us know, or you want to share your pictures and videos. Simply start your response with ‘I love Guildford because…’ and get in touch.

You can take part by visiting www.guildfordvisiongroup.com and leaving your comments, or by emailing us directly. You can also find us on Facebook (@guildfordvisiongroup), Twitter (@guildfordvision) and Instagram (@iloveguildford) if you’d like to share your videos and photos. Please submit your responses by Monday 1st October.

It gets better… in addition, GVG will be handing out prizes; a £100 gift voucher for Cosy Club will be awarded to two winners, one recognising the most unusual reason to love Guildford town centre, and the other rewarding GVG’s favourite photograph of the town centre.

We look forward to seeing all of your wonderful submissions! #iloveguildford

So Resi Wokingham

Don’t miss! The final phase of shared ownership homes is available at So Resi Wokingham

The final phase of homes at So Resi Wokingham has now been released for sale, representing the last opportunity for potential homebuyers to own a shared ownership home at this popular development in beautiful Berkshire. With something to suit a range of buyers, So Resi Wokingham comprises a collection of stylish one and two-bedroom apartments and three and four-bedroom houses, all completed to a superior specification and high-quality design.

Prices start from just £98,000 for a 40 per cent share (full market value £245,000) for a one-bedroom apartment. That means a buyer only has to find a minimum five per cent deposit of £4,900. Prices for a two-bedroom apartment start from £132,000 for a 40 per cent share (full market value £330,000), £159,250 for a 35 per cent share of a three-bedroom house (full market value £455,000) and £148,125 for a 25 per cent share of a four-bedroom house (full market value £592,500).

Through shared ownership, homebuyers pay straightforward monthly payments for the mortgage on the share they have purchased and a payment to So Resi on the rest. They also pay a service charge. Applicants for So Resi Wokingham are open to all, not just those living or working in the area, and all the homes are ready to move into.

Each home at So Resi Wokingham is finished to a high specification and benefits from spacious living areas and stylish fittings that add a touch of luxury. Every house has its own rear garden, while allocated parking is provided to all homes.

So Resi Wokingham, part of the Matthews Green Farm development, is ideally located for families; less than a mile away are The Emmbrook School, a well-regarded specialist maths and computer college for students aged 11 to 18, and Cantley Park with a wide range of sports facilities, including tennis.

For commuters, the mainline station is 1.8 miles away, with trains reaching Reading in nine minutes, Guildford in 28 minutes and London Waterloo in 68 minutes. When Crossrail opens at Reading station in 2019, passengers will be able to travel through central London without needing to change trains.

To find out how So Resi makes it easy to buy your new home, call 0208 607 0550 or visit www.soresi.co.uk.

Lovell Homes donates £7,500 to Help for Heroes

Local developers in Woolwich support Help for Heroes with £7,500 donation

Lovell Homes donated £7,500 to Help for Heroes in a cheque presentation at its Woolwich development Trinity Walk, recognising the area’s strong military heritage and supporting the charity’s important work.

The donation was raised by Lovell Homes putting aside £50 for every home purchased at Trinity Walk to date, and was collected by James Burns of Help for Heroes and Major John Eldridge from Royal Artillery Barracks.

Students from nearby Welling School presented the donation, which was creatively symbolised as large individual numbers, decorated by the children with images inspired by the charity.

Trinity Walk, being delivered by partners Lovell Homes, PA Housing and the Royal Borough of Greenwich, is the first phase of a project which is transforming three ageing estates in Woolwich to create desirable yet affordable places for city living.

The development is part of the ongoing regeneration in Woolwich, which has already benefitted from new green areas and amenities. A further boost to the area will be the arrival of Crossrail later in 2018, which will provide quicker journeys into the centre of London. With 12 services an hour, passengers from Woolwich will be able to reach Canary Wharf in eight minutes, Liverpool Street in 14 minutes and Bond Street in just 22 minutes.

 

PHM’s three top tips this Social Media Day

With the ninth annual Social Media Day taking place on June 30th, celebrating social media’s influence on digital communication, we thought there was no better way to join in the fun than by sharing our three top tips for impactful and memorable campaigns over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

  1. Consider your objective

It sounds simple, but what are you trying to achieve by implementing a social media campaign? Whether it’s to generate sales leads or foster engagement with other users, you can only accurately create content and report on the success of any activity if you truly understand your goal. For example, there’s no point in creating posts that encourage users to visit a website, if you wanted that post to be shared with as many people as possible, as the content created to encourage leads to a website, might not be as interesting enough for users to want to share with others.

2. Remember that you are invisible

This one is especially relevant for when you are creating social media content for the first time. Don’t expect that people will come looking for you and you’ll naturally build your likes/followers over time. You need to get out there and make yourself known. Consider implementing a competition as a kick-starter for your campaign – one that is easy for users to enter and share with their friends and family. It makes for a low-cost brand awareness exercise that gets results.

3.  Know when to join in

This mostly applies to Twitter and Instagram, where hashtags are the main form of linking like-minded posts together. As there are so many, it can be tempting to use the most popular hashtags when starting a campaign but it’s worth thinking about the audience this is reaching. For instance, there may be a popular hashtag many industry professionals are using, but if you are trying to reach potential customers, it’s worth reconsidering your approach and choose hashtags that they regularly use or will be interested in to connect with them.

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

A walk in the park: the perfect properties to enjoy National Picnic Week

Spending time outdoors in green open spaces has a positive impact on your mood and wellbeing according to research carried out by Health & Place, so why not grab a blanket and fill up a picnic basket with your favourite treats and head down to a park for National Picnic Week (15th to 24th June).

For inspiration of where to visit, take a look at our clients’ impressive range of homes for sale that have the added luxury of being within close proximity to some glorious parkland – a feature at the top of the checklist for many homebuyers.

Wexham Green in Berkshire is sited in a peaceful area with a village atmosphere, surrounded by beautiful countryside and only 2.6 miles from the historic Grade II-listed parkland of Langley Park. The homes at Wexham Green are beautifully presented and blend traditional exterior features with comfortable high-quality interiors. Inside, these high-specification homes are designed for modern lifestyles, including fully-fitted Symphony kitchens with smart integrated appliances that are both practical and stylish. Each home has a rear garden and patio. The houses that feature garages have their own electric car charging point – an eco-friendly addition rarely found in individual homes.

So Resi Wokingham is a new collection of one and two-bedroom apartments and two to four-bedroom homes in Wokingham available to purchase through shared ownership. Setting new standards for affordable housing in terms of high-quality design, a superior specification and great semi-rural location, these homes are just over two miles away from Keephatch Park Nature Reserve, an impressive 22.4 acres of parkland. The homes are built to a high specification, with spacious living areas and stylish fittings adding a touch of luxury. Every house has its own private, enclosed rear garden and turfed front garden, while the apartments benefit from landscaped communal grounds. Allocated parking spaces are provided for all the homes.

Trinity Walk is a distinctive new neighbourhood of stylish one, two and three-bedroom apartments and three and four-bedroom townhouses, located just a mile from the new Crossrail station in Woolwich. Residents are less than three miles away from Greenwich Park, one of the largest single green spaces in South East London and boasting iconic views across the capital. The apartments at Trinity Walk are designed to offer a spacious open-plan layout. The specification is excellent throughout including Symphony kitchens with integrated appliances; in addition, each apartment enjoys a private outdoor space in the form of a balcony or terrace.

So Resi Sydenham, a stylish new collection of one and two-bedroom shared ownership apartments in lower Sydenham, South East London, is just two miles away from Sydenham Wells Park which features a playground, tennis courts and formal gardens. The apartments at the development are beautifully designed and light-filled. Each home features an open-plan living/kitchen area with full height windows and a door opening on to a private balcony overlooking the gardens. Sydenham, which neighbours Forest Hill and Crystal Palace, has a strong community feel with quirky independent cafés, bars and restaurants in its centre while the homes are just a few minutes’ walk to Lower Sydenham station for days further afield.

While you’re here, why not have a browse of our latest blogs and articles to keep up to date with what we’ve been up to in the property PR world.