Ironically, the constant theme in the world of PR is change. How we tell your stories, raise brand awareness and connect our clients to new audiences is continually evolving – and never has this been more crucial than over the past 18 months of the pandemic.
Now that we’re gradually on our way to recovery, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on how the property PR landscape has changed since the first lockdown in Spring 2020 and what might just stick…
It’s all about people
Having others tell your story for you has a far bigger impact than if you tell it yourself. Customer case studies have always been a great way to share your values and promote your product however throughout lockdown, they’ve become especially sought after by our media contacts.
For those considering relocation during this period, it became a lot more difficult to arrange in-person house viewings and get a feel for local communities with amenities closed. Case studies helped to bridge this gap by providing prospective buyers with a first-hand account of their home-buying experience. In addition, emotive, human-interest narratives during lockdown periods were – more than ever – substantially more powerful than a direct sales message.
On the other side of the pandemic, people’s lifestyles remain changed – often permanently – and we believe the need to resonate with audiences on a personal level is more important than ever.
The digital transition was already taking effect pre-pandemic; however, it was accelerated exponentially in 2020. With the print papers slimmed down – and our target commuter titles missing their core audiences on the morning and evening trains – we looked elsewhere to reach our clients’ prospective buyers.
We fully embraced influencer marketing, understanding that our audiences were spending time at home, working and meeting people online and scrolling for hours on social media. We’ve built a new network of storytellers that has allowed our clients to tap into new groups of potential buyers. We’ve had YouTubers, TikTokers and Instagram lifestyle gurus host property tours, area guides and appear as guest panellists on educational webinars, which meant communications were still ongoing with potential buyers even when they were stuck at home.
A collaboration with Youtuber Jade Vanriel to tour Lumina, a Berkeley development in Camberley, Surrey, resulted directly in three bookings for apartment viewings.
We don’t think the role of influencers in property PR – or in sales lead generation – is going to diminish any time soon; on TikTok, videos tagged with #housetour have collectively accumulated over five billion views.
The value of face to face
When in-person meetings with clients and colleagues became an impossibility, we relied on virtual technology to fill the gap. Platforms many of us had previously never heard of, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, became the go-to for scheduling catchups and discussions. Whilst these online catch-ups aided us through lockdown, however, it wasn’t long until many of us experienced Zoom fatigue and craved the return of human interaction. At PHM, we believe a mix of the two provides a great way forward – PR is about relationships and connections, and there is nothing like a face-to-face catch-up, with journalists, influencers, clients and collaborative consultants, to build a bond and sell in a story or strategy.
Now, we all find ourselves in a transitionary period – merging aspects of our newfound and pre-COVID life together to find a new, and more permanently flexible way to work, relax and socialise. This adjustment has not been without its challenges for anyone, but the adaptability and evolution of PR – and the value it brings to our clients – has allowed us to embrace new and innovative solutions which will be a part of our toolkit for the long term.
If you want to find out more about how we can support you with a bespoke PR strategy, get in touch on 01483 561119 or by email.