It isn’t just the so-called celebrity real estate agents, or those who cater to rarified-air-breathing billionaires and status-seeking social climbers that hire publicists.
More and more real estate agents across the country, in markets big and small, are hiring public relations firms or publicists to help them define their brands and beef up their presence in the market. If you’re feeling the need to get noticed and are considering hiring someone to help you, read on.
First Things First
Retaining a public relations firm or a publicist isn’t cheap. Although there are a number of pricing structures, the most common is the retainer. The agent pays the firm a set amount every month. This fee is based on how much work the firm estimates they’ll spend on your account. Senior publicists will cost more than the juniors in the firm.
Who Should Hire a Publicist?
Niche specialists seem to be the best candidates for working with a public relations firm or a publicist. New York City agent Mike Akerly first hired a publicist to help promote the new construction projects his team was working on.
“We had always made attempts to bring attention to our clients’ projects during the predevelopment phase, but we later realized that a publicist could help us promote them on a much larger platform,” he said.
The publicist took the projects’ promotion from real estate trades and local newspapers to being featured in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
“We just wouldn’t have that type of access on our own, nor would we be taken seriously when sending an unsolicited press release,” Akerly explained.
As you can imagine, an agent who decides to specialize as a “celebrity real estate agent, go-to Realtor® for professional athletes and entertainment industry professionals,” will need a solid brand before pursuing these clients.
This is what brought Jay Morrison of Sotheby’s International in Fort Lee, N.J. to the realization that he needed some help. “I was advised … that I needed to brand myself first before I aggressively attacked such a niche and highly sought after market. I … knew I would need some “PR” muscle behind me,” he recalled.
Malibu native and Beverly Hills agent Chad Rogers’ “Team” website page reads more like a Hollywood luminary’s than that of a real estate agent. Not only does he count an “expert publicist” on his team, but a grand total of four separate public relations companies supply him with an entertainment publicist, a public speaking agent and a talent agent. Aside from a slew of media appearances, including two on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing,” he sells a ton of real estate, so the team is obviously doing the heavy lifting. It helps, of course, that Rogers is personable and knowledgeable about his market.
So, do you need to be a Hollywood or New York real estate superstar to hire a publicist? Not according to Christian Grothe, agent with Michigan’s Max Broock Realty.
“I think it is a great idea for an agent to get a publicist if their business and budget allows,” he responded. “Effectively spreading the word about your services is a core element in further growing an agent’s business.”
When asked if he feels that big city agents are better candidates for a publicist, he replied: “It seems to me that agents in big cities have a more serious opportunity to benefit from a publicist, since there are so many different media outlets, events and other ways to get involved in the community.
It is more difficult to get noticed in a larger market as an agent, and a good publicist should be able to assist with that process.”
For the average agent in a small or medium market there are lots of marketing efforts that will most likely bring a higher return on their marketing investment dollar. For those agents with a healthy marketing budget, however, who are seeking to dominate a competitive niche – to become the big fish in a very large pond – hiring a publicist might be the way to get there.
Author: Shannon O’Brien
It’s a phrase I hear over and over again from many brands — “I’d love to hire someone to launch our publicity campaign professionally, but we can’t afford it, so I’m just going to have to do it on my own.” Prominence Marketing Group understands that every growing company cannot afford a 5K-10K monthly public relations retainer.
Using PR as a marketing tool also allows you to gain credibility for your business. Reason being, PR presents people with information from a third party. We are much more likely to trust positive coverage about companies that we read in a newspaper, magazine, or on an online press release. Compare that to the only alternative that will reach the same volume of audience, such as using television, billboards, radio or other advertising methods. When you compare the two, you can see why more and more businesses are starting to develop PR strategies.
Overall, developing a successful PR strategy is fundamental in taking businesses to the next level. It provides the following benefits:
-It provides a vital role in promoting businesses to their customers.
-When done correctly, it can often provide a greater result than advertising, whilst costing less.
-It allows you to quickly respond to opportunities within publicity.
-If you ever experience bad press, having a solid PR strategy in place will reduce the damage caused.
-It can improve the overall image of a company within the community.
The Prominence Marketing Group Public Relations Accelerator Program awards one brand per quarter with public relations support at half the cost. To be considered for the PMG Public Relations Accelerator Program, please click here.
Luxury managers often see digital media as a threat, worrying that mass appeal will take power away from the brand. But digital channels offer powerful connections with customers and closer integration with their ecosystems.
“Hermès has no desire to become “masstige” (a mass producer of prestige goods) said the company’s CEO Patrick Thomas in 2009, despite two-year waiting lists for its famous Birkin or Kelly handbags at the time. The luxury brand maintained that it did not want to dilute the brand image and compromise on quality in the interest of short-term profits.
Such a dilemma is par for the course in luxury and is also applicable to the digital presence of the companies in the industry: How to maintain demand and a big customer base while remaining exclusive? This is all the more important as digital channels “expose” brands regardless of whether they want to or not, through the hundreds of thousands of press articles, comments and pictures that are posted daily about luxury brands
Hermès has resisted selling any of its “core”, highly sought-after collections online, and the company emphasizes that its brand website is more of a channel for consumers to explore the world of Hermès, from its seasonal inspiration, to its heritage, art and museum collaborations and exhibitions. The same is seen on the company’s Facebook page. Hermès has also embraced the mobile app channel but only with their Silk Knots app that educates consumers on how to vary their scarf tying techniques.
Since digital attracts a much younger demographic not necessarily seen in physical stores yet, educating customers and other stakeholders about the brand’s DNA and what it seeks to represent is central to building the future generation of customers whose spending power will increase with age. Such approaches also entice them to the exclusivity of the store. To successfully engage people on digital channels while maintaining “distance” from the mass market, brands must answer two key questions: first, how to coordinate offline and online efforts to offer the best multichannel experience? And second, how to build an exclusive image online?
How to marry bricks and clicks?
Luxury and fashion brands built their brand promise through a unique in-store environment and intimate personalized service that they can hardly transfer to the online world. So how should luxury brands marry bricks with clicks? Critics within the industry are often opposed to bringing clicks to bricks, arguing that the former endangers the later by cannibalising sales and potentially threatening the brand image by making the brand more accessible through online channels and social media.
While these dangers exist, deserting digital media would be even more problematic and would leave room for rivals to build awareness and competition, and prevent the brand from actively engaging with customers and responding to critics. In fact, brands that have been very successful so far have focused on maximising the synergies and complementarities with physical stores. For instance, multi label boutiques like Lane Crawford and Neiman Marcus that have long started their e-commerce sites, do encourage and enable customers to pick up their e-purchases in store, or visit a store for exchanges or refunds. It is a way to drive double footfall and traffic both online and offline. The key differentiating factor of luxury brands is and will remain the store experience and customer service, hence many luxury brands feel that a consumer needs to ultimately walk into a store to experience this, in order to gain “true” customer loyalty in the long-term. In sum, digital engagement should be seen as a way to leverage an additional consumer touch point, rather than jeopardising existing sales.
Second, inherent to the notion of luxury is that it supposes to create a distance between the brand and its customers to create the dream. But this is in direct contradiction to the notion that social media and digital channels connect people with one another and lower the barriers to entry.
Article by: David Dubois
The power of image relates to how a brand can increase its brand awareness and value by embracing and leveraging different digital channels to reach consumers. It is further complicated when different consumer groups choose different digital channels. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogs, certain brands have compartmentalized their reach differently. This gives consumers the choice of which platform to be engaged with depending on which resonates most strongly with their lifestyle and desires, and also gives the opportunity for brands to intelligently use browsing data in order to more effectively target specific demographics.
The Burberry Facebook page for example, is very product driven, and lists many smaller accessory pick up items like wallets, clutches, sunglasses, versus their higher end exotic lines. It also features more of the brand’s music influences, which is not seen on its Twitter and Instagram accounts. The company’s Instagram account is much more “backstage” driven, with scenes of London; behind the scenes photo shoots; and live pictures from runway shows. This appeals to the slightly more visual and artistic customer who craves instant gratification from staying updated and plugged in real-time. The Mulberry blog, or journal is much more lifestyle-driven, and posts much less product, but more on styling influences, travel stories, events and even food recipes.
By giving people the opportunity to give their own representation of brands online, the digital revolution has led to much more fragmented, bottom-up, multifaceted brand building. In turn, this requires that luxury companies step up and strategically engage in image building with customers, and use digital platforms as a springboard for engagement and sales.
Article by: David Dubois
“One Size Fits All” is true in some areas, but that’s definitely not true in the world of luxury goods. Getting that information out about specialty brands is incredibly important. And it’s just as untrue that public relations groups fit every size. For different types of companies, a different public relations team is necessary and with a team skilled in marketing for luxury goods, there may just be a perfect match.
Some of the capabilities to look for in any luxury public relations include the ability to generate good media coverage. That means not only conveying your brand identity in the best way possible in the communications put out to the media, but choosing the right places for these messages to appear and a specialized public relations agency will have those connections in place. Having strong branding initiatives is also important, as a luxury brand’s products gain as much value from their messaging as from the product itself.
For luxury goods, the products are made to be seen, which is why any public relations firm dealing with said products should be prepared to handle a variety of events. That can mean film premieres, fashion shows, openings and launches for people, places or products, and even charity benefits. Events create public spectacle perfect for generating interest and capturing a brand’s essence.
In this day and age, any public relations firm should also be equipped to handle crises that occur at a moment’s notice, and frequently that occurs online, which is why online reputation management is also a key feature to look for.
Managing the public face of a company is a complicated task, both to make it effectively convey a brand’s identity and to keep that identity consistent. With experienced luxury product public relations professionals, you can be assured that your product is being represented in a way that is unique in the marketplace that is sure to be to your benefit.