In 2022, we saw a slew of challenges in many industries. Real estate was not an exception. Last year, we saw first-hand the ripple effects of rising interest rates, inflation, and consumer demand at an all-time high. Project starts were postponed by developers, and as a result of these macroeconomic factors, national home sales slowed significantly.
With the Bank of Canada not anticipating a return to the2% target for CPI inflation until the end of 2024, we expect to see both project and home sales move slowly throughout 2023. As a result, developers and real estate brokerages must get more creative if their projects are going to stand out and pique consumer interest.
At Talk Shop, our team works with some of Canada’s leading developers across the residential, commercial, and industrial markets. We also work with other professionals that support the industry, such as brokerages, architects, and construction companies. Now, one month into 2023, I want to share some predictions and marketing trends I’m seeing for the year ahead.
Events Are Back, And Developers Are Stepping Up Their Game
Pandemic restrictions brought in-person events to a halt from 2020 onwards. Only in Q3 and Q4 of 2022 did we see the demand for events return. Over the past six months, requests for event management services have increased significantly. Further, attendance at these events has been phenomenal. We have exceeded pre-pandemic participation, showing there is an appetite to connect in person, share ideas, and learn from one another. Our team at Talk Shop expects to see this trend continue. With the move into warmer weather, creativity is going to be fundamental as events look to move outdoors and entertain the masses.
Hosting a custom event is just one component of the bigger picture. We’re seeing clients go the extra mile to create tailored invitations or branded VIP boxes for media, influencers, realtors, and prospective clients. With our developer clients, what we’re seeing is branded boxes that give consumers a sense of the neighbourhood they could be moving into. There is a focus on hyperlocal, with gifts coming from neighbourhood shops and boutiques, including locally sourced items with chocolates, local wine, candles, custom cocktail kits, or wellness gifts. These items will be in keeping with the building's amenities, giving potential purchasers a sense of the lifestyle they could be embarking upon.
Influencer events continue to be popular, especially in the rental space. Some campaigns we’re working on include hosting influencers for a weekend getaway in a rental project or hosting an exclusive dinner party to showcase the design and functionality of a new development while creating high-quality, unique content for social media that can be distributed across channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
As we plan events for this year, creating unique content creation opportunities is a top priority for our developer clients to maximize the digital reach of an event. Realtor events, as an example, present a fantastic opportunity to bring a professional videographer on-site, capturing the top realtors as they tour a project site. This footage can be used to create short 30-second videos to share on social media, highlighting their personality and introducing the project authentically to their audiences. Developers can then re-distribute the content, maximizing on their investment in organic content creation.
Thought Leadership is Fundamental When Building Your Profile
Trust in a brand is more important than ever before. The environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of organizations is top of mind for many in 2023, and the most recent Consumer Insights data from PwC cements its importance. Developers and players in the real estate industry need to understand what ESG issues matter most to their prospective buyers, investors, and partners in order to establish trust.
Experts in the real estate space can build their profile through earned media opportunities, by offering market commentary, sharing their stance on an industry matter in an opinion piece, or even through strategic awards submissions. In turn, this can help strengthen brand awareness and simultaneously build strong SEO to support web traffic and drive organic, inbound leads. This content can then be repurposed on social media, supporting high-profile leaders to expand their network, and reach potential investors or partners.
The Importance of Reviews and Seamless Customer Experience
In this saturated market, buyers and consumers are doing their homework more than ever and taking power into their own hands to research companies online before they even step foot into a PC. This year, many of our clients have already expressed interest in putting a thoughtful review generation strategy in place. This typically includes an audit of current platforms and sentiment, identification of opportunities for positive reviews, training PC and sales staff on how to create and deliver a great customer experience and effectively collect more positive reviews, creating more consumer touchpoints, and implementing processes and guidelines to manage these reviews online effectively and consistently.
Humanizing Your Brand Through Digital Marketing is Key
Social media continues to create a pathway for brands to connect with consumers and vice versa. This year, we will continue to see a greater number of buyers turning to social media in their search for a property. That said, real estate and development companies need a well-established online presence that humanizes their brand and shifts away from a stiff corporate culture, and we’re starting to see our clients embrace this. Traditionally, developers have been slow to make this move and meet consumers at an approachable level, but by focusing on branding, the result can be two-fold. Interested buyers can quickly discover if alignment exists between their values and those of the organization, and prospective employees have an opportunity to peek inside the inner workings of their future employer as it relates to philanthropy, culture, and their body of work.
Video marketing data gathered by Wyzowl in 2022 showed 96% of marketers continue to value video as an important part of their marketing strategy. Developers, consultancy groups, brokerage firms, and most other real estate organizations can benefit from leveraging video content. As you make decisions on where to invest your marketing dollars in 2023, video will be key; video content with the best potential for engagement includes direct testimonials from clients or buyers, a behind-the-scenes look at corporate culture, or even a quick snippet that shows the detail that goes into a design feature helps to build a rapport and engage your online community. We’re still seeing a lot of static photography on social feeds in real estate, but shifting to quality video content should not be overlooked at this point.
Actioning Change with Strategic, Thoughtful Strategies
On January 25, the Bank of Canada announced another interest rate increase. Developers, however, need to look beyond 2023, and ten to 20 years forward to ensure projects are successful and smart marketing strategies are engaged. Through experiential events, thought leadership, and a firm commitment to ESG initiatives, they will remain successful and a major driver of the Canadian economy. My team thrives on a challenge, and we’re excited to continue to work with our clients to support this crucial industry at the forefront of our economy.
Cover photo via Talk Shop Media/Instagram