Excellence in Property PR requires continual evolution

Following the publication of Promoting Property:  insight, experience and best practice, it is interesting to consider how the promotion of property is likely to continue to change.  Based on the successful publication of this book, I’m already compiling thoughts for a second edition!

First, the product itself is continually evolving. Changing approaches by policy makers, planners, developers and investors will alter the way in which we describe and promote property. Who would have thought 20 years ago that the word ‘luxury’ would be used to describe student housing, or that the focus of shopping centres would be as much about experiences as sales? Promoters of student housing increasingly need to focus on the quality of furnishings and smart technology, while those promoting retail will increasingly prioritise interactive art, ‘Instagrammable’ experiences and store-based digital experiences.

Consumer demands are also changing not only in relation to the product, but also in relation to the expectations of brands to behave ethically and to communicate purpose. The property manager that a developer selects, the practices that the developer carries out internally and even the PR company that it appoints are likely to be increasingly scrutinised. As part of the communications role, we should be prepared to respond to requests for information in relation to diversity, the gender pay gap, wellbeing and sustainability policies.

There is undoubtedly much that the property PR function, specifically the B2B function, can learn from consumer-facing industries such as FMCG, retail, leisure and hospitality – and in many areas this is already occurring as a result of integration with these sectors.

And just from a technical point of view, PR strategy must adapt to take into account changes in the media and the emergence of new communications channels, including AI, voice technology, VR and AR, continued changes in traditional media and their business models, accessibility to information held behind paywalls, the increasing micro-targeting of content, changes to the status of social media influencers, new approaches to weeding out fake news and ‘deep fake’ video and audio content, and many other areas of technological innovation.

Calls for greater environmental sustainability will continue to shape the function of property PR as the issues surrounding climate change become more urgent and greater regulation is brought about as a result. It will be increasingly necessary for PRs to understand the issues, the products, services, legislation and standards relating to sustainability. This includes using the right terminology, ensuring that information is accurate and does not mislead audiences – there can be no more greenwash. It also means being a strong advocate at board level to encourage property organisations to step up to probably the biggest and most urgent issue of our time.

Would you be interested in contributing to a future edition of Promoting Property:  insight, experience and best practice (in approximately five years’ time)?  If so, please get in touch.