Property consultancies and the online revolution

A centuries’ old name is not enough to ensure success in centuries to come; neither is a decades’ old approach. I interviewed several PR directors of property consultancies for my book Promoting Property:  insight, experience and best practice and more than one of them commented that today’s environment is one of ‘adapt or die’: property consultancies have no option but to function online.

It goes without saying that an online service requires online promotion. But the same is true of those services which are still – for the moment at least – primarily offline.

From Valuation to Planning, services are evolving with the proptech revolution: from real-time analytics dashboards and heat maps with live data fields to BIM and virtual reality.

Possibly the most significant impact of the online revolution is speed. Not only does digital content travel at unprecedented rates, but in a 24/7, information-driven and highly connected environment, expectations for both online and offline resources have increased. The challenge for PR is to ensure the accuracy of the information which is being communicated at speed: never should the race to release information result in a lowering of standards, because in an online world, damage to reputation can also travel at speed.

The nature of the information that is produced is different too: weighty reports are replaced with snippets of information that can be communicated via Twitter; conversely limitless data can be made available – but making it appeal to its intended readership requires considerable PR skill.

The potential for emails and direct messaging on social media to ‘go viral’ has obfuscated what was a previously a clear option to communicate either one-to-one or one-to-many. Similarly the decline of traditional media in relation to the potential for a property consultancy to promote news on its website has complicated the ‘pull’ versus ‘push’ factors in communicating a message. The online revolution is re-writing communications theory.

Read more about the subject in Penny Norton’s book Promoting Property:  insight, experience and best practice, which was published in April 2020 and can be purchased from Routledge, Amazon and all main booksellers.