PR homes

New homes in new times – the role of PR in property development

The UK property sector is in a rather complex situation right now.

Rising interest rates, falling house prices, and vast demand for rental property have made buying and selling more difficult and onerous than ever before. An amalgamation of post-Brexit factors hitting supply chains has also put huge pressure on builders and property developers, shrinking bottom lines and the prospect of NIMBYism adds even more pressure onto already financially stretched developments.

It’s fair to say these are uncertain times, and uncertain times call for resolute comms.

If you are bringing a scheme to market over the coming months the role of PR will be key, here are a few pointers for your property pr purposes.

Engaging a property PR agency

The first, and most crucial question to ask yourself, is are you’re engaged with an agency which has specific and proven credentials within the property PR industry.

Industry trends can shift, and your agency needs to be on top of and ahead of these trends. If you are constantly chasing your comms team, flagging points of attention, then it’s time to re-evaluate that relationship. Your comms team should be the one flagging trends and themes, not the other way around.

To leverage a business’s reputation within any sector requires extensive experience and established sector-specific knowledge. This is why, in the case of the property sector, engaging with an established and experienced property PR agency is always the most effective approach.

Sustainability goals

The rise in prominence of ESG has given way to a huge increase in public awareness and knowledge around sustainable methods and practices. Developers now need to be able to tangible prove their sustainability credentials across the board.

This includes everything from the kinds of materials they’ll be using to build a property, the structure of their board, their investments and partnerships, and even the contractors they hire out to complete development works.

Consider what your ESG goals say about you as a business; it will have a lasting effect on your long-term prospects.

Corporate Communications

Selling to the public may be one thing, but selling to your investors is an entirely different prospect.

For developers relying on outside investment, then corporate communications become a crucial role within property PR.

Beyond investors, there may likely be a role for PR within public consultations and stakeholder engagement, particularly when it comes to large or potentially contentious planning applications and proposals.

Community engagement

If you’re a developer proposing a new development within an existing community, be aware that the members of that community now have their own wide variety of comms methods to potentially counter your proposals.

This is another circumstance where stakeholder engagement proves an invaluable tool. Engaging in an open and authentic way with local community groups can be a huge difference-maker in the property market.

Community leaders are hugely influential figures who should not be ignored. Their sway within their relative communities can cause a ripple effect, which if not managed correctly, can quickly escalate.

With this kind of stakeholder engagement, the balance must be struck between the obvious project goals and viability of the development and the needs and requests of the wider community.

From a reputation perspective, a developer who comes in and steamrolls over local authorities and the local community is not a good one. So too is a developer who succumbs to the demands of every single objection to a proposal, this not only damages the viability of a project but the industry reputation of a developer.

Property sector crisis communications

There may also come a time when developments and proposals reach the level of crisis management.

This could be ignited by all manner of situations, fractious relationships with community groups and local authorities, highly contentious development proposals or even issues during and beyond the build.

There are many moments during the property PR lifecycle when a crisis could arise. If and when one does, then having an experienced PR operator, not just within the property industry, button with local and potentially national media credentials is vital.

Proper crisis management, delivered by an experienced property PR agency will serve to maintain your industry presence and portfolio in the long term. Working to ensure your business’s reputation remains intact to support ongoing and future developments, as well as maintain positive relations with longstanding clients.

Selling off plan: is it easier than ever?

The challenge of how you get a potential buyer to emotionally invest in a property which was not yet been built isn’t a new thing.

It wasn’t that long ago, that a brochure in the sales suite was the only way to sell off-plan. But with the evolution of PR and marketing in recent years, estate agents and property industry professionals now have a wealth of options at their disposal.

Thinking outside the box developers and their proper PR agency can collaborate on all manner of creative options to sell off-plan.

Social media makes luring potential buyers easier than ever. But within the social landscape, you have the option of image, video, animation and more to see a site off-plan.

Going one step further, there are even more advanced creative and digital marketing tools at your disposal. There are now organisations which can create 3D virtual tours showcasing a built environment in lieu of physical development or structure.

Think beyond the bricks and mortar and consider the creative options at your disposal.

In summary

Engaging with an experienced property PR agency can provide you with many different benefits.

From content marketing, reputation management and crisis comms, to more standard communications services, the creation of press releases and subsequent media liaison, property public relations can serve many functions.

But these may functions all serve one goal. To build the profile and standing of your business within your industry.

Without meaningful property PR, and an experienced property pr agency to steer your comms threads, your business and your brand may never reach their true potential.

Here at AMBITIOUS PR, we love working with property companies to amplify their brand message and reach new clients and customers. We work with the likes of Origin Workspace and global brands including CBRE. For a chat about how we can support your residential property launch, contact the AMBITIOUS team at [email protected].