One of the key findings from commercial real estate giant JLL’s recent report was that it highlighted the monumental boom the PropTech industry continues to experience.
To put this into perspective, the first six months of 2021 saw $9.7 billion of funding secured for companies within the PropTech sector, whilst the industry itself has grown over 300% during the past decade.
But technology and real estate haven’t always gone hand-in-hand. Prior to the pandemic, the sector was recognised as one of the slowest adopters of technology partly down to a mindset that wealth had already been created without the direct “need” for technology. So why change something that isn’t broken?
Something seismic needed to happen for this mindset to shift, something like a global pandemic…
Almost overnight, the real estate industry increased exponentially, companies had to embrace technology out of a necessity to survive rather than to thrive.
Virtual viewings became the norm whilst commercial spaces offered up virtual pop-up stores offering e-commerce opportunities instead.
It can be a daunting environment for up-and-coming start-ups trying to cut through the media landscape and ever-growing news agenda and get themselves heard.
For many starting out in the PropTech space, it can be a challenge knowing what tactics to implement, which journalists to approach, and ultimately how to deliver a robust communications strategy that is going to become an effective tool in your overall marketing mix.
Over the years as an agency, we have accumulated a wealth of experience within the PropTech space working with high profile clients such as the likes of student accommodation booking platform Housemates and peer-to-peer deposit gamechanger StepLadder.
With this experience, we understand that some PR tactics work better than others in achieving quality coverage, and recommend these ones in making your campaign successful. Here are some of the key tactics that we have implemented for our clients in the PropTech space.
Thought leadership and reactive commentary
A core concept of any PR push is making sure your key spokespeople are seen to be contributing their expertise in the media. This is especially important if your product or service offering isn’t entirely clear to consumers straight away.
This was the case with innovator StepLadder. When they first came to us, their initial goal was to create a buzz around their new product and drive mass awareness in the process.
But whilst a consumer push was needed certainly there was also a real need for building trust amongst consumers in not only the product but also the company.
With this in mind, we focused our pitching efforts on securing thought-leadership opportunities for co-founders Matthew Addison and Lucy Mullins discussing core property topics including the future of home buying, collaborative finance, first-time buying and community and financial wellbeing.
By demonstrating the company’s knowledge in the media, the company could use the coverage as proof of its expertise and start to build trust with consumers.
As part of this activity, we secured opportunities for the founders in the likes of the Daily Express, iNews and the Metro.
For consumer-facing campaigns that are designed to deliver app downloads, sign-ups and ultimately to drive interest in either a company or product, the power of a creative element shouldn’t be underestimated.
Whilst working with end-to-end student accommodation booking platform, Housemates, we created the #SaveOurStudents campaign which called on government to provide funding to support students and accommodation providers who had been impacted by the pandemic.
Throughout the campaign we secured coverage in the likes of The Telegraph and Mancunian Matters, and as a consequence of our campaign work, the company had three new operators sign up to host their accommodation on the Housemates platform. Alongside this, the company saw increased web traffic and a boost in positive sentiment towards the company online among students.
The use of case studies
Case studies provide an excellent opportunity for a brand to shout about their success and ultimately help to drive positive sentiment for the company, drive website traffic and increase enquiries.
During our time working with StepLadder and Housemates, the use of case studies played a crucial role in our campaigns.
For peer-to-peer deposit savings platform StepLadder we placed a story in The Guardian about Adebiyi Olusola, a self-employed consultant project manager who had struggled to save but thanks to the business managed to secure the sum needed for his deposit.
As a result of this coverage, StepLadder recorded a 250% uplift in web traffic and doubled their week-on-week application forms in the 48 hours after the piece went live.
Whilst for Housemates, we were able to place two case studies with The Daily Telegraph in an article regarding students who had experienced hardship during the pandemic due to paying for unused accommodation, which helped demonstrate first hand the issues Housemates was trying to solve for students through its campaign and drive more press coverage.
The tactics outlined above give just a flavour of what we can offer at The PHA Group, if you would like to talk further with us about your PR or social media requirements, please get in touch.