Expanding One of the Nation’s Top Four Residential Brokerage Firms into the West

From “For Sale” signs across NYC’s Upper Eastside to celebrity agents on TV’s famed “Million Dollar Listing,” the Douglas Elliman (DE) name is linked to highly sought-after agents and extremely coveted listings. Synonymous with real estate dominance on the East Coast, the firm wanted to head west and do the same. The firm tapped THO to join the team and make this happen.

The Challenge

THO needed to leverage Douglas Elliman’s East Coast reputation to firmly establish, and quickly grow, roots in the West. The goal: expand its reputation and recruit and retain the top agents in both Colorado and California to bring listings and clients to their roster.

The Solution

Attracting and retaining top talent in the industry became the primary focus of the THO-constructed public relations program. The plan was designed to elevate the brand using success stories, agent profiles, and firm-differentiating highlights, making it ‘the place to be’ for successful, results-driven agents.  

THO implemented a multi-pronged approach focusing on People, Property & Platform using the following strategies:   

  • Promote existing, significantly outstanding listings with historical, architectural, or celebrity notoriety;
  • Leverage senior level market expertise to establish DE executives as credible, knowledgeable and seasoned real estate experts;
  • Focus on highlighting the firm’s core value propositions, directly connecting the firm to agents possibly seeking a new home; and
  • Maximize community engagement at high-profile events like Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Evening on the Beach and other Elliman Arts initiatives to accentuate their community involvement.

Results

THO’s initial launch into the market resulted in more than 400 million impressions for Douglas Elliman in nationally prominent outlets such as The Wall St. Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, Bloomberg Pursuits, Architectural Digest and more. This program solidified the firm’s reputation as one of the top brokerage firms in both local and national markets.

THO secured profiles and interviews which allowed Douglas Elliman agents to speak to both their actual listings, and their expertise in key neighborhoods. Beyond agent interviews and specific listings, THO promoted numerous notable properties and high-dollar Douglas Elliman transactions, one of which was the sale of a $90 million Holmby Hills estate, the second highest residential sale in LA at the time. THO also garnered significant coverage surrounding Douglas Elliman’s quarterly market reports for the Los Angeles and Aspen regions, guaranteeing the brokerage’s role as a top industry resource.

Takeaways

In well-established markets where numerous brokerages are entrenched in a high-stakes real estate scene, a newcomer could get lost in the shuffle. These few, but important steps can help ensure success:

  1. Develop a brand’s unified voice
  2. Engage and support internal and external company stakeholders
  3. Establish consistent methods for sharing market knowledge and expertise

The Hoyt Organization

Public Relations Firms Specializing in Real Estate

Working in the public relations industry presents numerous exciting angles. In an ever-changing and ever-expanding industry, it is essential to know the news and trends. This holds especially true in your clients’ industries. This is no exception for public relations firms specializing in real estate.

The following is five reasons why public relations firms specializing in real estate are the only option for your real estate business.

You don’t want a public relations firm to guess their way to success.

Communicating strategically for a business specializing in real estate is not something that you can figure out as you go. You know this, your business knows this, and PR firms with proven experience in real estate know this. The industry is far too complex and too quickly changing to get quality through guess work. PR firms specializing in real estate know that the nuances of the industry can make it difficult to jump into. For example, an agency that focuses on public relations for consumer and lifestyle brands may not have an easy time transferring their knowledge to the real estate sector.

Experience means they already know what’s going on in your world.

As a real estate public relations firm, we have the ability to work in this industry with confidence and proven success. The Hoyt Organization is already monitoring real estate trends. We also are a PR firm representing healthcare, and a public relations firm representing behavioral health. We are a PR firm representing consumer/lifestyle, and a PR firm representing finance. While we are able to be multi-faceted, it is important for businesses seeking public relations firms to find an agency with in-house, proven real estate experience.

You don’t just want content – you want quality content distributed over the right channels at the right time.

Real estate PR firms know the best outlets and reporters to connect with to cover the exciting things happening in your business and the projects you are working on. A large aspect of PR is writing. This could be a press release, or ghost-writing a byline for a principal at a firm. While it’s not necessary to be an expert in everything, real estate and architecture are fields you have to have a solid understanding of before you start writing for high level principals or executives.

They know what you need.

You may be new to the world of public relations. When starting out, you might not fully understand what the impact is. It can be tricky to understand the capacity of public relations work and how it can benefit you if you are otherwise unfamiliar. Unless the agency you’re working with truly knows real estate, they won’t be able to perform at their best. If they’re not well-versed, you won’t see the best results. Finding an agency that specializes in your world will cut back on hours spent trying to understand it, saving you money and increasing the quality of your work in the long run.

It’s a partnership.

Working with an agency that truly understands your industry is invaluable due to the experience brought to the table. Your business is not just hiring them to do your public relations. You’re partnering with them to grow your business, communicate strategically and to bring new ideas to the table. You want any PR campaign to be a turning point for the company.

At the end of the day, you want someone who can be an asset to your business. Find someone who has proven experience with your industry, and can show you their successes.

THO

Making Real Estate Economics Matter to Millions of Californians

  • Industry

    • Nonprofits/Institutions
    • Real Estate
  • Services

    • Brand Awareness & Enhancement
    • Content Generation
    • Media Training
    • Thought Leadership
    • Strategic Communications & Media Relations

The University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate comprises many of the world’s foremost real estate economists and educators. Its mission is to advance real estate knowledge, inform business practice, and address timely issues that affect the real estate industry, the urban economy, and public policy. Among the center’s frequent research offerings is the Casden Multifamily Forecast, which measures average rents and apartment vacancies across Southern California.

The Challenge
THO identified that the forecast was simply not reaching the right audience. THO decided to establish the actual forecast itself as a thought leader and information source for not only real estate professionals, but also the larger Southern California population.

The Solution

THO reimagined the Casden Forecast’s media materials to sharpen their focus and apply the data and forecast models to the current affordable housing crisis in Southern California.  During this particular year, THO identified that each of the regions analyzed – Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, San Diego County and the Inland Empire – could expect triple-digit increases in monthly apartment rents over the following two years. The real story became one of affordability – a true departure from the days when media coverage focused on the data’s impact on developers and practitioners.

THO’s plan focused on meeting the following objectives:

  • Work closely with Casden Multifamily Forecast authors to identify news angles specifically related to affordable housing;
  • Identify and target reporters and editors who provide fair and objective coverage of the affordable housing shortage in Southern California; and
  • Engage in an intensive media relations program to communicate with key targets in the weeks leading up to the Casden Forecast’s release.

Results

THO’s campaign resulted in nearly 50 media placements with national and local print and broadcast media, as well as real estate and other trade publications.

On day one of the forecast’s unveiling, the USC Lusk Center was supported by coverage in the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Orange County Register, and dozens of other high-profile print publications; every local television station, including KABC, KCBS, KTLA and KNBC; multiple 24-hour news radio stations and National Public Radio affiliates; and, of course, dozens of real estate trade outlets.

Takeaways

Any important news item requires a thorough and fastidious assessment of which of its elements are most compelling and most impactful.  Creating a strategic plan that ensures the news item hits the marketplace in a way that supports an organization’s goals while making forward progress is paramount.

In this case, THO identified the high value of the Casden Forecast’s impact on renters, and created a larger – and more national-centric – news story on how affordable housing dictates movement within the broader Southern California marketplace.  



The Hoyt Organization

Building Brand Awareness for a National Architecture Firm

  • Industry

    • Design & Construction
    • Real Estate
  • Services

    • Brand Awareness & Enhancement
    • Content Generation
    • Media Training
    • Thought Leadership
    • Strategic Communications & Media Relations

A well-known architectural firm wanted to enhance their presence in not only their local markets and industry specialties, but the national arena as well. They turned to THO with its strategic PR expertise to expand their digital footprint while raising the overall brand recognition of the firm.

The Challenge

While the firm was extremely well known in its immediate circles of influence, the goal was to push the firm’s reputation into the next tier. To accomplish this goal, THO developed an intense thought leadership campaign focused on enhancing their national visibility, as well as within their two key regional markets, Kansas City and Dallas. Crucial to the program was raising the visibility of target principals for the firm, and highlighting some of the firm’s key projects.

The Solution

A hand selected group of company leaders were chosen as the initial team. All were media trained and introduced to the overarching program before they were able to participate. A full-scale public relations effort, which centered on an intense media relations campaign, was developed. A thought leadership program was created which highlighted truly insightful and different opinions which were, in turn, presented to each of the firm’s primary markets.

Results

With strategic pitching and a carefully executed media plan, THO successfully secured coverage in some of the biggest regional and national media outlets and highly revered industry trade publications including USA Today, Healthcare Design, Architectural Record, and the Kansas City Business Journal. In the first six months of the campaign, more than 60 media placements were achieved, all of which strengthened their digital footprint and supported social media outreach. The goal of the program, which was to push the firm’s visibility into the next level of influence, was achieved with flying colors.

With the more than 60 placements in major digital outlets totaling an estimated value of more than $700,000, we were able to raise their digital footprint and expand their social media outreach in the most cost-effective way.

Takeaways

As in most cases, for a successful and strategic media relations plan to reach all facets of industry and geographical locations, a well-planned, well thought out timeline and focus is key. Ensuring key company spokespersons receive actual media training on dealing with the press corps is a key element to presenting them as insightful thought leaders.

The Hoyt Organization

Boosting Recruitment by Promoting Company Culture

  • Industry

    • Commercial & Residential Real Estate
    • Design & Construction
    • Consumer Lifestyle
  • Services

    • Strategic public & media relations
    • Social & digital media
    • Content generation
    • Brand enhancement & awareness
    • Internal Media training

Today, recruiting and retaining top talent in the architecture, construction and engineering industries is a major challenge given the highly competitive job market. One company, Las Vegas-based Forté Specialty Contractors (Forté), decided to focus on their company culture to position their company as a great place to work. This fundamental value is what allows Forté, a specialty general contractor, to deliver the highest quality projects to some of the biggest names in entertainment and hospitality.

The Challenge

The firm turned to THO to create a program designed to attract talented employees and secure their loyalty to promote unique aspects of company culture and employee benefits, in addition to the work itself. The program used traditional media channels as well as social media tools to not only raise their overall visibility but to reach current and prospective employees.

The Solution
To support Forté’s recruitment and employee retention efforts, THO created a two-pronged external communications program, involving both media relations and social media campaigns.

The media relations program was aimed at securing profile features highlighting the CEO’s unique leadership style and company structure. The social media program consisted of generating content for dissemination across the company’s social media platforms, leveraging the credibility of earned media placements to directly reach the organization’s target audiences and include a call to action.

This two-pronged approach was designed to meet the following objectives:

  • Increase awareness of Forté’s unique company culture and structure
  • Communicate to current and potential employees that Forté values its team members
  • Demonstrate that Forté works on cutting-edge projects and is a leader in the industry, making it an exciting place to work

Results

As the number of media outlets covering the ACE industries is limited, THO crafted pitches highlighting Forté’s many areas of in-house expertise to source additional opportunities in publications of diverse subject matters.

The campaign resulted in several profile features highlighting the CEO, his unique management style, the company itself and its many groundbreaking projects. Earned media placements appeared in key regional and national outlets, including those focused on business and finance, construction, hospitality, design, theme parks and more, positioning the company as a leading expert and effectively widening its reach into the pool of qualified and talented industry professionals.

The social media program resulted in a 42 percent increase in LinkedIn followers and a 35 percent increase in Facebook followers. Additionally, the program resulted in multiple employment inquiries and increased positive social engagement among existing employees.

Takeaways

When leveraging content for dissemination via social media, ensure that the tone and information offered are appropriate to each individual outlet. When seeking to boost recruitment efforts, determine what differentiates a company and its leadership from competitors and highlight that. Finally, to expand the reach of a company to its target audiences, find ways to appeal to a variety of audiences outside the “usual suspects.”

The Hoyt Organization

Rebranding an Innovative Tech Start-up that Revolutionized its Industry

  • Industry

    • FinTech
    • Real estate
    • Finance
  • Services

    • Brand Awareness & Enhancement
    • Strategic Communications & Media Relations

Auction.com, the nation’s largest online real estate marketplace and considered the “eBay of real estate since 2007,” decided to change its name to Ten-X in January of 2016.

The Hoyt Organization had worked tirelessly for five years to reach a cherished goal: Ensure that Auction.com achieved at least one clip per day for every day of the year. When the decision was made to rebrand, the client’s primary concern and objective was that Ten-X quickly and effectively permeate the marketplace.

The Challenge

Ensure that Ten-X, like Auction.com, averaged at least one story per day in targeted publications for every day of the year.

The Solution

The primary objective over the course of a year was to manage the brand by ensuring a seamless transition from Auction.com to Ten-X. THO set an internal goal of ensuring that the average clip/day count was maintained and, in most months, accelerated from one brand to the next.

Since every target publication had covered Auction.com over the company’s nearly ten-year history, THO cross-checked an extensive list of every reporter and editor who had written about the company. This list included more than 1,000 contacts.

Upon finalization of the materials which would unveil the new Ten-X brand, embargoed outreach to a top-tier list of approximately 200 reporters and editors began. Once these stories were negotiated, THO initiated outreach to the full list of more than 1,000 writers to ensure both coverage of the re-brand and awareness of the name change to ensure continuity of daily coverage.

THO also served as diligent traffic cops to identify and correct any outdated or incorrect uses of the new brand.

Results

From July 2015-June 2016, despite a significant name change and 100% rebrand, the program maintained the company’s media dominance. As a result, the Ten-X name hit the marketplace without losing even the slightest bit of traction. Over the course of the subsequent one-year period, the campaign placed 621 reporter-authored stories, an average of 1.7 articles per day.

Takeaways

Careful planning and building relationships are the two biggest drivers of success in any media campaign. In this case, the client and reporter alike knew there would be a continuity of service and expertise that transcended any brand. It’s because THO is known for, and provided, trusted customer service to both the client and targeted media outlets.  

The Hoyt Organization

Unveiling a New Housing Model for the Millennial Generation

A new 208-unit multifamily project designed specifically to meet the needs of the Millennial generation was under construction. After conducting in-depth research, the developer embarked on a project branded Elevé, a complex designed specifically to meet the needs of Millennials. But what does that mean? The focus was on creating a development that speaks to how Gen Y lives, not just where.

The complex consisted of micro-units with a focus on amenities such as a 26,000-square-foot sky-deck that housed a full-service dog park, an outdoor movie theatre, a rooftop sports bar with barbeque, two spas, and a number of sustainable features such as electric car charging stations, space for organic gardens, on-site recycling center and parking for 75 bicycles. The developer turned to THO to create a program to unveil this exciting new product.

THE CHALLENGE
At the time of the opening, multifamily development was at an all-time high in Los Angeles. Additionally, Millennials generally prefer living in dense, diverse urban areas over suburban environments. With Elevé located in Glendale, California — a city known for its tranquility ‒ the outreach needed to include key messages regarding the more artistic, vibrant and creative side of Glendale.

THO’S SOLUTION
THO developed a public relations campaign which focused on the impact that Millennials had on the market, as well as the lack of housing for young professionals. It highlighted the complex not only as the place to be for the Millennial generation, but also the surrounding area which included a wide variety of restaurants, nearby shops and a myriad of other amenities within walking distance. In addition, the developer was positioned as the market expert in meeting the needs of the current rental market. The goal was, of course, to get it leased as quickly as possible.

RESULTS
The results were astounding. The open house included a full-scale tour of the project with extensive electronic coverage on several major news stations including KTTV and KABC. The initial launch resulted in feature coverage in the business section of the Los Angeles Times, CurbedLA, Globest.com, The Industry Insider, HousingWire, Bisnow.com, and more, with major pick up in all verticals. In the following six months, over 80 articles were secured in addition to the broadcast coverage.

The project was more than 75% leased within months of the pre-grand opening, and fully leased shortly thereafter.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Highlight a variety of benefits and amenities to appeal to a greater number of potential renters
  • Leverage recent surveys, statistics, market reports, etc. to provide third-party credibility and supporting points to your launch
  • Make sure the visuals are compelling and interesting

The Hoyt Organization

How Can We Help?

Make us your first call if you’re launching a new product or service, re-branding or encounter a need for media relations or crisis communications. We’re here for you:

  • Targeted PR
  • Strategic Communications
  • Social & Digital Media Strategies
  • Crisis Communications
  • Marketing & Design