Let’s begin with the back story. A few months ago, I was in a typical meeting discussing typical CRE projects when a rather dynamic broker asked, “Hey, could you guys explode the building?” Wait, what? “Yeah, I mean it’s going to be demo’d by whoever buys it, so can you guys show that happening to really sell the story?” Well, we are very good at building buildings; we bring office towers, industrial sites, and retail pads out of virtual ground all the time. But, visually demolishing (or blowing up as he put it) might be a little tricky.
I brought the requested task back to my team of FX dynamos and, of course, they had a proposed solution, a budget friendly one at that, in a matter of minutes. And, we dramatically blew up an asset to showcase conceptual renderings of assets that could successfully take its place. The video went viral (well, CRE viral). It is, by far, our most requested sample and most memorable one at that. You can check out the destruction in the link near the end of this blog post.
This project, for me, was a mental turning point. I had been preaching effective storytelling for a few years, but it was as though I got even more clarity with this demolition video. In this one project lay the perfect example of the paradigm shift occurring throughout the world of commercial real estate.
We have all heard from those who say brokerage is a dying service. They argue that data tech will soon make the need for brokers on both ends obsolete. I am leading a group of tech pioneers in this industry, and I emphatically disagree with this sentiment! Technology is an inanimate tool, business is driven by people using tools. In fact, I think the explosion of CRE tech is going to craft a new playing field for brokers. It is doing for CRE what Youtube and Netflix have done for the entertainment industry.
Back to the implosion project. The reason this video is so significant is that it demonstrates the impact (no pun intended) that media and more so the accessibility to media is having on the industry. Before the advent of social media and before shareable media platforms like Youtube and Vimeo, the most prolific voice in a project was the of the broker. The “marketing” was more a resource for information rather than a front lines herald. But times are changing, quickly.
The video was successful because the broker was a dynamic sales person and a visionary media junkie. He put his message, his personality, and his sales approach into a visual tool that was able to touch more eyes and ears than he ever could. He used technology to enhance his impact, but it was entirely based on what he brought to the project. Let’s go back to the Youtube comparison. New celebrities are born every day it seems. Fame that took past generations of stars years to establish, can be solidified with one successful Youtube show.
Agents and studios are still thriving, but the open market platforms have allowed alternate paths to stardom, and I would argue that this seismic shift is only getting stronger. It is creating an open field for talent. If you can use your skills to gain an audience, you can win.
The same shift is happening in CRE. Data is commonly shared in ways that have transformed the industry, and now marketing is making the same leap. If you are early to the game (which is where we are now), you can capitalize on a rather wide-open field. Scoring audience is easier now than it will ever be. You can quickly stand out and have your project garner vast attention in ways still relatively new to the CRE commoner. But, the trend is ramping. And, what is now an advantage will soon shift into common practice and then those who win the distribution and content races will be reaping the ultimate rewards.
In short, media is shareable. It is in everyone’s daily feed and now a part of almost every professional’s daily life. However, the media does not a broker make. There is still very much an art to brokerage services. It is part salesmanship, part bulldog work ethic, and part intuitive data cruncher. The paradigm shift demonstrated by the virtual demolition video is the ability to take these skills to a much wider audience, and the cool thing is everyone can compete on this new stage!
Here are some tips if you are ready to capitalize on emerging media technology to impress your ownerships and gain a wide audience for your property:
Tip 1 - Focus your media on the four key elements of your sales story: The physical asset, the location story, the persuasive data & the lifestyle picture you want to paint. Don’t let media professionals talk you out of your sales story! Maps aren't boring!
Tip 2 - Keep it interesting, dynamic, and digestible…. Our research shows 90s for a video production is the sweet spot for attention spans these days. VR/interactives, while sometime cool, can actually be detrimental to your pitch if done incorrectly.
Tip 3 - Be CREative! Technologies have revolutionized our ability to bring visualization and FX into real world schedules and budgets. Be like the broker who asked, “Hey, can we blow it up?” Take your powerful storytelling skills and think outside of the traditional box on how to relay them into tools that work for you!