Flashback to August of 2009, when this column, Branding Buildings Better first made an appearance as a regular featured blog on RENX.
It was the height of the economic collapse. The Real Estate industry was reeling. Every day there were headlines about companies closing, portfolios plunging, and people losing their jobs. I sat in my own very quiet office, with just a few staff left as our clients shuttered their real estate developments, or put future plans for promotion on hold. I started to think that this unexpected moment of contemplation was, just maybe, a moment to reflect on the boom times we’d just been through, and how to do things better when the market inevitably rebounded. How could our industry do things differently? How could we gain the respect of the home-buyers we were working for? How could we, as real-estate marketers, make a difference?
Then it hit me. All around us people were looking for information. They were scared. They had felt the impact of the recession and it hadn’t felt good. They wanted certainty. They craved facts they could rely on. They wanted to make smart decisions and the stakes were high. They wanted the truth.
So I wrote a book for real estate developers called Sell The Truth. It was about this notion that maybe we, as the real estate development industry, needed to do more. Maybe we could use our old tried-and-true communication tools in a better way. Maybe we could also use these new online tools – kooky new things like Facebook and Twitter – to help get the truth out there to the people who were searching for it.
And I figured that if I was going to spend a lot of time talking about helping people make the right decisions about housing purchases, that I better walk-the-walk and spend a lot of time telling my customers – real estate developers – about how to do it. How do you teach old dogs new tricks? How do you get an industry to think new thoughts?
So I started writing. For RENX. For a whole lot of other outlets too. For print magazines and social media channels. For trade publications. I was even blogging on the radio in Vancouver once a week.
Fast forward three years later. That’s right, three years. And here we are today after more than 150 weekly posts for RENX; plus hundreds of other articles and blogs; two books; and countless speeches at industry events and seminars. And what have I learned?
I learned how to survive a recession. (I’ll be even better at it next time.) More importantly I learned how an industry can change. How an entire global power shift – from a world where only a few could create the news to a world where we are all the media – can rock the preconceived notions of generations of an industry like marketing and branding. And that how the widespread panic-driven adoption of new methods and new tools that seem like a silver bullet will eventually settle down and become part of the panoply of the expected. Who doesn’t embrace truth in our industry today? There are still a few hold-outs, but they will largely remain incorrigible. But for the most part, the conversations in the boardrooms I’m in have changed from incredulity and disbelief that there are new tools and higher expectations, to conversations about how these new tools and expectations can work to help us sell more homes to more people.
And so, it’s time for me to be even more strategic about how I spend my time. Instead of this column for RENX, I’ll be making more speeches across the country, writing more books, and hopefully, convincing more real estate developers to help their customers make smart decisions.
If you’re a real estate developer who would like to know more about our company, and how we use the philosophy of Sell The Truth to help your prospects to buy the home that is right for them, please, give me a call at 604 739 4295, and you can always find us online at www.braunallison.com. I also hope many of you will follow me on Twitter where my name is @BAdavid.
So that’s it. The last post. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know you all, and getting to talk with many of you in person. Please stay in touch. And watch for my byline from time to time as the editor of this online news channel and I cook up special projects. To toss one final cliché into the world, then, it’s not really good-bye, it’s just so long for now.