Innovative Social Campaigns Earn Prestigious Awards for CENTURY 21®

I’m pleased to report that this summer the CENTURY 21® brand celebrated a fourth consecutive win during this year’s advertising awards season collecting a Gold Andy Award, Gold and Silver One Show Pencils and the People’s Choice Award at the Webby Awards for innovative social creative content.  These are some of the most prestigious awards ever achieved by the iconic real estate brand for its marketing efforts.

Constant Digital Production

Constant Digital Production

For the past year, the social media team has been focused on maintaining the brand’s position as the number one most-trafficked real estate franchise website and providing unique social content that drives conversations and engagement opportunities for CENTURY 21 affiliated brokers and agents.

A major part of our strategy was to grab the attention of industry and the consumer by matching our content strategy with our tag line: “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.®  Having come from the PR industry and now fully dedicated to driving lead generation, traffic and brand preference initiatives on the digital team, I’ve seen the evolution of the media environment first-hand. Generating a news headline in a mass media publication like the NY Times used to be an achievement that would linger for a few weeks, maybe even a month.  No longer the case.  Today’s media environment demands constant digital production across multiple channels to fuel inbound marketing opportunities, engage with various target audiences and support SEO efforts.

So, for aspiring public relations professionals…campaigns that take 30 days to plan and execute for one week’s worth (if it is a major campaign) of coverage across mass media, its time to change your mental model of what PR is in the year 2014. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like the Super Bowl to drive publicity, but there are only so many Super Bowls.  So, if you are not sponsoring a major event every day, what are you going to do to inspire your fans, consumers, sales force, and other stakeholders on a daily basis?

In 2013 in conjunction with Eric Montague and Tim Cawley we executed a concept called “Drumbeat.”  The essence of the new reality of digital marketing is that you must produce high-quality, low-cost digital creative to feed the beast, which is no longer just mass media, but all digital / social media.

How is the team doing it? By creating shareable social media moments to be seen far and wide, via a mix of content – photos, memes and videos – across the brand’s most popular social channels like FacebookTwitterYouTubeGoogle+Instagram and Pinterest.

This form of marketing is not for the feint of heart. I can tell you the journey from the beginning of this new way of thinking about corporate marketing was not an easy one. Creating “co-collaborators” within a complex corporate matrix takes time and patience. Legal and leadership have to know and feel comfortable that you are doing everything by the book and they have to buy-in to the concept, as expedited reviews are a major element in creating topical campaigns that leverage the news cycle.  Patience, persistence and just the right amount of moxie, or as Cawley describes it, This is creative for the speed of the Internet. Topical event. Have and idea. Produce it. Socialize it. Collect hardward at next year’s creative shows. Done. Well, actually not done, as you have to do it again next week and the week after. This is the new timetable for creative. Get used to it. No time and no money no longer mean bad work.”

Throughout the past year, the brand has generated real-time social campaigns celebrating the following:

  • U.S. Soccer Victory Dance – a video victory dance celebrating each time the U.S. Soccer team scores a goal in the World Cup
  • Lawn Invasion – A group of lawn ornaments “Fears the Sign” as their neighborhood friends disappear as the CENTURY 21® SOLD sign goes up in the yards around their homes
  • Easter – something for the littlest ones in the family, a video with footage of the “real” Easter Bunny outside a CENTURY 21 listing
  • Valentine’s Day – a little Barry White spirit with love poem videos to set the mood
  • New Years Day – the launch of the first ever National Stay at Home Day with the help of brand partners Dish and Snuggie
  • Holiday Season – a video series featuring Gingerbread real estate agents selling Gingerbread homes
  • Thanksgiving – a custom rock song for Turkey Day, aptly titled, the Tryptophan Slow Jam. Not only is it a 60’s style throwback, but the tune will remain stuck in your head for days
  • Halloween – a series of haunted house videos with the tagline, “Slightly haunted? Yeah, we could sell that.”
  • The Series Finale of Breaking Bad – a phony listing of Walter White’s house on Craigslist, chockfull of insider show references, as well as a phone number with a voicemail that asked callers to share their thoughts on the finale
  • The Royal Baby – a Facebook post welcoming baby George, and their need to upgrade to a bigger place

The payoff…a very proud CMO!

“I am very proud of the recognition this work has received,” added Thorne. “However, we are not sitting back as we enter the peak months of the 2014 home buying and selling season. The brand is as committed as ever to putting CENTURY 21 affiliated real estate professionals front and center with consumers in more unexpected, clever and highly sharable ways!”

Oh, and before I forget…the most important thing of all.  I am humbled and honored to have played a small role in creating a new space for creative minds to flourish and innovate.  The trophies ain’t bad either!

AndyAward

Top 5 Things I learned at Inman Connect San Francisco

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

First, let me congratulate Brad Inman and his team for an excellent conference this week. The content was deep and broad covering topics from “The Uberfication of the Real Estate Industry” to “Success in a Dress.”  The keynotes were interesting, but the highlight had to be Guy Kawasaki‘s Top Ten…well…really 12, but who’s counting.  He has a very real, down to earth charm and is a very entertaining presenter.  If you want to “Hack” his top ten just search #ICSF #Guy Kawasaki via Twitter and I’m confident you will be able to piece all 10 together from the mass of tweets that were being banged out on smart devices large and small in the grand ballroom. Without further adeau, here are the top five (5) things I learned at Inman Connect San Francisco:

  1. Mobile Apps are becoming more available to the masses to develop.  On Start-Up Alley there may have been 10 of the estimated 30+ companies who were in attendance.  At least two of the start-up app companies that I visited with were tied to enabling agents / brokers to create an online network of service providers.  The apps are definitely useful in that it ties the agent / broker to the center of the transaction for their customer.  If I’m buying / selling a home, it is likely that you will need a plumber, drywaller, electrician, mortgage broker, title service etc.  Many of these apps enable the agent to create, manage, and recommend local service providers.
  2. Many broker / agents struggle to enable adoption of technology initiatives. @eddieredwood from C21 Redwood had some great recommendations as did everry other member of his panel.  Main points were to bring the agents into the process early on.  Help them to understand how the technology benefits them in growing their business. After an agent realizes that he / she will earn more business they will adopt the tool.
  3. @KatieLance who hosted several panels made the point that the technology has to be so simple that a child can do it.  Another panelist said that the technology needs to be adopted the way the television remote was adopted.  You didn’t have to sell the concept, it was abundantly clear that this was a better way of doing it. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.  App developers must make the technology easy to use and it must be abundantly clear why this is making life better for them to ensure technology is widely adopted.
  4. Data will continue to play a major role in shaping the future of the real estate industry.  Zillow‘s announcement of its acquisition of Retsly will open up the playing field for additional app development and technology advances as start-ups will no longer have to struggle wiht 900 separate MLS agreements to bring their products to market, at least that is what I understood from the live interview with Zillow executive stage. Speaking of acquisitions, Realogy’s acquisition of ZipRealty wins the “Buzz in the Hallways” award for the conference. There was no close second.
  5. Social media is no longer just about brand awareness, but it is now evolving to “Social Business,” for brokers and agents.  Again, hate to keep harping on the data availability, but it is the data that enables the “business” part of social business. Social media must remain social, but it must be viewed as a standard business marketing activity from the brand level to the agent level.

How could my experience have been better? The video production quality of Inman’s interviews could be better (poor audio quality on a few and it just drags down the overall quality impression of the conference for me.  Additionally, I felt badly for the Start-Up Alley companies who were squeezed into the smallest “two-person” tall boy tables I’ve ever seen. It was difficult to interact when the tradeshow floor was packed with people.  Otherwise great experience.

What Is Scaring the Lawn Ornaments?

Gnomes, Frogs and Pink Flamingos Beware!  The Gold and Black Yard Sign is Coming!

In our latest installment of social creative, the C21 Social Team has cooked up some summertime fun that is just scaring the pants off of a very anxious Flamingo.

In fact, all of the neighborhood lawn ornaments are up in arms about the disappearance of their friends. Listen to this Scottish Gnome as he laments the fact that his good friend Gary who was just a regular Gnome laying low in the mulch, then “Poof”

Finally, what collection of garden ornaments would be complete without a Frog fountain? Watch as the frog discusses his fear and desire to hop away as all of his friends vanish, but his legs are…well ceramic.

Visit us on the @C21 – Home Matters blog for more great content!

 

 

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Social Media Examiner – Industry Report 2014

Michael A. Stelzner, Founder of the Social Media Examiner developed this 50 page report on how Social Media is being adopted by industry and marketers. Here are the highlights.

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Major findings

Here’s a quick summary of our primary findings:

• Marketers place very high value on social media: A significant 92% of
marketers indicate that social media is important for their business, up from 86%
in 2013.

• Tactics and engagement are top areas marketers want to master: At least
89% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and the best
ways to engage their audience with social media.

• Blogging holds the top spot for future plans: A significant 68% of marketers
plan on increasing their use of blogging, making it the top area marketers will
invest in for 2014.

• Marketers want to learn most about Google+: While 54% of marketers are
using Google+, 65% want to learn more about it and 61% plan on increasing
Google+ activities in 2014.

• Podcasting on growth trajectory: Only 6% of marketers are involved with
podcasting, yet 21% plan on increasing their podcasting activities in 2014—a
more than three-fold increase—and 28% of marketers want to learn more about
it.

• Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important social networks for
marketers. When forced to only select one platform, 54% of marketers selected
Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 17%.

• Most marketers aren’t sure their Facebook marketing is effective: Only 34%
of marketers (slightly more than one in three) think that their Facebook efforts
are effective.

• Original written content is most important for social media marketing: A
significant 58% of marketers stated that original written content is the single
most important form of content, followed by original visual assets (19%).

The above summary is merely a taste of what’s in this report.

 

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