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Community Generated Marketing?

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Okay, so with the comic book discussion sure to be going on (who knew there were so many comics geeks in the RE.net?), let me turn to something I think could be very interesting.  First, view this video:

This is a music video by the trance dance group OceanLab.  But it was edited from videos submitted by OceanLab’s fans.  From the YouTube description:

In November last year Above & Beyond launched a competition offering fans the chance to create the next OceanLab music video for “On A Good Day”. Jono, Tony & Paavo were overwhelmed with the quality and creativity of the entries and the official video has been made using the highlights from the best entries.

The resulting video is beguiling.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the track itself is haunting and beautiful.

Where my mind goes wandering is… is this sort of community-created marketing possible, especially in real estate?

Beyond the Amateur and the Professional

I looked at why the OceanLab video was so compelling to me.  I think it has something to do with how it transcends the traditional categories of “amateur” and “professional” video that I wrote about here.  Normally, when I watch a music video, I expect a truly polished, amazing, professionally directed work of art.  This classic might serve as a good example:


If the music video falls short of that sort of professionalism, I (along with many other consumers) simply dismiss it as “teh suck”.

OceanLab, however, does something unexpected by using amateur footage, but professionally edited.  There is no question that some professional video editor took hundreds or thousands of hours of tape, and edited all the footage together to create something that combines the artistry of the professional with the humanity of the amateur.

In fact, some of the amateur footage is good enough to be professional — and was likely shot by professional videographers.  Some of the time-lapse photography stuff is quite amazing.  Other footage carries excellent composition, camera work, and lighting.  Meanwhile, other footage is clearly home video — a girl singing to a camera, a handheld of a roller coaster ride, a birthday party, friends dancing with each other.

Can This Work in Real Estate?

Brokers and agents are fairly obsessed with marketing in real estate — as they should be, since they are seen first and foremost as marketers of properties.  Some companies spend enormous sums creating beautiful brochures, flyers, websites, virtual tours, and video pieces to market listings.  Many are successful, while many others fall flat.

Why not try to engage and energize the local community?

What would the description of a listing look like if it were written by neighbors?  What pictures would someone who knew the family take of a house?  What if the homeowner and the listing broker decided to hand out Flip cameras to every person who stopped by for an Open House and collected that footage together, then had it professionally edited?

Rather than putting together a”Local Neighborhood Guide” like this (awfully designed) one from Seattle, why not ask the residents what they would tell someone who was interested in moving to the neighborhood?  That could be a series of blog posts, a series of video clips, whatever.  Maybe it’s a Flickr stream of all local neighborhood photos; maybe it’s a Facebook group of local residents all talking about the neighborhood, the schools, the local government, whatever.

Is this even a possibility?

How could such creativity and energy be tapped and unleashed for real estate?

-rsh

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Rob Hahn
Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

12 COMMENTS

  1. On some of my neighborhood pages I have neighborhood testimonials that I had my clients write about their experience in the neighborhood. Since these are written by recent buyers it seems likely to attract like minds. A homeowner writes about a neighborhood in a way a marketer or an agent never could.

    Video would be nice too and brokerages with larger resources should certainly explore the idea. For me, a few paragraphs written by a local resident seems like really great content.

    Here’s an example:

    My wife and I have had a place at the Ponderosa for over a year and have nothing but great things to say about the area and lifestyle. The people are friendly and the activities are endless. When we ask our daughter what she wants to do on the weekend she always says to “go to the cabin”. It has been a dream come true to have such a great place for us to have intimate family time and show our child “what it’s all about”.

    As I said, the areas activities are endless. Our favorite things to do are snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, and spending time at the rivers and lakes. That only scratches the surface of the possibilities. Plus if you live in the Ponderosa Estates you have access to a private pool located on the Wenatchee River where there is also a community beach on the river. If you can’t tell “We Love It!”.

    – Chris

  2. On some of my neighborhood pages I have neighborhood testimonials that I had my clients write about their experience in the neighborhood. Since these are written by recent buyers it seems likely to attract like minds. A homeowner writes about a neighborhood in a way a marketer or an agent never could.

    Video would be nice too and brokerages with larger resources should certainly explore the idea. For me, a few paragraphs written by a local resident seems like really great content.

    Here’s an example:

    My wife and I have had a place at the Ponderosa for over a year and have nothing but great things to say about the area and lifestyle. The people are friendly and the activities are endless. When we ask our daughter what she wants to do on the weekend she always says to “go to the cabin”. It has been a dream come true to have such a great place for us to have intimate family time and show our child “what it’s all about”.

    As I said, the areas activities are endless. Our favorite things to do are snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, and spending time at the rivers and lakes. That only scratches the surface of the possibilities. Plus if you live in the Ponderosa Estates you have access to a private pool located on the Wenatchee River where there is also a community beach on the river. If you can’t tell “We Love It!”.

    – Chris

  3. Not sure about handing out flip cameras to folks at open houses, but interviewing neighbors on camera, definitely. I believe neighbors make better subjects because sellers tend to oversell. My firm’s ultimate goal is to have a vid (full-motion video with commentary or slideshow with neighbor interview voice-over) of every neighborhood in my town.

    As you point out the possibilities are endless and neighborhood info is really what’s lacking in real estate right now.

  4. Not sure about handing out flip cameras to folks at open houses, but interviewing neighbors on camera, definitely. I believe neighbors make better subjects because sellers tend to oversell. My firm’s ultimate goal is to have a vid (full-motion video with commentary or slideshow with neighbor interview voice-over) of every neighborhood in my town.

    As you point out the possibilities are endless and neighborhood info is really what’s lacking in real estate right now.

  5. Excellent article, Rob, with brilliant ideas. I can’t wait to see real estate agents (and indy sales professionals of any stripe) run with your ideas and/or use them as a springboard for even better “community generated marketing” campaigns.

  6. Excellent article, Rob, with brilliant ideas. I can’t wait to see real estate agents (and indy sales professionals of any stripe) run with your ideas and/or use them as a springboard for even better “community generated marketing” campaigns.

  7. Very good post. It will be interesting to see which realtors take the ball and run.Community marketing by getting neighbors involved through media will definitely have a stronger impact with potential buyers.

  8. Very good post. It will be interesting to see which realtors take the ball and run.Community marketing by getting neighbors involved through media will definitely have a stronger impact with potential buyers.

  9. Glad to see this thinking toward real estate. We launched a UGC campaign earlier this year for a real estate development here in Steamboat: http://www.WeLoveSteamboat.com
    Those who love Steamboat, CO can submit photos, Videos & stories about why they love this place.

    Really interesting to see the activity. 2 Weeks ago we had a local art opening featuring all amateur photography from the site as well as some fantastic stories. Huge success!
    For example, top photos are here:http://bit.ly/hYtIP

  10. Glad to see this thinking toward real estate. We launched a UGC campaign earlier this year for a real estate development here in Steamboat: http://www.WeLoveSteamboat.com
    Those who love Steamboat, CO can submit photos, Videos & stories about why they love this place.

    Really interesting to see the activity. 2 Weeks ago we had a local art opening featuring all amateur photography from the site as well as some fantastic stories. Huge success!
    For example, top photos are here:http://bit.ly/hYtIP

  11. This article thrills me with possibilities for the future. People! The voices and images of the people providing the content. Yes, real estate can move in this direction but the adjustment in thinking will have to be pretty huge. It requires transparency – how many sellers and brokers out there are really willing to be that transparent in their business dealings?

  12. This article thrills me with possibilities for the future. People! The voices and images of the people providing the content. Yes, real estate can move in this direction but the adjustment in thinking will have to be pretty huge. It requires transparency – how many sellers and brokers out there are really willing to be that transparent in their business dealings?

Comments are closed.