As Mac pointed out this weekend, the most effective Vancouver real estate marketers know how to reap the benefits of free advertising provided by our local media.
Some of them are a bit too ham-fisted with their approach and get called out for generating obviously fake stories with fake buyers or fake houses.
But there’s one guy who really knows what he’s doing.
Bob Rennie isn’t referred to as the ‘condo king’ for nothing, he knows just the right way to keep the media interested. Here’s how Mac put it:
Here is the depressingly effective PR strategy Rennie has used for years to effectively make the newspapers (and TV news) his free ad agency.
1. Start with a hook that splits the audience: either one hopes for it or is dying to refute: Boomers will finance the real estate market.
2. State a belief supported by your “insight” as an expert and mix with some facts. Leave it to the reporter NOT to know how to ask hard questions:
Boomers own their homes outright.
Feds have a hard time understanding our market.
Vancouver RE buyers are not entirely dependent on only their incomes to buy their homes, he noted. Just 4.9 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents make more than$100,000 [≈ Small rural house (2011)] a year, while 65 per cent earn less than$55,000 [≈ Median US household income (2009)] a year.
3. Plug your other projects: scaled down VAG and [fill in the blank] condo development
4. Recap with an example that is a tautology: someone sold in Shaughnessy for a bit less, therefore they will be buying their kids houses and financing the real estate market
5. Don’t address the other side of that argument (probably because the journalist can’t figure it out)…as in ‘What if the Shaughnessy seller had plans for the higher sold price and now feels “poorer” because they sold for less and gives less to their kids? Is there any trickle down effect on prices from that? And what if we do’t use Shaughnessy–the most $$$ neibhbourhood– as an example but use another neighbourhood instead where the price drops may be more significant and the family net worth, and negative wealth-effect might be less and maybe even they have more kids to “support” into their late adulthood?
6. Bring up an obvious example of something that has nothing to do with the main point you’re trying to prove to re-inforce your “expertness”: people like dens. They like them as extra bedrooms. (This was also true for every generation of grannies and grandpas). But my God! It’s true! So if you are right about dens, then you must be right about the Boomers, and the VAG, and RE being supported by these den-loving boomers who will take less rooms but want more room. (???)
7. Side your argument with the masses: “They won’t pay for crazy green initiatives or crazy lofts.” Same effect as no. 6 above. Gosh! You are right. Utilitarian condo for the kids. Luxury for the parents! And TA DA! You have proved the hook! Boomers will finance the RE market! And I don’t need to ask how, if the market has already declined, this will effect their net worth because I know they will use dens and prefer to visit Grouse Mountain over wanting to visit a proper Art Gallery that makes the Rennie Gallery look small.
Thank you Rennie, and thank you Vancouver media!