At this week’s Profile (property marketing network session these three organisations shared their experiences of using video as part of the marketing communications mix for property marketing.

Berwin Leighton Paisner

Brian Macreadie, Head of Brand and Sector Marketing, explained that he was a “digital marketing geek” who had spent 12 years working with video. After a brief introduction regarding the differences between short insight and explainer videos for clients and more informal, off-camera and in-depth videos for recruitment he mentioned the key benefits were: “the next best thing to face to face”, possible use everywhere, everything is trackable and the boost to SEO.

His top five tips were:

  1. The need to earn time with clients. Breaking through the noise is tough and you can’t treat clients and contacts as a passive audience. The average viewing time of their videos is 2 minutes 42 seconds. Quality is an imperative.
  2. It’s obvious, but which topics? You need to find the intersection of what clients are interested in and what you are promoting. Social listening programmes and investor reports are used to identify about 30-40 strong ideas. Marketers need to act as editors and publishers to keep within the content management plan. 
  3. Preparations include media training and sign-offs. He advised against the use of scripts – but suggested the three key points method. By careful scheduling a film crew could capture up to 10 speakers in a day.
  4. Activation is required by putting video links out through emails, LinkedIn accounts, YouTube and Twitter. A campaign is required to ensure the right key words and titles and to create a sense of urgency.
  5. He urged firms to try video – they produce up to seven a week. But he pointed out some things to avoid and shared the following example of US criminal lawyers:

Examples of BLP trainee videos: and essentials of real estate law in 35 seconds: 

Estates Gazette – EGTV

Nathan Cross is the multimedia editor who focusses on audio and video production of news, views and events in the commercial property sector. Visual stories – where they might send out a team – include: sports and charity events, conferences and roundtables, major research launches, behind the scenes and walkarounds. Ideally they need two weeks’ notice (they honour embargoes) and need breaking news stories before the daily 4pm email bulletin deadline.

Recent examples of aerial videos and “fly-throughs” include Battersea Power Station, Westfield Stratford, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Google HQ. Their most popular video was about a Christmas appeal featuring Benedict Cumberbatch – underlining the draw of celebrity – and this was closely followed by Orbit Tower and the JLL rowing sponsorship. They may accept contributed material providing it is not heavily branded but prefer to use their own studios with a green wall.

Estates Gazette on YouTube

Knight Frank

John Williams, Head of PR and Social Media, reviewed some of the world’s most popular viral videos and showed consumer examples where 50 million views in a week had been achieved. Echoing BLP’s guidance above his ideas focused on storytelling and engagement (3-4 days invested in research the story and communities, link-baiting and sharing).

His top tips included:

  1. Control the quality of the content
  2. Take care with the title
  3. Use tags
  4. Use good design
  5. Build and promote links
  6. Train those appearing
  7. Keep length short (2 minutes maximum or 30 seconds if it is people in suits talking)
  8. Show video on sitemaps
  9. Use careful branding
  10. Provide embedding options
  11. Syndicate
  12. Share, share, share

Knight Frank videos have been viewed 15,000 times which, bearing in mind the extent of the commercial property industry, looked pretty good to me. The videos have also been used by journalists to embed in national newspapers. He was also of the view that as there were so few really good commercial property videos around, there was a huge opportunity.

The Central London breakfast video 2014 (Setting out the vision for 2020) is here

The London 2006-2016 introductory animation on Vimeo is here

Q&A – Costs

Costs were discussed and these ranged from £300- £8,000 per video.  £20,000 was the most that had been invested in a video and typically a crew costs £1,500 to attend a single event but with a £2,000 studio or office session up to eight videos could be produced.

(Note: Law firms might find this site helpful )

Watch out for further reports/interviews with property marketing leaders. And get in touch if you have something to share that challenges conventional thinking in property marketing. These and other ideas will form part of my session at the EG Conference Marketing Summit on 26th June 2014