AvalonBay Communities, a real estate investment trust, has selected ad agency Stein Rogan & Partners for its social marketing and Web 2.0 efforts, as well as its local search marketing.
“Avalon is really at the forefront of interactive marketing and our engagement with them is to really keep them there and keep pushing the envelope,” said Ted Kohnen, director of interactive marketing for Stein Rogan & Partners.
Many real estate companies stick with the old paradigm of direct mail and billboards signage, but as the demographics of renters are changing, marketing has to change as well, Kohnen said. The housing crunch is happening along with the mortgage crisis and people are going online to see what their options are, so “that’s a place where Avalon needs to be,” he continued.
The overall strategy of AvalonBay’s Web 2.0 and social marketing campaign is to generate buzz in the social media context about AvalonBay’s communities. Social media gives users an opportunity to converse about a particular property or a way to engage in a less formal environment with the property itself, Kohnen said.
Kohnen added that Stein Rogan planned to work with AvalonBay to leverage social media outlets such as blogs, Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube and Flickr.
“For this particular project, there wasn’t a RFP put out, but I will say [AvalonBay] had been approached by a number of agencies,” said Kohnen, who added that he had worked with AvalonBay at his prior agency, which he declined to name. “When I came to Stein Rogan, Avalon wanted to continue that work and brought that business as well as some other business over to Stein Rogan,” he said.
Another agency handles AvalonBay’s general search, so Stein Rogan is just working on local search, Kohnen explained. Prospective renters tend not to go Google because that’s going to bring up the “whole world,” he said. Instead, they’re going to local search engines like Yellowpages.com and Superpages.com.
According to the Stein Rogan, the agency will also produce videos for AvalonBay’s newest communities in Hingham, MA; Baltimore and New York City.
AvalonBay, which consists of more than 180 apartment communities across the US, did not respond to a request for comment by press time. However, in a statement, Kevin Thompson, the company’s VP of marketing, said “AvalonBay strives to lead the multifamily industry in exploring and executing the latest in cybermarketing technology.”