Positive commercial real estate stories have been few and far between during the Great Recession. What does the emerging commercial real estate recovery mean for commercial real estate public relations programs?
- One emerging positive story you may want to keep an eye on is the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market. Recently, after a hiatus following its collapse a couple of years ago, the CMBS market has seen signs of life, and experts I’ve talked to expect a return to the modest activity seen in the ‘90s. A strategic B2B PR program will leverage stories related to CMBS sooner rather than later.
- For banks and other lenders and mortgage originators, another positive story is a possible increase in deal flow. If you’re a lender that hasn’t been doing much lending and you’re ready to start lending again, consider a ramp-up in media outreach as deal flow increases, since you want your clients to know that you’re back in action.
- For other sources of commercial real estate capital, such as funds, life insurance companies, private equity firms, and institutional investors, the burgeoning commercial real estate recovery calls for a reassessment of communications strategy. In preparation for a possible increase in deals and capital placements, you will want to re-evaluate your target audience. When trying to place capital, go where the deals are. It may sound obvious, but many firms overlook the need to change their communications strategy as the market shifts. Are you targeting your current audience?
- Then there are the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which are uniquely positioned to benefit from a resurgent market. The collapse of the market left most of its participants with no way to determine the value of the property in their portfolios or investments securitized by those properties. As the market recovers, REITs will be able to better determine the value of their holdings on the market and how much their debt is worth. If you work for a REIT, set PR strategy now on how best to announce acquisitions and dispositions. As the gap between bid and ask prices on property and debt continues to narrow as a result of increased trading, assess who you need to reach with your PR program.
No one knows what the future holds – probably a good thing, as not knowing what’s going to happen is part of what makes working in B2B public relations so much fun. But it’s very likely that the commercial real estate market will show increased signs of life this year, and as it does we should be proactive to find positive stories for commercial real estate professionals to tell.
What are your positive real estate stories?
To reach Dave: