Say it with him now, “localicious,” with Billy Pettit.

Say it with him now, “localicious,” with Billy Pettit.

Imagine this – Sarah Jessica Parker also known as SJP was at your newly rehabbed community for a Vogue photo-shoot talking about the property on video! This is what Steve Gilbert, marketing manager for Greystar faced at Jersey City’s The Beacon in 2012. “I have a celebrity for the first time promoting my community, awesome!” he said. Cut to video of SJP “Here we are at the Beacon with perfectly neglected…” Doh!

This was just one of the many funny anecdotes shared during the AIM 2013 Storytelling with Original Content session with Gilbert, John Ghio, first vice president of marketing for Essex Property Trust; Billy Pettit, vice president of Pillar Properties and moderator Christina Royster, director of engagement for Merrick Towle Communications.

Gilbert moved passed the SJP disappointment to share the vital importance of creating a unique selling point when promoting a new community. “Show the WOW factor, create a mystique through innovative advertising techniques, aggressive geo targeted SEM spend, engage constant dialogue with consumer and tell them why they have to come see it,” he explained. And their tactics worked. The Beacon was 100% leased within 90 days.

“Localicious,” said Pettit. “Celebrate history, character and special qualities of the neighborhood and show how you want to be part of the fabric of the community.” Pettit encourages engaging neighboring restaurants and merchants as part of your localicious story. Leverage Twitter and other social media to build a relationship, increase awareness and impressions. The end goal according to Pettit, “build credibility within the community to earn the opportunity to tell your story.”

Ghio echoed the sentiments from Gilbert and Pettit. It is about creating a memory, something fun and engaging. Insert MadLibs – yup MadLibs. By weaving in amenities and location of Essex’s Epic community into a MadLibs style storyboard on its website for prospects to interact makes the experience more memorable. “Each user is allowed to personalize the story to them – run through floor plans, amenities, their lifestyle, what is important to them and how Epic is the right match for them,” explained Ghio. “We plan on posting these Epic stories in our leasing office to help further create a sense of neighborhood.”

“You can only successfully telling story if you can create a ripple effect with the right kind of neighborhood – an engaged one,” said Royster. “If your property has all the hallmarks for being super socially engaged with lots of bars, cafes and restaurants, figure out whys to promote and partner with them.”

Download the Storytelling With Original Content session presentations here.

Session Twitter Feed:

@bpettit3 RT @AIM_Conference: Only tell a story when you can create a ripple effect with an engaged community. #aimconf #storytelling

@MaysonetGroup OMG Steve Gilbert is hilarious with his presentation in Story Telling with Original Content #aimconf

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