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When is the Right Time to Hire a Public Relations Agency?

By Elizabeth Latino

"Is it time to hire a PR agency?" That’s a question that can be challenging to answer. From large corporations with an extensive internal marketing and communications departments to smaller startups lacking in-house resources, a public relations agency can be an excellent asset if utilized correctly with a dedicated internal resource to oversee the partnership.

In the real estate and property innovation space, there are a range of reasons that signal it may be time to hire a public relations partner.  Below are some examples of when and why companies come to us for our services:

1.     Increased Visibility:

Whether you’re a real estate developer or investor or a SaaS platform seeking new users, understanding your brand’s visibility threshold and target audience is crucial. If you're not reaching the right prospects to drive results, a marketing and public relations program could significantly boost your reach. Crafting pitches on industry trends, securing placements in relevant publications, and leveraging targeted content on social platforms are all excellent strategies to consider.

However, for any marketing program to be successful, you, the client, should come to the table with a solid understanding of your end user and desired outcomes. This will ensure that your agency can effectively navigate the assignment and make informed decisions to achieve the results you’re looking for.

2.     Strategic Expansion Initiatives:

As real estate brands expand, whether into new markets or verticals, the need for a public relations and marketing agency often grows as well. Many agencies, like Marino, possess the expertise to craft tailored communication strategies that resonate with diverse audiences, ensuring a smooth transition into uncharted territories. Whether launching new products or tapping into untapped demographics, their insights can be invaluable in fostering brand resonance on a local, regional, national or global scale.

3.     Crisis Preparedness and Reputation Management:

While every company wants to be in situation where they’re proactive about public relations, sometimes the need arises to be reactive. In these instances, it's crucial to recognize the importance of safeguarding your brand against potential crises, especially in today's digital landscape where news travels at the speed of a click. Agencies adept in crisis management can swiftly contain and diffuse tumultuous situations, preserving your brand's integrity. Each crisis demands its own tailored strategy, messaging, statements, and spokespersons, and having a cohesive approach to these elements often produces the best outcomes.

My advice is not to wait for a crisis to engage a public relations agency. When faced with a crisis, involving your standing agency of record—assuming they understand crisis strategy—is more seamless, as they are familiar with your messaging, brand, and values. Preemptively having these resources at your disposal can save time (and often money) in the long run.

4.     Brand Narrative Creation and Amplification:

While it’s easy to talk ‘inside baseball’ internally within your company, many real estate companies struggle to articulate their identity and mission concisely to external audiences—whether they're aware of it or not. Marketing and public relations agencies can be extremely helpful in crafting brand narratives, bringing an outside perspective and industry expertise to the conversation. A compelling brand narrative is about fostering meaningful connections with your audience and public relations agencies excel in storytelling, weaving narratives that resonate with stakeholders on an emotional level.

Before starting any marketing campaign – whether it’s public relations, advertising, social and beyond – make sure you have your brand narrative solidified. You don’t want to be sending mixed messages out of the gate that could lead to a loss of ROI.

5.     Efficiency and Scalability:

Last but not least, In-house public relations departments often face constraints in terms of bandwidth and expertise, particularly when navigating multifaceted public relations campaigns or sudden surges in demand. Many real estate companies have a small internal team, if any, and engaging a public relations agency offers scalability, enabling businesses to access a diverse array of skill sets and resources tailored to their evolving needs. By outsourcing public relations and marketing functions, companies can streamline operations, freeing up internal teams to focus on core competencies while ensuring seamless execution of public relations initiatives.

Once you’ve identified the need, it’s crucial to establish clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) both internally and for your agency to ensure alignment on the definition of success for your program.

Recognizing the need for external support and embracing the strategic partnership of a public relations and marketing agency can help you stay ahead of the curve as it relates to customer acquisition and brand positioning in an ever-evolving industry. Real estate and property innovation companies should view their agency as a long-term relationship and, while the initial impetus for onboarding is crucial, it's the sustained results month after month that will ultimately yield the greatest results in the end.

Everything starts with a conversation.

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