3 Tips for Creating a Retail Real Estate PR Strategy for ICSC RECon

By: Brandon Chesnutt

As we gear up for another trip to Las Vegas for the annual ICSC RECon Convention, the Identity team has been hard at work coordinating countless media meetings on behalf of more than a dozen clients. While most attendees will be at RECon to work deals, we’ll be connecting shopping center developers and managers, as well as leasing teams, with journalists and media contacts from the biggest news and trade publications covering the industry.

From a PR perspective, trade shows and industry conferences represent a very specific, but invaluable opportunity to share information about projects and connect with influential commercial development professionals, retailers and members of the media on a personal level. You do not want to miss out on the chance to invite media who are attending the event and have shown interest in your project to sit down with you and talk about your work and your project in more detail.

While a PR and visibility strategy for RECon can take on many forms, we always try to focus on three key tenants when preparing our clients for the biggest real estate conference of the year. Here are a few tips we think you should consider when building your PR program for ICSC RECon.

Make Strategic Project Announcements Prior to the Event

Timely announcements of new tenants, expansions or additional investments should be shared with the media prior to the event so they appear before or during the show. While trade shows and conferences are ideal opportunities to release project updates or big announcements, the impact of those announcements will be blunted if the information is not properly timed so that it rolls out before the show gets underway.

Additionally, many publications are hungry for content prior to big shows like RECon. They need to populate e-blasts and online news stories, as well as the printed publication that will be going out to attendees. Strategically timing the release of information and project updates will ensure the right news hits at the right time.

Create Face-to-Face Meeting Opportunities with Influential Reporters

With so many communication tools at our disposal, it is easy to forget the value of personal engagement—but the power of personal connections and relationship building that these face-to-face sessions foster is significant.

Time spent meeting personally with members of the media is not only important in the near term as a channel to share important information about your project, but can also be incredibly beneficial by laying the groundwork for an ongoing relationship that will pay continuing dividends as that project, and others, move forward.

It is also important to recognize that these meetings rarely, if ever, happen spontaneously. Reporters’ schedules tend to book up quickly at these events, and meetings should be planned and scheduled well in advance. We’ve been working for weeks to coordinate schedules of clients and the media to find a few moments where they intersect and a meeting can happen. If we started only a few days prior to the show with an outreach request, or relied on firing off tweets asking for a meeting while already at the show, we’d find ourselves with very few meetings on the books.

Seed Opportunities to Have Media Cover Projects as They Progress

Developing talking points regarding a project and its status prior to engagement with the media is key. Journalists and media, like many of the principals and leaders on the show floor at RECon, are trying to squeeze in as much face time with key relationships as possible. You may only have a few minutes to connect with a reporter and talk about your exciting new announcement, recently signed tenant or project update.

On that same note, providing reporters with an early preview of things to come sets the stage for future opportunities. What are you hoping to accomplish over the next 6-12 months? Is there a new entertainment anchor you’re hoping to attract? Will a new phase be completed? If there is an upcoming milestone on the horizon, this is a great opportunity to give reporters a preview of things to come.

Looking for more tips on how to leverage PR and media relations for your project? Download our free e-book.

Free Real Estate PR E-Book