For real estate developers, new anchor and tenant announcements provide an ideal opportunity to provide the media with updates and keep your project and its progress in the forefront of public consciousness. Unlike the vision-driven and aspirational details that may be included in initial project announcements, the release of tenant information tends to be more transactional in nature.
Understanding the key mechanics and subtleties involved with these announcements is important for real estate professionals and their marketing and PR teams who want to maintain media momentum and avoid costly or embarrassing missteps.
Based on our experience driving communications and media relations for real estate projects from coast to coast, a real estate developer’s goals for tenant announcements should be focused on the following:
- Make sure your voice is coordinated with the retailers.
- Be purposeful in identifying and sharing good news about the project (financing, construction milestones, new tenant announcements, etc.).
- Control the message, as well as your vendors and partners.
Tackling Trade and Leveraging Local Media
There are some inherent complexities in making tenant announcements that set them apart from more general project announcements. For example, retail and restaurant tenants often have little-to-no interest in trade media coverage. They are, however, much more likely to be interested (and involved) in securing local media coverage.
Consequently, developers often have more flexibility and ownership with national trade media, but have to be more careful and proceed more collaboratively with local media announcements. The timing of that coverage is also a variable that needs to be taken into account: some tenants may prefer to coordinate a media push closer to their formal opening.
Because local announcements are often more coordinated (sometimes with national/ corporate input), one of the developer’s primary tasks throughout this stage of the development is to get clarity from their tenant on what the tenant is comfortable with and what the developer can and cannot do from a communications and media perspective.
Owning the Process
Developers should take their role as a reliable and effective communications partner very seriously throughout the leasing/tenant announcement process–not only with tenants, but with members of the media, as well. One of the worst things that can happen is for a media contact to receive the same news from two different sources.
Coordination is important not only to avoid inaccuracy or duplication, but also to leverage synergies.
Developers that do not have their own in-house leasing team need to have a clear and consistent line of open communication with their broker partners. Developers should also set the communications strategy for those partners, not just establishing overall expectations as to what the program will look like, but communicating the specifics: including scheduling/timing details, procedural standards and internal routing and review of new releases.
Expectations should be shared not only with brokers and leasing teams, but with all partners. Architects, construction companies, marketing and PR professionals, etc. should all have a clear understanding of the developer’s communications strategy.