Marketing campaigns that are pulling in buyers, renters
By Sarah Trefethen
With the spring buying season picking up at a sizzling pace, marketing teams for the city’s newest buildings are focused on enticing potential new residents to interact with their product.
Sales pitches are as varied as the buildings themselves, but cutting-edge marketing means embracing new technology and new culture, marketing professionals say, whether you’re marketing to the world’s most wealthy or 20-somethings at the start of their careers.
This spring’s marketing season features a 3D video of an apartment that doesn’t exist, one Upper East Side building that promoted healthy living by providing residents with a juice cleanse, and an American Idol-inspired design competition in gentrifying Queens.
“I say this is the ‘i’ generation. You have iPhones and iPads and everyone is always going on Facebook,” said Kathleen Scott, vice president of residential leasing at Rockrose. “You have to accept the social media in the way people communicate, and in marketing you really have to embrace and expand upon that.”
Scott is in charge of marketing at Linc LIC, a rental building about to open in Long Island City. Targeting the young professional, the building is hosting a design competition for students from FIT, where visitors will be invited to vote for one of three student-designed model apartments.
“It’s part of seeing and having your opinion count. Why do people watch American Idol?” she said. “People enjoy being part of that process and seeing these people go from being students to professional designers.”
In addition to media coverage, the competition is an incentive for people to visit the building, and to remember it after the visit is over. Rockrose is assembling the model apartments now, and the leasing office is expected to open this summer.
“All the faculty and their students and friends, everybody wants to get in and see these apartments,” Scott said.
Linc LIC will have a strong presence on social media, from Facebook to Pinterest, she said, and a theme of “live life connected.”
Meanwhile, at Midtown’s ultra-luxury new development the Centurion, student projects are not quite the image you need to sell apartments with an average asking price of $3,662 psf. There, the marketing team recruited the designer James Stanley to design a “mansion in the sky” conversion of the building’s three penthouses and create a 3D video that walks the viewer through the entire three floors of the apartment highlighting various design features.
New York Residence is marketing the three penthouses as one for $39 million, though they are also available individually. “A buyer would not normally know they can do this degree of customization,” said Thomas Guss, president of New York Residence.
NYR has a rolodex of international buyers built up over more than a decade, Guss said, and he expects the triplex penthouse option to appeal to “someone who does business internationally,” entertains and does business in New York. One inquiry has come from an embassy, he said, or the buyer might end up being a global professional who wants to spend time in the city with his or her family.
“We sell $10 to $15 million apartments to people who use it for four weeks a year,” he said.
While the cost of the 3D video technology would have been prohibitive just a few years ago, Guss said, today it’s a reasonable marketing investment for such a unique opportunity.
“Especially when it comes to international clients, it’s much easier to email them a link to the video than to ship them over,” he said.
Somewhere in between the renters of Long Island City and the international jet set, the Upper East Side’s 515 East 72 has built a successful marketing campaign around a theme of health and wellness, with an emphasis on body-improving amenities like a spa, gym and private park.
In a recent promotional event co-branded with juice manufacturer Organic Avenue, the building offered residents a chance to cleanse their digestive system with a specially designed liquid diet. Organic Avenue juices can be delivered directly to the building.
The building’s healthy living theme is part of a trend that is becoming more and more prevalent in New York, said Elaine Diratz, managing director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, the exclusive marketing and sales agent for 515 East 72.
“It just appeals to people who want more out of living in the city…. rather than living in their 600 s/f apartment and having to look for things that will make them healthy, it’s all right here,” she said. “If they want to take a walk and smell the flowers they can do that right downstairs; they don’t have to walk half a mile to Central Park.”
Like Guss, Diratz has seen an increase in foreign buyers, as well as parents purchasing homes for their children.
And Diratz and Paul both noted the increasing role that amenities play in marketing a building. Sex may always sell, but these days, convience is giving it a run for its money.
“A while ago if you had a door man and a concierge at the desk that was considered luxury,” Paul said. “Now we have a basketball court, we have the great lawn [on the Linc LIC roof] with the misting spray, we have a playroom. The ante has been upped quite a bit.”