Posted by Richard Lace

Posted 5 June, 2014 After Work

1 - 360x243Has using new technologies made the property industry less boring? That’s an issue we’ve thrown around the office, and it was also a question posed by Brookfield Office Partners’ Martin Wallace in a recent opinion piece for Property Week – he made the point that interactive websites, augmented reality, mobile apps, 3D visuals and video had enabled the industry to reach out to a wider, more diverse audience. And because this audience isn’t “classically trained,” so to speak, property people are learning to make their case in a more understandable fashion – plain English triumphing over agent-speak.

I think we can all agree that less jargon is a good thing. And it’s true isn’t it? I don’t think there’s any doubt that the property game, in general, is quite a conservative one. Compared to other areas of business, property has moved relatively slowly in looking at what’s available to help us. As an industry, we’ve probably been guilty of falling into that “doing what we did last time” trap. There’s a set routine – brochures, agent launch, ads in the trade and business press, seek out PR openings.2 - 360x243

That’s fine as far as it goes, but at OBI we reckon there’s scope to do more – and by being eager to learn about new things and talk to people outside the property bubble, we can get new and different messages in front of more people. Because it isn’t just property people that are interested in buildings – take a walk around Manchester, or check online, and you’ll notice how many walking tours of the city are available. Look how big the “Manchester” section of Waterstone’s now is. People are interested in heritage and they’re interested in what’s happening next, and lots of those people work in business space and look at new business space.

At OBI we’ve been eager to look at new ideas, such as OBI TV, and we’ve made a conscious effort to move in different networks – our job is to see what the business occupier wants, and as far as we can see the more people you’re speaking to from different business sectors, the easier it is to do that. We’re taking that to the next level – along with our clients, we’re looking at ways of using technology to make the way potential occupiers see properties more convenient, more information-packed, and more fun. It’s a massive inspiration to work with landlord clients who “get it,” who want to challenge the industry norms and try different things. It keeps us on our toes and makes life more interesting.

All of us are living in the Information Age and it’s all about being accessible – with such a diverse business community, the amount of people involved in some way in property decisions is much wider. And while there’s still a place for focused events, and focused marketing efforts in general, there’s so much more scope to do things more informally and unconventionally as well.  It’s so much easier for people to take part in things now that open access is the one of the most important things to acheive – get the information out there, have the conversations and test the boundaries of new technology. What’s the worst that can happen?