The Wilbert Group Blog

Posts tagged CRE

To Get the Most Out of ICSC, You’ll Need PR


Are you attending ICSC RECon this year? If you go without a PR strategy, you’re wasting an opportunity to make a name for yourself in retail real estate. The evidence?

  • ICSC social pages have a BIG audience. Are you a part of that conversation?
  • Media will be there, including National Real Estate Investor, Bisnow, Commercial Observer, Chain Sore Age and more. Do you have a plan to organize interviews and get news out to the right people?
  • And what about your local media? Chances are, they’ll be looking for experts to discuss the conference when you’re back home.

You can make your mark in an impactful way. Check out our SlideShare below to learn how The Wilbert Group can help.


Caroline Wilbert


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Wilbert Heads to CRE/Tech Intersect


Tomorrow, The Wilbert Group is headed to New York City for CRE / Tech Intersect, the largest gathering of the CRE/tech industry. The bi-annual, bi-coastal symposium brings industry leaders together to discuss and learn about innovative technologies. The Wilbert Group, a public relations firm known for its real estate expertise, and Trevelino/Keller, a public relations and branding firm known for its tech expertise, recently created a partnership, TechRise, to capitalize on the continued growth of the CRE/tech industry.



TechRise recently released a new SlideShare about how to use social media to build relationships with CRE decision makers. LinkedIn is the most relevant social media platform for the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, with an estimated 90 percent of professionals on the platform. Twitter is the No. 2 platform for reaching CRE decision-makers. Check out the SlideShare below:


News You Can Use


In an inspired PR play this week, our real estate team seized an opportunity to insert one of our clients into an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about Donald Trump’s return to ATL and what could come of his former prime piece of Midtown real estate. It was a move that we PR pros can execute with our eyes closed, but some newbies may need a quick lesson on what newsjacking is and why it’s ever-so-important in today’s media landscape.


Donald Trump (left) with daughter Ivanka and partners Gil Dezer (second from right) and Mark Randall stand next to a scale model of the proposed $300 million Trump Towers project in Midtown Atlanta in April 2007.

Donald Trump (left) with daughter Ivanka and partners Gil Dezer (second from right) and Mark Randall stand next to a scale model of the proposed $300 million Trump Towers project in Midtown Atlanta in April 2007.

Newsjacking is essentially piggybacking on a news item and inserting your client’s expert opinion on the subject. It’s about taking advantage of a fleeting opportunity that may not seem glaringly obvious for a client (in this case we had a real estate attorney comment on Trump’s failed tower, so fairly obvious connection), establish a connection and move quickly. If the general story is out (again, in this case, Trump coming to Atlanta is a big news story that all news outlets are covering), reporters will want to get their slant out as fast as possible.


Here are a few additional tips:


1) A critical element of successful newsjacking is having existing relationships with reporters. Because the pace moves quickly, reporters are more likely to pick up the phone and consider the idea if they already know the person on the other end. Work on creating and maintaining a tight database of reporters, and constantly keep in touch.

2) Move fast. Because this is a real-time process, avoid clients who require a large-scale approval process. When you jump on the opportunity, make sure your clients are comfortable talking about the subject. Journalists nowadays are covering multiple beats and are required to produce a ton of content, so the faster you move, the better resource you are for them.

3) Be precise and add more than what the journalist may be seeking. Capitalize on the news trend but provide extra value to the story.

4) Offer a few different sources and angles. It’s hard to get sources on the phone, and if one doesn’t answer, the reporter may need to quickly move on to the next one. Craft an organized email that outlines each source, his or her title, phone number and email address, and the topics they can address.

Why CRE Professionals Need to Be on LinkedIn


As the leading real estate PR firm in the country, The Wilbert Group has a ton of experience in developing LinkedIn strategies for our commercial real estate clients. See how the CRE industry is performing on LinkedIn in this new infographic our team produced.



Five Photos from NAREE 2014


by Suong Nguyen

As someone who’s relatively new to the real estate scene, my trip to the annual National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) conference was a great way to meet some of the industry’s top journalists and attend panels that covered a wide range of topics – from luxe housing, shopping centers, vacation homes and everything else in between!

Here are five photos from my visit to NAREE 2014 in Houston, the “Energy Capital of the World.”

#1 Everyone loves a good swag bag. We had a wonderful time meeting Unique Homes’ managing editor Mark Moffa and writer Camilla McLaughlin, who were kind enough to take a moment to pose with their new tote bags, courtesy of our client, Camana Bay.

#2 What’s next for online real estate. Eric Eckardt of Hubzu, another Wilbert Group client, was one of the experts who participated in the forum on the future of online real estate. Some of the topics the panelists went over included pocket listings and Zillow’s new “coming soon” feature.

#3 Meeting/speed dating the press. One of my favorite aspects of NAREE is how even though there are serious topics being discussed, the atmosphere is casual and friendly. This comfort level came in handy during the Meet the Press portion of the conference, where I met with over 20 journalists and had three minutes (or less) to pitch our clients. It definitely felt like speed dating, but thankfully minus the awkwardness!

#4 At the end of the day, we made time to eat… When I’m in a new city, my favorite thing to do is explore the local restaurant scene. I also consider myself a pretty adventurous eater, so when I saw chapulines (aka grasshoppers) on the menu at Hugo’s, I convinced the table to try it with me. In case you’re curious, grasshoppers taste exactly how you think they would – crunchy and earthy.

#5 Drink… Since we were in Texas, it would have been downright bad manners to not sample the local beers and whiskeys. My personal favorite was the Alamo Golden Ale.

And be NAREE!

Photo: Kris Hudson, Wall Street Journal.

We can’t wait to do it all over again in Miami for NAREE 2015!


Five Reasons We’re Excited for NAREE 2014


by Caroline Wilbert

We’re counting down the days until NAREE. Here’s why.

The National Association of Real Estate Editors hosts a great annual conference, drawing some of the country’s leading journalists who cover real estate, as well as top-notch speakers from the industry. Last year, we convinced the organization to host the conference in Atlanta. It was awesome! This year, both Tony Wilbert and Suong Nguyen from The Wilbert Group will head to Houston June 11-14.

Five things we like about NAREE:

Senator Johnny Isakson being interviewed by the media during NAREE 2013 in Atlanta.

#1 It’s fun to talk real estate with top journalists including NAREE President Daniel Taub from Bloomberg News and NAREE Board Chair Kris Hudson from The Wall Street Journal.

#2 The Wilbert Group has a lot of real estate clients (residential, office, multifamily, hospitality, retail, etc.) and NAREE’s conference is a great time to pitch their stories and release news.

#3 This year, several of our clients are sponsoring the conference including Hubzu and Camana Bay. The CEO of another client, CBRE Global Investors, will be speaking.

Mark Toro, North American Properties managing partner, and Kris Hudson, last year’s NAREE president, overlooking the Atlanta skyline.

#4 It’s a great learning experience. The speakers are always heavy hitters and the conversations interesting. Here’s this year’s lineup.

#5 NAREE includes “field trips” within its host city. It will be fascinating to see Houston through a real estate lens. A lot of our clients are doing work in Houston; it’s a booming economy and (like Atlanta) a great real estate town.

Five Media Relations Tips For Property Managers


by Stephen Ursery

Having a television crew turn up suddenly at your place of business can be a blood pressure-spiking experience. However, approximately 150 apartment community managers from across the Southeast now know how to remain cool under the pressure.

That’s because The Wilbert Group team, led by Tony Wilbert and Nancy Johnson, guided the managers through a comprehensive and engaging media-training session in Atlanta on Tuesday. The session included detailed tips on how to handle a journalist’s inquiries, mock television interviews and a hilarious example of how not to behave when a television reporter knocks on your door.

Nancy and Tony lead media training for property managers.

Below are five tips shared during the session, pointers that are valuable for property managers and on-site personnel in any line of business to remember when the cameras are unexpectedly rolling:

#1 Don’t say “no comment.” Saying this only increases the odds that the interview will appear on television. It conveys a defensiveness that creates drama.

Instead, offer to be a go-between to help provide information by saying something along the lines of “we will get the answer to that question for you, and a designated spokesperson will be in touch with that information.” Remember, your company will definitely want to respond to inquiries from the media – it’s just that on-site personnel shouldn’t be the ones doing so.

#2 Never go “off the record” with a reporter. Don’t give reporters “sexy” or secret information that you don’t want them to use in their actual reports, because they could still end up doing just that. You must always assume that anything you say will end up being used.

#3 Tap into your inner Zen master. Do your best to stay calm and not get angry, even in the face of challenging and abrasive questions. As is the case with one who utters “no comment,” an angry property manager is almost certain to end up on TV.

#4 Don’t try to curry favor. Asking a reporter to cover a story in a way that’s favorable to your company will only serve to irritate him or her.

#5 Be proactive. As soon as you know of something that the media may cover at your property, alert your company’s communications team so they can begin anticipating questions and preparing statements.

By following these five tips, property managers can make a potentially intimidating and unpleasant experience considerably less nerve-racking.

Five Reasons 2013 Was A Great Year for The Wilbert Group


by M.C. Rhodes

Wow, what a year! New clients, new team members – 2013 proved to be the busiest and most exciting year yet for The Wilbert Group.

We’re not normally ones to boast, but there are a number of accomplishments we’re proud of this year. Here are the five standouts:

#1 Expanding our client roster. New clients this year included CBRE, Coca-Cola, Piedmont Wellstar Health Plans, iStar Residential, Franklin Street and the list goes on.

#2 Growing our team. With all the new clients, it was a huge relief to find such great additions to our team. Nancy Johnson joined our team with a strong background in corporate communications and broadcast journalism. Josh Guterman came to us after a stint in communications with the federal government. And thanks to our new office manager, Shannan Jordan, we are super organized.

#3 Rolling out our CRE Accelerate program. This fall, Wilbert unveiled CRE Accelerate, designed to give a PR “shot in the arm” to real estate startups. We’ve already had a ton of interest in the program and signed a new client.

#4 Moving on up. We are thrilled with our new offices. We were able to stay in the desirable Peachtree 25th Building on Peachtree Street, but moved to a new suite where we were able to design a tech-friendly, modern space.

#5 Garnering top-tier coverage. Of course, most important was the great deal of coverage we secured for our clients in 2013. Equifax in USA Today…three times. Camana Bay in the Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Cooper Carry in The New York Times.

It’s certainly been a big year for The Wilbert Group! Here’s to even more growth in 2014!

Thought Leadership at InterFace Multifamily Southeast Conference


by Savannah Duncan

These days, a PR program should be about so much more than simply writing and pitching press releases detailing recent transactions or new hires. While generating media coverage of your clients’ moves is still very important, of course, so is establishing your clients as experts, as thought leaders in their fields. Speaking engagements – whether they be before high-profile local organizations or at industry conferences – are a great way to do this.

Yesterday, a handful of The Wilbert Group’s clients in the apartment industry spoke at sessions held as part of the annual Interface Multifamily Southeast 2013 conference in Atlanta. Below are five of the big-picture thoughts our clients imparted to an audience of key industry players:

#1 Walkability is key for new developments. Walkability is commonly associated with urban, infill apartments, but even suburban residents want communities that give them the ability to ditch the car and travel on foot to restaurants, entertainment and jobs, said Mark Toro, managing partner at North American Properties.

Panelists, from left: Josh Goldfarb, Multi Housing Advisors; Mark Toro, North American Properties; Alan Dean, Terwilliger Pappas Multifamily Partners; Jonathan Bartlett, Cohn Reznick; Bennett Sands, Wood Partners.

In regards to developing suburban communities, Toro said, “If a resident’s experience can be a walkable, urban environment, we’re in.”

#2 Students want lots of amenities, urban experience. In today’s student-housing communities, residents “want posh amenities just as much as they want proximity to a city’s urban core,” said Scott Taylor, president of Carter. “We believe a trend now, across the board, is reurbanization.”

#3 Investors aren’t ready to look at secondary markets – yet. While multifamily properties are being quickly snatched up in primary markets, most investors aren’t quite ready to make a play in secondary markets. “With the economy the way it is, we are still more comfortable with the ‘have’ areas versus the ‘have nots, ’” said Josh Goldfarb, founder and managing partner of Multi Housing Advisors.

#4 The condo market is expected to heat up again. While the overbuilding of apartment units has been a concern, Jake Reid, senior director of Franklin Street, said, “Urban infill condos are coming back. Some of the multifamily projects in the early stages of development could become condo projects instead.”

#5 Investors still have a large appetite for multifamily products. Consequently, cap rates are expected to remain stable in 2014, according to Mike Altman, chief investment officer at Cortland Partners. That’s in part because “rent growth should offset” possible increased costs of capital, he added.

Five Reasons Our New CRE Accelerate Program is Awesome


by Caroline Wilbert

At The Wilbert Group, we love working with startups, especially those related to commercial real estate, an industry where we have deep expertise. We “get” that most startups are (smartly) watching every penny, so we created a program that provides a PR boost without breaking the bank.

The 60-day CRE Accelerate program officially launches today, and below are the top five reasons we’re excited about it:

#1 We are entrepreneurial ourselves. Our founder Tony Wilbert quit his job as an SVP at Edelman in 2009 to start his own thing. We now have ten employees. We are nimble, innovative, fast-growing, efficient, lean — just like most of the companies we will represent through CRE Accelerate.

#2 We love CRE. Most of our clients are in commercial real estate or have a connection to the industry. We understand the intricacies of the real estate business, know the journalists who cover it and have relationships throughout the industry. We can help new companies in this space quickly and efficiently because we already have the network, knowledge and infrastructure.

#3 Startups need help defining their stories. Entrepreneurs are typically hard-charging, passionate advocates for their firms. Because they are consumed with the day-to-day of their businesses, they need outside help to distill “the story” and figure out what’s relevant and interesting to the media and key audiences.

#4 We can make a difference. Public relations, even a short-term program like CRE Accelerate, can drastically increase awareness about a young company and establish its executives as thought leaders. Good public relations can make a startup seem “bigger” than it really is.

#5 We like to bet on winners. We know the best entrepreneurs will grow their companies and eventually need bigger, ongoing public relations programs. We expect to grow alongside our CRE Accelerate clients.