A new dawn for real estate video

June 2013. 183 million Americans viewed more than 44 billion videos.

20 billion of them were ads created by national brands.

I’d like to inspire your brand to join the movement.


I’m a regular reader of Ad Age. I rabidly consume brand blogs and marketing articles dispensing the best of what the brightest minds in my field offer.

Video, a medium I’m passionate about, is often discussed. Ideas, techniques and advice dispensed in these publications differ greatly from the “it’s OK to suck” advice often presented in real estate.

You deserve better advice than that.

Bad videos kill a brand.

Decent videos aren’t memorable.

But great video is worth its weight in gold. 

I’d like to inspire you to greatness.


Forget rules. Focus on goals. Captivating the viewer should rank as your highest.

Storytelling is a construct brand marketers rely on to captivate. And video is now their chosen medium. Dove’s story of natural and inner beauty explodes through this video, positioning Dove as an agent of change that inspires women to feel confident about themselves.

Samsung’s story is simple and effective in this viral video built around a supernatural kid with razor sharp aim. The product and brand are brilliantly positioned and the viewer never feels as if they are being sold anything.

Videos don’t need to be epic. Or expensive. This six-second Vine from G.E. reflects the wonder and passion for science and discovery that lies at the heart of the brand.

The mistake real estate pundits make via their just aim, shoot and post advice, is an insensitivity to how exiguous the result of that process brands you. The mere act of banging out a video without attending to modern practices, standards and attention to quality does not cast you as savvy, modern and progressive. Today, anyone can do that.

The truth is that the affordable equipment, tools and apps that we all have now set the creative bar higher, not lower, than ever.

View this six-second masterpiece created by an amateur on Vine submitted to Cavendish Hotels for their Valentine’s Day video contest. Compare it to these professional videos by Bacardi Rum or Oreo. It’s on par, if not better.

Juxtapose these brand stories and strategies against the typical video produced in real estate, which often entails agents touting their attributes, narrated home tours, or behind-the-wheel market updates. Given the subject matter the real estate brand marketer is gifted with – homes, neighborhoods, lifestyles – there’s so much more that could be done.


Consider the examples above as a jumping off point. As I’ve stated, to create the type of video I’m suggesting, you can’t follow a template. Be original. Local. Brand centric.

Consider hiring a creative to oversee this. Someone with professional chops who can conceptualize, write, film, edit, curate and post great content.

Consider building a street team of local interns – skater kids, for example, paid to shoot, edit and submit slice-of-life videos for your website, Facebook, Vine, Instagram or blog.

You won’t regret this.

Idea #1: Local stories. Nest Realty, named by Inc. magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America, launched five years ago. Video was a critical component to building this brand. Take a page from their “Love Where You Live” campaign told through people who reside in their local markets. Every broker in America should have a library of videos like Nest’s. 

Idea #2: Contests. RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis hosts a film festival every year. Submissions are not relegated to “real estate” content. The story this tells is of a local real estate brand that supports local arts and culture. I love that. Check out the 2012 winners.

Idea #3: Home tours. Every home has a story left untold by typical home tours. Not the homes Raj Qsar and his team at Boutique Realty list. Through a simple construct and a few props, their videos tell the story of homes filled with life. They also scream sensitivity and flair about Boutique’s brand. The soundtrack makes it all that much more perfect.

Idea #4: Mini movies. You may recall this action drama produced for Neo Property of Australia that went viral in 2011. That same year, Los Angeles agent Eric Lavey took a less sensational and far more clever approach. He hired student filmmakers and produced mini films that would fit any agent’s budget. They’re simple, well done and stand out against all the basic virtual tours, still photos, and basic home tours all his competitors make.

Idea #5: Local hangouts. Create 60-second videos of local hangouts, places and people. Cafes. Bookstores. Cycling and running trails. Places to view the sunset. An interview with a local golf pro. Yoga instructor. Dog trainer. I’d record local high school teams. Teachers. Principals.

Every one of these subjects serves one of your greatest needs: They give your viewers deep insight into the community. And they also become part of your viral marketing. What better way to disseminate brand vibe to locals than to capture their essence on video and promote them to your world?

Your video strategy doesn’t have to suck

The dumb-it-all-down movement in real estate is pandemic. This strategy aspiring influencers use to build affinity with the real estate agent community is beneath you and your profession.

Reject it.

True professionals seek to operate at their best.

They continue to hone and refine their skills, their output and their team.

Your video does not have to suck.