Silverstein Properties - Marketer of the Year
Company: Silverstein Properties, New York, NY
Company Description: Silverstein Properties, Inc. is New York-based real estate firm with office buildings, residential properties and hotels across Manhattan. Founded in 1957 by Chairman Larry Silverstein, the company has developed, owned and managed more than 40 million square feet (3.7 million square meters) of commercial, residential and retail space including the new World Trade Center.
Nomination Category: Marketing Organization / Professional Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Marketer of the Year
Nomination Title: World Trade Center Properties: Marketer of the Year, Aisling Gregory
Tell the story about what this nominee has achieved since January 1 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.
Silverstein Properties (SPI) is a New York-based real estate firm with office buildings, residential properties and hotels across Manhattan. After the tragic events of 9/11, company founder and Chairman Larry Silverstein vowed to “rebuild a better version of New York” and set about designing and building four skyscrapers to replace the destroyed Twin Towers. He had no tenants, and faced a lot of skepticism, but felt it was critical for the City to rebuild regardless, “if you build it, they will come.”
Aisling Gregory was hired as the company’s first digital and social media manager in 2016, and was promptly handed the ultimate marketing challenge: figure out how to engage, influence and persuade business leaders to move their companies into 4 World Trade Center (WTC), the first tower to open on the historic 16-acre site. Aisling knew she had to do something big. In fact, her plan would have to be big enough to fill 4WTC’s 2.5 million square foot skyscraper to 100% occupancy before 2018.
A NEW STRATEGY
Starting from scratch, Aisling boldly chose to move away from an exclusive focus on WTC’s historic demographics of Law and Financial Services, and instead concentrated on the lucrative TAMI (technology, media, advertising and information) sectors.
Aisling’s research into these markets identified a compelling insight: namely, that CEO’s of new TAMI companies listen to their employees more than ever, including when it comes to making high-level decisions (i.e. where the company HQ is located). Applying this new segment information, Aisling focused on influencers.
It was clear that engaging these influencers meant revamping WTC’s digital presence to include fun campaigns that would appeal to this demographic, whilst also shedding WTC’s ‘stuffy’ corporate image.
Campaigns reaching 315,000+ people like #MayTheFourthBeWithYou showcased R2-D2’s visit to WTC, and was picked up by Real Estate Weekly. Other examples include delivering micro-targeted campaigns to prospective tenants to help build brand awareness and drive interest in office buildings.
Aisling exceeded expectations by:
-Developing campaigns that persuaded innovative and fast growing companies to move to 4WTC, bringing the building to 100% occupancy a year ahead of schedule
-Increasing social engagement by +388.3%
-Doubling Facebook followers (now over 500k).
-Creating substantial brand awareness by generating over 100million impressions in under a year (a 283.7% increase).
NOT JUST A ONE-OFF SUCCESS
Aisling’s big ideas are not limited to WTC. In 2016, Aisling directed the marketing strategy for SPI’s residential rental portfolio in Hell’s Kitchen where a negative perception about the neighborhood existed. Through strategic campaigns that went beyond traditional ad placements, Aisling led the initiative to reposition the property’s messaging to exude a strong feeling of community. Her efforts ultimately supported a shift in sentiment in a neighborhood once defined by Thrillist as ‘a place where everything ugly in New York goes to die’ to being named one of the best neighborhoods to live by Business Insider in a few short months.
-A native content series called “Meet the Faces of Silver Towers” which leveraged the powerful and creative device of storytelling to build human interaction and an emotional connection with properties.
-An influencer marketing campaign that promoted the property’s dog friendly atmosphere which was published in StreetEasy, Elle Décor and DuJour.
-Just one week after the pet campaign launched, leasing inquiries increased 29%. 6 leases were signed.
-In one year, Aisling’s efforts contributed to a rent increase while maintaining a 99% occupancy rate and 73% retention rate.
Under Aisling’s leadership, WTC’s and SPI’s digital campaigns have been honored with numerous national awards. These include thirteen W3 awards including “Best in Show”. Her groundbreaking market research paired with her guerilla marketing style have created a new standard for marketing in the real estate sector. Dara McQuillan, Silverstein’s CMO said: “As a result of Aisling’s efforts, we have some of the most visible projects on the planet.”
In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) accomplishments of the nominee since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).
- Developed campaigns that persuaded innovative companies to move to 4WTC, bringing the building to 100% occupancy a year ahead of schedule
- Led the initiative to reposition the residential portfolio which contributed to a rent increase while maintaining a 99% occupancy rate and 73% retention rate
- Created exposure through experiential and influencer marketing; garnered 570k impressions from a single event
- Created substantial WTC brand awareness; increased impressions from 25million to 100million
- Doubled WTC’s Facebook followers (now over 500,000)
- Grew social engagement (+388.3%)
- Led the redesign of five websites to create a consistent look and feel across the entire SPI portfolio
- Crafted creative campaigns which generated earned media from national publications
- From a single campaign, leasing inquiries increased 29%. 6 leases were signed
- Aisling’s campaigns have been honored with numerous awards including W3’s “Best in Show”