The three phases of estate agency content during a crisis – Updated

I wrote this back around March 25 when we went into lockdown.

A lot has happened since then, so below is an updated version.


Back around the time of the global credit crunch, I was lucky enough to work for a PR expert who had also been a journalist for 30 years.
He was a cantankerous old pumpkin but very worldly-wise.

He’d been in the media midst of the early 1990s recession, reporting on 9/11 and PR’ing during the 2008/09 crash.

I’ll never forget him telling me about the three predictable phases of communication we go through while the planet deals with global events.
It’s essential agents, and business owners understand these 3H’s as taught to me by my version of Mr Miyagi.

They are:
Help: when bad stuff happens, people need support, reassurance and guidance. Your content and comms should revolve around helping people right now. Ask your community what your agency can do to help, which I know many of you lovely people are doing.

Update: We’ve seen lots of agents doing great things for their communities. Foodbank collections, offices decorated to thank the NHS and even Let’s Talk projects that offer lonely or vulnerable people a chance to talk and get things off their chests.

Hope – in a recession this phase is when you’ll see and hear the phrase ‘green shoots of recovery’. With the Coronavirus I’d imagine this phase will be heralded by news of infection/death rates dropping, restrictions being relaxed etc.

For agents, this is the time your content can start selling the dream again. Begin talking about the property market once more and helping people prepare for the next phase, which follows.

Update: As of May 1, I think we’re taking our first tentative steps into this phase. Infection rates are steadying, talk of the end of lockdown is happening, and across parts of the world, quarantine is being relaxed. Now’s the time to start talking about what your agency is going to do when lockdown ends. And what people thinking of selling or renting can do to prepare.

Happiness – This is the phase when things return to ‘normal’, and if you have got your content right during the first two phases you’ll be ahead of your rivals when the race starts up again. The level playing field is a myth. You have to stay ready to be ready.

Update: No crystal ball gazing from me, but one of the things I think agents need to do is to be seen to be clean. People are going to be very health/virus conscious post lockdown. Agencies should think about how they will get that ‘clean’ message across. And if they do it’ll make helpful, interesting content.

I hope this helps make you feel a little happier about this sh!7e situation we’re all in.