Lion & Orb and 1000watt, two firms with proven track records of helping real estate companies better tell their stories, have formed an alliance to provide clients with end-to-end strategic and brand messaging and public relations services.
The partnership is intended to extend each company’s services to clients where they typically leave off. 1000watt has developed brand messaging for many companies but has never offered public and media relations to its clients. Lion & Orb is a fairly new company that specializes in public relations and company growth.
Both companies exclusively serve the real estate industry. 1000watt consults with real estate companies to provide brand and identity components like product or company names, identity and logo design; marketing services like content creation, marketing campaigns, video production and copywriting; and user experiences like website and mobile app design and conversion optimization.
Its client roster includes Re/Max LLC, Long & Foster, dotloop, Realogy Franchise Group, Michael Saunders & Co., WFG National Title Co. and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, among many others.
“Real estate is in our DNA. We are completely coming from that perspective only,” said Marc Davison, partner at 1000watt.
“In simple terms, we are a creative digital agency. We sell creative services to the real estate industry. We have tuned our frequency to this industry, and we’re all creatives and strategists.”
Lion & Orb
Lion & Orb, founded in June by Audie Chamberlain, formerly the social media marketing director at realtor.com, offers public relations services to real estate companies, helping them to craft and deliver their message to media and customers, with an emphasis on digital and social media marketing in a “mobile and digital-first approach.” In just four months, the company has garnered clients like Hawaii Life, Concierge Auctions and Dizzle.
“We create a master narrative and get it to the right people at the right time,” Chamberlain said. “But we focus on growth, not just public relations, and help companies in a holistic way to grow their business. All of the years I spent as director of social marketing at realtor.com enable me to introduce entrepreneurs to people I have met over the years so they can grow and expand their business.”
The companies will maintain their independence and respective client rosters, but when 1000watt clients request public relations services, the company will refer them to Lion & Orb.
“We have known Audie for years, worked with him on several projects and respect his media and public relations savvy immensely,” Davison said. “He has led the way in helping redefine what ‘PR’ means in a real estate context to reflect the digital, mobile and social focus of today’s marketplace.”
Past work together
The partnership grew out of a relationship that 1000watt had with Partners Trust, a luxury real estate firm in Los Angeles where Chamberlain was working on strategic media placements and broad online and offline exposure. 1000watt was brought in to completely revamp Partners Trust’s brand and image.
“We began with their name, Partners Trust. It had no meaning. It was two words that sounded good. So it began with thinking about what those words really mean and finding out its place in the organization.
“We retold the story of the company and gave the staff the script they needed to describe themselves, and told them about the words they should not be using, to reinforce the ideas of trust, partnership and discretion. We built a logo and their identity, and designed a luxury website with the right typeface and photography. We worked on their conference and scripted it from the minute it started until to very end.
“Audie took all of that and laid the groundwork for a massive PR campaign that swirled around that launch,” Davison continued. “He made them look special. We created the assets by which they can walk the walk, and Audie got out there and talked it.”
Davison likened the alliance to a partnership between an architect and a builder.
“Architects create and craft the look and feel of a space, but you need people to break ground and build it. I see public relations as being the construction crew out in the world, hammering out opportunities and messaging, getting people to read and learn about brands and companies,” he said.
“These companies come to us to help shape or reshape how they approach the world. Once that work is done, they want to announce it. We can give them strategic advice, but they still need public relations.
“It just made sense to find ways to continue to collaborate, because there wasn’t really anyone we felt comfortable enough to recommend to our clients, someone we knew would do a great job. But we do with Audie.”
“Architects create and craft the look and feel of a space, but you need people to break ground and build it. I see public relations as being the construction crew out in the world, hammering out opportunities and messaging, getting people to read and learn about brands and companies.” – Marc Davison, partner at 1000watt
Chamberlain said he wants to avoid talking in sound bites, but said, “this partnership plays to both of our strengths.”
“No one comes close to 1000watt’s capacity for creativity, storytelling and big thinking in our industry,” he said. “1000watt has the reputation of being the best. They are unparalleled in this space. This relationship makes what we both offer more complete because we have a trusted partner that we are going to use to execute marketing and public relations at the highest level.”
History and connections
The principals of both companies are all friends of Inman. The leaders of 1000watt held various positions at the company; Davison was a business development consultant from 1998 to 2001 and built Inman’s digital business. Chamberlain, described by Inman Publisher Brad Inman in an editorial as a “lanky, persistent (sometimes annoying) digital hack who is well connected and dogs it for his clients,” participated in a digital marketing workshop at Inman Connect, held in August in San Francisco.
And both Davison and Chamberlain are critical of the state of marketing and public relations in the real estate industry.
“I believe this industry is just coming out of what may have been a 50-, 60- or 70-year coma,” Davison said. “When you look at the history of real estate advertising, it is so bad and tone-deaf. You have the stereotypical image of the real estate agent, and it really is quite derogatory.
“But it is changing radically, and more and more real estate companies are starting to realize that their brokerage may have brand awareness in their community, but entrepreneurial entities absolutely should be using creative and PR agencies to announce their accomplishments. I think this is helping to create a new era of real estate, and is due in part to a young, new breed of marketers who are being hired.”
The biggest challenge
Chamberlain said the main challenge for real estate companies that wish to engage in marketing and public relations is “cutting through all the noise.”
“There are so many channels real estate professionals have to keep up with,” he said. “If you think of public relations in a hierarchy, there is face-to-face marketing on top, then social media — Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and text messaging — and it just keeps going and going. Everyone is out there talking about their big new idea. This is something we believe should be left to experts so real estate professionals can focus on the growth of their business.
“At the end of the day, I want a broker or entrepreneur to focus on growing their business, not reaching out to reporters and talking to industry folks all day. It’s my job to get in the car and drive to the conference and sit down with tier-1 reporters, and form relationships that are in my clients’ best interest, to help them grow and make the best use of their time.”