When is the last time you did something BIG in your community to raise money for a good cause, to build your brand and to get some great BUZZ about your company?

In this day and age, we are all subject to information overload. It takes a lot to stand out, and LIVE Urban Real Estate, a locally owned boutique residential real estate brokerage in the Denver area, is doing just that.

I have had the pleasure of knowing the LIVE Urban team for a few years and have always been impressed with their brand and how they are raising the bar in their local market while still maintaining the family atmosphere of a boutique, tech-savvy brokerage.

For the first time ever, they are organizing a contest, “Race to Your Next Place” — a thrilling citywide scavenger hunt with 250 teams of two vying for a $10,000 cash grand prize! The prize money can be used toward a down payment on a dream home, home remodel, or renovation — anything they want!

When I spoke to one of our Agent Reboot Denver ambassadors (and LIVE Urban agent) Stacie Staub about it, I knew I wanted to feature this story here on InmanNext.

Here is the interview I did with John Skrabec, broker/owner of LIVE Urban:

Where did this idea come from?

The idea has evolved over a few years. We do lots of open houses at LIVE Urban, and have organized and marketed a variety of group open house tours, cooperating with other brokerages and tying into local events. I’ve also been inspired by local “Amazing race”-type events, and have participated in a local race for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. That’s what got me thinking about getting a nonprofit partner. Habitat for Humanity of Colorado was a perfect fit! And of course, I’m also a big fan of the “Amazing Race,” and have actually applied a few times to be on the show. All of that came together for me last year and inspired me to organize an event for our brokerage.

It’s a really “out of the box” idea — have you noticed people chatting online more about your brand because of this contest?

It has been generating lots of local buzz, especially in the last few days. We have nearly 60 agents at LIVE Urban, and most of them are active on social media. We’ve organized our team with tips, tools and links, and they are all spreading the word. Clients, friends and members of the local community are chiming in as well.

Do you have any social goals tied to this contest?

Of course. We’re always looking for ways to increase our social media presence, and an event like this gives us something to talk about! All of the followers, likes, email subscriptions, website hits and other connections we make online during this promotion all add up to a strong brand following. I’d like to see a 25-30 percent increase across the board. I think we’re on track to do that.

How are you using social media to promote this?

We’ve organized a social media committee of brokers and outside volunteers to coordinate our efforts. Unique Facebook and Twitter accounts, LinkedIn and Facebook events, and a Facebook ad campaign make up our campaign foundation. We’ve got QR code yard signs in front of listings that direct folks to a mobile registration site as well. We’ll be integrating Facebook Places for check-ins on race day, as well as encouraging participants to tweet their progress and their progress during the race using a special race hashtag #racenextplace. In addition, our sponsors are promoting the event on their social media channels.

How are you empowering your agents to promote this?

I believe by providing our team of agents with the right, easy-to-use tools, they’ll take the ball and run with it. That’s what’s happening. We’re also heavily promoting the race during National Open House Weekend at all our open houses, which drives traffic to our current listings and gives our agents increased face time with homebuyers. It’s all designed to generate more leads for our team.

This seems like a big undertaking — time and effort to organize; what is your primary purpose for doing this and what do you hope to gain out of it?

We identified three goals for the event:

1) Give back to the community. It’s certainly one of our core values at LIVE Urban.

2) Generate leads for our business.

3) Increase our brand awareness and visibility in the market.

It’s a huge project. Bigger than I expected. But we’ve assembled a great team, including outside event coordinators, to get it all done. Our agents have really helped find sponsors in the community (more than $20,000 in sponsorships!) and we’re getting lots of volunteers to help on race day.

It really became clear to me this week. I was at an unrelated community meeting the other evening, and was approached by a local resident who said, “I just wanted to tell you that I think that race event you are planning is amazing. It really illustrates your company’s commitment to the local community. Good job.” That’s almost all I needed to hear, and was thrilled it left that impression.


Registration for this charity event is now open and 100 percent of race registration fees — up to $25,000 — will be awarded to charity partner Habitat for Humanity of Colorado.


For more information, visit www.RaceNextPlace.com.

Like the Race at http://www.Facebook.com/RaceNextPlace

Follow the Race at http://www.Twitter.com/RaceNextPlace

What are you doing to raise the bar in your local market? Do you have a big idea to create buzz and build brand awareness? We’d love to hear your stories — leave us a comment below or email us at inmannext (at) inman (dot) com.

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