Positioning your message, positioning your fund

Real estate investment managers can learn a lesson from the use of music in television commercials when developing a strategy to bring a new fund to market.

For example, it is not uncommon to watch television or listen to the radio (for those of us who still do that) and hear an old song that accompanies the merchandise being marketed. The purpose of choosing these “oldies” is to connect us with a time we consider nostalgic and bring us back to our respective youthful times. It’s a tried and true method of creating a mood in the 30 to 60 seconds of airtime that have been purchased.

However, so often when listening to the music soundtracks and the products offered at the moment, the messages can often be classified as mixed at best and completely off the wall at the worst.

Two companies whose musical choices create the biggest question marks are Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which chose “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop for an entire campaign a few years ago, and automobile manufacturer Kia, which recently chose “Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg for its Kia Soul line.

As a reminder, the Iggy Pop punk classic refers to drug use, liquor and many physical acts that some may consider inappropriate, especially when promoting a family cruise vacation. And “Dueling Banjos” gained huge popularity as the main theme for the very dark 1970s canoe and camping trip movie Deliverance. (Nothing more needs to be said about this particular contribution to the wonders of cinema.)

One might ask, how does this happen? Who is control of matching this music to what may be considered wholesome family fare? My guess is the creative teams at these company’s advertising agencies were only children sitting in the backseats of their parent’s cars, remembering these songs but having absolutely no recollection of what they’re connected to.

This is something to think about when positioning your fund strategy when attempting to connect with your audience. One question to ask is, “Who in our organization has a true understanding of our product line? And who understands how to bring this message forward? Is this person or team able to succinctly describe that message to marketing and public relations professionals, whether internal or external?” In truth, it’s not an easy task at all.

There are certainly examples of funds that got hammered by the global financial crisis, and quite possibly properties from these funds might end up in your brochure a few years from now because the marketing team didn’t do their proper research when developing the creative collateral materials for the new strategy.

Innocent enough, yet this is where keeping your eyes and ears on the marketing message can get completely lost. You rarely get a second chance to capture a potential customer’s buy-in, and not being completely clear about your message can do immeasurable damage to your brand.

A company needs to be on point in all aspects of its message and the medium it is using to get this message across. Without it, you might find yourself at the end of a very bad camping trip, or worse.


Jonathan_Schein-NEWThe views, statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.

Jonathan Schein is senior vice president and managing director of global business development at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.