Recently,we took the time to catch up with LDG, The Creative Property Team, to find more about this youthful commercial real estate brand and how Realla has been helping them modernise their marketing, and drive enquiries.
Our very own Gosia Furmanik sat down with Daniel Castle, Cary Dennington and Harrison Eagles, who make up the Commercial Department of this multi-disciplinary agency.
Gosia – I guess I should firstly start by asking the LDG Story! When did it first start?
Daniel - It surprises a lot of people, especially new clients, that LDG was actually 30 years old last year. My business partner Laurence Glynne set up LDG as a Residential Sales Agency in 1987 and the firm has continued to grow since then, building up a renowned and Award Winning Residential Sales, Lettings and Management Department, before I joined in 2011 to set up the Commercial division of the firm, having worked in Commercial Property since 1998. Since Day 1 LDG has been about cultivating a passionate and creative environment for property which our clients have, very fortunately, loved and found very refreshing. In a short space of time our Commercial Department started growing, with Cary joining in 2013, followed by Harrison joining 2015. We worked out recently that the average age of our Department is in the late 20s which we feel is really important because core demographic (creative, tech and media companies) have a similarly aged employees, so we like to think we have a good understanding of businesses’ because we have a similar company culture here too!
Gosia – Is there someone specific in the office who leads the creative culture in the office?
Cary – In fairness, I think it’s the credit to the company’s ethos that allows us all to think outside the box. The Partners have always encouraged us to come up with new ideas or strategies for our marketing! Daniel is particularly open to us trying something out rather than just talking about whether it works. We read somewhere recently that that 90% of creativity is just getting on with it, something we totally agree with!
Gosia – Creativity in your agency is something you’re clearly keen to emphasise, particularly through your Social Media and blogging. How has this been perceived outside of LDG and how important is it for your business?
Harrison – Social media is ever present in everyday life so it has naturally become an important strategy for us to appeal to our target audience. When we started, we were keen to ensure our presentation appealed to a wider audience, rather than simply provide property news. There is naturally some risk in doing this, because we didn’t want to seem we weren’t taking our core role seriously but we’ve been blessed with clients with a good sense of humour who enjoy us thinking outside the box to get their properties noticed. A prime example was our ‘dog’s eye view’ walk-through video of an office in Fitzrovia which was featured in Property Week (see the video below), having been embedded on the Realla microsite. It’s great that we’ve had industry recognition for our videos. We’re also delighted that many of our properties have featured in Realla blogs over recent months.
Gosia – It’s great Realla has also had its role in your more creative marketing channels. Are there any specific features that you find most useful?
Cary – Realla has been a great tool for us, particularly as it came about at a time when we started overtly exploring our creative sides. The ability to embed videos and virtual tours have been great for our applicants and clients but on a more technical basis, the feature we find most useful is probably the integration with our website and portals. This streamlines the property launch process to one system, whereas previously we would have had to upload onto 3-4 different sites. Realla is also very user friendly site so it’s easy to pick up for first timers jumping onto the system.
Gosia – Would you therefore say Realla has solved problems that you had before joining?
Harrison - “Problems” is probably not the right word but it certainly has had an impact on how we work and how we present to clients and applicants. We continually monitor our analytics so we can pinpoint where our leads are coming from and we can concentrate our marketing tactics accordingly. Realla also allows us to go paperless on inspections as we can showcase the microsite on site, which highlights our photography through slideshows as well as the videos and costing tables. Going paperless on viewings particularly made our Office Manager Susan happy, who is relentlessly dedicated to our cause for environmentally friendly working.
Gosia – Lastly, what does the next 12 months hold for LDG?
Daniel – 2018 is going to be exciting year for LDG. I think we’re all looking forward to the redesigning of our offices in Fitzrovia and working in an environment that matches our brand. We also have a long list of exciting social media ideas, campaigns and videos, which our Communications Officer, Beatrice, will be working on through the year. More importantly though, we have a pipeline of exciting disposal projects, such as Axtell Soho, a c. 14,500 SQ.FT. office redevelopment in Soho, as well as high quality workspaces coming up in Goodge Street, Fitzrovia. I have no doubt that the integration of Realla in the day-to-day running of our business as well as the flexibility to brand up microsites for specific instructions will play an active role in presenting our projects.