2014 was my first year at ICSC. As a 20-something year old breaking into the retail real estate industry at the largest deal making event of the year, I was grateful to have my boss with me who had 25+ years experience guiding me throughout the entire show. Below are a few tips from me, now an expert, on how to survive your first time at ICSC.
1. Wear comfortable shoes and take care of your feet at night.
My boss joked about this being the most important part of ICSC and she was right. I ampretty good in high heels, wear them daily and never have problems walking in them. But, I had problems getting through three days at ICSC in them. I brought a small bag that I put my heels in and wore flats between meetings while I was navigating the map and trying to make it to appointments on time with a few minutes to prep before each one. I still had swollen feet so I made a routine of soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes when we got back to the hotel around midnight every night after dinners and networking.
2. Drink lots of water.
There are two factors here to consider: (1) it’s Las Vegas and scorching hot in the driest air. Just because you’re not dripping sweat from the lack of humidity, doesn’t mean it’s not hot. Keep a bottle with you and make yourself stay hydrated. (2) If you take advantage of the opportunities ICSC provides, you shouldn’t have a break in your schedule except to go the bathroom and to eat a quick meal. You should be running around making the most of your time. This alone is a work out. Do not get overheated and miss your chance to shine.
3. It’s impossible to have a bad hair day.
The wind is insane on the strip. Check out my Mission Impossible Michael Kors jumpsuit and windblown hair outside the Cosmopolitan on the way to our next dinner date. Do not spend time worrying about your hair. The dry air and lack of humidity only require a brush to go from professional skydiver to top model once again. Spend time with your face in your notes rather than the mirror. Trust me, it’ll be fine.
4. Pack light.
You should know your appointment schedule at least a week before ICSC. Plan your outfits down to what you wear on the plane to every day and dinner thereafter. I wore every single thing I packed for the first time in my life on that trip and it was worth the planning. You do not want to lug heavy luggage through the hotels, airport and on the strip. Also, it’s hot. Have I made that clear? Pack light clothes and fabrics that breathe.
5. You never know whom you’re going to meet. Be prepared.
You never know whom you are going to meet in a city that brings over 40,000 convention people to one of the biggest tourist cities in the country. Feel comfortable enough in what you’re wearing so if you do meet a celebrity, you’ll love the photo memory. Look who we met at dinner with past clients and vendors. Who doesn’t love the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro?
6. Talk to everyone and always have your business cards handy.
Get up early, have your coffee early and get on your game from the moment you leave your hotel room. Talk to people in the elevator, in the line to get a cab, in the cab, people you rub shoulders with on the train or in the convention halls. We met so many people and exchanged so many cards that turned into great opportunities. You never know who you may be washing your hands next to in the bathroom. BTW, wash your hands a lot and keep germs on the DL. Lot’s of shaking of hands can have its own disadvantages.
7. Charge electronics overnight and bring chargers with you during the day.
In one of my first appointments of the day, my iPad died. It was mortifying as a first timer. I had charged it all night and either there was a short in the outlet I selected or it was bad luck. Fortunately I had my charger with me and we were able to continue our presentation. Be cool, be calm and stay charged.
8. Leave time between appointments and don’t lose your map.
I’m all about capitalizing on the opportunities this convention provides and making the most of your time, but don’t overestimate and over promise your commitments. These halls are HUGE. To the point where they have golf carts helping you to get from North to Central and South. I highly recommend leaving 30 minutes before appointments. And do not lose your map or it is game over. Mark your appointments out on your map the second you get there. As you stroll (run) to your next appointment, try to look for the booths of your next meetings. Each looks different and they all have something unique to help you spot them. Check out two of our client’s booths, Tanger Outlets and Lennar Commercial below.
9. Be careful at the parties.
It wouldn’t be Vegas without some great parties – Deal making by day, partying by night. When you’re invited to these parties, remember you are still working. Also remember not everyone remembers that. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, maintain your professionalism and move on. Watch the flow of the party, the atmosphere, how people are interacting, try to recognizes faces before you go talk to them, know who you would like to meet before you get to the party, and keep it professional. I recommend a two drink max, because don’t forget ICSC last for three days.
10. Have fun.
There’s no doubt this convention is work. But it’s exciting, thrilling, fast paced and can still be fun at the same time. Try not to let it cloud your judgment of what all of Las Vegas is like if you haven’t visited before for any other reason than ICSC. If you can go a day early or stay a day late, enjoy the beautiful uniqueness of each hotel like the Bellagio and the Wynn.
Each year for nearly 25 years, attending the International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC) RECon event has been an opportunity for infinitee to reconnect with our clients while hosting new business meetings with dozens of companies in the retail industry. Held in Las Vegas, Nevada, this annual event brings together more than 30,000 developers, brokers, tenants and owners from all over the world. For retail shopping centers, it is the biggest deal-making event of the year.
For those who have never been, consider the following:
There are three buildings comprising 3,200,000 square feet (North Hall, Central Hall and South Hall).
The distance from North Hall to South Hall is nearly one mile (golf cart drivers are provided for convenience).
Within the halls booth sizes range from 10 square feet to some as large as one city block.
The average attendee will walk over ten miles a day and consume a gallon of water to compensate for temperatures hovering around 90 degrees.
Now that you have a good picture of the scope of the convention center, imagine planning appointments and meetings with a sufficient amount of time to get to each one (30 minutes between appointments is not unusual). Mapping out a schedule is imperative (Download the program) as well as a good pair of walking shoes. You do not want to be the woman wearing high-heeled shoes putting bandages on her ankles. You can always switch out your flip-flops or tennis shoes before your meeting once you arrive at your destination (you will see plenty of experienced people doing just that).
Keep in mind that the Internet connectivity is iffy in the convention halls. Print out the information you need to reference just to be safe and be prepared with a back up plan if your presentation requires connectivity. It is best to have everything you need loaded on your laptop or Ipad and ready to go. And bring chargers - you don’t want to run out of battery power in the middle of your presentation.
Finally, if entertaining is part of your job, making reservations needs to be done well in advance to get the best selection of restaurants and shows. And one word of caution, especially for the younger exuberant first timers, meeting days last a long time when you are hung over. Drink in moderation. Everything that happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas.
What is the Infinite Scroll?
We’ve all seen the infinite scroll in some digital strategy or another. Most notably are social media networks. From Facebook to Pinterest, Instagram and more, users can scroll endlessly while new content is loaded. Now, businesses are adopting this innovative design solution too. The question, however, is to figure out if infinite scrolling is right for your business and operations.
Pros & Cons of the Infinite Scroll
Mobile Responsiveness – infinite scrolling seems to be built for mobile devices. It takes little effort for the end user to navigate a website from their thumb, increasing engagement and content absorption. You can showcase a lot of data and it’s updated immediately.
Increased Page Views – According to QuickSprout, page views increase enormously as each time a user continues to scroll and more content is loaded, that counts as a new page in Google Analytics.
Decreased Interaction Cost – Because the website exists on a single page with interlinks only, it requires less build out of internal, secondary and tertiary pages significantly lowering interaction costs.
Is the Infinite Scroll right for you?
Concise Business: If your company’s website design currently has little information that rarely changes, you could use an infinite scroll with an appropriate interlinking strategy. It’s important that all content on your site have equal value. For instance, this may be a great option for a mixed-use development as you can promote retail, office and living through an appropriate interlinking strategy while being user friendly and showcasing the latest new store announcements, news and events.
Image Intense Business: Images work best for infinite scrolling, i.e. Instagram, Tumblr, etc. If you have an image intense site, this can be an effective digital design solution as well.
Ecommerce Sites: infinite scrolling will significantly hurt your ecommerce site. Entrepreneur explains how Etsy tried it for sometime and quickly realized users could not search for specific products, skip ahead or navigate the site based on their specific needs.
If you’re in the process of exploring new website solutions for your business, contact Jocelyn Smith at infinitee today. [Email: Jocelyn@infinitee.com O: (404) 231-3481 x119.]
It is no longer a question of whether or not a commercial real estate company should have an active social media presence. Remember the 90’s when companies realized they needed to build a website. No one can imagine not having a website today and so it is with social media platforms. The benefits far outnumber the negative misconceptions of time it takes to post and manage. And the analytics demonstrate the effectiveness of these tools to grow brand awareness, increase search engine optimization, and ultimately reach and engage with your customers.
The commercial real estate industry has been slow to adopt social media as a mainstream marketing tool. The reality is that CRE clients, corporate America, have already embraced social media — which means that CRE companies need to leverage it strategically to build their brand and grow their business by participating in the same online tools as their customers.
Few CRE companies do it consistently and even less do it well. A notable exception is Cushman & Wakefield that has an active presence on multiple platforms. Barbi Reuter, COO of Cushman & Wakefield, writes for CRE and launched the blog PICOR Connect, Trends in Commercial Real Estate. Reuter stated in a recent post, “Don’t let yourself be scared off by the vast world of social media. Think of it as an opportunity to give your brand a personal touch, and to more closely connect with the community around you.” Reuter commented about blogging, “the blog became the hub, and our social channels the spokes through which we share our messages.”
Companies can no longer expect to reach specific targets via traditional marketing that pushes out messages through: advertising, brochures, direct mail, email, flyers and even websites. Social media has granted permission and access to consumers to share their opinion openly with the world, both good and bad. Being able to address both appropriately and timely can create life long brand advocates.
Although there are literally hundreds of social media platforms available, the most popular ones for business include: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging. All have their unique advantages.
- Facebook allows daily communication, transparency, brand exposure and industry engagement
- Twitter is an instantaneous news feed of engagement and a great source for driving website traffic
- YouTube is viewed by millions of subscribers daily and serves as an impactful messaging tool for showcasing images that speak volumes about your brand
- Blogging positions a company as a thought leader and serve’s as new website content for the search engines ultimately increasing SEO
Developing a strategic messaging plan is the first step to executing social media and many companies will engage outside experts to write the plan based on specific goals. The plan can then be executed by an in-house team or be maintained by an outside resource. Experts in social media should propose a plan that is customized to the CRE company internal capabilities, objectives and budget.
Having an active presence on social media is no longer an option for CRE companies and, in fact, can be a detriment for some if they do not have an active voice online. If you are still questioning the value of social media, you are already behind the curve and your competitor may soon pass you by as they gleam customer insights, increase brand awareness and grow their business through social media.
To learn more about how social media can impact your businesses bottom line or to simply get started, contact our social media strategist, Chelsea Smith at infinitee or ask for our free Social Media Performance Audit to see how your brand is being talked about online.
#TBT to when MySpace was the only major player on the social media front. With ever changing popular culture come new social platforms for the public to voice its opinions. In order for a business to truly stay relevant, it is vital to maintain a compelling and inviting presence on these innovative mediums, such as Instagram. infinitee provides the best strategies in order to optimize your company’s efforts on this popular platform.
Here are 3 ways to utilize Instagram to its full potential:
1. Lightly Branded Engagement: Instagram users respond best to posts that seem personal with subtle undertones of branding.
Why it works: Followers feel that they can connect more with the brand on a more personal level through lightly branded pictures and engagement instead of a strictly promotional advertisement. Ben & Jerry’s depicts this perfectly with a photo of their packaging garnering 3,658 less likes than a creative photo of their ice cream. This builds brand loyalty and positive attitudes towards the company.
2. Create an Environment Conducive to Conversation: Engage with customers and other followers on your account through comments, likes, regrams, etc.
Why it works: Having an open line of communication between customers and a company makes the company appear transparent and likeable. This allows a positive, trusting relationship to develop between the company and follower.
3. Manage Outgoing Messages through Images: Instagram is an effective platform to disseminate short, light-hearted messages from the company.
Why it works: Studies have shown that people are more drawn to image assets. This means that a company’s messages are more likely to be engaging to consumers if associated with an image - making Instagram an ideal platform.
As shown in the infographic, Instagram has many benefits for companies seeking to employ a B2C social media strategy. By creating transcendent topics and light-hearted, subtly branded content, your company can engage an ever-growing audience directly from their fingertips.
Contact infinitee today to fully customize these tactics to suit the marketing challenges you face in your industry, as well as implement these strategies into your company’s social media management for maximum optimization.
As we move into second quarter 2015, times are good for the real estate industry. After years of cut backs, companies are hiring once again. Nearly 2.5 million new jobs are predicted, according to ADP Research Institute. Mortgage lenders are underwriting loans and pouring money into value-added opportunities.
Commercial real estate investing continues to look stable compared to other parts of the U.S. economy. This fact has not gone unnoticed by foreign investors who view the U.S. as outperforming other Western countries for the best opportunities for capital appreciation. Cross-border-investment totaled about $28.2 billion, according to Real Capital Analytics, a New York City-based research firm. Multifamily ranked as the most attractive asset type followed by industrial, primarily due to online retail growth and increased need for more distribution centers. Other industries desiring more industrial space include: food, medical, construction, and even the growing film industry sector.
A steady demand for commercial space and low levels of development will equal a trend in less vacancy rates according to experts at CBRE’s 2015 national forecast series, “Moving Up the Risk Curve,” which includes forecasts for ten U.S. cities. CBRE reports that the tech and energy sectors will be primary economic drivers for future growth. In our hometown of Atlanta, predictions stated:
- Atlanta is in the middle of an industrial recovery
- Retail has recovered with rising rents and property values
- Multi-housing properties are a preferred choice for investors
- Office space demand and workplace densities will require a greater emphasis on parking capacity
In addition, a dramatic shift over the last year in the development of the “retail experience” is expected to continue. In Atlanta alone, the opening of Avalon in Alpharetta, Buckhead Atlanta
and Ponce City Market, all open-air mixed-use developments
, are examples of the desire for authentic, street-front shopping that creates an exciting experience for entertainment and dining options for residents and professionals.
Many more great retail developments are on the horizon in Atlanta and across the country and with a steady influx of investor dollars, this trend is expected to continue for years to come.
Follow our blog for the latest information about real estate news or visit our website for more insight into marketing for commercial properties, mixed-use developments, multi-family properties and retail shopping centers.
Recently, Say Daily published an article on the Top 5 Trends in Digital Media for 2015. infinitee breaks these trends down to tell you exactly what those implications mean for your marketing and communications strategy this year. Let’s go.
(1) Mobile Takeover: 3 Implications
According to Ovum, 1 billion people will use mobile as their only form of Internet access in 2015 – no more tablets, desktop, etc. Makes sense given the larger phone screens from Apple, Android and the like lately, right? This means, all that money you recently spent on your fancy website that was so content and image heavy with keyword overflow and endless inbound links has lost significant value.
What You Can Do:
- Simple is Better. Websites no longer need to be mobile responsive, but mobile designed. This means simple layouts, images that download quickly and minimal copy. Figure how a website can bring the greatest value to your company and design pages around that.
- Drive Calls. If people are accessing information about you form their mobile device, your phone number should be the biggest CTA you have. All they have to do is literally click the phone number for it to dial you. Be prepared to answer the influx of calls with a designated sales team, person, etc. For more data, implement different variations of phone numbers to track where the leads are coming from.
- Push Notifications. Whether in b2b or b2c, allow people to sign up for updates either about products, your blogs, website updates, social media networks, etc. to stay top of mind. If more people are using mobile only devices to access the Internet, take advantage of being connected with your audiences through the technology that sits in the palm of their hand and never leaves them.
(2) Read Consumers’ Minds: Pre-Targeting and Eliminating the Guessing Game
It started with retargeting, which everyone hates. We Google something, go to the link one time, and boom – we see it everywhere when we go on the Internet from then on out. Does it stick with us? Yes. Do we remember it? Yes. Are we utterly annoyed by our own behavioral decision? Yes. Instead of retargeting, the new trend is Pre-Targeting. As Say Daily explains, pre-targeting and pre-purchase ads use big data to predict buyers’ preferences with relevant and smart messages while they’re in the buying phase, not after it.
What You Can Do:
- Take Advantage of Google’s Knowledge. Google knows your customers better than you do because your customers literally tell Google what they’re interested in searches. Partner with them to figure out what your consumers are searching for the most and start predicting how your products or services meet that.
- Use Social Media Data. Facebook provides some of the greatest social media insights surrounding your customers. Take advantage of platform tools like Core and Custom Audiences to deliver ads. Learn their lifestyles, see their interests and tell them what they want before they know it.
(3) Video and Visual Content: Get Creative
This really isn’t a big shocker. Video and visual content are the most preferred and digested content through the web, especially on social media. However, it’s pretty difficult to create, takes a lot of resources and a creative marketing firm to help. Or does it?
(See our blog: Tips on Producing Successful Corporate Videos)
What You Can Do:
- Figure Out Your Industry. Determine what visual content even means for your business. Is it construction – building an apartment? Is it digital design – designing a website? Remember, visual and video content will be watched, so make sure it relates back to you and pushes your products or services. Just because you don’t think it’s video worthy, doesn’t mean it’s not. You have a job for a reason and it’s because you are better at it than someone else. A high-speed time lapse of your creative director designing something great or your construction team building a great apartment is way more interesting to other people, especially your clients or future residents, than you think.
- Use the Right Tools. Here are some great tools to create cool video content: Screenr (record your screen while you work), Powtoon (DIY animated videos for product demos), Wideo (custom logos and messages), Stupeflix (really cool slideshow creation), GoPro (attachable video camera to last in the most extreme conditions), TimeLapse (combines a series of pictures into video)
(4) Wearables: Improving Operations
Wearable technology is here. Before you know it, we’ll have chips in our arms and computers in our contacts. (Too soon?) Smart watches and fitness devices are already worn by half of consumers and smart appliances are next. Imagine walking down the grocery aisle and you receive an alert from your fridge letting you know you need milk as you pass it, pre-heating the oven from the office before you get home or turning off the stove after you forgot on your way out. All this and more is coming.
(See our blog: 10 Shopping Technology Trends To Watch)
What You Can Do:
- Monitor and Incorporate. These are just starting to come out, and they’re not relevant to every industry. But they are relevant to every consumer. Monitor these wearables as they come out and see how you can incorporate them to better market to your consumers, improve your business operations or utilize their popularity to further your brand identity and business.
(5) Applied Analytics: Jackpot
Anything digital is traceable. As consumers continuously adopt new technologies and digital media, insight into their lifestyle, behavior, interests and patterns becomes available at your fingertips. The trick is applying these insights to make better marketing and advertising decisions.
What You Can Do:
- Target the Right People. Stop guessing who your consumers are and narrow down your prospects. The more specific you can get, the better. Divide your audiences into several targets and sub-segment the larger generational pools. Instead of deciding your target audience is millennials, segment that further into their age, gender, lifestyle, search patterns, complementing interests, etc.
- Deliver the Right Products. Stop mass marketing your products and services. Now that you know exactly who your audiences are and you have them further segmented into smaller gaps, figure out which product or service is best for them and tell them about it. Depending on your industry, this may change your target segments from consumer characteristics to business verticals, job titles, experience, etc.
- Get the Right Timing. Digital media insights will tell you exactly when the best time to reach your audiences is. Timing should be innate and it does not have to be a guess. Facebook Insights alone will tell you at what time on what day the majority of your followers are logged in and actively using Facebook. Being able to know exactly who your customers are, their interests and at what time to deliver the message is truly hitting the jackpot.
To discuss your marketing and advertising needs further and how your specific business can benefit from the implications behind these digital media trends, contact infinitee today. (404) 231-3481
2014 was a year of celebration for infinitee, commemorating its 25th anniversary as an award-winning, women-owned advertising and marketing agency. To honor those that provided a helping hand along infinitee's journey to success, co-founders, Jocelyn Smith and Barbara McGraw partnered with Dress for Success Atlanta to raise awareness for its Professional Women’s Group – a group dedicated to the personal and professional development of working women in need throughout metro Atlanta.
With the evolution of word-of-mouth marketing and social media strategies for businesses on the rise, infinitee created a Thunderclap social media campaign titled, #WomenRunWorkplace to help spread the empowering message of women run workplaces and prove the power of online relationships.
Using Thunderclap, an online crowd-speaking platform that helps people and businesses be heard by saying something together, infinitee set out to break through the clutter of social media. Thunderclap allows users to set up a campaign with an an empowering message, set a goal for the number of supporters and a time-span in which you hope to garner the support. After the goal is met, your pre-composed message is disseminated - all at once, flash-mob style, through each and every supporter’s social media platforms in mass amounts.
"The thunderclap campaign, Women Run Workplace, truly highlighted the impact social media can have to make a difference and raise awareness about topics that need attention today. We are so proud of the success and opportunities Jocelyn and Barb have provided infinitee over the last 25 years and this was a perfect way to turn our appreciation into inspiration among that masses." - Chelsea Smith, Social Media Strategist
infinitee surpassed its goal of 100 supporters within a month’s time and over 91,000 people saw its message on November 1, 2014. In addition to the remarkable reach of the campaign, #WomenRunWorkplace gained awareness from established working women and women’s business groups across metro Atlanta, including Monica Pearson and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation.
To learn more about creating impactful social media campaigns and strategies, contact our Atlanta Advertising Agency today.
The World Health Organization, recently reported that cities will hold 70 percent of the world’s population by 2050 and people will demand quality urban spaces and services. As current cities expand, urban leaders and city planners continue to embrace the live, work, play communities that spur economic growth, social interactions and quality of life.
Connected communities also reduce the need for private vehicles, increasing the viability of public transport, walking, and bicycling as well as more shared community spaces like plazas, parks, and sidewalks all of which foster interaction. A landmark study of San Francisco compared three neighborhoods identical except for the levels of vehicle traffic on their streets revealing that residents of neighborhoods with the lowest level of car traffic had three times as many friends as their more heavily trafficked counterparts. Public transit-friendly neighborhoods benefit local economies. Less time commuting and more walking increases support of local businesses. In fact, Transport for London found that pedestrians spend up to 60 percent more money at businesses each month than those traveling by car.
Underlying this development trend is the universal desire for engaging, meaningful and authentic places, that offer more than a place to live and work, but an exceptional experience that defines a person’s lifestyle. Baby Boomers and their grandchildren alike desire experiences that create lasting memories that define a sense of place where they can dine, shop, be entertained, workout, walk, and bike - just a few vibrant uses desired by residents and visitors of mixed-use town centers.
This demand is spurring new development as well as the repositioning of existing properties. From complete overhauls to adding new uses and density, mixed-use town centers from California to New York are including institutional, cultural and sports facilities with traditional retail lifestyle center concepts. In Austin, TX, a 700-acre redevelopment of a town center includes a children’s hospital, museum and a university research center. And in San Jose, CA a traditional regional center is being converted into a fitness and entertainment community that promotes health and livability.
Integrating all phases of family life and work into coherent communities will continue to be the focus of developers who want to capture market share by emphasizing comfortable, inter-generational environments that encourage relaxation and long stays.
To stay abreast of the latest mixed-use real estate news and trends visit our Atlanta advertising agency today.
This year marks a milestone for infinitee. Twenty-five years ago, we opened our doors for business and never looked back. From inspirational clients to aspirational team members, this year was a year of celebration, and celebrate we did.
Jocelyn Smith and Barb McGraw started infinitee in 1989 and they are still the sole owners of the agency today. To commemorate this incredible statistic of the women-owned business for 25 years, infinitee launched a Thunderclap social media campaign spreading awareness and encouragement of women-run workplaces industry wide. Supported by over 100 unique followers and reaching over 100,000 people social media wide, we achieved our awareness goals with key engagement from profiles like Monica Pearson and She’s Her Own CEO, while also building awareness for Dress For Success Atlanta.
infinitee’s partnership with Dress For Success Atlanta defined our giveback efforts not only with the Thunderclap campaign, but also in attendance of their Little Black Dress event with a sponsored auction item and team attendance. The strategic decision to leverage infinitee’s 25th anniversary to build awareness for a non profit that encourages exactly what Jocelyn and Barb set out to achieve really brought the anniversary full circle.
As noted, 25 years of success could not be achieved without the great team infinitee has in place. Giving back to the community was complimented by giving back to the employees. The entire office at Lenox Towers underwent significant renovations to increase the look and feel of the office where infinitee employees spend so much time in dedication to their clients. From new floors, paint, custom furniture and more, the office is ready to welcome employees and clients – old and new. Completing the celebration, Jocelyn and Barb hosted an Employee Appreciation Party in the upgraded offices to commemorate their years of success.
“We are only as good as our people, and for that, we cannot thank each of you enough.” – stated Barb McGraw, CMO infinitee during the celebration.
25 years in the advertising and marketing business is a success in itself, but 25 years with the same partnership is uniquely historical and rare. To learn more about infinitee’s history, click here to see our interactive timeline.