Coldwell Banker showcases technology's role in buying a lifestyle

The real-estate company is keeping up with the smart-home evolution at CES 2016 via a bevy of partnerships that show off the overlap of home life and tech.

MADISON, NJ: It’s not just a home; it’s a lifestyle. That’s the message behind the latest campaign from international real-estate giant Coldwell Banker.  

At CES 2016, the company will co-sponsor a smart-home marketplace with Bosch. It will also host an on-the-road production studio, including product demos and a blogging team, at its booth along with a view of CBX listings, which give realtors the value of individual homes. It’ll also give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at NBA legend Patrick Ewing’s for-sale home.

The company’s alliances will take it beyond the boundaries of booths and speaking engagements at CES. For example, the real-estate company has formed a relationship with CNET, which allows both organizations to share content. Coldwell Banker is also a sponsor of a 4,000-square-foot home that CNET purchased in Louisville, Kentucky, that will serve as a smart-home-testing facility. In addition, Coldwell Banker is the only non-technology company to be a part of the Consumer Technology Association.

"And the reason all of this makes sense is one of the biggest challenges in real estate is that it’s so competitive, so we always want to know what we can do to keep our agents on the cutting edge of what’s happening," said David Siroty, VP of North American communications at Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Technology organizations want to partner with Coldwell Banker because its 85,000 agents around the world are "conduits to the home," he added.

"The more aware they are of what is happening in the home, the greater resource they will be for their clients," Siroty added.

To that end, the company also formed an alliance with the Customer Electronic Design and Installation Association to create a three-hour class to teach agents about technology, information about smart homes, and how to use that tech to get more listings.

Coldwell Banker has also found no indication the smart-home trend will slow down. A study it conducted in March found 64% of agents said clients are more interested in buying smart homes than they were five years ago, and 33% said listings with smart-home features were selling faster and for more money than other listings.

"In our world, we need to avoid consumers going ahead of agents, so we have to keep up with them," said Siroty. "We have to understand the viability of these products, how they are changing the home, and the impact they have on the buyer and seller."

The company is in the middle of a three-year push to look at its PR differently. In the middle of last year, the company began searching for new ways to provide content and drive traffic while ultimately generating leads.

That’s when Coldwell Banker created ads to "recognize home ownership is not just a financial investment, but more importantly a lifestyle," said Siroty.

That’s when Siroty and his team began integrating the Internet of Things and smart home devices into a communications plan, which emphasized a smart, intuitive home.

Coldwell Banker premiered the idea earlier this year at CES with the intention of talking to leaders in the smart-home space and creating content for the coming year. Along with its agency partner, CooperKatz, Coldwell met with 70 companies at its first appearance at the show.

Siroty and his team dubbed the term "partnership PR" to describe the relationships and content-sharing platform it created. The company spent this year nurturing those relationships and creating a core group of alliances with August Smart Locks, LG, Nest, Lutron, and Tesla.

"In this day and age, no one can go it alone," he says. "But if you have like-minded companies to band together with and to reach different media, the opportunity we all have is huge."

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