HOLLY HITS A HOME RUN

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - Kylie Dul­hunty

HOLLY KOMOROWSKI DOES THINGS DIF­FER­ENTLY. Her sign­boards have ditched the words ‘For Sale’ in favour of ‘Buy Me’, and her ‘Sold’ stick­ers come in the form of eye-catch­ing hearts with the words ‘#sold.by­holly’ stand­ing out boldly. Having won the AREA Res­i­den­tial Prop­erty Cam­paign of the Year award, she talks to Kylie Dul­hunty about her unique ap­proach to prop­erty mar­ket­ing.

HOLLY KOMOROWSKI’S busi­ness cards are dis­tinc­tive: she’s not op­posed to having her busi­ness name glow­ing in neon pink, and you’ll find her post­ing pics of happy ven­dors and buy­ers jump­ing for joy on so­cial me­dia. Perus­ing her web­site, home.by­holly, there’s lit­tle sign of overused real es­tate jar­gon coined to dress up homes. Long for­got­ten are phrases such as ‘com­mand­ing street ap­peal’ and twee ref­er­ences to ‘quaint front porches’. Rather, there’s quotes from 19th cen­tury de­signer, writer and ac­tivist Wil­liam Mor­ris, talk of life­style choices, Christ­mas tra­di­tions and mak­ing the most of sec­ond chances in life.

Cast­ing an eye over one of Holly’s mar­ket­ing pho­to­graphs would have any­one oohing and aahing as much over the ven­dor’s pet pooch as you are over the en­suite spa bath. And that’s the point.

“It’s about con­vey­ing emo­tion and gen­er­at­ing emo­tional en­gage­ment,” Holly says. “First and fore­most we try and find the story be­hind the home. What’s the pitch? Is it the story of the home? Per­haps it’s the story of the peo­ple who have lived there or the fea­tures that make it live­able.

“We want to cre­ate a ball of pos­i­tive en­ergy around each and ev­ery prop­erty we mar­ket, and we use cre­ativ­ity to gen­er­ate that.”

It’s a method that’s served Holly and her bou­tique Can­berra agency well, with it se­cur­ing the Res­i­den­tial Prop­erty Cam­paign of the Year gong at the 2017 An­nual REA Ex­cel­lence Awards.

Holly and her small team, in­clud­ing her ‘Girl Fri­day’ Key Chan­tha­rasy and photographer Adam McGrath of H Cre­ations, se­cured the na­tional award for an in­no­va­tive, so­cial me­dia-driven cam­paign that saw 44 Frome St, Grif­fith, sell un­der the ham­mer for $1.495 mil­lion af­ter just a two-week auc­tion cam­paign.

Holly says she had to think out­side the square when her ven­dors, fu­elled by a pre­vi­ous failed at­tempt to sell their home at auc­tion, told her they’d pre­fer an ‘off­mar­ket’ ap­proach this time around.

“I was faced with a client who was telling me ‘I don’t want to do it that way’,” Holly ex­plains. “I loved that it chal­lenged me to ask my­self what I could do dif­fer­ently.”

Af­ter count­less con­ver­sa­tions about the ven­dors’ re­quire­ments and how they would ap­proach achiev­ing a pre­mium re­sult for the prop­erty, Holly sug­gested a two-stage, PR-style cam­paign that used so­cial me­dia to build excitement and an­tic­i­pa­tion around the home hit­ting the mar­ket, fol­lowed by a

“Whether you’re do­ing an off-mar­ket cam­paign or tak­ing a more tra­di­tional route, the pre­sen­ta­tion of the prop­erty is the most im­por­tant thing.”

a short, two-week auc­tion cam­paign.

First on her to-do list was to style the home for sale. “Whether you’re do­ing an off-mar­ket cam­paign or tak­ing a more tra­di­tional route, the pre­sen­ta­tion of the prop­erty is the most im­por­tant thing,” Holly says.

Next came what Holly has af­fec­tion­ately named the ‘hero’ of the cam­paign: a stylised pho­to­shoot con­vey­ing a Gats­bystyle, pool­side lounge party with peo­ple in the pic­ture. “It seems like such a sim­ple thing to put peo­ple in a pic­ture, but tra­di­tion­ally peo­ple aren’t fea­tured in real es­tate mar­ket­ing col­lat­eral,” she says. “Bring­ing peo­ple into an im­age con­veys liv­abil­ity, it makes it per­sonal and it con­jures images of a par­tic­u­lar life­style in the minds of those peo­ple look­ing at the photo.

“Having the stylised pho­to­shoot al­lowed us to cre­ate our hero shot for the cam­paign and we were able to cre­ate a brand for the home just as you would for a com­mer­cial devel­op­ment.

“As well as be­ing a very beau­ti­ful house by Ken­neth Oliphant, a renowned ar­chi­tect in the 1940s, the home had a feel of be­ing a party house, a real en­ter­tainer’s house, with it all cen­ter­ing around the amaz­ing in­ground swim­ming pool and pool house.”

In a new-age move, Holly de­cided to livestream the pho­to­shoot on Face­book be­fore im­ple­ment­ing a four-day so­cial me­dia cam­paign, fea­tur­ing pho­tos and two 10-sec­ond video teasers, ahead of an in­vi­ta­tion-only, VIP buyer preview event at the prop­erty.

“We used the pho­to­shoot to start an­tic­i­pa­tion on Face­book of this prop­erty com­ing to the mar­ket and the story of how it would come to mar­ket,” Holly ex­plains. “We in­vited buy­ers’ agents and buy­ers to the VIP preview event and we were able to gen­er­ate an of­fer of $1.38 mil­lion.

“Still, we de­cided to con­tinue with a suc­cinct cam­paign and took the prop­erty to mar­ket, putting it live on real es­tate chan­nels, in­clud­ing all­homes dig­i­tal and print and real es­tate.com.au dig­i­tal.”

Holly held five ap­point­ment-only open homes and the prop­erty and cam­paign also at­tracted me­dia editorial cov­er­age, in­clud­ing a Can­berra Times life­style story. The re­sult was an auc­tion cul­mi­nat­ing in three reg­is­tered bid­ders and a sale price of $1.495 mil­lion, which was $105,000 above the first of­fer at the VIP event.

“So­cial me­dia has pre­sented us with fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Holly says. “The key to what we do is sto­ry­telling and so­cial me­dia is a great plat­form to do that. For this cam­paign our so­cial me­dia reach was in ex­cess of 12,300, along with the Can­berra Times print and dig­i­tal reach of more than 55,900.”

For Holly, the REA award is a just re­ward for her seven years in real es­tate, cul­mi­nat­ing in go­ing out on her own about two years ago. She says she felt she had built ‘a brand within a brand’ at her pre­vi­ous agency and did so largely through lever­ag­ing so­cial me­dia.

Even though she de­scribes start­ing home.by­holly as a “leap of faith”, she felt the suc­cess she had gen­er­ated dur­ing her first five years in real es­tate was due to her hard work and unique ap­proach to sell­ing prop­erty.

“I al­ways wanted to con­tinue to im­prove and take things in the di­rec­tion I had al­ready started to go in,” Holly says. “It’s all about sto­ry­telling, images and be­ing cre­ative. I feel we’ve now re­ally af­firmed our­selves.”

Holly pre­dicts the dra­matic surge in real

“Bring­ing peo­ple into an im­age con­veys liv­abil­ity, it makes it per­sonal and it con­jures images of a par­tic­u­lar life­style in the minds of those peo­ple look­ing at the photo.”

es­tate video mar­ket­ing will con­tinue, as will a fo­cus on prop­erty-re­lated con­tent that gives au­di­ences valu­able in­for­ma­tion which is not a bla­tant or di­rect pro­mo­tion of the brand or agent.

One ex­am­ple of this is home.by­holly’s spon­sor­ship of DE­SIGN Can­berra last year and this year. As a plat­inum part­ner, Holly helps present the pop­u­lar Liv­ing Rooms – open homes of ac­claimed ar­chi­tec­ture, teamed with emerg­ing de­sign­ers’ pop-up ex­hi­bi­tions.

With her sto­ry­telling ap­proach Holly has also mar­keted other prop­er­ties in her unique style, team­ing with photographer Adam to present “Jean’s house”, at 68 Eb­den St Ainslie last year. A home most other agents would have mar­keted as a ‘knock­down’, Holly in­stead told sto­ries of the ven­dor’s African vi­o­lets en­joy­ing the sunny kitchen and the chooks scratch­ing around in the yard, with pic­tures to match. A fam­ily bought the prop­erty and are do­ing it up.

“I love what I do; I know it works, and having that point of dif­fer­ence has been re­ceived pos­i­tively in the mar­ket,” Holly says.

• KYLIE DUL­HUNTY

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