When scouring the real estate market and trying to pin down an ideal home, potential buyers walk through each property imagining what it would look like if they actually lived there. Images pop up into their heads as they close their eyes and see themselves watching TV with their spouses or cooking dinner for the kids.
Personalizing that space takes time and planning. At least, it did before Carvalho Hosken started doing it for their customers.
Carvalho Hosken, one of Brazil’s largest construction companies, came up with the idea to have an apartment pre-furnished before the new owners walked through the door. Using Facebook photos and “likes,” the company personalized the living area to look like their customers had already moved in.
Getting comfortable in a new home takes planning and the time to occupy the space long enough for pictures to be hung in the right places, the fridge to be stocked, and the adjustment of a new commute to work.
Carvalho Hosken devised a way to use social media in order to customize an apartment tour for each and every person who visited their new homes. Within a matter of seconds, the apartment virtually changed to mirror the lives and interests of each prospective buyer, based on online profiles.
The apartments were filled with state-of the-art digital photo frames, TVs, computers, and appliances displaying the life and interests of the potential owner. However, first the visitors had to sign in on Facebook and grant the company access to their profiles.
The Social Home Tour 2.0 then included surprises scattered through the house for potential buyers to explore, including background music from a band the visitor had liked, recently shared videos on the apartment’s TV, Facebook album pictures in every portrait, the best route to the visitor’s workplace highlighted on the computer, upcoming events and birthday reminders on fridge sticky note, and menus from nearby restaurants based on the user’s favorite food or restaurant.
Tablets and smart TVs were connected to a server that controlled the displayed content. For each new visit, the realtor used a smartphone to change the configuration of the tour for the next family in line. This approach created an emotional bond with consumers and “their” new home.
A house or apartment isn’t a home until a person can call it his or her own. By customizing the apartment before the prospective buyer arrived — and being able to instantly change the look/feel of the unit for the next customer walk-through — Carvalho Hosken was able to transform the apartment into a home for every visitor.
These personalized engagements increased sales 300 percent and the average visit time by 230 percent.
This innovation was groundbreaking for the housing market. The Social Home Tour 2.0 has been described as “the future of real estate marketing” in various blogs and websites around the world. It’s considered “the biggest achievement in real estate” since the implementation of the showroom as a marketing tool.
The campaign was featured in Contagious Magazine, Ad Age's Creativity, Directory Magazine, and Global Innovation Report; received awards from FWA, One Show, Midas Awards, and Tomorrow Awards; and appeared in hundreds of tweets from financial market specialists to social media experts.