Competition between software producers such as Adobe, Microsoft, and Google has produced mature, incredibly talented digital communicative capabilities. Unfortunately the user base (programmers and ad agencies, et. al.) simply can’t keep up with the learning curve, and as a result most of those capabilities aren’t being developed or promoted within the commercial real estate industry.
That fact, combined with the natural inertia that burdens cautious, recession-strapped marketing divisions has produced a bit of a vacuum at the leading edge of the industry, compounding frustrations since enhanced communication, education and persuasion could go far in relieving contemporary market challenges.
At present the “King of All Persuasive Applications” is Adobe’s Flash. Flash is much more than a program that can produce sparks flying out of a cursor or menus that bounce up and down when they’re selected. Flash (and its application-development sibling, Flex) are in fact tremendously “deep” programs; so much so that there is even a version of Photoshop written in Flash’s underlying language, “ActionScript.”
There are two cardinal “Players” for ActionScript applications: Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. Adobe AIR is less ubiquitous but is catching on fast-if it isn’t familiar to you yet it soon will be as it is being used more and more frequently for application development.
Flash and Flex “applications” offer unrivaled distribution, customization and interactivity capabilities that are applicable to the commercial real estate industry:
Distribution: Classic websites are “old and broken.” They’re quite passive, being constructed with typical (contrived) promotional copy, and inconvenient. ActionScript is not only capable of contact-management style real-time relationships (outside of the maligned worlds of e-mail and texting) but is fully competent in the mobile device realm. Mobile devices make contact personal and convenient (facilitating even GPS-position and time-of-day communications).
Interactivity: ActionScript produces customizable interfaces. If a retail customer asks for something, information and design appropriate for retail interests is provided, not information and design for manufacturing interests or diluted “one size fits all” data. Immediate “walkie-talkie” videoconferencing and teleconferencing are available at the push of a button, ensuring that sales dialogue is not interrupted so that a prospect unduly considers an alternative. The persuasive dialogue is kept vigorous, intact and focused.
Customization: A customer may be greeted to an application or phone call with an agent’s image in the upper corner, a reminder of a recent successful project or timely news tidbit, or even insertion of your contact information and photo or video greeting into their mobile device contacts list when they press a button. Daily or hourly changes to presentations ensure that contacts are always fresh, interesting and valuable.
The goal is to produce a directed (“funneled”), specific cognitive impact in such a way that even entertaining doubt becomes intellectually awkward.
If you haven’t had a digital professional present the latest capabilities to your organization in a while, now might be a very, very good time.