#KeepingCRESocial: Q&A with Jan Hanak, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Regency Centers
BLOG POST BY SARAH MALCOLM, CHIEF DIGITAL STRATEGIST AT THE NEWS FUNNEL
I’ve been in and around the commercial real estate marketing scene for years and made some really great friends that I respect and love learn from. I wanted the #CRE industry to see the amazing work and how these creative innovators think. So this is my #KeepingCRESocial Q&A series with the top marketing folks in our industry killing the game!
Sarah: Tell me about your background and why you decided to work in commercial real estate.
Jan: I’ve spent much of my career working in advertising agencies, most recently as a Creative Director. In advertising, I’ve been able to work with several terrific brands, many of whom are in physical retail. My agency also had a focus on tourism branding, working with destinations with a lot of players (hotels, restaurants, attractions). Marketing these destinations is very similar to what I do for Regency Centers—marketing a fantastic shopping destination with many strong retail players. When the opportunity to work with an incredible company like Regency became available, I jumped at the chance.
S: Tell me about your current role and about your company.
J: I am Vice President of Marketing + Communications for Regency Centers, a national owner, operator, and developer of 420+ shopping centers located in affluent and densely populated trade areas. Our portfolio includes thriving properties merchandised with highly productive grocers, restaurants, service providers, and best-in-class retailers that connect to their neighborhoods, communities, and customers.
My team has a national focus that provides brand promotion, corporate marketing, property marketing, market research, public relations, and communications. Regency’s brand promise—the best people in the business with a preeminent portfolio of high-quality shopping centers—gives us plenty of material to tell the world about this terrific brand!
S: Who or what do you look to for inspiration?
J: Nature. You can’t sit on the edge of the ocean and not be inspired. An art director who once worked for me told me there are no straight lines in nature. Since then, I’ve been looking and I think he’s right! The history of art and architecture is also very inspiring. Great works of art and even the “ancient” history (60-70 years) of advertising contain timeless communication concepts that still hold true today.
S: What are the digital marketing trends you are most excited about?
J: The vast amount of innovation in the digital marketing space is what’s most exciting. I see a lot of technologies that will benefit, and be benefitted by, digital marketing (e.g., autonomous vehicles will be the new digital billboard space and mixed reality will open up marketing opportunities like never before). I think this innovation in digital marketing will result in a lot of players and a few winners. My biggest concern is that as marketers, we overreach with the technology and consumers rebel against too much personalization that is seen as an intrusion. Like any memorable campaign, we should try to surprise and delight our audiences and not just invade their space with our messages.
S: What advice do you have for marketing folks just beginning their careers in commercial real estate?
J: You are in a unique position to bring new ideas to an industry ripe for the introduction of new marketing trends. Keep your eyes and ears open, as there is plenty to learn in this industry, and listen to the experienced professionals around you. I’m thankful that I still learn something new every day from the great people around me.
S: What technology do you use to help you do your job?
J: A little bit of everything, from “old school” technology like email and Google Analytics to newer technologies like HubSpot for automated marketing and blogging. In addition to Google Analytics, I use other tracking tools such as Sprout Social, Tracx, and TrendKite to report on the effectiveness of our marketing efforts. I am continually fascinated by some of the tools my market research team is testing and implementing, especially the mobile marketing tools that allow us to get a better handle on the visitors to our properties. Satellite imaging technology is also something we’re looking at more and more with a lot of new players that can provide traffic counts and trends as well as high res imagery.
S: What is the biggest opportunity you see for our industry and how do you see marketing helping to solve that issue?
J: People are social creatures and will continue to seek places to be together IRL (in real life) and those of us with great physical spaces have an opportunity to create spaces that use the best of the online and offline world. Marketing can help us reach people and give them reasons to come, shop, and stay. New technologies like mixed realty (equal parts virtual and augmented) can create fun environments at commercial spaces that allow customers to linger a little longer by playing games and socially sharing what they’re up to. Of course, retailers will be able to capitalize on this and advertise directly to these shoppers when they are using these mixed reality systems. I see marketing as an important, if not the most important, piece of the puzzle in bridging these digital and physical spaces.
S: Ok last question… You finish this Q&A and you remember you have a lotto ticket and forgot to check the numbers. You check the numbers and you discover you won $10,000,000. What do you do?
J: A minimum of 10% off the top to charity immediately. As for the rest: my wife and I have two teenage daughters—that money is already spent!
Connect with Jan on LinkedIn.
To read more #KeepingCRESocial posts, click here.
Need help with your social media strategy? Contact Jen@thenewsfunnel.com to learn more. We manage some of the BIGGEST brand’s social media in CRE and more importantly WE GET RESULTS. Can I get an AMEN!?
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