Large commercial real estate development projects often turn into harrowing but thrilling adventure stories for those involved. They’re challenging, painful, frustrating and rewarding. Rarely straightforward, such projects demand patience, creativity, and persistence. If you’re Rockefeller Group you live a large development project. And you need a creative way to tell your adventure story later.

The Challenge

Rockefeller Group is well known for thinking outside-of-the-box and developing commercial real estate that serves both business and the community. They approach each development or project as a unique, innovative challenge that generates excitement with brokers, landowners, potential tenants and in the community.

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, identifies several Impact Projects every year, to be showcased at the annual meeting. In early 2017, NAIOP awarded the Rockefeller Group an Impact Project designation for a development in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

The Lehigh Valley project was honored for its innovative problem-solving, intentional community partnerships, and the team’s multi-year persistence in making sure all constituents were fairly represented. The Rockefeller Group Development Corporation shared the news of their finalized Lehigh Valley land acquisition for a FedEx Ground e-commerce distribution hub at the NAIOP annual convention.

The Rockefeller Group was granted a keynote panel discussion at NAIOP’s 2017 Conference in Toronto, Canada. The keynote slot gave the Lehigh Valley team a chance to command the attention of some of the most influential players in the North American commercial real estate industry.

There are lots of ways to announce an accomplishment, many of them straightforward and dry. For Lehigh Valley, the Rockefeller Group wanted something else. They were looking for a way to augment their panel discussion with engaging media, to convey the entirety of the deal and make a lasting impression.

Rockefeller Group turned to longtime partner StoryTrack, to design and produce a unique conference experience that went beyond a simple panel discussion. The video production and digital marketing agency had four weeks to bring together five-years of intense effort and create an engaging experience.

StoryTrack and Rockefeller Group jointly crafted a presentation strategy that would be as unique and creative as the Lehigh Valley project. First, create a conference “buzz” to ensure audience attendance at the breakout panel discussion. Second, keep attendees engaged and entertained through the entire 90-minute session.

To achieve these ends, it would be necessary to build a dramatic arc to deliver information about the project while capturing the emotional tension experienced by the people involved.

Using the popular podcast Serial as inspiration, StoryTrack constructed a complex nonfiction commercial real estate story in a compelling way through audio and visual means. Deliverables included:

  • An animated investigative-style teaser video that grabbed the interest of attendees and encouraged panel discussion attendance. Animation helped StoryTrack adhere to the tight deadline and create a “dynamic attitude” that drove interest.
  • With a nod to Serial, StoryTrack wrote, directed, and produced three (3) podcasts that worked independently to establish panel content, but when pulled together built emotional tension and demonstrated the team’s persistence and ingenuity.  
  • StoryTrack conducted interviews of all key stakeholders; internal, political, and community members. First-hand accounts were synthesized and content drove the video and podcast scripts.
  • A comprehensive asset library from interviews, animated and video content, and stakeholder insight to be repurposed for new material, promotional collateral, and presentations.

The Results

The panel was set on the last day of the conference as the final breakout session. Not only was the discussion competing with another presentation, but it also bumped up against travel plans. But as things turned out, low turnout wasn’t an issue––finding a seat was! More than 90% of attendees came to the Rockefeller Group’s panel presentation. The animated teaser video dominated the conference and commanded the attention of attendees.

StoryTrack’s podcast content kept the audience present, engaged, and entertained. The presentation deck and podcast audio worked in concert with each other, keeping the story moving. Emotion was brought to facts. The podcast content applied a ‘face” to the community, stakeholders, and situation. Details flowed and complemented each other when needed, not before, until the panel concluded and all aspects, rational and emotional, of the Lehigh Valley project had been explained.

StoryTrack helped The Rockefeller Group go beyond a simple panel discussion and took conference attendees on a commercial real estate thrill ride. In 90-minutes, they experienced the same frustrations, emotions and victories that The Rockefeller Group team experienced over five years. They got more than a story…they experienced an adventure.

Like What You See?

StoryTrack is a boutique media agency that specializes in visual storytelling. We curate pieces that serve multiple functions across digital channels and strive to create work that has longevity so our clients are able to have relevant, useful content that stands the test of time. Interested in having us create compelling content for your upcoming campaign? Give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to hear from you.

About the Author

Lori Dowd

Lori Dowd is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of StoryTrack Studio. For over 20 years, she has directed and produced programming for a range of corporate, non-profit, online and broadcast partner/client.