Southeast Mortgage

The Cal-Culator

An SPR Client Case Study

How We Helped

To position Georgia’s largest non-bank lender as the expert in the Atlanta housing industry, we created a monthly Thought Leadership column where the firm’s president would forecast housing trends for buyers, sellers, economists and the media, creating a win for the firm and shareholders of Atlanta residential real estate.

Problem

As Atlanta began on the road to recovery after being devastated by the housing crisis, it became evident that there was no cohesive index that would help guide Atlanta residents, and those interested in moving to Atlanta, to make smarter real estate decisions. When speaking to groups, Southeast Mortgage CEO Cal noticed he was consistently being asked to predict what was next for the Atlanta housing market.

Solution

To address this consumer problem and to move into the Thought Leadership space, we wanted to develop an easy-to-read graphic and column for anyone interested in Atlanta real estate. We thought Cal could lend his name and expertise to “The Cal-Culator,” Atlanta’s premier residential real estate index. After pitching the idea to Southeast Mortgage, the CEO called it “lightning in a bottle.”

cal-culator-spr

Goals:

The column will elevate Southeast Mortgage as a Thought Leader in residential real estate, while educating consumers on the real estate forecast, guiding Atlanta residents, and those interested in moving to Atlanta, to make smarter real estate decisions.

Objective

After a six-month introduction period, increase The Cal-Culator’s inclusion by one media outlet per month from January to June 2014 and increase awareness of Southeast Mortgage, resulting in 10 percent more initial calls to the mortgage lender in a six-month period.

Strategy:

In approaching the challenge of creating a monthly mortgage column that can be read by industry experts and everyday residents alike, we use secondary and primary research, utilizing a number of economic indexes such as S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, Metrostudy’s market information, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s commentary and other exhaustive research outlets that discuss inventory, home prices, construction starts, contract signings and more. We created an easily identifiable graphic and column that would be appropriate for housing experts as well as those new to the housing industry.

Tactics

To gain traction for the index, we combined traditional public relations and media outlets with modern day social media and digital news outlets. We began by posting The Cal-Culator on SaportaReport, Atlanta’s authoritative business and civic website, as well as The Atlanta 100, Atlanta’s easy-to-read 100-word blurbs on topics of intrigue. To announce the index, we distributed a press release and secured an interview on Atlanta Biz Radio to discuss the column. To achieve monthly inclusion by media publications, we pitch reporters each month, including trade publications, local newspapers, online media blogs, speaking opportunities and more. We also promote the index on social media from the Southeast Mortgage’s social platforms, as well as SPR Atlanta and The Atlanta 100’s  accounts.

Results:

The Cal-Culator column is currently published monthly in The Gwinnett Citizen, Atlanta INtown, Neighbor Newspapers, discussed on Atlanta Biz Radio and Gwinnett Business Radio, is often featured on all of Patch’s 46 Georgia blogs by the Patch editors themselves, with continued inclusion in The Atlanta 100 and SaportaReport. Using WordPress analytics, we discovered that column is now the most widely read article on Southeast Mortgage’s Thought Leadership page. And Southeast Mortgage just reported an outstanding spring loan processing volume, finishing with its highest-ever record of closings for June 2014 – in a month when other lenders were reporting decreased closings.

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