Letter from the President
As we approach the close of 2023, it is with immense gratitude and pride that I reflect back on the milestones and memories of this past year. Although this has not been an easy one for many of our colleagues personally — and the real estate industry as a whole faced its share of challenges — this year also had some extraordinary wins thanks to our team’s never-quit attitude. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the key highlights that defined our journey these past 12 months.
This year, Catalyst continued our gold standard of award-winning creative by taking home a gold w3 Award for the Heyday corporate website; a Communicator Award of Excellence for the Campus Advantage corporate social account (and our first major social media win!) as well as an Award of Distinction; and two IAC Awards for Outstanding Website and Best Real Estate Integrated Ad Campaign. This industry recognition is a testament to the dedication and creativity each of our team members brings to the table.
Our commitment to excellence is reflected not only in the accolades we’ve received but also in the expansion of our talented team. In 2023, we welcomed two exceptional individuals to our team — Kristy Johnson, Director of Brand Strategy, and Ben Koester, Director of Digital Strategy — further strengthening our ability to deliver unparalleled service and support to our clients.
With busy schedules and remote team members, it’s always nice to have dedicated time to bring the whole team together. This year, we made it a priority to gather for five all-team meetings, each led by one of our Houses of Value. Not only did these gatherings help expand our understanding of Catalyst’s core values — integrity, intelligence, passion, mojo, and empathy — but they also gave our team a great opportunity to spend time together, enjoy great food, play creative games, and give back to our community.
This year saw the launch of our second-annual Trend Report and our bimonthly newsletter, The Catalogue — both full of valuable insights, updates, and success stories. Our Good Mood Media™ network also successfully produced and published 27 podcast episodes (a combined 900 minutes of recording time!). We had the privilege of hosting some incredible guests on these podcasts, creating a space for insightful discussions and memorable moments. In 2024, our publishing schedule will look a little different, but we’re still committed to delivering content that always puts you in a good mood.
In 2023, our team had the opportunity to travel to several conferences, including the AIM Conference in Huntington Beach, NAA Apartmentalize in Atlanta, NMHC’s OPTECH in Las Vegas, and Student Housing Business’ InterFace right here at home in Austin. We loved the opportunity to explore new cities, hear firsthand about new trends and innovations, and meet our clients and partners face to face.
In addition to all of that, here are just a few statistics from this year that I believe speak to the incredible impact our team had:
- 23 client partnerships
- 35 websites built
- 220 properties migrated to GA4
- 38 new brands created
- 677 project briefs
- 2,103 online review responses
- 320 gold standard nominations
- 847 SEO optimizations completed
Looking Ahead to 2024
To our clients, partners, and employees – thank you. Your trust, collaboration, and hard work have been the driving force behind our success. As we embark on a new year filled with possibilities, let’s continue to innovate, inspire, and make a lasting impact.
Wishing you all a joyful holiday season and a prosperous new year!
We Live By Our Values
By Thomas Demiranda
Every once in a while, there’s a year that really tests what you and your company are all about. 2023 was one of those years. Between a shaky economy, geopolitics, and a real estate market that was largely dormant, our agency — along with the rest of the industry — was up against the kind of challenges that put our innovation, focus, and values to the test.
Despite these factors, we still had our wins — including 23 new client partnerships and hundreds of amazing brands, websites, and digital campaigns — not to mention the way we drew together as a team to achieve these.
I believe that the tough years are when your values are tested. One value has described our team more than any of the others: passion.
“We desire to do our best and never give up.”
As a business development team, passion is a huge motivator for us. It’s at the heart of sales. It’s researching one more potential partner or making one more call. It’s the daily determination that if we keep going and moving in the right direction, we will eventually reach our destination.
Passion drives our work in other ways, too. When up against tough situations, it’s what pushes us to strive for excellence. This year specifically, we dove deeper into process and service improvements, quarterly metric reviews, and industry trends to make sure every campaign and piece of collateral we produced was the best quality we could offer. We also rallied as a team through monthly in-office time and virtual hangouts to ensure that feeling of passion was encouraged and shared by all.
This year’s quarterly meetings were centered around our values, and my team was chosen to lead the passion meeting. As a group, we learned more about what this value means, both personally and professionally. We also brainstormed ways we could infuse the passion value into our daily work, especially ways that might not be so obvious.
One of the key takeaways was this line: “If you have passion, you will be able to sustain it through difficult times.” This is so true. The more passionate you are about something, the harder it will be to give up — even in the face of a challenging year.
For our creative, interactive, operations, and client services teams, the desire to do our best doesn’t fold under pressure. We have accomplished a lot, but we haven’t done it alone. We have pride in our work, and we believe that the work matters.
We live — and thrive — by our values.
A Deeper Dive
In September 2022, Catalyst began a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) plan to help 7600 Broadway, a sophisticated multifamily community in San Antonio, Texas, gain more meaningful organic traffic to their website. In one year, 7600 Broadway’s weekly organic sessions increased by 294%, and their website ranks for all 14 of the original keywords identified by the Catalyst team.
- 294% Increase In Average Weekly Organic Sessions
- 2,407 Organic Website Sessions
- 1,852% Estimated Increase In Share Of Voice
- 85% Average Position Improvement
CREATING A STRONG BRAND FOR YOUR DEVELOPMENT
In today’s competitive real estate market, creating a strong brand for your new development has never been more important. A strong brand isn’t just about a catchy logo or a memorable name, it encompasses the essence of your project, its values, and its promise to potential renters. In this article, we explore the significance of crafting a robust brand identity for your real estate development and how it can make a substantial difference in your project’s success.
UNIFY DIGITAL MARKETING METRICS FOR BETTER DECISIONS
There are an eye-glazing number of options available in digital marketing and website architecture. Our team conversations about platforms, tech stacks, integrations, and campaigns have become a patter song of alphabet soup. They all share one common, business-critical, language regardless of the mix: metrics. In other words, the numbers that provide evidence and drive decisions. So where do you begin? What really matters?
Good Mood Media™
Season 3 of the Good Mood Marketing™ podcast is here with an all-new format! Instead of biweekly episodes, we’ll drop new episodes when it makes the most sense with industry updates, trends, or important topics. Check out our latest episode — and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes!
The Good Mood Marketing™ Podcast
Behind the Scenes of the Willow Bridge Rebrand with Sarah Johnson
In this episode, our hosts are joined by Sarah Johnson, National Director of Marketing and Brand Strategy, to take a behind-the-scenes look at the recent rebranding of Lincoln Property Company’s residential division to Willow Bridge.
Tune in for an engaging conversation as Sarah shares insights into the symbolism, history, and culture that shape the Willow Bridge name and brand identity. From the collaborative efforts with marketing agency IDEO to the active involvement of employees at every turn, every element of this rebranding journey is a fascinating blend of art and strategy. We also discuss how the Willow Bridge team successfully revealed the new identity to clients and team members, the timing and intricacies involved with a nationwide rebrand, as well as some fun insights along the way.
Good Mood Marketing™ Podcast
The Lone Star Podcast
2023 Conference Recap
CATALYST ATTENDS THE NMHC OPTECH CONFERENCE
In early November, the Catalyst team had the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas to attend the NMHC OPTECH Conference — a forward-thinking hub for the important conversations and business deals in multifamily housing technology and operations. We enjoyed several days of meetings, discussions, informative sessions, and getting to meet our partners face to face. We even gave away a pair of Apple AirPods Max to one lucky winner: Ron Kutas, Founder/COO of OneWall Companies. Congrats, Ron!
THE CATALYST TEAM CELEBRATES PASSION AND EMPATHY
As a way to keep our company values fresh and on the forefront of our minds and work, Catalyst team members are broken out into five separate houses, each corresponding to one of our values of Integrity, Intelligence, Passion, Mojo, and Empathy. These teams meet multiple times throughout the year to test their knowledge, compete in fun games, collaborate on ideas — and most importantly, share the meaning and applications behind their value with the rest of the team.
In September and early December, our full team gathered for meetings led by the Houses of Passion and Empathy, and we loved getting a chance to have a deeper conversation on these meaningful pillars.
A Note from Our Team
THANK YOU FOR A GREAT 2023
As we close out this year, we wanted to extend our gratitude to you: our clients, partners, peers, family, and followers. This year has been full of new challenges, new innovations, and new opportunities, but our commitment to gold standard service has remained the same. Thank you to the individuals who took a moment to leave us an online review about their experience working with us (you can read a few of them below). We hope that continues to shine forth through every conversation and project you have with our team — after all, we truly believe marketing should put you in a good mood.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with Catalyst over the past 5 years on various marketing projects, including building out and designing two new websites for my organization and taking our nonprofit through a complete rebrand with a name change, a new logo, colors, etc. Their team is incredibly creative and professional. They have always listened to feedback and adjusted designs or creative direction accordingly to ensure they are meeting and often exceeding our expectations. I would highly recommend working with them on any size marketing project. On top of being skilled at what they do, they are amazing people and a lot of fun to work with!”
– Kristen Poteet, Entryway
“Full-service firm capable of helping out with all of your marketing needs. Been working with the Catalyst team now for 3 years on two $50.0M + real estate transactions. They delivered award-winning websites and followed it up by driving qualified traffic to these sites. Highly recommend.”
– Josh Wohlreich, Heyday Companies
“Catalyst has been amazing to work with! They have helped promote our real estate projects in ways other companies couldn’t do. Their entire staff is knowledgeable and proactive! They are top notch!”
– Jonathan Hubbard, Cerca
Catalyst team nominations
Good Mood Marketing™ comes from the Gold Standard
“I would like to nominate Fabes for his knowledge and willingness to help! I had a situation where I definitely needed assistance, and he was able to walk me through his thought process on a particular marketing situation and help guide me in crafting a detailed response for one of my focus clients. Fabian continues to be a great asset to this agency and deserves some major snaps this week!”
“Professional communication nom for Ben due to his positive, proactive focus on specifically two digital tickets. These requests both seemed straightforward but were sort of curveballs. Ben has made sure to hone in on the necessary details, communicate what he is observing, and ask good questions. All this pushes toward punctual delivery. Thanks for your work on these, Ben!”
“Nom for Mark! With the peak of move-ins happening recently, Mark started Monday morning with more than 100 reviews to sort through. By prioritizing his time effectively, he successfully powered through all the reviews in just two days!”