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Social media, branding & ‘The Big Bad Developer’

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By Amanda Watson, Marketing Director (Portage, IN) & Kahli Anthony

Whenever Holladay Properties is featured in a news article, especially a positive article, there always seems to be a “negative Nelly” in the bunch who makes a negative comment about our company.  How we’re corrupt, destroying land and getting tax credits that hurt our communities. Most of these comments are made from ignorance – of the issue, our company, our people, our projects, etc.

To combat this unawareness, we have begun to implement the use of social media, a relatively controversial tool in our area of business and even within our company. In a business to business industry driven by client relations, many commercial real estate professionals have shied away from social media. However, social media serves an excellent purpose in allowing us to counteract the negative comments that pop up from time to time, increase awareness of our company and products, and promote a general feeling of camaraderie with our employees and customers.

Working in a company with less than 250 employees spread throughout the country, we have developed many different ways of marketing, advertising, communicating and managing day-to-day operations. While this has served us well enough in the past, if as a company we want to continue to grow and thrive, a sentiment voiced over and over by our partners and officers, we need to coordinate our efforts.

And so we have begun a new branding effort which not only pulls our offices together as one but allows for us to respond and reduce negative feedback. The effort has led us to develop a traditional branding campaign which includes uniform marketing materials, letter head, and promotional products, along with implementing nontraditional branding platforms such as social media outlets. Our social media outlets include a Corporate Blog, as well as company Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube profiles. We believe that this not only promotes Holladay Properties to others but connects our employees to each other and the company no matter where they are located.

Given that we are a multifaceted company with multiple specialties spread in a variety of locations throughout the US (see map below), we have developed tunnel vision of sorts. Many of our employees see what they do, but not the company as a whole. Social media allows us to bring these varying opinions/thoughts together.

Social media and company branding combined also allow “outsiders” to have an inside look of our company.  In the event they would read an article and not agree with what we, the developer, are doing or have in store for the land around them, we hope that they would research our company. The more exposure we get through news articles, billboards, or social media, the better chance we have that the community will see we are not a big, bad developer.


On a corporate level, we develop projects that last, that support and enhance our communities, that promote wildlife preservation and that redevelop and reuse existing space. As individuals, we are invested in our communities and continually search out ways to help and improve the areas we live in through fundraising, volunteer work and sponsorships.

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