NC REALTORS® asserted REALTOR® support of fair housing principles in a campaign they called ‘We Open Doors to Everyone,’ targeting North Carolina thought leaders, influencers, and stakeholder populations throughout April and May. It was made possible by NC REALTORS® Issues Mobilization funds, and its reach was extended by a Consumer Advocacy Outreach Grant from the REALTOR® Party.
Members of NC REALTORS® are knowledgeable real estate professionals, deeply engaged in the life of their communities. To promote the values of fair housing, several of them took on an additional role this spring – as amateur actors! In developing a state-wide media campaign to proclaim REALTOR® support for fair housing, the association found its on-camera talent right among its own ranks. A Consumer Advocacy Grant from the REALTOR® Party helped to amplify the message far and wide.
Mark Zimmerman, NC REALTORS®’ Senior Vice President of External Affairs, explains that the ‘We Open Doors to Everyone’ campaign was one component of a sustained, multi-stage response to the Newsday exposé of unfair practices on Long Island. “North Carolina REALTORS® has always highlighted fair housing in April, but since 2020, we’ve made a concerted inter-departmental effort to get out in front of these issues by educating members and staff and assuring the public that these are among the bedrock principles of the REALTORS®.” This April, the Education Department introduced its Fair Housing Academy, an in-depth webinar for brokers-in-charge. At the same time, the Marketing and Communications Department launched its high-profile public-awareness campaign, reaching North Carolina residents via general market and African-American radio networks, and available Hispanic radio; major market newspapers; African-American newspapers; and social media video. The message received earned media attention, as well, with 2022 President Wendy Harris interviewed on syndicated radio programs, and op-eds in major newspapers.
In order to devote as much of the budget as possible to the substantial media buy – in the middle of the state’s primary election season, notes Zimmerman, when competition for airtime is tight – NC REALTORS® got creative with its content. Working with a tried-and-true production company that understood its high standards of quality, they looked to members to help out in the video roles. “Those kids in the families? Those are members’ kids. Those homes? Members’ listings,” reveals Zimmerman. “They all did great, playing the roles they play in real life. It was a little bit of Hollywood, and an ancillary benefit was that it really got the members talking. The buzz generated lots of attention on social media, and, of course, that’s priceless.” The association further leveraged the benefit of the campaign materials by sharing them with industry colleagues and elected officials, strengthening these important relationships.
The campaign content was funded by NC REALTORS®’s Issues Mobilization Fund, whose committee is hopeful that the expenditure marks the beginning of an annual commitment to fair housing awareness. “We are so thankful for our members’ demonstrated dedication to these values, and for our leadership’s steadfast focus on the issues that are most important to our members,” says Zimmerman. “The campaign has sparked a great response, and our members are so proud and pleased that the association has publicly committed them to fair housing. That clarity really resonates throughout the REALTOR® profession.”
To learn more about how North Carolina REALTORS® is committed to the values of fair housing, contact Mark Zimmerman, Senior Vice President of External Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336.294.1415. To see the campaign promoting fair housing throughout the state of North Carolina, visit https://www.ncrealtors.org/action-center/weopendoors/. To access NC REALTORS® Fair Housing Academy, visit https://www.ncrealtors.org/learning-center/grow/fair-housing-academy/.