The Impact of Technology and Social Media on the Commercial Real Estate Industry with Brenda Dohring Hicks
Submitted by: Mary Wilken
Who you missed: Brenda Dohring Hicks is CEO of The Dohring Group, a commercial real estate appraisal, brokerage, & technology company with a focus on urban office and retail properties.
Brenda founded The Dohring Group in 1992 to specialize in appraisal services and consulting. The firm expanded services to include brokerage with an urban focus and development of office and retail projects for personal/corporate use. Headquartered in downtown Tampa, the company’s efforts are focused on financial institutions and investors who demand high touch, high-quality services. The Dohring Group’s consulting services cover feasibility, highest and best use studies, ad valorum tax representation and litigation support and comprehensive due diligence services for individual properties and portfolios. In recent years, the firm has been instrumental in assisting its long term banking clients work through their real estate loan portfolios.
Brenda is also the founder and CEO of RealWired!, a consulting and software company, including YouConnect, a web-based appraisal and vendor management solution; DataComp, the #1 in-house commercial comparable management software on the market today; EDGE, a powerful report writing tool; and Manager, a cloud-based commercial appraisal workflow application that can be accessed from any browser. Brenda’s mission is to “streamline the commercial real estate process” by focusing on process and collaboration.
Brenda is a frequent speaker focusing on the value of building “eco-systems” of cooperation and examining processes and technology’s role in enhancing communication to expedite growth. As a former speaker with CREW, we were pleased to have Brenda back to talk to us about social media and what we need to know.
What you missed: If you’re not “doing” social media, it is okay – neither are most of your competitors! Commercial real estate practitioners are one of the largest laggers in using technology. Brenda also shared that social media is evolving into its own industry and that in our individual roles, it is typically not part of our industry – thus our excuse not to be fully engaged.
As with most things, Brenda shared that to make it effective, it MUST be done with a plan. If you don’t have a plan, your social media becomes a significant waste of time.
It has been estimated that 70% of all adults in the United States are using some form of social media, however most of this use is considered to be personal. To transfer this to effective business use, social media options should be seen as a means of communication. As millennials continue their entry and expansion into the business-world, use of social media applications will be a platform that can be used to bridge the communications gap. Technology is needed for growth, but Brenda is fond of saying, “it’s about the people, stupid”…meaning that technology exists for the people and should be utilized as a tool.
Technology can and should be used for market research through such applications as crowd sourcing. Crowd sourcing can be looked at for data gathering as well as for lending options. Brenda believes that lending opportunities though crowd sourcing will become much more utilized in coming years.
A question was raised relating to LinkedIn and the number of connections individuals have. Brenda shared that in connections, more is not necessarily better. She equated it to flying – the difference between thrust (the power, or number of connections) versus vector (direction/scope, or the quality of the connections that you have).
Brenda shared statistics related to CREW Charlotte’s social media applications. While Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reach is limited, we are doing well through LinkedIn and Brenda felt that that is positive for CREW Charlotte and for our members. She implied that we would be well served to focus our social media efforts in that direction.