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In a Buyers’ Market, Differentiation is Key

Written By Omar Shiblaq

December 16, 2021

We all know that COVID has done a number on the commercial real estate industry. Many businesses have closed their retail and storefront locations; some companies have closed their offices for good, while others moved to a hybrid model that requires less square footage; and many companies have put planned or future moves on hold. Together, this has created a sudden influx of inventory on the market. And to make matters worse, new retail and office spaces are coming online every day.

In this cutthroat buyers’ market, it is more important than ever to differentiate your property from the competition. Each space has its strengths and something unique to offer, whether it’s location, square footage, or building amenities. With a little empathy, you can identify the strengths that will resonate most with prospective tenants. 

It’s important to remember that the people touring your property don’t work in real estate for a living; they may struggle to see the potential in a space or imagine how it could work for their company. Moving is a big financial commitment, and they want to be sure they are selecting the space that meets their needs. Rather than leave it to their imagination, guide prospects through an immersive experience that conveys the true value and possibilities of your property. 

When we worked with Avison Young on their Presidential Tower property, an unfinished space in Crystal City, we focused on lifestyle and convenience to showcase the amenities of the building and the surrounding neighborhood. Using experiential graphics, we created an engaging environment with a 500-foot walkway to choreograph the tour experience from beginning to end. 

The Presidential Tower marketing center brought street level to the 12th floor

Here are a few other ways you can use experiential graphics in your marketing to promote your property and create a unique experience prospects won’t soon forget.

Building signage

Let prospective tenants know a space is available for lease or for sale, what it might look like inside, and who to call for more information. Tease out amenities, talk about the surrounding community, or even show a vibrant office rendering. Don’t make them wonder—put your property’s best foot (and features) forward. 

Commercial real estate leasing signs
Rappaport leasing signage ensures passersby know there’s space available

Stage your space 

It can be time-consuming and expensive to stage an office or retail storefront to show precisely how the space might look if occupied. And it still might not convey everything you want to highlight. Instead, get creative with how you help prospects see themselves in your space. Floor graphics convey square footage and layout possibilities, while wall graphics or hanging panels can feature detailed renderings and floorplan options. And don’t forget, location matters. With experiential graphics, you can show off not just what is inside the office but what surrounds it as well, including metro stops, nearby restaurants, and convenient services and shopping.

Hanging acrylic panels highlight the neighborhood in this marketing center at Fairfax Square


Experiential graphics can help you guide prospective tenants through a well-choreographed tour, taking them through each step in the order you want. As you know, the flow of a tour and which features you highlight when can make or break the experience and the perception of the space. Wayfinding graphics can help you strategize the presentation and ensure a consistent experience with every tour.

Prospects ride electric scooters along the tour path in this Tysons Corner marketing center

Make it interactive

For Avison Young’s property, The Loft, we used experiential graphics to create an interactive wall that outlined unique building features. At the conclusion of the tour, prospective tenants could drop a token in a bin secured on the wall to vote for the feature they liked best. This was a creative and memorable way to get prospects thinking about what it would be like to be a tenant in the building. It also gave Avison Young some valuable insight into what features might make a difference in the sales process.

The exposed brick was clearly a popular feature at The Loft

While outfitting your space with experiential graphics may be an investment, remember, the longer your property stays vacant, the more it costs you in the long run. There are a lot of properties on the market, so it’s crucial to differentiate yours from the competition. What are you doing to stand out?