Is the Empire State Building trash talking about your desktop on TikTok?


Real estate companies have been wondering how to take advantage of social media since the inception of the technology. The Empire State Building may finally have found a purpose: gossip. At ICT Tac and Twitter, the official account of the Empire State Building becomes sassy. Online “The most famous building in the world” becomes known as much for its personality as for its architecture.

A filter in the TikTok app that puts a mouth and eyes on any photo has become the Empire State Building personified. The account, run by two young employees under the watchful eye of the skyscraper’s vice president of marketing, Abigail Rickards, has created an NYC Building Roasts playlist. The coarse overlay sees the iconic landmark (who identifies herself as her/his own) casting a shadow over other prominent members of the New York skyline. New York’s new breed of Super Talls are a common source of ire, repeatedly singling out 432 Park Ave and One Vanderbilt for being ugly, uninspired and having glass floors. These two buildings are the sworn enemy of the personification of the Empire State Building. Other New York icons like Times Square, the Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center are mentioned on the account as family members the Empire State Building grudgingly has to deal with. After a while, the established characters of the buildings start to look like a sitcom is on the horizon.

“We wanted to humanize the building, and we thought that by adding faces and mascots to it, we would be able to connect with more people,” Rickards said. New York Post. The movement is making serious waves. The building’s TikTok account has nearly 300,000 followers and nearly 10 million likes. The account’s popularity has increased by 400% since October, when the new style of posting began. Rickards hired two young designers in early 2022 who pose as tour guides on the account, posting the latest trends daily. “We had an interview process,” Rickards continued. “We wanted to make sure we hired people who were fun, open-minded, and able to creatively showcase the Empire State Building as a [exciting] New York attractions.

As a marketing strategy, the social media push is as brilliant as it is unique. You would think that a 2.7 million square foot office building with 102 floors would generate a lot of money from office tenants, but almost half of the building’s revenue comes from billing for visits and access to the observation deck. As an office building, the Empire State Building is a tough sell for many tenants. The 90-year-old structure lacks many of the floorplates, connectivity, windows, and other comforts that define modern office spaces. This makes rent at the Empire State Building relatively cheap given its place in midtown Manhattan. Long past its peak, the building’s profitability comes down to its popularity. Broadcasting and brand licensing represent a significant portion of the building’s revenues.

It’s hard to translate viral popularity into profit in traditional offices. There are only a limited number of tenants that can fit into a building, rental decisions are far removed from visitor sentiment. There is simply no mechanism to take advantage of such a request: employees cannot show their boss a TikTok to get them to sign a new office lease. But when the building is a tourist landmark where access and the use of its image can be paid for, popularity stimulates sales in a direct way. More views generate more visitors, which generates more revenue. The pandemic has hurt the building’s tourism revenue more than its rents, the hope is that the building’s new viral fame can show the world that the Empire State Building is open and waiting.

On the cusp of the third year of a pandemic that is suppressing office occupancy and demand, many office owners in New York want to have tourism revenue as an option. A New York Times investigation of the building’s found tenants who represent 41 percent of the building’s office space are adopting hybrid worktops. The Empire State Building’s office in the retail rental sector has weathered the pandemic much better than its visitors and observatory business. This makes the marketing strategy to keep visitors coming back even more critical.

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Empire State Realty Trust, the owner, hasn’t abandoned the landmark, but rather doubled down on its efforts, investing hundreds of millions in building upgrades to maintain its key place in the minds of New Yorkers and residents alike. visitors. Work began with strengthening the building’s infrastructure, upgrading HVAC, waterproofing and energy efficiency measures, eventually achieving a LEED-Gold rating. A complete renovation of the lobby, guest areas, outdoor lighting and kiosks was completed in 2019, adding floor-to-ceiling windows on the ground floor and new glass elevators. At a cost of $165 million, the most recent renovation completely redesigned the Empire State Building experience for visitors to the observatory.

The Empire State Building has always seemed larger than life. You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but what about an old building? As it approaches its centennial, a new social media presence is making one of New York’s oldest buildings look younger than ever. Amid a struggling office sector, the building’s most important catalysts for revenue growth could be two members of Gen Z who post online.


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