Sarah berman 2019

The Berman Group

Sarah Berman, President

Sarah Berman was particularly well positioned to launch The Berman Group for two unique reasons: one, her all-hands-on-deck experience at boutique agencies, and two, her degrees in urban planning. Armed with communications expertise and real estate-adjacent education, her company grew fast, and today counts some of the largest and most successful developers as clients. Now in its 18th year, we spoke with Sarah about her agency’s growth, what the market looks like in key cities and what it takes to succeed in real estate comms today.

Tell us about your career before founding The Berman Group.

I was incredibly fortunate to have worked at two boutique agencies prior to founding The Berman Group. They were both extremely small agencies which allowed me to learn how to manage accounts as well as to run various aspects of the business.

How did your bachelor's and master’s degrees in urban planning lead you to working in PR?

I loved communications from the start and my degrees in urban planning helped me to find our niche in real estate public relations—our clients appreciate that I know the terminology and understand the basic principles of development and urban planning.

How did you get the agency started?

I opened a very tiny office at 445 Park Avenue in a Regis space at the end of 2005 (similar to WeWork but before it existed.). I had one employee from day one and by the third month, we already had four employees and were growing out of the office.

What have been some of your career highlights to date?

I have been fortunate in so many ways. The real estate industry in the U.S. and even globally has embraced us and continues to support us in so many ways. Winning work from some of the largest and most successful developers today have been some of my most significant career highlights –it doesn’t get better than working with BXP, Fisher Brothers, RXR, Howard Hughes and many others like these organizations. We had a party for our tenth anniversary, and it was during a snowstorm. I always tell people that I knew who our true supporters were because so many people came out for us in the storm! This is our 18th year – and probably time to start planning another party!

How have pandemic-prompted shifts changed your team’s work?

The pandemic absolutely shifted our focus and our events division had the most obvious challenges. However, it allowed our PR and creative teams to blossom and we have greatly increased our creative capacity since the start of the pandemic. We have focused on helping to reimagine the office market tailored to the needs of the modern commercial tenant during these changing times and it has been an incredible time to support real estate creative and to watch our clients innovate during a challenging time.

You recently shared with us that the most press-worthy real estate projects are rich in amenities, hospitality, design and/or technology. What are some of the most standout features you’ve seen of late?

Our clients have been incredibly creative. 550 Madison has a stunning outdoor garden which will be a dream during warm days and 22 Vanderbilt has pushed the envelope with its hospitality offerings including an after-work bar, speakeasy and coffee spot called The Perch. @Ease Hospitality was created by Fisher Brothers as a world-class event and conference center in addition to offering flex space where you can work, relax or bond with colleagues.

Are there any nuances to marketing properties in the different cities you have HQs in (NY, FL, Boston, DC)?

New York probably remains the most competitive commercial market in the U.S., but we are seeing projects in Miami, Boston and DC getting just as creative and pushing the envelope where there used to be a time when it was only New York or Los Angeles-based projects that were as hospitality-focused and creative. Today, we are seeing creative marketing in every major city in the U.S. Miami is booming and it’s great to see a focus on offices in Miami, rather than Miami solely as a residential or vacation destination.

What are some of your favorite spots to frequent in NYC?

The Ned, where I am helping to bring in new women members. Also, The Nines is wonderful for live music and Polo Bar and RH are still my two favorite spots for dinner in the City.

What are some of your current projects you’re excited about?

I am excited about some of the events that we have planned for the coming year. I am hosting a U.S. Delegation of real estate owners for the MIPIM show in Cannes, France in March of 2023. We have a plan to create a next generation group of real estate executives in the coming year – the goal will be to create a strong network of next generation leaders who will take over our industry soon.

Do you have any predictions for the world of real estate comms in 2023?

I think it’s going to be a busy year for the world of real estate comms. It’s a wonderful time to make an impact with creativity and a hospitality-focused approach for both residential and commercial assets.

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