Friends sharing a social media post

Why Everyone Loves TikTok

TikTok is the ultimate playground for personal expression, with an endless stream of content curated to your interests.

With billions in ad revenue every year, TikTok is no longer the exclusive realm of Gen Z. Not even close. By now, it seems nearly everyone is on the app, and that means advertising across all demographics.

As for Gen GJ, we launched the video platform in 2022, becoming fluent in the language and fascinated by the trends. Now, we are paving the way for our clients to become industry leaders on a platform where their target audience can be found scrolling.

Here are a few takeaways we have so far.

Authentic, unpolished content has staying power.

To the untrained eye, videos on TikTok might seem slapped together—but that’s proven to be their central appeal. Tighter budgets and smaller productions don’t just require more creativity. They need greater authenticity as well.

Over half of users feel closer to the brands they discover on TikTok, particularly when the content is less polished and more human. The more viewers are allowed to see the seams, the better. But it isn’t all bloopers and BTS footage.

TikTok gives us the chance to be more direct in a number of meaningful ways. User-generated content is proving to be one of the best and most effective marketing strategies. Residents in housing developments throughout the country are giving free press to their communities with heartfelt video testimonials. Similarly, employee-generated content is an equally up-front way to tell the consumer what they need to know.

Social media is the new search engine.

Users are always looking for the low down on everything—including home buying. TikTok is the perfect platform to break down interest rates, market forecasts and complicated industry jargon in an easily digestible manner. It’s also the perfect way to dispel common myths and misconceptions about buying a home.

81% of users use TikTok to discover new products and brands. We don’t see why that shouldn’t apply to housing developments and apartment complexes. It might not be the first place people go to learn about real estate, but that makes it a great place to catch them by surprise. And since younger generations are increasingly using TikTok to problem solve, we are able to play things to our advantage with targeted content.

The ability to assign keywords to posts bridges SEO and video with great success, ensuring our content reaches the right people. With the right host, a little text and a popular song, we can assuage any fears and encourage consumers to take their first steps toward buying a new home.

Diverse content keeps things entertaining.

TikTok content creators are constantly thinking up new trends—which means no shortage of fresh faces to watch and original ideas to learn from. Unlike other social apps, 92% of users view TikTok with the TV off. That kind of attention is not easy to find. So trust us when we say that we are paying attention too.

It has been a blast using our personal TikTok to highlight Gunn Jerkens’ office culture, and we can’t wait to see what else we come up with as a team. Be sure to follow us there to keep up with the latest industry trends, market insights and lip-sync videos.

2023 Trends

2023 Trends

At GJ, trends aren’t just something to chase after. They are a chance to check the pulse and take the temperature, to gauge where our industry is doing its best work and to decide how our energy will be best spent. At the start of 2023, we surveyed the landscape and picked out a few trends that are making us pay attention.

It’s all about the user (generated content).

You can’t put a price on user-generated content. These free, organic pieces of content give a fresh voice to unknown and well-established brands, cutting through the usual advertising noise with something heartfelt and direct. Most importantly, UGC drives strong engagement and gets brands more involved.

It has been a great tool to leverage as we spread the word about exciting new developments across the country.

Keep it brief.

When it comes to video content, we live by one rule: the shorter the better.

Our TikTok launch last year taught us how quick and digestible complicated topics like real estate can be when they are in the right hands. 92% of global users take action after watching a TikTok, and so are we.

But this goes so much further than one app. TikToks, Reels, YouTube Shorts – it’s all trending in the same direction. Short-form video is set to see more growth in 2023 than any other marketing strategy.

We could go on and on, but we’ll keep this concise. If you want to learn more, check out our blog on Why Everyone Loves TikTok.

SEO all the way.

Search-optimized ads are nothing new, but as the fourth most popular marketing trend, they are here to stay. And the applications only continue to grow. Increasingly, people are using social platforms like TikTok as their go-to search engines. The ability to assign keywords to posts is creating countless new possibilities to reach the right audience.

As more companies recruit experts, SEO is yielding greater insights, impressions and both long- and short-term returns. This year, 88% of marketers with a concrete SEO strategy will boost or maintain their investment. That is as sure a bet as any.

AR you ready, kids?

Augmented reality filters on social media are giving users new ways to see the world around them and offering companies new ways to connect with their core audience. Whether it’s trying on a virtual pair of Nikes or seeing what you would look like with Ray-Ban sunglasses, AR is proving to be the perfect interactive experience between brands and customers.

Apps like Instagram make these filters readily available and addictively reshareable. While some industries have been slower to adopt these dynamic tools, we only expect them to grow more ubiquitous as the 2020s unfold.

As GJ celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are continuing to pay close attention to the ways all these trends play out. As we look to the future, we hope you will follow along with us. Check us out on social media or here on our website for more industry observations!

Inspiring New Ideas

We love a good comeback story. And if this past year has proven anything, it’s that with enough creativity and inspiration plus an amazing team—anything is possible.

Where do we find our inspiration? It lives in the places we go and the actions we take. We find it when we’re traveling, walking, talking and connecting with the people around us. We find it in nature, where time seems to stand still for a moment so the mind can wander. Whether it’s in the faces of our little nieces and nephews, the playful spirits of kittens or the wise eyes of graying dogs—fresh waves of thought, emotion and ideas exist all around us.

As individuals, we’re diverse, storied, cultured, adventurous and then some. But when we come together as a team, we’re a force to be reckoned with.

So what’s the takeaway? It’s life that sparks inspiring new ideas. And that leads to meaningful work, happy clients, fulfilled team members and the motivation to follow our next vision and bring something incredible to life.

Videographer at a Gunn Jerkens video shoot.

Business as

Videographer at a Gunn Jerkens video shoot.

They call it the new normal, but we’ve always strived for more. What’s beyond the status quo is what holds our interest. As everything starts to make its comeback—we’ve realized that it’s never been about getting back to what’s typical and what’s everyday. It’s about the fresh ideas we get to bring to life. The face-to-face connections we make. And every new minute we get to innovate together.

Miralon Book
Dog with sunglasses.

With the return of lifestyle photo and video shoots, we’re taking our creative content game above and beyond.

Woman in modern lounge chair.
Yoga video playing on laptop on table.
Photo shoot in a design center.
Mother and son working on the computer.

Events are back—and better-than-ever is the goal, bringing our brand and customer experience dreams to life with a side of genuine human connection.

Smiling inside picture frames.

GJ on Location:

Miralon, Palm Springs
The Groves, Whittier
Brookfield Design Studio, Costa Mesa
Sommers Bend, Temecula

Stay tuned for scroll-stopping news coming soon.


It's A New Day! | Lantana @Beach

Homes Worth
a #Hashtag

It's A New Day! | Lantana @Beach

Infill community, meet big first impression. For Brookfield Residential’s townhomes paired with hip retail in Orange County’s quaint Stanton area, it was all about creating buzz, connection and ramping up the excitement. How do we grab attention and compel young professionals and families looking for an attainable option to believe in the new vision? The answer came in the personality—the bigger the better.

We leveraged high-impact graphics and fun, conversational messaging to put this community in the limelight and on the map, well on Beach Boulevard actually. Relatable phrases like “Homes worth a #hashtag” paired with Insta-worthy mural-esque art piqued interest and set the tone. Each touchpoint along the customer journey came together to portray a place that’s friendly, bright and downright magnetic. The result? Almost doubling monthly sales goals during COVID-19, with prices constantly on the rise.

Lantana @Beach
Branded Signage | Lantana @Beach

“The goal was to create a destination—one that ups the excitement, grabs attention and radiates a sense of place.”
— Jennifer Stoddard

Come By and Chill | Lantana @Beach

Performance That Measures Up

From the start we knew words and pictures wouldn’t be enough to launch Landsea Homes’ new High Performance Homes program into the world. When an idea spans the breadth and depth of life as we know it, we need to think bigger, more experiential and more engaging. The clear answer came from behind the lens and to screens everywhere with a clever commercial-quality video series. From casting calls, auditions, interviewing DPs and wrangling actors to extensive script development and storyboarding, the 32-person crew ultimately made the magic happen.

A New Take on Home Tech

interior of landsea HPH

“Hey Siri”

From Apple-powered technology to sustainable building practices and energy efficiency, each video needed to convey a story of home that was more connected, convenient and healthier than ever.

Adding to the mix, the website experience plus digital and experiential marketing all came together to showcase a builder with homes that truly change everything.

Digital Performance
Page Views
Total Page Engagement
High Performance Homes Page |
HPH logo
Home Automation | Energy Savings | Sustainability

“Today’s homebuyers seek a balanced life through technology, the ability to stay connected and the option to be in control.”

landsea hph social posts on phone
landsea hph square ads

Time to Get Smart

It was time to get smart. Taking our cues from the walkable BART station, we added a new segmentation to the marketing mix and lasered in on relatability. It was all about targeting the San Francisco DMA (San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose) looking for more bedrooms, garages, open space and parks at a more affordable price. That meant a campaign that showcased how the target lives and put the master plan attributes in the spotlight, all while reinforcing the big picture: Boulevard is a smart buy in the Bay Area.

Boulevard: Smart Campaign Social Media

Boulevard: Smart Campaign Video Series

bus with an ad for boulevard

Delivering Results

What started as simple homebuyer surveys soon became a full-fledged marketing experience. Qualified data not only provided insight into the lifestyle of residents but also allowed an opportunity to formulate creative and targeting tactics around a look-alike audience. The result? Exactly what we were looking for: increased leads and sales from the San Francisco DMA target market.

boulevard ipad ads
boulevard videos displaying on laptop, tablet and phone
Sommers Bend Virtual Builder Fair - There's so much to share!

A Grand Virtual Opening

Introducing and building excitement for one of the most significant new master-planned communities in Temecula required a smart marketing solution. With the highly anticipated festival-like celebration put on hold to ensure the safety of prospective homebuyers and our builder partners, we needed to switch gears and take the show online.

Say hello to the first-ever Sommers Bend Virtual Builder Fair. What was once planned to be an in-person extravaganza became an engaging collection of virtual sessions between builders and prospects—a creative introduction to the community and its esteemed builders.

Attendees: 506
Minutes: 206
Rendering of the pool at Sommers Bend in Temecula, CA

With our builder partners anxious to provide an experience to the prospective buyers at Sommers Bend, Gunn | Jerkens set to task by coordinating and moderating three separate virtual sessions, including curating visuals, fielding real-time questions and obtaining key insights.

As for the results, they speak for themselves. We tripled the anticipated attendance with all three sessions nearing capacity, streamed and fielded hundreds of qualified questions, provided pertinent information to engaged audiences and most of all made a great first impression for Sommers Bend.

This may have been a master-planned community first, but as the marketing landscape continues to evolve, we know we’ll continue to level-up the marketing. Keep your eyes and screens open—you never know what’s coming next.

Graphic of a lady sitting at a computer desk with a cat at her feet.

A New Way
to GJ

Graphic of a lady sitting at a computer desk with a cat at her feet.

Teams meetings. Zoom calls. Remote collaboration sessions. We’re business as usual around here. But of course the GJ culture is about sparking creativity and having fun, so we’re finding ways to keep the tradition alive.

Kevin Jerkens holding laptop with team zoom meeting
GJ team halloween party zoom meeting.

With our carpool karaoke outings, summer block party and viral team videos off the table, we put our heads together for ways to keep the culture—and connectivity—going. Daily video stand-ups, weekly bingo (for prizes), a drive-in pop-up retirement party and seriously the most epic virtual Halloween bash you can imagine—we’ve made working from home really work.

A Yahtzee-branded coffee cup with a tabled in the background, showing an ongoing video call.
A computer showing the GJ team playing bingo on a video call. Bingo cards and a bingo dabber in the foreground.

We have our share of “Zoom moments.” We’re talking dogs strutting their stuff. Kids popping in. Leaf blowers, landscapers, helicopters and the random spouse hello. But we’re agile and adaptable. We may be screens away but our passion to connect, collaborate and create lives on.

Cover of Wired Magazine, with an article about working remotely.
A Peloton bike in front of a couch where a small dog is resting.
A desk with a computer next to a door open to a patio. A South Africa poster hangs on the wall.
Selfie of Jen Stoddard in her car, pulled over on the side of the road, with another car in the background.