7/13/11

Brand Change (Part 1)


There is a lot of smoke stirring in the real estate industry from a fire that seems nearly ready to show its source.  It has been interesting to observe the impact of the time and energy spent in guessing who is buying and who is selling as well as the result and potential impact.  While this is an interesting exercise in creative thought, it has also become a great distraction.  Companies anticipating the change are hesitant to initiate marketing, take advantage of opportunities and in some cases recruit people to their companies.

Regardless the actual change once it occurs, each affiliate broker/owner and company will still have a business dependent on their leadership to succeed, no matter whether the outside force is driven by market, economics, demographics, competition or franchisor brand initiatives.   The bottom line is that you control your business and not any of the items that influence it.

Perhaps what is most interesting is that the real brand change has taken place slowly in part and under the radar because most of the real estate companies in the United States were still caught up in brand dependency.  We were aware that it was occurring but many did not think of it as a real brand change.  The consumer stopped shopping for real estate by brand and began to shop by property and types of property in which they were interested.  Blame the Internet if you like, but the real blame is in the fact that the industry failed to make the changes necessary to leverage the consumer appetite and utilize brand as a validator for selection rather than the point of search.

This is a structural change to the industry which also requires structural changes to the real estate business and individual operations.  Today, a brand or franchisor has become a service provider more than the primary identity for marketing.  It is a point of validation for consumer expectations rather than the primary component in a search.

Regardless the changes that are announced in specific major brands soon, the consumer is not going to be concerned with those changes as much as they are with the properties and services that meet their needs.  It is not the color of your sign or the name on the sign that makes the consumer search for a property but may be a part of the decision to choose to do business with you.  More importantly, they will want to know your local brand and what it stands for as a validation in the selection process.

The related posts in this series will speak to brand dependency and the impact to business and how to deal with the changes in your chosen brand.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought the blog was excellent and ever so true!  All of us must focus on our individual companies, and utilize the 'brand' (if there is an affiliation) for providing services that enhance (or make life easier with no need for re-inventing the wheel).  I think the frustrating part has been the pace at which the anticipated change is/is not happening, and not knowing the direction leaves me little to work with.  How can one go out and 'push' the services of our franchisor when we don't know if those services are going to look the same moving forward?  To train to the current offerings is unsettling, and with ever so many rumors, strategizing and positioning for the change is impossible.
 
With no communication or real clue as to its direction, our franchisor is making a mistake.  Many nearing expiration of their current agreement are planning exit strategies, and in some markets the agents are ripe for picking by competitors.  Communication is key, and the longer this goes on, the worse position we are all in.  What has happened to the core values our company was founded on? At one time I believe their actions went along with the words, however, things have certainly changed.
 
Thanks for your insight and we'll see what happens next!

Pat Soltys said...

Thank you very much. The comments, phone calls and emails we received were a great compliment. Most of all the the strength and commitment in focusing on the company's own brand is exciting.

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