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April 19, 2010

Developing A Brokerage Brand

by mark mclean

I am always impressed when a flyer comes in the mail from a realtor who has thought long and hard about the message he is sending out to the public. He, or she, has worked hard to create and develop the skills to specialize in a particular market, like lofts, or downtown condos, or maybe investment properties.  The agent has a great website that ranks high in various search engines and he blogs about the ins and outs of the market he specializes in. This agent has created a one person brand. They have demonstrated that they have the knowledge in that particular market and therefore become the “go to” person.

I am thinking about a few people in particular as I write this. These people have invested in creating wonderful brands.  Their brands actually outshine their brokerage. In fact, for the most part, many of their clients don’t even know what company they work for. For them it doesn’t matter what the company brand is. They are simply looking for the biggest split. Of course that might change. If any of the agencies they work for decides to embrace the “pay for service” model in an effort to build more business then their clients could conceivably ask for a smaller basket of services and a lower commission.  If that happens, their business may be compromised along with the bottom line.

The question is; do brokerages exist simply to manage the affairs of realtors?  The answer is probably yes, but by no means should we, as broker owners and managers, continue to accept the status quo. The truth is that for many years the general public probably didn’t see much difference in service or offerings between most of the larger companies. Obviously there are a few brokerages that have done some niche branding but over the coming years I believe the public will strongly factor in the brokerage brand into their decision making process. Is your brokerage a price slasher or does it deliver experienced and professional full service? One thing is for sure. If your company offers discounted services it can’t reverse its direction and become a full service brokerage.  If your full service brokerage is going to flourish, then it needs to establish an emotional tie with people, not just through the hard work and dedication of its agents but through its commitment to the community and the real estate business as a whole.

Obviously if you are going to steer your company to be a discount broker then build your brand accordingly. But if you want to be a full service brokerage then your primary goal is to promote your company’s “worth” to the public. What will it be that makes your company shine above all others? Is it your dedication to the industry or your unique advertising and marketing abilities? Is it your history in the market place, or the fact that your agents are full time top producers? Simply put, you need to have unique story.

 It is not enough to be the number one brokerage in your market place. To get on top and remain on top, you need to support your managers and agents. They are the backbone of your brokerage. You might have a great “brand” but if it can’t live up to the promises it makes, then it is destined to fail. In future posts I will touch on some of the initiatives brokerages have used to distinguish themselves in the market place.

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Bosley Real Estate.

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