Wednesday, August 29, 2007

National vs. "Next" Real Estate Brands

When discussing Real Living with broker/owners throughout the country a common dialogue typically centers on “who is Real Living? I’ve never heard of you.” Or, “we are going to franchise, but why would I franchise with a new, unfamiliar brand in my market?” So, when evaluating a decision to franchise, there are three major items to consider…

1. Are there stigmas or negativity associated with these other brands in your markets or elsewhere?

Chances are there are agents/companies from any national brand, primarily due to their size, who have made a negative impression on the market. Remember the NAR boasts 1.3 million Realtors running around out there. This stigma and image (negative or positive) will automatically be associated with you when you join these franchise systems. Don’t think you can change the world, these networks are too large and their impact is national. When affiliating with the next big thing, the image is fresh, new, and with Real Living, unique.

2. What is provided by national brand?

Franchisors through the fat and happy times of the past 10 years have become lazy and very focused on selling their name. In doing so, many have lost touch with providing their franchise partners a tangible offering agents and brokers can actually tap into to increase productivity, profits and awareness in the market. Real Living provides a wealth of tools, services and the best part is that they are tangible which means they save agents and brokers real money in development and or purchasing of “off the shelf tools” such as Top Producer for contact management or Point 2 Agent for web sites. The fact that Real Living provides these two items and much, much more not only saves money but also makes its tools easier to use and integrated. Every tool Real Living provides is fully interactive with each other from MLS feeds, to our 2.0 application, to contact management.

3. Who gets it?

This may be the most critical component. When evaluating brands, pay close attention to how they market and use your franchise service fees. Ask the following questions of these national brands…
- Do they have a defined target customer? If so, do you agree?
- Does the brand appeal to this target audience?
- Do they spend the service fees you spend to market effectively to this group?

At Real Living, our answers are as follows…
- Our target consumer is women 25-54 residing in a household earning an above average income. This demographic makes 90% of the decisions in the home-buying/selling process.
- The Real Living brand was developed to primarily appeal to this audience.
- Our national marketing dollars are 100% devoted to the female demographic defined above.

Many of the large nationals don’t get it. Take Re/Max for example. One of their national sponsorships is the Long Drive Championship – a golf event. How many women do you think are watching a group of meatheads on ESPN try to hit a golf ball 400 yards?

Century 21 another large national brand is the sponsor of Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby. How many women do you think are watching this event? I can assure you my wife is not viewing either of these programs and instead opting for programming on HGTV, Lifetime or Food Network.


When women make 90% of the home buying/selling decisions, are sponsorships in these types of events the highest and best use of your franchise service fees?

To learn more about
Real Living, our tangible systems, well-managed brand and how to potentially be the first to launch the brand in your market, let’s talk. We’ll open your eyes. E-mail me at chris.svec@realliving.com, or call 614-203-0801.

2 comments:

Thomas Grimshaw said...

Chris - the distinctions that you point out are very relevant and real. Things Broker/Owners and agents will both benefit from knowing. I will be plagiarizing from you as I keep the recruiting discussion going. Thanks - Tom

Chris Svec said...

Tom-
Keep plagiarizing and growing your company. What you are accomplishing in south Florida is exciting!

Chris