I lived in Rockland County, NY for 20 years. So the Rand name in real estate is familiar to me. I saw it on yard signs everywhere and understood it to represent a local real estate firm that specialized in Rockland County homes.
And that was it. And for the most part, I think, that’s about as deep as it gets for most consumers. Read estate brands known only by their association to inventory, a sales force or an industry.
Now this doesn’t only occur in real estate. Take the many cassette tape brands from the 70’s: Agfa, Kompact, Universum, TDK, Philips, Orwo Maxim, Laser, Maxell, and Memorex. As a consumer I was hard-pressed to distinguish one from the other and only ever recognized these brands based on their affiliation with their industry. recorded music.
Today, the real estate marketplace suffers from the same ubiquity. It’s replete with brand names recognized by their packaging and their association to either inventory and their sales force.
So when I read this survey my first response was “big deal”. Being the most recognized name means diddly if the masses cannot verbalize what you’re recognized for. Just ask Rula Lenska, Granted, Alberto VO5 creatively and wisely exploited the meaningless nature of their Russian-born spokesperson and turned it into one of the hottest ad campaigns ever. But unless real estate firms are willing to and can execute a campaign on irony, it probably won’t work for them.
If I were a real estate brand, Davison Real Estate would be replacing its Christmas party with a think tank session that tasked the smartest people of my firm to attend with their idea picks and shovels for a full day of creative mining to help locate the message and service vein of differentiation that we could build on for 2009.
Right now, I could think of dozens of things but rather than offer the standard list of takeaways this time around, I will shine the light on an example of one way this can be accomplished.
The Prudential Rand RandBlog
Spend time on it. Notice how it methodically combines local events, with not so pretty news, hard hitting commentary, and op-ed pieces on the market written by the owners. These posts stand out as honest, informative and editorially segregated from the sales arm of the firm.
The blog is consistent and the contributions seem to be calendared.
Having spoken to over 30 audiences this year, I know how fearful brokers are when it comes to blogging and how resistant they are to publish the things they know, love and believe in as it pertains to their community.
But this isn’t only the most prudent thing you could do today, it’s by far the most cost effective way to market your company, communicate your value proposition, leverage your intelligence and give the few folks inside your firm that really know the market a place to share it with the community.
In other words, to move beyond recognition to meaning.
Frankly, I buy the fear thing. I don’t buy the concern how much time it takes or the learning curve. I think the only reason more brokers aren’t doing this comes down to laziness. Because with over 1,000,000 new articles being generated by consumers on a daily basis filled with comments and opinions about their world, it just doesn’t look all that good for a real estate to be silent.
Prudential Rand was once recognized for being in real estate, period. Today, they are working on being known for having a point of view, a voice, and what probably matters most to locals today: A demonstrated commitment to the marketplace and the people who live in it.
The blog needs a little design makeover. Simple things like subscribing it, contacting the company or knowing precisely where they operates are a tad hard to find. But it’s nonetheless a good model for brokers looking to blog.
12 years ago, I moved away from Rocklin County and for many years missed home dearly. Of all the publications that I could subscribe too to remain connected, I’ve chosen a real estate brokerage blog.