Twilight of the brands?

There’s an ad for Coldwell Banker in the most recent issue of National Relocation and Real Estate Magazine that touts 96% brand awareness. Pretty impressive.

But on second thought, does awareness really cut it? What percentage of that 96% aware of Coldwell Banker actually know what Coldwell Banker means?

It got me thinking. As a consumer, I rely on brands to help me make decisions. I know, for example, that I can get style on the cheap at Target, a big room and a free drink at Embassy Suites and good vibes and some extra legroom on JetBlue.

But what do I get with Coldwell Banker? Or, for that matter, any other of the big real estate brands? There’s plenty of awareness out there, but very little meaning.

It’s one of the reasons real estate is struggling to maintain the faith of consumers. There’s no definitive experience, no distinctive proposition, and no help to be had from the undifferentiated brand mire to guide them.

I know plenty of raving Starbucks fans. They know that Starbucks means good coffee in an upscale, comfortable environment no matter where they are.

Do you know any raving RE/MAX fans?

I know it’s complicated, but I do believe their is hope.

Real Living gets consumer experience. GMAC is attempting to differentiate with its Premiere Service program. Countless independents and sole practitioners manage to set themselves apart.

But who’s going to pull it all together to create a true consumer real estate brand?

— Brian Boero