About The Real Estate Group

The Real Estate Group (TREG) "Partners in Excellence"

The mission of The Real Estate Group, LLC is to be Hampton Roads finest provider of real estate services. Our goal is to create a company that provides absolutely the best service for our customers by fostering an environment of teamwork and a common vision. The Real Estate Group, LLC consists of an accomplished team of skilled professionals who take pride in their work and their company. We work hard to go beyond the expectations of our customers, agents, and employees.

Swanepeol TRENDS Report – The Value Propositions of Brands

As we well know, brands have long been the appeal of the general population.

Coca-Cola, Starbucks. Apple – all have cultivated not only a sense of familiarity among consumers, but also have sold a type of “lifestyle”.  Brands and marketing can omit a feeling of comfort and evoke emotions from the consumer, which has been proven to be radically more effective than usual marketing tactics.

Consumer’s Point of View

In terms of residential real estate, there are well recognized and high profile brands that could compare to the aforementioned brands. They usually can be broken down into three types: National brands, Local brands, and Online brands. What some consumers do not realize is that each brand has it’s own level of service. However, because a consumer tends to relate quality of service with an individual agent, these subtle and sometimes vast differences aren’t usually weighed against the brand itself. Establishing a consistent brand image is usually the result of mass marketing, however, since residential real estate brands rely on the individual marketing of broker-to-broker or agent-to-agent, sustaining a consistent image isn’t very possible.

Most brands and chains, such as restaurant s and other stores, do not usually vary based on location but rather keep a consistent theme and are identical. In real residential real estate, this is not the case. Each franchise will vary in strategy and marketing focus. For instance, Century 21 and Coldwell and Banker consider the consumer to be their client whereas RE/MAX and Keller Williams consider the agent to be their clients. Thus, service will vary even office to office because of the varying tactics.

Another key difference between a multi-national brand and a residential real estate franchise is that there is little to no interaction between consumers and the brand themselves. There is a third party system in place (the agent and the brokers) and through these ambassadors, if you will, the consumer attains a glimpse of the brand.

Local brokerage brands have always held a strong place in the community. Brokers for years had been neighbors, local government supporters, and charity contributors. They were involved in the transaction process long before, during, and after its completion. Though some of these practices have been handed down to continuing generations, the emergence of franchising has impacted many aspects of local brokerage brands, including profit margins and quality. Now, seeing the value in what should matter beyond branding is important. With that said, in order to build a brand that matters enough to be recognized as being distinct among every other brand takes the priority of finding a niche and capitalizing on it. Presenting the brand as experts in specificity in the market, such as multi-million dollar homes and indisputable quality of service to clients seeking such homes, have led brands to position themselves as leaders in this particular niche.

To build a brand in this way does require a bit of investment in building more attractive websites that will aid in consistency of the brands quality.

“Consistency is a backbone in building a quality brand.”

Now, in regards to agents, they more or less brand themselves. Those who have become enormously successful in the industry did so by finding buyers and sellers and relying on their own tactics and services rather than that of their brokerage. Taking this into account, it is important to remember branding does matter. Whether a consumer intentionally chose a specific agent, brokerage, or national franchise; that decision was made by means of branding and advertising.

According to the National Association of Realtors® 24% of consumers chose an agent based on their trustworthiness and honesty as opposed to a mere 3% chosen due to association with a particular firm.

What does this tell us? Brands are personal.

Online Branding

Zillow and Trulia are two of the most prominent examples of online branding. With strategic marketing, Zillow was inundated with visitors the moment it went live online. Zillow and Trulia both offered users a pleasant searchable database of homes and home values, which they delivered.  These sites may have posed as competition for brokerage firms and agents, but to the savvy and entrepreneurial agent, this encouraged one to become involved with the online world. Trulia Voice and Zillow Zip Codes were more personable when it came to finding an agent, and giving more information about the agent rather than simply contact info and a picture.

The current era is changing the way brokerage firms and agents deal in business, advertise and brand themselves. Do brands matter in Real Estate?  Yes, it’s just that the brand itself is made up of many contributing factors that all play a part in a profitable business.

For a full copy of The Swanepoel TRENDS Report, visit www.retrends.com

About The Real Estate Group

The Real Estate Group (TREG) "Partners in Excellence"

The mission of The Real Estate Group, LLC is to be Hampton Roads finest provider of real estate services. Our goal is to create a company that provides absolutely the best service for our customers by fostering an environment of teamwork and a common vision. The Real Estate Group, LLC consists of an accomplished team of skilled professionals who take pride in their work and their company. We work hard to go beyond the expectations of our customers, agents, and employees.