Have you ever hired a real estate company based on their brand? I have worked for two of the largest real estate firms in Raleigh over the past 10 years and I have not seen much in the line of brand loyalty from home buyers or sellers.
You know what is funny? I was never really interviewed by the companies I worked for. I just kind of met with them, sat down and went from there. The reason I find it funny is that each of these firms touted their agents as their number one asset. Really? I happen to know that I am really good at what I do but no one ever asked me about my work history. They just told me how big they were over and over.
The reality now is that consumers and customers are now creators and sharers of opinion about every company under the sun, and they have access to a virtual ocean of information from which to make smart decisions about which companies they trust and which ones they wouldn’t be seen dead supporting. Read more from Brands Are Dead. Reputation Is King.
What about companies like Amazon, eBay or even newcomers Yelp and Durham’s own TriOut? Brands become diluted on these sites as readers review their own experiences in an open forum without regard to brand.
With regard to real estate, Top selling real estate author Stefan Swanepoel wrote:
A far more important change was occurring in the industry even before the information revolution. That change was the shift in leverage from brokers to agents, resulting in a steady decline in broker profitability. In this new environment the pure practice of brokerage is insufficient to sustain a business unless the broker can marshal a large volume of transactions. Read more from Real Estate confronts Profitability.
He just said loud and clear that real estate companies stand to lose money if they can’t adapt their business. Reputation has shifted from the broker (The firm is the actual broker) to the agent. The agent now has a controlling share. Why? Because the agent is the one the client sees and deals with, not the brand.
How important are real estate brands vs. reputations?