Dear Ginny WTH
Does being with a large brokerage really make any difference to the consumer? What is most important to the consumer when it comes to real estate services?
Going Broke in Boise
Brand does make a difference to the consumer that has been proven. In real estate, unless you have your own brokerage, you are dealing with two brands: your broker’s brand and your own “name” brand.
I’ve said it many times in this column; you shouldn’t join a brokerage if you are not going to leverage the brand. Especially if you are associated with a large brokerage, I would assume there is brand value there for you and your consumer.
Being associated with a large brokerage can give a consumer confidence and convey stability, as in Prudential Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Real Estate, both of which have been in existence for over 100 years.
You get the benefit of brand association. Brand has positive mind share with consumer. Brand transfers to you. Of course you have to prove yourself under that umbrella, but you better believe the consumer knows the names and has opinions about the big broker brands, right or wrong.
You say but Ginny, this is a people business and it’s me and the client across the kitchen table getting the deal done and that has nothing to do with the broker brand. Yes, that’s the brand of you operating in a consistent, professional and successful manner that over time brings extreme value to your name as its own entity. I agree that sometimes the brand of you can surpass that of your broker’s.
Some advice if that’s your case:
- It is NOT the time to create your own logo identity and fight against your broker. See previous Dear Ginny WTH.
- It is NOT the time to join a no-name brokerage that will allow you to promote yourself more than them. It confuses the consumer.
- It IS the time to think about breaking away and starting your own brokerage. You’ve got a strong name, leverage it.
I know real estate agents pay a lot of fees to be a part of a large brokerage. I was the marketing director for three large brokerages and was in part responsible for agents feeling good about brand and getting value from the brand. In the end you’ve got to get value from your broker’s brand or you’ve got to leave.
You ask what is most important to consumers, well it is competent and professional real estate services from their agent, but know that brand can be a tipping point.