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Real Estate Associations

NAR adds sharp new execs to expanding team

(ASSOCIATION NEWS) NAR is in the middle of a massive restructuring, and any rebuilding means attracting new executive talent. Here’s what you need to know about the two newest executive additions.

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Starting today, two new hires will join the National Association of Realtors with the goal of enhancing the association’s relationship with consumers and members.

This move is part of NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg‘s vision for restructuring the association, and comes on the heels of NAR’s major ad campaign announcement.

Susan Welter is NAR’s new VP of Creative and Content Strategy and brings 25 years of experience and publishing in marketing, and over a decade of working with over 50 associations on their communications and non-dues revenue growth. Welter most recently consulted with associations on content strategies and programming designed to increase member acquisition, engagement, and retention.

“Having served the association market for most of my career, I’m excited to put that collective experience to use at NAR to better engage with our members and deepen our relationships with our industry partners, providing an exceptional experience for all,” said Welter.

Mantill Williams is NAR’s new VP of PR and Communication Strategy, and has over two decades of media relations, speechwriting, and advocacy communications experience. For the last 12 years, Williams served as director of advocacy communications for the American Public Transportation Association, and previously led the communications team for AAA. His role will be to develop strategic communications campaigns at NAR.

“I am thrilled to begin this new role at NAR using my previous association experience to enhance the ways in which we reach and connect with our current and prospective members,” said Williams. “I look forward to promoting the value and services offered to our members and advancing NAR’s position as the leading voice in the real estate industry.”

Both will report to NAR Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Victoria Gillespie.

“Mantill and Susan bring more than 40 years’ combined experience developing and executing major marketing and communications campaigns both within the real estate industry and for other professional associations,” said Goldberg. “They will elevate member communications and help us tell more creative and compelling stories about Realtors® and property owners.”

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Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Associations

Deep dive into Glenn Shimkus – NAR’s latest exec hire

(REAL ESTATE) With NAR’s reorganization and new vision, what does this new executive hire say about the association’s next steps? (Hint: a lot)

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has announced Glenn Shimkus as the new VP of Strategy and Innovation. He has been tasked with establishing a new strategy and innovation group within the SBIT (strategic business, innovation, and technology) group at NAR.

The new strategy and innovation group will be comprised of two new teams – the emerging technology team (which will evaluate emerging technologies’ impact on real estate, and forge relationships with other institutions developing new tech), and the strategy team (which will work on strategic projects involving NAR’s investment companies and large tech companies).

Shimkus will also play a large role in NAR’s forthcoming strategic think tank, “a network of world class business leaders and innovators from inside and outside of real estate.”

“Glenn has been heavily involved in the technology, real estate and investor communities for a large part of his career, and we are excited to put his knowledge to work for NAR,” said Bob Goldberg, CEO of NAR. “Glenn’s addition to SBIT will help push technological innovation that is beneficial to NAR members and the real estate industry.”

“As a long-time technology enthusiast and entrepreneur, I look forward to positioning NAR to foster innovative technology growth,” said Shimkus. “Our focus on building key relationships with emerging technology partners, academic and government researchers and private technology corporations will allow us to drive innovation in the real estate industry and keep our members at the forefront of technological change.”

What struck us most about Shimkus is that he is of a rare breed, with extensive tech experience outside of real estate and a background in real estate tech. What often happens to real estate technologists is they find themselves exclusively in that sector, independent of the rest of the tech world, whereas Shimkus remains a TechStars mentor and investor, with feet firmly planted in both worlds. Again, a rarity.

Victoria Gillespie, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at NAR noted that in the buildout of these teams, they’ll continue to seek this rare type of talent. “We believe that to be successful we need to find the rare folks that have a combination of this skill set and background in order to accelerate our projects and ultimately deliver against our goals.”

Gillespie indicated that the combination of knowledge (real estate and tech) was a selling point for hiring Shimkus in this new role, adding that it is “also important to understand that Glenn’’s knowledge of real estate industry goes beyond the brokerage as he built out the online mortgage platform for Guaranteed Rate before founding Cartavi and he created the ‘lead to close’ vision for DocuSign for their efforts to get rid of paper in the real estate industry. We believe that Glenn brings NAR and our members a truly unique combination that we believe will provide great value as we drive forward with our goal to keep NAR at the forefront of emerging technologies and business trends that are transforming the industry.”

Shimkus has long been an active mentor to NAR’s real estate tech accelerator, REach, where he will continue to be involved, having taken an advisory role with the REach team in recent years, and has also been involved in Elmspring (the new commercial accelerator for NAR).

“Glenn has a strong history of building world-class teams,” asserts Gillespie. “If you look at his LinkedIn profile you’ll notice that he has a large number of folks from across his career that have written wonderful recommendations for him from their time working together.”

When asked of his leadership style, Gillespie said he “works to empower his team, set clear goals, provide his team the tools and support they need to be successful and then let them work their magic! If you speak with anyone that has met Glenn or worked with him you’ll quickly hear that he’s a tremendous leader, has great vision and the unique ability to deliver against his vision.”

What many AG readers will ask is – how will NAR members benefit from this hire?

Rather than truncate Gillespie’s answer, we’re offering it in full as it gives unique insight into NAR’s overall direction:

“Ultimately the addition of Glenn to NAR will continue to help drive against the strategic vision set out by Bob Goldberg when he became CEO of NAR in 2017. At that time Bob set one of his objectives was to keep NAR at the forefront of emerging technologies and business trends that are transforming the industry.

As a part of the SBIT group within NAR, Glenn is now tasked with several key initiatives that we believe will provide meaningful value to our members and deliver specifically against this vision. First, at the core he is creating a new emerging technology team that will work to identify and evaluate emerging technologies and their potential impact on the industry.

This work will be an important feeder for work being done across NAR such as with our advocacy efforts, in our work with REach and SCV as well as our member communications and education – all of which are aimed at ensuring our members are aware of the transformation happening across the industry and prepared to not only survive but thrive. It is paramount that we have our pulse on the ground of what’s happening across the country and the world in terms of new technology and process innovation that may impact the industry in the future.

Additionally, Glenn is responsible for ensuring that our annual Investment, Opportunity and Investment (iOi) Summit is one of the industry premier events when it comes to bringing together the industry practitioners tech leaders and investors that are driving innovation in the industry. He will also work to create a strategic think tank of world class business leaders and innovators from within and outside of the industry to collaborate with our CEO and share experiences and best practices when it comes to how innovation is impacting industries of all size across the globe.

Both the iOi Summit and Strategic Think Tank will ensure that NAR is actively collaborating within and outside of the industry with those that are a part of the transformation so as we can share best practices, learn from each other and work together to continue to drive the industry forward. We believe that based upon the unique skill set, knowledge and experience that Glenn brings to NAR will drive meaningful value to our members as we continue to navigate the transformation happening to our industry.”

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Real Estate Associations

Exclusive interview: NAR’s new “That’s Who We R®” campaign

(ASSOCIATIONS) The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has launched a new ad campaign – we dig deep into the creation and meanings.

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Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is launching a new campaign, entitled, “That’s Who We R®,” separating their members from non-member real estate agents who don’t subscribe to the Code of Ethics.

In a statement, the association says the campaign reinforces what NAR has always stood for, while signaling the organization’s future, educating consumers about the Realtor difference, and inspiring pride among Realtors for their everyday actions.

Watch:


To learn more about the creation of the ad campaign and the process, we asked Victoria Gillespie, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at NAR a handful of questions that will give you deeper insight into the campaign:

1. Who’s the narrator!?? Voice sounds familiar. 

Damon Taylor. I’m glad you find his voice familiar – he could be your neighbor, your friend or your REALTOR®. We cast a wide net to get the right sound, across style of voice, gender, and delivery, and ultimately felt that Damon did the best job of bringing this new message forward in an ownable way.

2. The commercial is included in a more high profile way than in the past – what’s the thought process behind that?

We wanted to highlight all the work NAR and REALTORS® do – that includes all aspects of real estate that REALTORS® are involved in, so in addition to the residential aspect – it’s the work we do on the commercial side, the advocacy and even the incredible volunteer work we do in the communities.

3. Where will this be distributed? Online? TV? And for how long? 

The channels that define our communications approach reflect the modern ways in which buyers, sellers, AND REALTORS® consume media, including Video, through TV and digital access points, Audio, through terrestrial radio and streaming online, Custom Branded Content partnerships with digital-first publishers like Vice, Apartment Therapy, Thrillist, The Atlantic, Washington Post, and on social media and search platforms. The campaign launches Feb 25th and runs through the end of the year.

4. We picked up on the vibe that all of this happens “inside” the R, kind of behind the scenes, tell us more about that.

In order to really create meaning behind the mark, we wanted to elevate it’s meaning. We turned it into a larger than life icon that could become a portal into the world of NAR, which has countless stories to tell. The spot is in fact titled “Inside the R” and it was very intentional to show a peak of the different things that REALTORS® do that some buyers and sellers might not even be aware of. We wanted to tell a more holistic story and going inside the R allowed us to do just that.

5. Any comment on ultimately going back to the classic logo over the rehaul?

Last year, NAR heard from REALTORS® that they love the REALTOR® R membership mark. So it only made sense to lean-into this iconic trademark and leverage it, and the shapes that make the R. This is a national branding campaign for REALTORS® and the membership mark which represents them, so it is featured prominently in the work. We begin and end the spots with the R, and use it to transition between scenes.

6. Politics was also subtly included this time – was part of the goal to be more expressive of NAR’s wide-reaching role? 

Exactly. REALTORS® and NAR have so many amazing stories to tell, yet many don’t know all the results we have achieved, often behind the scenes, on behalf of property owners across the country. This is an important role we play – and we want consumers to know that we have their backs.

7. What was the creative process? Which orgs were included, which committees, how long did this take to pull together?

First and foremost, Havas listened. They were a new agency to the account and wanted to understand where NAR was in this journey and what we were looking to do. That was last fall. As Havas began to do some of their own digging, they became very inspired by the Code of Ethics.

More and more, people are craving purpose driven brands, and NAR has at our core what we stand for, and we have for over a century. Havas brought us four unique ways in, each with their own style and tone, and landed with That’s Who We R. It was a compelling message and theme which fascinated us with its possibilities.

It was important for this new campaign to be and feel authentic. Havas worked with NAR’s CAC project director and CMO, as well as NAR’s Leadership team and the Consumer Communications Committee. Throughout the process they met with additional NAR teams from Legal, Advocacy, Commercial, speech writing, media and social.

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Real Estate Associations

RPR use spikes dramatically (plus new features, slimmer operating budget)

(REAL ESTATE TECH) Having a free data tool like RPR is a lifesaver for you – having an industry more readily relying on it means better service to homeowners as a whole.

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Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) saw a 30 percent increase in use between 2017 and 2018, hitting a record 14.7 million sessions for the year, with Realtors spending over 100 million minutes researching properties and creating consumer reports.

Imagine you were running a tech company, and there was a tool built exclusively for your company that no one else had access to, that gave you an exclusive deep dive into data relevant to your industry. What a dream, right!? Every startup dreams of something like that, but it doesn’t exist.

Yet in real estate it does. NAR members (and only NAR members) have free access to RPR, offering wildly detailed data for the residential and commercial sectors.

We tend to find that the less successful practitioners don’t use RPR, while power brokers rely quite heavily on it.

The same holds true in any industry – those that rely on data rather than their gut assumptions outperform – across the board.

Their mobile app was downloaded over 470,000 times last year, accounting for over a third of all RPR traffic. In other words, it’s being used in the field more than ever.

The data tool is evolving – they’ve added a new Buyer Tour feature and updated the map interface (new features include distance search, drive time, parcel line overlay, and school search), according to RPR COO, Jeff Young.

In a press release, the company asserts that they have “realigned around delivering increased member value combined with improved budget efficiencies,” echoing the massive restructuring efforts of their parent company, the National Association of Realtors.

After reviewing operations and product development, RPR nixed 14 percent of their operating expenses in 2018, and expect a 22 percent reduction in 2019, which Janine Sieja, RPR Sr. VP of Product Management says will not impact what they will offer to members.

“By examining what our members consider of the highest value for them and their consumers, RPR is reimagining some of its core functions,” said Sieja. “We are excited about incorporating training and other new features into our applications. We expect to build on 2018’s success and offer additional improvements while achieving continued growth in usage.”

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg expressed enthusiasm regarding the RPR reexamining their core mission. “These efficiencies amount to the first reduction in RPR’s total operating budget since its creation in 2008, and position RPR to deliver its web and mobile platform for about $13.50 per member annually in 2019, included in their NAR dues.”

Just like many of us are hitting the gym to meet our New Year’s resolutions, this feels quite like RPR stuck with their 2018 resolutions and can now lift more than everyone else at the gym, while many of us are trepidatiously jogging on a treadmill.

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