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Relentless: The CENTURY 21® Brand Puts the Industry on Notice

May 6, 2018 by

Editor’s Note: This is the cover story in the May issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine.

C21_Cover_May18_300x420_300dpiRight now, the real estate industry is buzzing about the new CENTURY 21® brand identity, with some questioning if the global franchisor has what it takes to deliver on its new mission (Defy Mediocrity and Deliver Extraordinary Experiences), while most are saying it’s exactly what the 47-year-old company needed to do to remain competitive and relevant.

The new visual identity released—along with the ambitions announced by CENTURY 21 at its annual One21 Experience gathering of its System members from around the world—are certainly bold. They are challenging existing conventions in real estate relationships between brokers and agents, C21® agents and their home-buying and -selling clients, and C21® agents and other industry professionals. They are putting the industry on notice.

CENTURY 21 took a major risk with its brand identity, which marks a complete overhaul of one of real estate’s most recognizable icons. From the hallways of the Orlando Marriott to the conversations with One21 attendees to the positive comments from many industry consultants and vendors, the excitement behind the rebranding campaign is palpable.

More than just a logo, the makeover is stylish and sleek; it’s a smart, simple and sophisticated color palette that stays true to the C21® gold and black scheme, and is designed to complement the iconic brand and elevate it at every broker, agent and consumer touchpoint. For example, the new C21 symbol replaces the outdated house, allowing the brand to project a modern image, as well as be more relevant to today’s real estate customer. Plus, the creative behind the identity is available in multiple layouts, designs and pattern options for signage, business cards and collateral that enables each System member to stand out by customizing the brand assets to their individual personalities.

The C21® family celebrating its wins, together.

The C21® family celebrating its wins, together.

Cara Whitley, chief marketing officer, Century 21 Real Estate, sums it up this way: “The brand needed to reflect that our sales professionals set the bar for what it means to be an extraordinary real estate agent. By eliminating the complexity and dated iconography, the new identity provides a clean and clear stage for their personality and unique style to shine through.

“This is just the beginning; we’re committed to making a difference for our agents and customers, delivering innovative solutions to help them deliver extraordinary experiences to their home-buying and -selling clients and customers.”

With the overhaul of the brand and the new visual identity firmly in place, new President and Chief Executive Officer Nick Bailey believes CENTURY 21 is poised to achieve two so-called “big, hairy, audacious goals” (BHAG) – 1) to double transactions in the next five years and 2) to be the most sought-after brand in real estate.

Nick_Bailey_House_Habits“It’s just wrong that in today’s world consumers spend more time researching what restaurant they’ll go to or the location of their next vacation destination than they do selecting their real estate agent,” says Bailey, referring to a Wakefield survey, commissioned by Century 21 Real Estate, in which 40 percent of respondents thought planning a vacation would take longer than finding a real estate agent. “Customer experience is the great differentiator, and homebuyers and sellers need to know they can expect something different from a C21® sales professional, and we feel that our new mission and visual identity helps express that to them.”

As far as his BHAG, Bailey suggests that as C21® grows in prominence as the real estate company that delivers on homebuyers’ and sellers’ expectations, the company will show up in increased marketshare and agent growth in closed transactions.

“The goal is for CENTURY 21 to think and behave like a challenger brand with a progressive image and foster a System of agents who consistently chase excellence, have a relentless mindset and never stop until their clients’ needs are met and exceeded,” explains Bailey.

The way Bailey sees it, the meeting of those clients’ needs and fostering emotional engagement is critical to earning marketshare, and effective storytelling and digital marketing are at the heart of this movement.

C21_Image_p32_Bailey_Ryan

Bailey and Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider sharing agent growth ideas, brand differentiation

“We over-deliver on the rational aspects of being a global franchisor, like technology, learning and marketing support and services. It’s emotionally-connected homebuyers and sellers who are much more likely to be repeat clients and refer family and friends because of the experiences our agents deliver,” adds Bailey. “It starts with a mobile-friendly, repeatable journey from contract to closing that gives buyers and sellers the kind of speed, convenience and predictability that they’re looking for, and deserve.”

And when third-parties spread the word that CENTURY 21 professionals make real estate consumers feel more valued, and that the brand experience they deliver is far superior to what any other brokerage model is offering, an untapped well of referrals will begin flowing directly to the franchisor’s current base of 118,000 agents. Therein lies perhaps the brand’s greatest differentiator.

“By approaching referrals strategically within a System that targets, values and involves clients in the overall experience, we expect an increase in lead-generation numbers, brand advocacy and home sales to follow suit,” says Bailey. “The relationships we build will be so awesome and long-lasting that consumers (and other brokers and agents) will choose to share them with their spheres and feel good about helping us win.

“It’s our team and our affiliated companies and agents that set us apart,” adds Bailey. “Every action we take as a collective that lives our new mission daily is made so that we are the very best at serving the needs of our respective customers. 121 percent wins!”

A mobile-first brand for the mobile-first consumer

A mobile-first brand for the mobile-first consumer

To reach consumers and industry professionals looking for a new place to call ‘home,’ the C21® brand is creating content that serves their respective needs and delivering it where they learn and play: live TV, online and on their mobile devices.

The rebrand launched with the new visual identity, TV campaign, an integrated cross-channel media partnership with ESPN, and a local activation for CENTURY 21 System members to engage and connect with their local spheres of influence. The brand’s 30-second TV spot, “Don’t Settle for Average (Unless You’re in the Market for It),” follows a facetious young boy boasting about the characteristics of his home, only for viewers to learn that it’s not in fact his, because his family was never shown the place. The spot positions the CENTURY 21 brand as a solution for the 70 percent of homeowners who settle for the first real estate agent they find, according to NAR research.

That spot, and other digital assets, are airing as part of an integrated media partnership with ESPN that aims to build the association between the CENTURY 21 brand and its relentless pursuit of excellence, while also tapping into the passion that consumers and agents share for sports. As part of the cross-platform partnership, the CENTURY 21 brand will be sponsoring “relentless moments” in sports, creating “live commercials” featuring ESPN fixture Kenny Mayne alongside CENTURY 21 System members, and executing digital content integrations that will be distributed across ESPN social platforms.

“Sports are a passion point for about 90 million Americans, most of whom sit in the prime home-buying segment—the 25-49-year-old range,” adds Whitley. “In addition, ESPN programming, both TV and digital, speaks to the current C21® mindset—being #relentless—and reinforces the brand’s new North Star: to ‘defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary experiences.’”

Icons in sports and now business discuss being obsessed with better, having a #relentless mindset, and earning relevancy in today's digital world. Pictured L to R: Charles Woodson and new C21® Chief Growth Officer Mike Miedler; Danica Patrick

Icons in sports and now business discuss being obsessed with better, having a #relentless mindset, and earning relevancy in today’s digital world. Pictured L to R: Charles Woodson and new C21® Chief Growth Officer Mike Miedler; Danica Patrick

In addition to the ESPN partnership, Whitley explains that the campaign will also have a digital schedule to include channels like Hulu, Fox, Fox Sports, ABC and CBS.

“To become real estate’s first challenger brand, and break away from the ‘sea of sameness’ that exists in the industry, we have set out with this rebranding campaign to inspire people to expect and demand more from their real estate agent and company of choice during the entire transaction process, influence how they behave to better serve their individual interests, and compel them to act alongside a C21® agent,” says Whitley. “We know that consumers interact with other consumers before they speak to and engage with brands, so reaching them with a comprehensive campaign featuring digital and mobile content to tap into their experiences makes it that much easier for them to share our ‘why’ with others.”

At the One21 Experience, Whitley ended her 20-minute presentation with a most apropos quote from Reed Hastings, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Netflix: “Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.”

The CENTURY 21 brand is moving fast, and with its bold new mission, #relentlessmoves campaign and an unparalleled legacy and brand awareness as its foundation, it’s controlling the conversation about what it means to be a traditional real estate brokerage with an agent-centric model and mobile-first focus on consumer expectations. And, as Whitley notes with enthusiasm, “We’re just getting started on this journey to provide thought leadership to consumers and make the bold moves we need to make to enhance their personal lives and lead them to the best possible real estate decisions.”

The culture at C21® is giving back, and 39 years and $  120M later, the brand continues to help millions of families and individuals via its partnership with Easterseals. Pictured: Bailey and Cody Slusher, Easterseals client and proud Sylvester (GA) firefighter who is working toward his fire science degree at Albany Tech College.

The culture at C21® is giving back, and 39 years and $ 120M later, the brand continues to help millions of families and individuals via its partnership with Easterseals. Pictured: Bailey and Cody Slusher, Easterseals client and proud Sylvester (GA) firefighter who is working toward his fire science degree at Albany Tech College.

As one of the original franchise pioneers, CENTURY 21 has taken great pride in being the most recognized brand in real estate globally for nearly two straight decades.

Now, the brand, and its relentless brokers and agents, are positioned to take on the 21st century defying mediocrity and delivering extraordinary experiences to consumers.

Media Highlights
“The Century 21 rebrand is a winner. There was a job to be done—bringing the visual identity of this brand four decades forward—and it was done well. There are lots of ‘but…’ points to be made, but they’re obvious. The job was done well.” – Brian Boero, 1000watt.net

“The new brand launch shows Century 21’s inclination to make its design and brand a bigger, and more interesting, part of their efforts. This is a terrific redesign that brings Century 21 into, you know, the 21st century, and elevates the status of the brand to a more upscale, more in-tune-with-the-times position.” – Armin Vit, UnderConsideration.com

“Century 21 has a new look for the 21st century.” – Adrianne Pasquarelli, AdAge.com

“I love Century 21’s new look. They put together a site that shows the new branding in different scenarios. It’s simple, sleek and modern. Their marketing team, led by CMO Cara Whitley, really knocked it out of the park.” – Greg Robertson, VendorAlley.com

For more information, please visit www.century21.com.

Tepping_Paige_color_60x60Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at paige@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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State of the Nation’s Housing: Affordability Puts Pressure on Progress

Jun 19, 2017 by

Housing has largely bounced back from the crash, with several key gauges again at healthy, pre-collapse levels, according to the newly released State of the Nation’s Housing report, published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. A definitive recovery in home prices, growth in home-building and unbridled demand are strengthening the market, the report reveals, but affordability is putting pressure on progress, especially for low- and middle-income households:

By many metrics, the housing market has overcome the worst effects of the housing bust. Nominal house prices have regained previous peaks, construction volumes are nearing their long-term averages, and household growth is becoming more balanced between the owner and renter markets.
– “State of the Nation’s Housing 2017,” Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University

Home prices nationally appreciated 5.6 percent in 2016, resurrecting equity buried in the recession, the report shows—but, when adjusted for inflation, most homeowners have not yet fully realized wealth that was lost. Prices rose in 97 of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan markets, but prices in 32 of those markets have not beaten their prior peaks. Prices in areas on the East and West Coasts have made substantial strides, while prices in portions of the Midwest and South have fallen behind, contributing to an affordability divide—prices in the 10 metropolitan markets with the most appreciation, in fact, average $ 575,000, more than four times the average in the 10 markets with the least appreciation.

Home-building, at the same time, netted 1.17 million units—up from 2015, but still down compared to activity in the 1980s and ’90s. The building of single-family homes expanded by 9.4 percent, but the building of smaller single-family homes and townhouses, which are in severely short supply, fell—a trend that has persisted for the past decade. Building continues to be tamped down by regulatory burdens, scarce labor and shrinking available acreage.

“While the recovery in home prices reflects a welcome pick-up in demand, it is also being driven by very tight supply,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Any excess housing that may have been built during the boom years has been absorbed, and a stronger supply response is going to be needed to keep pace with demand—particularly for moderately-priced homes.”

Though fewer households are cost-burdened—or spending over 30 percent of their income on housing—many are still struggling, particularly renters, according to the report. Over the last five years, the share of cost-burdened owner households has seen a sharper decline than the share of cost-burdened renter households: 6.5 percent versus 1.9 percent.

“The problem is most acute for renters,” Herbert says. “More than 11 million renter households paid more than half of their incomes for housing in 2015, leaving little room to pay for life’s other necessities.”

There is a brighter outlook for the homeownership rate, which could rebound if household formation pans out as predicted, the report reveals. Low-income, minority and renter households are expected to considerably contribute to growth, with affordability playing a major role, specifically, in renters making the transition to homeownership. Forty-five percent of renters can afford the costs for a median-priced home in their area, the report shows—in line with similar findings from a recent analysis that demonstrate renters can afford more than a median-priced home.

“Although the homeownership rate did edge down again in 2016, the decline was the smallest in years,” says Daniel McCue, senior research associate at the Joint Center. “We may be finding the bottom.”

Owner household formation is projected to increase 8.9 million between 2015 and 2025, according to the report, while renter household formation is projected to increase 4.7 million. The report anticipates minorities will comprise the majority of growth in both owner and renter household formation, with Hispanics encompassing a significant share—an estimate potentially stunted, however, by future policy pertaining to immigration, as well as limited mortgage credit accessibility.

Another factor influencing household formation involves generational shifts. The report projects baby boomer households to increase 11.3 million between 2015 and 2025, and millennial households to increase 2.6 million.

The report’s researchers call for the cooperation of government at all levels to ensure homeownership is universally attainable.

State and local government have a central role to play in defining specific community needs, crafting policies, and marshaling resources to support housing solutions,” the report states, “but only the federal government can provide funding at the scale necessary to make meaningful progress to the nation’s stated goal of a decent home in a suitable living environment for all.
– “State of the Nation’s Housing 2017,” Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University

“Meeting this growing and diverse [housing] demand,” McCue says, “will require concerted efforts by the public, private and nonprofit sectors to explain the range of housing options available.”

Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Keeping It Personal: Tom Salomone Puts the Power of Relationship Front and Center

Nov 16, 2015 by

Tom Salomone has seen a lot in his 40-plus years in the real estate industry…lots of markets, lots of trends, lots of regulations. But the one factor that has remained constant throughout is the power of the relationship. Already off to a productive start, Salomone is committed to affecting positive change during his 2016 term […]
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Griffith, Banderas Divorce Puts 1925 LA Estate on Market

Apr 28, 2015 by

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ZillowThe 15,000-square-foot Italian Revival home features seven bedrooms and classic old-world styling on 1.5 acres.

By Melissa Allison

Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, who announced last year that they were getting divorced, have listed their longtime Los Angeles home.

Griffith-Banderas Divorce
Charles Sykes/Invision/APGriffith and Banderas in 2013

The home is listed for $ 16.1 million and sits on 1.5 acres, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

The centerpiece of the property is a 15,110-square-foot Italian Revival-style home at the end of a long, stone driveway. Built in1925, its grand scale includes a two-story kitchen, a two-story banquet hall, a formal dining room with coffered ceilings, a recording studio and stone fireplaces.

The listing agent is Brett Lawyer of Hilton & Hyland.

 

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Jenny Lopez Puts Hidden Hills Home on the Block

Feb 2, 2015 by

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ZillowJennifer Lopez’s Hidden Hills estate has nine bedrooms, 13 baths and 17,129 square feet on more than three acres.

Jenny is moving to a different block. Jennifer Lopez has listed her sprawling California estate in Hidden Hills for $ 17 million, our pals at Variety report.

Jennifer Lopez at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Associated PressJennifer Lopez in New York in early 2015.

Lopez bought the house in 2010 for $ 8.2 million with then-husband Marc Anthony. Anthony, by the way, is selling homes in New York and California.

But back to the Left Coast, where Lopez is quietly looking for a buyer for her estate’s three-plus acres and mansion measuring an impressive 17,129 square feet and featuring nine bedrooms and 13 baths.

Casa De Lopez (our name, not hers), also features:

  • Master suite that encompasses the entire south wing of an upper floor.
  • Beauty suite with massage area and cosmetology salon.
  • Entertainment pavilion with 1,000 square-foot saloon lounge.
  • Dance studio/gym.
  • Recording studio with sound-proofed sound booth.

The estate is in horsey Hidden Hills, also home to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Jessica Simpson and Colbie Caillat.

Real estate-wise, Lopez has been a busy little superstar in recent years, buying property in the Hamptons community of Water Mill and a 6,000-plus square-foot penthouse in Manhattan, which she reportedly scooped up for more than $ 20 million.

 

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