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Can a branding shift help a real estate firm during a downturn?

The mood was nearly evenly split in his week’s QUICK POLL, with 47% of respondents answering “Yes” to the question and 53% responding with “No.” Tom Worth, managing partner of Coldwell Banker Commercial Almar Group puts himself squarely in line with the Yeses. Worth’s Carlsbad, CA-based operation recently teamed with ONCOR International LLC to become its newest member office, serving the San Diego and Southwest Riverside areas.

We actually made the decision to have not only the Coldwell Banker brand but also the ONCOR International brand to expand our network that we have out there to try and work with other companies and trade business. From our view, the idea of trying to expand our branding in a down market is “Hey, we’re trying to deals in anyway we can.”

Going into the market we made some shifts in trying to define what our brand was really about. We had Coldwell Banker Commercial as a national brand, but we asked ourselves, “How are we known as a local company?” which is almost a sub-brand.? This process started 18 months ago, and the ONCOR is the next step.

The first step was really to identify our internal values. How do we make deals? How have we been successful in the past. We came up with the fact that most of our deals are absolutely relationship oriented. And branding is about building relationships.

When you’re in a down market is the time to consider branding. When you’re in a hot market, so many times your just taking orders, you just fitting deals together, but you don’t get to cerebral about this stuff. When you’re down you need to be extremely focused on the message you’re giving to your client. You don’t win business in this industry by a huge margin, you get it by a hair. Whatever your message is, it becomes even more important to get it out there. It may be that little 1% that gets you the business over someone else.

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