Thursday, May 27, 2010

Branding Private Sale

Prior to last Wednesday, the name Steve Ladurantaye meant nothing to 99, 000 realtors across Canada.

But, that has changed since his revealing article appeared on the front page of the May 19,2010 Report on Business in the Globe and Mail.

What Ladurantaye has written is sending shock waves through an $8 Billion dollar industry, slowly losing its stranglehold over consumers anxious to avoid the high cost of using an agent. The market is speaking and the media is listening.

By the same token, the Ladurantaye piece has reaffirmed the vision a New Brunswick-based company had as far back as 1998 with respect to the future of real estate in Canada. That's when university students Ken LeBlanc and Jeremy Demont - starting with a big idea and less than 100 bucks - recognized the opportunity to franchise an entirely new industry and subsequently brand it in such a way that it would stand out. 110 franchises later, last week's Globe and Mail article is only fuelling more private sale fire as more and more media outlets pick up on some of the juicier elements of Ladurantaye's article.

This type of national coverage demonstrates the value of building a credible and recognizable brand the way has done for the past decade or so. Despite limited resources in their early years, has always found a way to share its story, but that has intensified since a massive re-branding initiative in 2008 that resulted in coverage such as this.

Branding is a discipline. Not a spending strategy.

And the discipline has paid off for with the first quarter of 2010 showing a 40% increase in system-wide listings from the previous year as operators such as Katherine Benoit (pictured above) enjoy being on the front end of this wave. Home Office has also seen a major spike in the demand for the shrinking number of available franchise locations left in Canada.

What about your business and the way it approaches branding? Has your brand earned the right to be talked about and written about by some of the country's most influential thinkers? Is it truly worthy of the attention you seek?

Do you see branding as a way to purchase consumer attention or earn it?

"When you confer a benefit on those worthy of it, you confer a favor on all"

P.S ... Never reluctant to share his thoughts on the future of private sale, here is co-founder and CEO Ken LeBlanc, up close and personal

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