Brand matters in agency. A potent brand drives consideration and thus leads; it helps substantiate higher prices or fees as we call them; it acts as a halo during and after the valuation; it helps attract and retain better staff. As the saying goes, ‘the customer buys the person and they buy the brand.’
Given that you know all this and that agents are not exactly shy, why are so few residential agency brands differentiated? To take this further, why is only one brand in the UK truly differentiated?
Mainly as it is difficult. It takes blood, sweat and ideas to differentiate a service brand. Most estate and letting agents surrender to the wind-tunnel of perceived customer preferences and end up reinforcing industry norms. They look the same, act the same, have the same window displays, marketing tactics, cars, property particulars, vocabulary and clothes.
One brand took the path less travelled. It was/is unique, infamous and the subject of envy and no little schadenfreude at times. It spent money on its offices like no other agent; the Millwall positioning (‘Nobody likes us we don’t care’) was like no other agent; it did hard sales harder than any other agent. It. Stood. Out. Yes, we are talking about Foxtons. The brand promise ‘we go to war for our clients’ reminds me of Michael Jordan talking about his aggressive agent, David Falk: “Yes, David is a pain in the ass, but he’s my pain in the ass.”