Real Estate Trends March 22, 2019

New Windermere campaign highlights agents who go the extra mile — sometimes literally


Seattle-based brokerage Windermere Real Estate has launched a new marketing campaign highlighting not its considerable technology chops, but its agents’ willingness to go above and beyond for their clients.

The campaign follows the company’s $10 million rebranding effort last year, in which Windermere unveiled a new logo, and a celebration earlier this month in which the company marked its 30-year anniversary and a $38 million funding milestone for its nonprofit Windermere Foundation. Windermere has more than 300 offices and 6,500 agents in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Mexico.

“We’re lucky to have a brand with such a rich legacy, but we have to continue to innovate and press forward,” said OB Jacobi, Windermere’s president, in a statement.

“The brand refresh that we did last year was part one of Windermere’s brand story; part two is about bringing our stories to life and showing our clients how we’re ‘all in’ for them.” 

The new campaign’s tagline is “All in, for you” and features the real life stories of Windermere agents who have gone the extra mile. The campaign includes TV, print, digital marketing, outdoor ads and partnerships with media companies. TV ads begin airing in the Seattle market today.

One of the ads highlights an agent who stepped in to repair a deck the seller had power-washed and half-ruined the day before the listing was to go on the market.

The ad is not meant to imply that all Windermere agents can or should take on the task of fixing a deck, but rather that Windermere agents will do what needs to be done, according to Shelley Rossi, Windermere’s vice president of communications.
“I don’t believe [the agent] was a general contractor. I think he just stepped in because he knew it had to get done. He obviously had some handyman qualities,” Rossi told Inman in a phone interview.

“In this instance the agent felt qualified to fix the deck,” she added. “I’m sure another agent in another situation who didn’t feel qualified would [hire someone].”

Rossi compared it to a situation where an agent might notice that a listing’s light bulbs had gone out. Some agents would then contact their seller to let them know, but “our idea is that our agents wouldn’t even contact their clients — they would just change the light bulb. They would go the extra effort that we would like to think all agents do, but unfortunately they don’t,” Rossi said.

“The hope is that [the marketing campaign] illustrates that super high commitment to service,” she added.
Another ad features an agent who trekked into the wilderness to present seller clients with two offers. The listing was a home that was right next to the zoo, which was apparently a drawback, because the listing hadn’t gotten any offers in weeks. The sellers decided to go on a camping trip in a remote part of the Cascade Mountains near the Canadian border where there’s no WiFi or cell phone reception, Rossi said. Of course, that’s when the two offers came in.

The agent drove up to the mountains and contacted a park ranger, who was unwilling to help the agent locate his clients. The agent rented a boat and went from campsite to campsite until he found the sellers.
“They couldn’t believe their eyes,” Rossi said.

He presented both offers and they picked one. “As unbelievable as it might seem, it did actually happen,” Rossi said. “Our agents will go to any extent to service their clients.”

The ad features a female agent rather than a male one “because the ‘deck ad’ featured a male and we felt like we needed to balance it out with a woman in the second ad,” she later told Inman in an email.

That case illustrated the limits of technology. Electronic transaction management and e-signature tools aren’t much use without the internet.
“While some real estate companies are telling what is essentially a technology story about ones and zeroes, our story is more about connecting humans with their dreams. And it’s a story we can’t wait to tell,” said Julie Dey, Windermere’s vice president of marketing, in a statement.

Dey led the development of the new campaign along with Portland, Oregon-based global design firm, Ziba Design, which also counts Apple, Coca Cola, FedEx, Ford, Microsoft, General Electric and Sony among its clients.
“In an era of technology and convenience, we wanted to show the public the real value of working with a Windermere agent — one that shows how compassion, expertise, advocacy and an over-commitment to service can help people through an incredibly important moment in their lives,” said Rob Wees, Ziba’s creative director, in a statement.

The campaign’s development was a year-long process that involved interviews and focus groups with Windermere agents, franchise owners, staff and buyer and seller clients.

“We needed to speak directly with consumers to understand what people want, where real estate is headed, and the differentiated value that Windermere agents provide,” Wees said. “Real estate is an infrequent, emotional and complicated process. And every experience is so different.”