Spending time at the mother ship of the National Association of REALTORS® on Michigan Avenue in Chicago is always a treat. The opportunity to serve as guest editor for this issue was simply phenomenal. I was able to comment on the strengths, weaknesses, and timeliness of articles as they were being prepared. The best part was applying my perspective as an active broker, owner, and REALTOR® about real-world concerns that might arise from the topics under discussion, including the handling of fair housing complaints, appropriate spending for listing photos, and even the powerfully enduring REALTOR® brand itself, which celebrates its centennial this year.
When we hire new agents at Century 21 Advantage Gold in Philadelphia, we’re emphatic about the value of the REALTOR® brand and how it differentiates our agents and our company from nonmembers. We talk about involvement at the local level, the value that we have found as individuals and as a firm, and how important the trademark can be to their professional development.
Many REALTORS® face criticism, in a sense, for doing their job too well. When we list a property, price it well, and sell it for a great price in a really short period of time, the seller may resent that it happened so smoothly. Smart salespeople know how to address sellers’ concerns that our commission checks roll in too easily. Our trade association is subject to the same type of scrutiny. In person and online, NAR has been knocked for failing to clearly brand the members by differentiating them from nonmembers.
Representing an iconic brand obviously has its challenges, not the least of which is constantly reminding the world of who you are. We have a crucial role in educating the public about the proper use of the trademark in our advertising and marketing materials. And an exciting new NAR initiative will help us do just that. This year, a century after NAR bought the right to the name REALTOR® for a dollar, our association is reintroducing the brand using a digital-first strategy—highlighting the value that REALTORS® bring to the transaction—to a new generation of hyper-connected consumers. Keep in mind that while the platforms and tools being used to spread the word keep evolving, the fundamental truths behind the mark are rooted in our esteemed history. Now more than ever, it’s essential that consumers understand why they need to “Get Realtor®.”