NAR Welcomes Marketing Innovator Omar Johnson to Help Realtors® Advance Homeownership Among Millennial and Gen-Z Buyers

SAN DIEGO (November 12, 2021) – Friday, at the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego, California, the National Association of Realtors® welcomed marketing innovator Omar Johnson, founder of ØPUS United and former chief marketing officer of Beats by Dre, to equip Realtors® to engage with multigenerational buyers and sellers, primarily millennials and Gen-Z.

The forum, titled "Minding the Gap: Understanding Untapped Markets and Opportunities by Engaging with Millennial and Gen-Z Buyers Through Technology and Innovation to Advance Homeownership," was hosted by Regulatory Issues Forum Chair Iona Harrison and Vice Chair Judy Covington at the San Diego Convention Center.

According to the 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers released this week by the National Association of Realtors®, the typical first-time buyer is 33 years old. The average age of a Realtor® is 54.

Rather than focusing on age differences, Johnson encouraged the audience to "leverage the delta in generations to show what you can deliver in the process." He reinforced the vital role of Realtors® as educators and trusted advocates for their clients.

NAR research bears this out, with 88% of all buyers citing a real estate agent as an information source they used during their home search. That share rises to 91% among younger millennial buyers ages 22 to 30.

Johnson cited many top values of millennials and Gen-Z clients, including authenticity, and the importance of listening to their priorities. "If you try to rationalize [younger people's] behavior verses yours, you're stuck. If you start listening to what they value and care about, you start to understand and identify opportunities to sell your product."

Johnson also acknowledged the need to "pivot and find the opportunity" when connecting with the next generation, especially in the face of regulatory obstacles. "You've got to find new ways to do it." Johnson shared innovative ways Beats by Dre has connected with young audiences through emotion and inspiration.

"It's not just who you are. Remember why you are," Johnson said. "Go back to the things you provide a customer – education, trust, conflict resolution, creativity.

"It's not just a transaction. You are creating a chapter in a person's life."

Throughout his career, Johnson has led all facets of marketing ranging from brand development and positioning to advertising and global digital marketing. Under Johnson's tenure, Beats by Dre grew from $20 million to a $2.0 billion dollar category leader, becoming the number-one premium headphone in over 25 countries and leading to the subsequent purchase by Apple for $3 billion. After serving as Vice President of Marketing at Apple, Johnson founded ØPUS United, a modern brand management company comprised of a multi-disciplined collective of award-winning executives, athletes, and strategists.

The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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