What’s in a Name?

The Georgia Association of REALTORS® is now known as Georgia REALTORS® after removing “association” from its brand earlier this year.

“We felt that ‘Georgia Association of REALTORS®’ was a ‘thing’ and that ‘Georgia REALTORS®’ are people,” explains Brandie Miner, the association’s communications director. “It’s just a different direction in how we wanted to present ourselves.”

The move is not uncommon and, in fact, is gaining popularity. Both the Washington and Wisconsin associations of REALTORS® have a similar DBA, in part to avoid the awkward acronym WAR. “It took a couple of years to get everyone on board with the change, but now if someone calls us ‘WAR’ in a meeting, members will correct the speaker,” says Stephen Klaniecki, Washington’s communications and marketing director. The acronym SCAR also prompted the South Carolina Association of REALTORS® to adopt South Carolina REALTORS® as its DBA in 2008.

Earlier this year, the Mississippi Association of REALTORS® embarked on a multi-year rebranding plan that began with a new name (DBA), logo, and tagline: Mississippi REALTORS®: “Property Professionals—Community Champions.” The new brand focuses on professionalism and community and political advocacy, the association says.

The Columbus Board of REALTORS®, Ohio, rebranded itself this year as the Columbus REALTORS®, which will also be the name of its redesigned publication and Web site. “We know our members, and the public, will shorten Columbus Board of REALTORS® and we didn’t want to brand an acronym,” says Marque Bressler, the association’s communications director. “Many already refer to us as Columbus REALTORS®.” The daunting task ahead, Bressler notes, is to change the name on all association materials and services.

What is a DBA?

Any association of REALTORS® can change its name or establish a DBA if approved by the National Association of REALTORS®’ policy committee (according to the renaming guidelines) and properly registered with its secretary of state office.

Although the Washington REALTORS® rebranded eight years ago, they are still the Washington Association of REALTORS® as far as the National Association is concerned and on legal documents, says Klaniecki.

These new brand names are part of a repositioning trend to move associations away from being perceived as the governing body that provides services to REALTORS®. The goal is to become the group of professionals that represents the interests of REALTORS® and home owners in the community and in politics.