Century 21 Canada redefines its brand
Century 21 Canada has unveiled a new branding direction as part of a multi-year online marketing strategy that it says has seen the number of visits to Century21.ca rise by nearly ten-fold since late 2007.
“The goal behind our new tagline, Connected to More, is to communicate to home buyers how Century 21 has evolved as a brand,” says company president Don Lawby. “It also represents our vision for how we want consumers, potential sales representatives and franchisees to relate to the Century 21 brand in the future.”
It is one of the most recognized real estate brands in the world, largely because of television advertising campaigns that began in the 1970s. The ‘gold jacket’ era still resonates with Canadians who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, the company says in a news release, “but for young sales representatives working for the Century 21 brand today, the gold jacket is a distant memory.”
The company stopped its television advertising in 2007 and turned its focus to online marketing. Prior to the redesign of Century21.ca in November 2007, the site had 92,000 visits per month – in February 2010, that number surpassed 800,000 and could top one million before the end of 2010, the company says.
The new branding direction began with the 2007 website launch. The franchise organization developed its online marketing strategy with the help of WhereToLive.com – a Minnesota-based web development firm that specializes in search engine optimization for real estate companies. Ed Kohler, WhereToLive’s director of strategic Internet marketing and development, says, “The real estate industry is interesting for online marketing because the web is highly utilized by consumers seeking information about properties for sale, agents and neighbourhood information. However, the vast majority of the business of real estate continues to happen offline through phone calls and face to face meetings. Creating a successful website involves building trust that leads to offline conversations.”
Century 21 Canada continues to stress to its franchisees the importance of a strong web presence. It provides all sales representatives with branded websites loaded with blog capability, Google Street View and video embedment technology to help them take advantage of social networking opportunities and emerging share sites.
“I often hear business leaders question whether there is any ROI from social media,” says Lawby. “I can show you Century 21 sales representatives who will argue that their success has a lot to do with two-way communications online that aren’t always about real estate. It’s an important part of building their brands and reputations.”
The Connected to More campaign was developed in partnership with Faulkner Brand, a Vancouver-based company specializing in brand strategy and design. Century 21 Canada has adapted the tagline for the French and Chinese languages. It launched a Chinese language site earlier this year. Century21.ca is currently the only nationally branded real estate website in Canada that is trilingual.
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