Thursday, June 5, 2008

Two old dudes and a magazine.

What do a hip, techy business magazine like Fast Company and a 100 year old bastion of the real estate industry like Coldwell Banker have in common? Innovation, a bit of cheeky humor, and my attention.

I began recieving Fast Company this past fall as part of a gift package for being selected to the 40 under 40 by Traverse Business News. Since then I've found myself looking forward to each issue. I don't know if the other winners enjoy it as much as I do, but it's my new favorite mag, and gets read from cover to cover (something I can't say for Rolling Stone.) If I can ever find the time, I'll be delving deeper into their website.

Why Coldwell Banker? Well, of course I work for Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, one of their larger brokers. But what has my attention is their new "Founders" marketing campaign. The ads are entertaining while driving their message to the customer, but the best part is not the ads. It's the website. At the dedicated site you can challenge a smack talking Colbert Coldwell (well, his portait anyhow) to a game of Pong, have a staring contest with Arthur Banker, and follow the portraits on their road trip. Yes, the portraits actually have been out traveling the country, including visits to the Boston Marathon and the Liberty Bell, and they are blogging about it.

What's this got to do with real estate? Nothing and everything. Sure, you can learn the history of Coldwell Banker on the site, and link through to search listings, but what it's all about is relationships. This campaign makes a big national company personal and approachable, and drives our name recognition. Did I mention that the portraits of Colbert Coldwell and Arthur Banker are on facebook? It's a great example of using technology not to get more work done or to advertise a product, but to focus on the basics of this business. And that is that real estate is about building relationships.

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