8Are Agent Ratings Driving Business? Page 57
Small Steps to Big Goals
aught up in the festivities and good will of the
holiday season, it’s easy
to make big promises about
the year ahead. However, by the
time January 2 rolls around, our
convictions and commitments for
a new and improved year often start waning. Why?
Because more often than not, the lofty goals we set
for ourselves in the heat of the moment can often
seem crushing once the fast pace of the January
grind sets in. Better to cut our losses and start
muddling through as usual…right?
Wrong. While the goals you mapped out for 2014 may
now seem larger than life, there are small steps you can
take immediately that won’t overwhelm you, but that will
put you on the path to more business. Our January issue is flled with doable ideas for shaking things up this
year. Some highlights:
CENTURY 21 & USA Bobsl
8On page 16, REBAC’s Marc Gould discusses the
importance of giving buyers what they really need in the
new year, from effective online marketing strategies to
knowledgeable real estate guidance. Make sure you’re
in sync with what matters most to your clients in 2014.
8On page 26, fnd out how to map out a game-plan
for working with millennials this year. Better Homes and
Gardens Real Estate President & CEO Sherry Chris calls
them “generation next” and has specifc—and painless—
suggestions for modifying your business strategies to
make sure you’re reaching these up-and-coming buyers.
8On page 35, RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly shares the
key client groups that will be largely responsible for
increasing your transactions in 2014. Targeting these
groups can make the difference between a fat year and
an improved year.
8If you’re looking for inspiration from industry icons to
get you pumped for the year, don’t miss our interviews
with real estate legend, Barbara Corcoran (page 28),
and CENTURY 21’s Rick Davidson and Bev Thorne
(page 72), who detail the frm’s forward-focused
approach to marketing, branding and technology.
Remember, changes in the new year don’t have to be
big to be valuable. Simple adjustments to strategies
and mindsets can be all it takes to reach new levels of
success. Here’s to a great 2014!
John E. Featherston
CEO & Publisher
led Go for Gold
in this issue
Upping the Game
Realty ONE Group looks back on
a year of extraordinary success,
plans for a bigger and better 2014
People Who Need People:
Customer Service Insights
New Year, New You?
Women Professionals Share How
to Turn Change into Opportunity
Like ’Em or Not, Online Agent
Ratings Drive Business
January 2014 $6.95
8Are Agent Ratings Driving Business? Page 57
January 2014 $6.95
CENTURY 21 & USA Bobsled Go for Gold
CENTURY 21 & USA Bobsled Go for Gold
by Maria Patterson
The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation team with Century 21
Real Estate LLC President & CEO Rick Davidson
72 January 2014 RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE
n 2012, the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real
estate organization set out on a course to “go for the gold” to
help the maximum number of consumers in their online real
estate search and sales efforts. The prize for the CENTURY
21® System was establishing a best-in-class real estate search
experience. At about that same time, the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton
Federation (USBSF) team, with one of the most dynamic rosters in
history, was winning races at World Cup events around the globe and
thinking “gold” for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Today, due in large part to a shared focus on quality and excellence,
and the desire to be the very best, both Century 21 Real Estate LLC
and the USBSF are right where they want to be: in a leadership
position and built to claim “gold” in the years to follow.
laser-like focus on the
customers we serve
every day means that,
together, we are all
going for the gold!
And it’s clear that the
industry has taken
– Rick Davidson, President and CEO,
Century 21 Real Estate LLC
We sat down with two members of the C21® senior leadership
team—Rick Davidson, president and CEO, and Bev Thorne, chief
marketing offcer—to learn more about where the company’s drive
for “gold” began, where the franchisor is today on a global scale, and
what CENTURY 21 hopes to accomplish in the future.
Maria Patterson: Let’s look at
where you’ve been over the years…
and let’s start at the beginning. When
did this push for “gold” begin?
Rick Davidson: As you may know,
“Gold” has been a part of our heritage since the business began
in 1971. In the industry, and with
consumers worldwide, it stands for
professionalism, dependability, and
exemplary customer service. It represents “The Gold Standard.” This
global recognition and strong association with gold is unmistakable,
especially matched with the locally
established reputations of entrepreneurs around the world. We have the
legacy and the foundation from our
very inception, but we have acceler-
ated our fervor for gold standard performance since early 2010. That’s
when I put the stake in the ground
to become the global leader in real
estate transactions. Our System’s
commitment and laser-like focus on
the customers we serve every day
means that, together, we are all going for the gold! And it’s clear that
the industry has taken notice. At the
National Association of REALTORS®
Conference & Expo in San Francisco,
for example, brokers and agents
came to our heavily-traffcked exhibit
booth (where we had our branded
Indy car and USA Bobsled). The
feedback that we got there and at
our third annual “tailgate” party was
MP: Bev, from your perspective,
when did the push for “gold” begin?
Bev Thorne: There was a marked
shift that began with the celebration
of our 40th anniversary in 2011. At
that time, we unveiled our “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.® campaign.
The campaign was unique to us
and to the industry at large, and remains so today. The strength of the
“SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.” campaign is in its drive to showcase the
capabilities of our sales professionals in front of the largest audiences,
in association with momentous and
iconic events, such as the Super
Bowl, the Summer Olympics, U.S.
Soccer, and the Indianapolis 500.
Most recently, we became the offcial
real estate company of the USBSF
team and we will be advertising during the upcoming Winter Olympics
in Sochi, Russia in February. The
CENTURY 21-sponsored sled made
its debut wrapped in our signature
gold at our Leadership conference
in Miami this past September, where
the partnership was frst announced.
RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE January 2014 73
Since that time, the C21®sled has been speeding down
frozen paths around the world with stops in Calgary,
Canada; Park City, Utah; Lake Placid, N.Y.; Winterberg,
Germany; St. Moritz, Switzerland; Igls, Austria; and Koenigssee, Germany. While the Bobsled sponsorship helps
our marketing efforts, we are also helping the USBSF
team by raising funds to help defray the costs of being an
Olympic athlete (see sidebar). Highly visible marketing
efforts like these help us to differentiate our agents and
brokers in an extremely competitive real estate market
by showcasing their integrity and authenticity.
MP: You obviously have a visible media plan. Can you
share with us a marketing success in the past year and
how it was achieved?
BT: We are number one! According to comScore, Inc., a
global leader in digital measurement and analytics, century21.com was the “most visited” real estate franchise
organization website from December 2012 through November 2013, a total of 12 straight months. Plus, we offer customer relationship management tools that effectively complete the circle of real estate sales success.
Think about that. That’s what we mean by “SMARTER.
BOLDER. FASTER.” We have taken customer relationships beyond transactions for both our brokers and
agents, and their customers. We deliver more personalized online interactions, with innovative mapping, a taskfriendly mobile app, school searches and other tools that
are “best in class.”
For our agents’ consumers, we offer, at no additional
cost, unique property websites for every property listing.
Every time a new listing appears on century21.com, a
unique URL is generated that features the property’s address like 555anyst.c21.com, showcasing the seller’s
individual property for maximum homebuyer visibility.
Here’s another example: We introduced a new global
property listings website. With property transactions
today occurring from country to country and continent
to continent, we wanted to provide consumers with an
effective means of searching for properties globally. In
doing so, we are now a major presence in the global real
estate online space. Our century21global.com site gives
users access to listings from 24 countries, in 36 currencies and 16 languages. Plus, each country featured on
the site has the option of including localized content for
foreign buyers to assist them in making informed decisions. Consumers can also search for offces, agents,
residential, commercial and land properties. The search
results can be fltered by features like property type, and
numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms, to provide the precise listings that match the user’s needs.
RD: Our biggest success is our global growth. Our growth
74 January 2014 RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE
strategy includes attracting the best and brightest real
estate sales professionals to join the CENTURY 21 family. The results we’ve achieved recently are evidence that
our “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.” campaign is making
signifcant strides around the world. Our brand is coming to New Delhi, India; Tunis, Tunisia; Vienna, Austria;
and the fnancial capital of the world, Manhattan, with
CENTURY 21 Metropolitan, an exciting new franchisee
in the Big Apple, New York City. Not only will you fnd our
brokers and agents in 24/7 cities around the globe, but
they are prominent in secondary and tertiary markets as
well. This growth is affrmation of the positive impact we
are having on our industry and for those who seek the
dream of homeownership.
Our global growth comes at a very interesting infection point in the real estate business. Our franchisees
are strong and they come in all shapes and sizes. They
understand that growth for this generation and generations to come will result from being more connected and
collaborative with all partners in the real estate transaction, from buyers and sellers to lenders and insurers. It
is critical that we continue to attract the best brokers and
agents to our family, leverage our resources to expand
our international footprint and move the company into a
global leadership position.
MP: The challenges and the opportunities of creating a
“connected experience” with real estate consumers are
bigger than ever, in large part because of the digital age.
What are you working on in this space to meet these
RD: There’s no denying that digital media consumption
is exploding. What we have done is cut through the clutter and brought to market technologies that are easier
to learn and directly help to improve the productivity
and proftability of our brokers and agents. For the consumer, we make sure the tools we create are enabled
for smartphone and mobile devices—both phones and
tablets. Today, all generations are media-hungry users,
from tweeting to “snap chats” to text messaging, real
estate consumers of all ages are enthusiastic media
users. Now, agents must not only provide immediate
feedback to consumers, but also deliver access to information on mobile devices, tablets and smartphones.
If not, consumers will tune out, and seek a real estate professional or organization that understands this
Meeting the needs of the mobile consumer is a must.
Time spent on digital media is growing exponentially,
led by gains in smartphone and tablet activity. Our marketing team has been on top of this trend for some
time. In fact, from the day we introduced our unique
property websites, we made certain they would be
optimized for mobile use to help drive website traffc, and we made sure they also included built-in social sharing tools, too, to maximize visibility. In March
2013, we went even further by providing every CENTURY 21 offce with customizable, personalized mobile apps. Each offce, at no additional cost to them,
receives a unique App downloader and text codes.
Consumer downloads are approaching 1 million, and
year to date, they have completed more than 10 million searches on these mobile applications alone.
Our website traffc has increased 53 percent year
over year. Traffc from mobile devices now accounts
for about 33 percent of all century21.com site traffc.
BT: It all boils down to two words: “marketing convergence.” We are balancing traditional and digital-age
strategies, in collaboration with key third-party service
providers, to help us transform the way we connect, engage and deepen our customer relationships, and drive
market differentiation. Marketing convergence, therefore, means that we create messaging not only around
our iconic events and advertising campaigns like our
Indy car, USA Soccer and Bobsled sponsorships, but
we also maximize “real-time” marketing around trends,
holidays, and pop-culture events. This combination of
traditional and digital-age strategies helps to position
our agents as “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.”, and
keeps our brand in front of homebuyers and sellers at
the point of consideration.
Timing is critical and real-time marketing enables us
to stay front-of-mind in the industry and with real estate
consumers. For example, we released our “Tryptophan
Slow Jam” song at Thanksgiving as a download for our
philanthropic partner, Easter Seals. The song is available on iTunes. We also shared a corresponding music video on YouTube and Vimeo. Consumers shared
holiday photos and comments about the song using
the hashtag #Tryptophan as they recovered from their
own turkey-dinner comas. The “Tryptophan Slow Jam”
came on the heels of three other successful real-time
1) Our Facebook post with a message for Prince
William and the Duchess of Cambridge about their
expanding family and their need to upgrade to a bigger
place after the birth of their son;
2) A video we shared across our social media channels
offering the President and Speaker of the House a central location for a freside chat during the government
Help Team USA
Go for the Gold
CENTURY 21 is asking all C21 System members, as
well as other real estate professionals, to help support the USA Bobsled and Skeleton teams as they go
for the gold. Donations will help fund:
- National team travel to competitions
- Training and competition expenses, such as:
coaching fees; apparel; accident insurance;
medical staff; equipment; technology
To donate to Team USA, please visit
3) The C21® Delivery Landing Pad, designed to accomRISMedia’s REAL ESTATE January 2014 75