In the March/April 2015 edition of Realtor Magazine there was an article by Melissa Dittmann Tracey interviewing Budge Huskey, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
Highlights of the Q&A interview:
Melissa: How does a 108 year old real estate brand in the country stay fresh and relevant in today’s rapidly evolving market?
Budge: The Coldwell Banker brand was started from the ashes of the great San Francisco earthquake that leveled the city in 1906. Like many of today’s great entrepreneurs, a young Colbert Coldwell and later a Benjamin Banker saw opportunity where others couldn’t and founded a real estate company based on the principles of honesty, integrity, and service. When people think about innovation and disruptive technology today, the technology startups of Silicon Valley are often the first thing that come to mind. In many ways, Coldwell Banker is the original Silicon Valley startup. Innovation has been part of the Coldwell Banker DNA for more than 100 years. We were the first real estate brand to launch a website, the first to introduce online property search, and the first to embrace video and mobile technology. We’ve learned that the best way to stay on top of our evolving industry is to stay true to who we are as a brand.
Melissa: What area some of the brand’s more recent innovations?
Budge: We want to put Coldwell Banker agents in the best position to win their “unfair” share of listings with a heavy emphasis on the consumer experience. At the end of last year, we launched a new digital platform, which allows sellers to actively participate in the marketing of their home by allowing them to share personal stories, photos, and videos. And in another industry first, we launched CBx, an iPad storytelling app for our sales associates that uses big data to better engage sellers and allow for a confident discussion about the marketing of their home. CBx prvides dynamic information about a home’s potential buyers, such as where they are moving, the types of media they view, market dynamics, and an optional RPR automated valuation model too. And as we move closer to our goal of delivering a truly integrated technology solution, our associates will benefit from our upcoming rollout of the Zap platform which provides state of the art websites, mobile applications, and a sophisticated CRM with predictive analytics to track and score consumer interest. Our goal is to arm our people with the best tools possible ro win business.
Melissa: What role do sales associates play as their clients share comments on the new digital platform?
Budge: Coldwell Banker sales associates are at the center of the new platform. Their clients want to participate in the process of selling their home, and who better to tell a home’s story than its seller? Through the new digital platform, Coldwell Banker sales associates work directly with sellers to share their stories with potential buyers, putting sales associates in the middle of a more dynamic conversation between buyers, sellers, and sales associates than has been possible in the past. Buyers also benefit from this content and they can set up groups of friends and family within the platform to share in the experience of finding the perfect home.
Melissa: What are some of the benefits these innovations give sales associates?
Budge: The new digital platform and CBx give Coldwell Banker affiliated sales associates unique tools to attract potential home sellers. Both tools amplify the work real estate professionals do every day in learning about homes and telling their stories. CBx aids in creating listing presentations that stand out as listing experiences full of tangible, data-driven information to help plan how a home will be sold.
Melissa: What is Coldwell Banker doing to promote the value of home ownership?
Budge: As a real estate brand, promoting home ownership is at the core of everything we do. As I said before, we are consumer-centric. That is our focus. Our marketing campaigns dive home the fact that there’s more to a home’s value than the dollars and cents that make up its price. The true value of home ownership includes creating a safe and secure place to host yourlife. As a brand, we find ways to connect with consumers that are unique in the industry by bringing to life the feeling everyone experiences when they open the front door and can finally say that they are home.