I can’t tell you the number of times I have asked an agent what MLS they belong to and they tell me “Paragon”, or “Rapattoni” or “Matrix”. They don’t even know the name of the MLS organization they belong to. How can you build value in your brand if your customers literally do not know even know your name?
Some of the best organizations like TheMLS/CLAW have taken the time to create a naming convention. First of all, check out this amazing list of products and services they offer to their members. Pretty impressive. Next I would like to draw your eye to the names of the products they offer. While not every product they offer has been re-branded, a large percentage of them have.
So what can consistent branding do for you?
First, it reminds your customers of the breadth of services you offer. It’s much easier for them to remember THEMLS Mobile App and THEMLS Document Manager, than it is the individual names like most MLSs offer. Every time they use a product, they remember that it is coming from their MLS organization. This helps reinforce the value that you deliver to them every time they use one of your products.
Second, it helps them understand that their MLS organization offers them a lot more than an MLS system. Many MLSs offer a suite of products that the bulk of their members are not even aware they offer! We just completed a customer satisfaction survey for one of our clients. One, by the way, that has a highly skilled marketing team. Even with a variety of communication tools in place and regular outbound communications 2/3 of their customer were not even aware of many of their products. Using a consistent name can help them associate every product you offer with your brand.
Third, it puts an ownness on the MLS organization ONLY to offer products that the company is WILLING to put their name on. It gives each MLS an additional method to evaluate the relevance and value of a solution before offering it to their members. If an MLS is NOT willing to put their name on it, then they probably should not offer it to their members at all.
Finally, on a practical note, it makes it much easier to roll-out and promote new products. Your marketing team builds one look and feel and then every communication can leverage the same template.
As the fellow SVP of Marketing at Fisher-Price, one of the top ten most trusted brands in the world, I would highly recommend that every MLS in the country contemplate what I’m suggesting here. MLSs often talk about the outside competition that is entering the marketplace. I can confidently tell you that every one of those organizations is paying a LOT of attention to their brands. They have brand police out in force in each of those companies ensuring a consistent brand experience for every one of their customers. No reason professional MLS organizations shouldn’t do the same.
I welcome your comments and input on this suggestion. Feel free to email me at Marilyn@wavgroup.com or leave a comment on our blog.