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Typically, a brand reflects on its journey during traditional milestones such as five or 10 years. But, in the real estate industry, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has been known for challenging tradition. In July, we celebrated our sixth anniversary—known as our “candy anniversary” per Hallmark—and things have never been sweeter. So as we find ourselves in a prime position to take on the future, it’s important to share what we’ve learned on our amazing adventure thus far.

Entrepreneurialism Is Vital in the Face of Adversity
When I was given the opportunity to lead Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, I knew this was an incredible opportunity. Quickly, it became time to think about what was next. We were in a recession, we had no affiliated brokers and needed to create a unique value proposition that allowed our brand to stand out in a crowded industry. If we had launched the brand in the prime years of real estate, would we have challenged so many norms? Would we have taken so many risks? I’m grateful our brand came about when it did, as I believe people do their best under the most challenging situations.

Ground Yourself in Core Values
The first thing we did as a brand was develop core values—Passion, Authenticity, Innovation, Growth and Excellence—known as P. A. I.G.E. We work to exceed the expectations of our stakeholders, never accept the status quo if there is a better approach, and pride ourselves in being transparent in who we are and what we stand for. Our core values guide everything: our priorities, partnerships and perspectives.

Strive to Make Everyone Better, Even Your Competitors
Consumers have changed in their perceptions and the way they access real estate data. Never before have we had such a diverse population of buyers and sellers. There are three strong generations in the real estate pool: baby boomers, Generation X and millennials. All are unique in regard to wants and needs, but similar in their desire to have an exceptional real estate experience. We’ve made a commitment to understand all we can about today’s and tomorrow’s consumer. We invest in this knowledge and share our unique insights to help everyone serve their markets better. We also established the Beta Brokerage Project that shares case studies of entrepreneurial brokerages that are taking innovative approaches to business and are willing to share best practices with the industry. This idea-sharing mentality is the premise of our brand’s approach. Pushing the industry forward pushes all of us forward.

Embrace the Future, but Respect the Past
We took a risk—calculated in nature—when launching our brand six years ago via social media. Now, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have become critical social and networking channels, and viable, high ROI development channels. No matter how fast technology evolves, I look at it as an enabler and fuel of business, not a substitute for service. Remember that above all else: We are in the people business.

Never Stand Still
I made a commitment to myself, my team and our affiliated brokers and agents that every day in this role, I would strive to challenge myself. When you serve many stakeholders, never be comfortable with the status quo, no matter how effective or strong your offering or value proposition. You can always do better.

Here’s to an amazing future and an exciting road ahead. Thank you to everyone who works each day to make this an industry I’m proud to be a part of.

Sherry Chris is president and CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. For more information, visit