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During real estate conversations taking place at conferences and in boardrooms across America, the topic of brand often takes center stage. How can you build a brand? How do you sustain it? How do you make it grow? While there isn’t one simple answer to any of these questions, there are many different approaches to tackling the challenges and rewards associated with building a brand.

One approach is to simply spend money on media advertising as a way of attracting consumers who will be the source of future business. Although this tactic may be among the easier brand-building options, I don’t believe that consumers today are swayed by this in the long-term.

In my opinion, a real estate brand is at its strongest when it emerges naturally and authentically, grassroots-style. This type of grassroots brand is built from the quality of the brokerages in the network, from the excellence in customer care their agents provide, and, most importantly, from the consumers who are overwhelmingly satisfied with the service they receive. All members of the team—brokers and agents alike—are in complete alignment with their goals and objectives, and consumers are inherently attracted to the consistency and straight-forwardness of a brand built this way.

That’s how I’ve steered our Real Living Real Estate network, with a keen focus on consumer service and creating a real culture. It’s also why the Real Living team invests a tremendous amount of time and resources into the tools, products and systems that our brokers and agents use to build local recognition and distinction in their marketplaces.

Our strategy has resulted in steady progress, and, more recently, nationwide recognition. I’m proud to say Real Living Real Estate was named Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year and Most Loved Real Estate Brand in the 28th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study.

When I first heard the news about the study, I was honored, of course, that our brand and network garnered such prestigious praise. Still, what stood out the most about the achievement was that these top rankings were based purely on the sentiment of consumers. For the study, Harris Poll EquiTrend® asked 97,000 consumers how they felt about a brand’s familiarity, quality and consideration. In other words, the titles of Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year and Most Loved Real Estate Brand didn’t arrive by corporate consensus or from a small committee vote; they came from the people we help buy and sell homes every day: the consumers. And a culture of consumer satisfaction is the surest way to build a successful brand.

Robert McAdams Jr. is president of Real Living Real Estate.

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