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Six months after previewing a new logo and identity, Coldwell Banker Real Estate reveals lessons learned from its “transparent rebrand” as it continues to shape the brand’s future.

Six months ago, Coldwell Banker Real Estate previewed a new logo, dubbed the “CB North Star mark,” which symbolized the brand’s position as a guide for clients and a leader in the real estate industry. After an extensive testing and discovery phase, the brand has finalized the new logo and corresponding identity standards, yard signs, marketing materials, office concepts and a full suite of branded apparel.

Rebrands are especially difficult endeavors for franchise organizations, and as such, the Coldwell Banker® brand chose a novel approach to the process. Calling upon the ingenuity that has driven the brand for the past 113 years, Coldwell Banker Real Estate devised the concept of a “transparent rebrand.” The past six months have been filled with testing, iterating and perfecting the new brand identity. Four companies served as beta testers, identifying the best practices and signage design that will guide the global rollout in 2020.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate has now landed on a new look to guide the company into a new era. Based on initial field testing, the new logo was updated to include the “Coldwell Banker” wordmark displayed with the new “CB North Star” icon. The brand also finalized new yard sign designs after real-world implementation in four test markets: Plainfield, Ill., Washington, D.C., Madison, N.J., and Greenville, S.C.

The brand released the “Coldwell Banker Look Book” along with new identity standards and a “Playbook” to guide Coldwell Banker-affiliated companies through their own rebrands. In addition to these assets, the brand will host sessions at its annual Coldwell Banker Leadership Summit, September 12-14, in Chicago to present learnings from the rebranding process in test markets. The brand is also releasing a weekly podcast dubbed “The Road to Rebrand” and a mini documentary titled “Story Behind the Star.”

In their initial planning, brand leaders were very cognizant of the financial and emotional investment involved in a rebrand of this size. The Coldwell Banker brand currently has 3,100 offices and 92,000 affiliated agents. The year 2020 was identified as the company wide rebrand kick-off to allow companies to plan and budget at a steady pace. However, since announcing the new look, many companies are eager to rebrand ahead of the 2020 kick-off, a nod to the success of the transparent strategy.

“For a franchise brand, I believe that a transparent rebrand process is necessary, and this process has been enlightening. Companies that declare a rebrand is happening and don’t leave room to test in real-world scenarios put themselves at a disadvantage,” says David Marine, chief marketing officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “We’ve been able to make adjustments in a number of scenarios where the logo is displayed on signage, marketing materials, and more. We saw what works best and adjusted based on feedback. This learning phase gave us invaluable insight before we roll out the new look across our entire network in 2020.” 

“One of the great things about the process of rebranding has been the response from clients. They shared in our excitement when we switched to the new yard signs. I also had a few clients comment on our remodeled office; some even said the design choices gave them inspiration for their own homes,” says Ellen Williams, agent, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group. “Better yet, our office got more than just new decor; the way our working space is laid out now is more comfortable and welcoming. The space is inspiring; it motivates us; there’s a buzz and energy.”

“Coldwell Banker did a great job engaging affiliated agents during yard sign development and selection. The new designs will really help the brand stand out, which is tough in the sophisticated D.C. market,” says Sherri Anne Green, agent, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “Clients are drawn to the modern logo. The clean fresh look combined with the history and strength of the name Coldwell Banker make for a powerful combination.”

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