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USA Real Estate Blog

Finding champions – 1000watt

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Marc wrote last week why brokerages should consider renovating their company.

An identity overhaul is a daunting prospect. And over the years I have heard many of the reasons why it feels impossible. Investments in building signage. Too many signs in yards across the market. Reams of letterhead sitting forgotten in a corner. New business cards for every agent. The need for a whole new website, and maybe a whole new vendor!

I understand the paralysis that sets in thinking through all of those issues. But it doesn’t need to be that complicated.

Let me share with you the story of how 1000watt helped Bellator Real Estate and Development in Mobile, Ala., redesign and launch their new brand last year.

The brief

Bellator was founded by Nathan Cox, a former University of Alabama football player and ex-Marine. The Bellator brand was built from his DNA – and both the company and its leadership share his passion for community, country, people and their faith.

Under the leadership of President Troy Wilson and COO Geoff Stacey, the company had been growing rapidly around Mobile Bay – from the city to the beaches and other emerging markets – and was a major influence in marketing many of the new developments springing up around the metro area.

But the Bellator brand, while steeped in experience and growth, didn’t reflect this momentum.

This is often a place we find ourselves starting out with clients. How do we move forward?

Discovery

It started with our team flying to Mobile and spending a day and a half with their leadership and their agents. We immediately understood how well respected the brand is in the Mobile area and that this could be the genesis of a new story for them.

We saw how their strength of character, market prowess and commitment to professionalism and personal growth permeated their company culture and the services they offered. We saw how, in many ways, the brand had become a true champion for its agents, their customers and the people of Mobile.

We left inspired and ready to dig into the next phase.

Strategy

We returned to Portland where we sat down to begin building a story and brand foundation around these core truths.

We crafted them a new campaign slogan – “Find your champion” – where we connected people’s desire to have someone on their side during a home purchase or sale to the reality that the Bellator brand was truly the hero in most transactions.

Instead of the typical property-focused marketing and branding that most brokerages do, we chose to amplify Bellator’s unique value prop – that despite Mobile’s market size and price points, many of its agents were mega producers.

We chose to position the brand as the home of the very best Realtors in the market and these three words immediately began to differentiate them.

Creative

Finally, it was time to design a new logo and visual identity that could support and enhance this distinction.

We gave them a new wordmark (seen below) that paid homage to their old logo (seen above) – it took the columns that held up the original and infused them into the lettering, creating an icon that was instantly recognizable from a distance.

We went beyond the logo to deliver a full identity system with a color palette that was inspired by the history and hues of Mobile Bay.

Lastly, we wove all three of these things – logo, identity and campaign copy – together into a series of full-page ads for their local magazine.

And, of course, this being 1000watt, we couldn’t resist applying all of this to some swag too…

The results

Marc and I returned to Mobile earlier this year to unveil all of this to the company at their annual awards banquet.

Suffice to say, the big reveal of the new Bellator logo, identity system, slogan and brand story was a huge success.

And while many agents have an extremely personal tie to the old brand, and any kind of change is inherently hard, these concerns were quickly superseded by a palpable sense of excitement from their agents about this new direction the company was taking.

In fact, as the identity rolled out through the market, as old signs came down and new ones went up, it became little moments of celebration that could be captured and shared – complete with its own hashtag (#bellatorsignswap).

I learned many things in the course of this engagement: Mobile is an extremely beautiful part of the world that I look forward to visiting again. Southern hospitality is a real thing. And most importantly, I learned that most challenges can be overcome and that when you set out to accomplish the impossible, great things can result.

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