Company Smart car does ‘wonder’ for broker’s brand

#madREskillz: Engel and Volkers Plymouth agents drive 'sign on wheels' to appointments

Courtesy of Christine SilvaCourtesy of Christine Silva

This post explores a marketing tactic submitted by Engel and Volkers, the most recent winner of #madREskillz, a weekly Inman News Twitter competition. Every Thursday, Inman News invites real estate professionals and companies to tweet offbeat marketing tricks using the tag #madREskillz. After reviewing the submissions (and “RTing” many in the process), we select two finalists and put them to a vote on Facebook. Then we feature the winner in a story.

What if you could broadcast your brand, exude a commitment to sustainability and secure a means of transportation all for little more than $100 a month? Would you do it?

Recent #madREskillz winner Engel & Volkers Plymouth has.

Taking a page out of the book of some of its European offices, the Massachusetts-based broker has fashioned a branded Smart car that the company’s agents drive to showings and other appointments. The vehicle is a “sign on wheels” that has raised awareness of Engel & Volkers, bringing what Christine Silva, owner of Engel & Volkers Plymouth, said was a somewhat unknown broker out of the shadows and into the limelight.

“The Smart car is very popular in Europe where our global headquarters is located, and I’ve seen the branded car being used by our brokerages over there,” Silva said. “In the U.S. they are not as popular, so whenever we see one, it definitely catches the eye.”

To brand the vehicle, Silva leased the Smart car for $129 a month, and then equipped it with a decal of the Engel & Volkers logo that she ordered for $100, she said.

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Everyday, Silva or another agent at Engel & Volkers (which has 36 U.S. offices and a presence in 37 countries, according to Silva) drives the car to and from work, giving the public a dose of its brand during commuting hours. Agents at the broker also use the car for showings and other appointments, and are asked to park it in a “visible area with high pedestrian traffic.”

“The car is always supplied with additional marketing materials because so many people stop to ask about it, and we make sure to have something to give away,” Silva said.

Stretching just short of 9 feet and offering about 36 miles to the gallon, the car has already seen its fair share of use, she said, and it participated in Plymouth’s Independence Day parade last year.

People frequently wave and honk at the car, she said. Others, perhaps toying with the idea of purchasing a Smart car, walk up and ask about it. All in all, Silva said it’s “done a wonder for our brand.”

“Before the Smart car, people weren’t exactly sure who Engel & Volkers was,” she said. “Since we started marketing with it, everyone in the market knows what Engel & Volkers is.”

Do you use any innovative marketing techniques? Share them below. 

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