The team at 1000watt is regarded as some of the most forward-thinking people in real estate. From creative approaches to Web design, to crafting memorable experiences and brand stories, to working with the leading companies in the industry, 1000watt has their fingers on the pulse of what’s next.

Jessica Swesey

Jessica Swesey

We spoke with the team there as part of our ongoing series on what’s next, to get their take on what’s ahead for the industry and what brokers should and shouldn’t pay attention to in the coming year. Jessica Swesey, former editor at Inman, and now part of the 1000watt team weighed in first.

Want to hear more from industry leaders about what’s next? Join us at Inman Connect New York on January 26 through 29, 2016.


What’s next for real estate brands? Where do they have to go to remain or create value and relevance?

At a high level, I know a lot of brokers are thinking about millennials. The industry as a whole has a generational problem. There’s this large group of millennials who are on the cusp of homeownership with very few generational counterparts in the industry to help them.

If I owned a brokerage, I’d focus on modernizing my brand to make it attractive to younger agents and consumers. A lot of real estate brands have aged.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. Experienced, established businesses thrive everyday. But you can be a 150-year-old brand and not look like it. Or, you can be a 150-year-old brand with a younger sister brand that looks totally different. My point here is brokerages will need to start figuring out their brand’s place in a younger world. That goes for appearance as well as culture.

What’s the one piece of technology brokers and franchises should be focused on right now?

There is no one piece of technology that is universally right for all brokers and franchises, which makes this tough to answer. What I’d say to brokers instead is to focus on what their agents and buyers and sellers want and need rather than chasing the next big thing when it comes to technology of any kind.

That aside, the smartphone will continue to be the most significant technology device for agents. If brokers can figure out how to add value to an agent’s business via their smartphone — whether that’s through a new app or backend platform — it’ll likely be a worthwhile investment.

What’s the thing on the top of your clients’ minds as we head into 2016?

More brokers and technology companies are coming to us looking for help shaping their brand stories. Great marketing starts with great product or service and a clear, cohesive story that your customers can relate to. Without this, it’s hard to make an impact. Our clients are all over this heading into 2016.

What’s next for the mobile Web and broker digital marketing?

More brokers and agents will start to view social channels as serious advertising opportunities. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others provide an effective way to target consumers and agents today.

As an industry, we’ve spent a long time thinking the wrong way about social media. In its early days, social media gave every business the chance to be a publisher. But today and going forward, it’s really more about being a smart advertiser and marketer. There’s a lot of business to be had by using social channels to engineer smart advertising funnels and longer-term marketing campaigns.

What’s the one thing you wish the industry would focus on in 2016 (but maybe it won’t)?

More creative marketing. So much of real estate marketing falls into “me too” or expected territory. We’ve come to expect that real estate ads will contain families, dogs, barbeques and fireplaces. Typical stuff. There’s more room for humor and boldness and so much opportunity to stand out in doing so.

Sure, buying and selling homes is serious business. But so much can go wrong and so many parts of the process are still cumbersome and incomprehensible to consumers. There’s a human side to this business that’s ripe for exploitation.

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