• NAR launched a digital-first campaign with the tagline "Get Realtor" on Feb. 8 to modernize consumer perceptions of homebuying. Goodbye American dream, hello agent as a competitive ally.
  • A phone survey found that contacting a Realtor is an anxiety-driven experience for millennials, who NAR hopes to reach through this series of social media and radio marketing efforts.
  • The first iteration of the campaign targets buyers, but future components will focus on sellers.

If you’ve been on Twitter this week, you may have noticed a new hashtag circulating through the real estate industry’s corner of the social media realm: #GetRealtor, the tagline that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has chosen to move its brand forward in the rapidly changing modern age of homebuying.

On Feb. 8, NAR officially dropped its “traditional” consumer advertising and marketing efforts — both message and delivery method — in favor of a digital-first campaign that capitalizes on tech-savvy consumers’ hyperconnectivity while focusing on the expertise and guidance a Realtor can provide to homebuyers, sellers, owners and investors.

Where millennials get stuck

For the last 17 years, NAR’s consumer marketing has focused on the message that homeownership is aspirational and a “dream” to be achieved, delivered primarily via radio and television ads.

But after the association’s Consumer Communications Committee and its outside consultant, Arnold Worldwide, took a closer look at its marketing efforts, they found that both that message and the way it was conveyed to consumers were outdated.

“What’s fascinating is how our whole environment, not just real estate, has changed because of how we choose to interact with people,” said Stephanie Singer, NAR’s senior vice president of communications. “Mobile and online technology has definitely made it easy for people to quickly find information they need, but the battle we encounter in this hyperconnected environment is that it makes you think you can do everything yourself.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.29.33 PM

While those resources and capabilities help educate and empower buyers and sellers, they can also create a feeling of isolation, Singer said.

“We did a telephone survey of 1,000 millennials and asked them to rank their feelings across the homebuying journey, what they were anxious or excited about. Along the way, we had an ‘a-ha’ moment when people told us that the point they had to contact a Realtor was a really anxiety-driven experience. That really resonated with us.”

But because the relationship a person has with a Realtor is a very personal one, “the idea of our new campaign is to reclaim the Realtor’s position in the new digital ecosystem, and demonstrate the competitive advantage that Realtors provide,” Singer said.

The heart of the Get Realtor campaign

The Get Realtor campaign has several goals, with NAR’s main objective being to make the Realtor brand more contemporary by modernizing consumer perceptions. Millennials, who currently comprise the nation’s largest homebuying segment, are the main target.

NAR kicked off the campaign’s Feb. 8 launch on Twitter with a brief video of a beautiful, stately home accompanied by a short explanation: “Looks aren’t everything. Tap for sound to find out what this house is hiding.”

Users will find that the view is spoiled by audio of a train barreling nearby.

“When it comes to real estate and the Internet, today’s consumers don’t always know what they don’t know,” said NAR President Tom Salomone. “The Get Realtor campaign demonstrates how Realtors can help buyers, sellers and investors succeed. We want today’s consumers to understand that having a Realtor at their side is their competitive advantage in the real estate transaction.”

Measuring engagement and making plans for the future

The Get Realtor campaign will roll out via radio and social media.

NAR will also partner with several outlets to provide interactive digital maps via the New York Times; a video series with Salomone on Yahoo! Finance; and cross-promotional opportunities with the XO Group (a media company with life-stage brands The Knot, The Nest and the Bump); as well as Bark & Co., an e-commerce subscription service for dog lovers, “to show how Realtors can help people achieve their lifestyles,” Singer said.

When users click on an ad, Tweet or other message, they will be taken to a page containing more thorough information on that topic.

NAR will measure success via click-through rates and consumer engagement metrics including shares and comments. A random sample of Realtors from across the country will also be surveyed to assess engagement with and affinity for campaign elements.

The first iteration of the campaign targets buyers, but future components will focus on sellers, Singer added.

NAR encourages Realtors to share and use all of the Get Realtor social media campaign elements. NAR members can use the digital, video, print and radio creative without alterations, but individual Realtors and brokerages cannot customize the materials, as the campaign is intended to promote the Realtor brand, not one Realtor over another.

Singer said NAR doesn’t buy print ads for its national campaign, but the association does make those resources available to local and state associations to use in their markets.

For more information or to view campaign materials, click here.

Email Amy Swinderman.

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