For the 19th consecutive year, Century 21 (C21), the iconic real estate franchise operation with the gold coats, has claimed the top spot in Millward Brown’s 2017 Demographic Ad Tracking Study.

According to the market research firm’s survey of 1,200 recent homebuyers and sellers, who were asked to list the names of any realty agencies they’ve seen, C21 was the brand with the most consumer awareness.

The company scored a 94 percent awareness rating, outranking Re/Max at 89 percent and Keller Williams at 52 percent.

It was also the most recognized name in real estate at 32 percent, topping Re/Max at 27 percent and Real Living at 23 percent. Keller Williams, at 12 percent, came in at fourth place in this category.

Here are the full results of the Millward Brown study:

Most consumer awareness

  • Century 21 — 94 percent
  • Re/Max — 89 percent
  • Keller Williams — 52 percent
  • Redfin — 38 percent
  • Berkshire Hathaway — 38 percent
  • Weichert — 19 percent
  • Realty Executive — 13 percent
  • Real Living — 6 percent

Most recognized name

  • Century 21– 32 percent
  • Re/Max — 27 percent
  • Real Living — 23 percent
  • Keller Williams — 12 percent
  • Redfin — 11 percent
  • Realty Executive — 11 percent
  • Berkshire Hathaway — 10 percent
  • Weichert — 10 percent

Chief operating officer of C21 Greg Sexton applauded his firm’s industry leading ranking, saying in a statement that it comes at a time when C21 “continues to leverage our agent-centric platform, national marketing programs, proprietary online tools and key sponsorships.”

Sexton says the chain seeks to maximize new business opportunities in an effort to assist C21 agents and brokers in helping consumers “make informed decisions that, in turn, instill trust and loyalty in our professionals and our brand.”

C21 released its “Not An App,” campaign in January, a series of commercials emphasizing the value of human interaction when buying and selling a home, to bring awareness to its brand. The first commercial, “Not An App,” highlighted the all the things an agent can do — such as answering late night calls, touring homes and offering exceptional all-around customer service — all of which an app or a website can’t provide.

Of course, there is more than one way to make a claim to fame in real estate. Re/Max, known for its red, white and blue hot air balloon, says it has the most qualified agents of any franchise, according to Real Trends’ “America’s Best Real Estate Agents” rankings for the third year in a row. Roughly 20 percent of all individual agents and team leaders (2,506 of 12,571) featured in the 2017 edition of the annual survey were members of the Re/Max network.

With a network of more than 110,000 agents worldwide, the brand also says that “nobody in the world sells more real estate than Re/Max, as measured by residential transaction sides.” And it claims it has a presence in more than 100 countries and territories, giving it a global footprint “unmatched” by any other real estate brand.

Keller Williams has something to boast about, too. The Austin, Texas-based chain says it is the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count. In the first quarter of 2017, the franchise surpassed 159,500 associates.

Keller Williams also claims it has more agent teams ranked by closed transactions and sales volume than any other franchise in the 2017 Real Trends’ The Thousand, the annual list of North America’s most successful real estate professionals.

The Real Trends list features 89 Keller Williams agent teams in its Top 250 ranking of realty teams by transaction sides. Collectively, those Keller Williams teams closed 39,709 transactions last year.

The chain also has been recognized by Training magazine, a leading business publication for learning and development professionals, as the no.1 training organization across all industries worldwide.

According to the National Association of Realtors latest bi-annual look at all franchises, Keller Williams has the most agents of any of the 32 chains chronicled, with a whopping 108,000 (in 2015). Coldwell Banker, not even mentioned in the Millward Brown survey, has the second most with 86,050 agents. C21 is third, with 53,280. The survey is due to be updated this year.

But in the two-year period between 2013 and 2015, C21 lost more than 250 offices, while Coldwell Banker added more than 850 shops. During the same period, Re/Max gained nearly 150 stores while Keller Williams added only 15.

Lew Sichelman’s weekly column, “The Housing Scene,” is syndicated to newspapers throughout the country.

Email Lew Sichelman.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription