Coldwell Banker unveiled a rebranding effort Monday that includes a new logo and mission statement, and which the company expects to roll out over time based on feedback from agents.
The rebranding effort — dubbed “Project North Star” and announced at the company’s Gen Blue conference in Las Vegas — will see Coldwell Banker‘s long-standing rectangular logo replaced with a square design that prominently features a star. In a statement, Coldwell Banker described the new design as “clean and simple,” “elegant” and “modern.”
The branding “symbolizes the brand’s position in real estate as a consistent, reliable presence guiding us all home,” the statement added.
The rebranding also includes a new mission statement — “We empower our people to leave their mark on the world of real estate” — and a “recommitment” to the company’s core values of “home, awesomeness, ingenuity and excellence.”
The new logo and other rebranding efforts will not change the company’s name, which remains “Coldwell Banker.” The rebranding also applies to all of the company’s residential businesses, including franchises and Coldwell Banker NRT, but not commercial endeavors such as Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT.
The new branding was first unveiled to thousands of agents at a general session of Monday’s conference. Coldwell Banker chief marketing officer David Marine made the announcement, telling the crowd that “we are the North Star of real estate.”
“I love the analogy of Coldwell Banker as the North Star,” Marine said. “We are the trusted guide leading people home.”
Marine’s presentation also included a video that showcased the new logo on hats, pins, yard signs and other forms of branding.
In an earlier conversation with Inman, Marine said the rebranding effort began about a year ago as the company concluded that the existing imagery wasn’t “an accurate representation of where our brand is or where we are today.” The company then conducted market research and found that consumers agreed.
“Our box logo got credit for being established and a leader,” he said. “But they quickly followed it up by saying that it looked outdated. That was the concern. We know we’re doing lots of amazing things that are anything but outdated.”
Marine went on to say that the existing rectangular logo was 40 years old and especially ill-suited to the formats where consumers today are most likely to see it.
“The logo was from the 70s, when there wasn’t digital and social,” he explained. “Our rectangular mark doesn’t work well with mobile and social formats.”
Coldwell Banker is describing the rebranding effort as a “project” because it will unfold slowly. Marine said the company will roll the new imagery out in test markets over the next six months. By September, the “full identity standards” should be ready, and the complete national rollout should happen around January 2020.
However, Marine also told Inman that it could take even longer before the new branding becomes widespread at all of Coldwell Banker’s franchises across the country.
“We expect this will happen over several years,” he added.
During his presentation Monday, Marine described the rebranding efforts as “an enormous task” and a “monumental change.”
The rebranding is also “transparent,” according to Coldwell Banker, because agents and brokers will be able to weigh in over the coming months. Input collected during the test period will be used to refine things like yard signs and other marketing. The company said in its statement that this “phased approach will best serve its brokers and agents, because it allows them time to plan for the transition.”
Coldwell Banker declined to provide information about the rebranding’s financial details.
However, the company did say that the initial response to the rebranding has been positive.
“In initial research, agents across many brands had an overwhelmingly positive response to the new mission statement and core values,” the company’s statement explained.
Agents who attended the conference Monday also seemed receptive. Applause broke out several times during Marine’s presentation, and afterward several agents spoke positively about the new imagery and mission statement.
“I like the idea, I like the fact that it’s looking toward the future, I like the idea that we’re not stuck in the past,” Daryl Hibbs, a Coldwell Banker agent from Louisville, Kentucky, told Inman. “It’s modern its edgy with the North Star thing, I think that’s great. I think that’s going to be interesting.”
Jennifer Purpura, an agent from Eerie, Pennsylvania, told Inman that she was “caught by surprise” by announcement, but once she saw the new logo she was onboard.
“I thought it was awesome,” she said. “I thought the North Star was an awesome marketing idea. It still was Coldwell Banker where you recognize, it but it was a fresh look.”
Coldwell Banker CEO Charlie Young indicated in a statement Monday that the response of real estate professionals the rebranding is especially important, saying that they “deserve to understand the upcoming changes” and will “be on this journey with us.”
He also framed the rebranding as a fundamental shift for the company.
“This rebrand is also more than just a new logo,” he added, “we’re recommitting to our mission and remaining laser focused on our future and our growth.”
This post was updated after publication with additional comments and context from Monday’s event.