SAN FRANCISCO — In part to distance itself from the “greedy Realtor” stereotype, the National Association of Realtors is considering new mission and vision statements that are designed to be more inspirational than those currently on the trade group’s website, which focus on profitability and success.
NAR’s Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee came up with new statements in collaboration with Havas, the same ad agency responsible for the trade group’s “That’s Who We R” campaign. NAR’s leadership team will finalize the statements before year end and likely sooner, NAR spokesperson Mantill Williams told Inman via email.
The mission and vision statements currently on NAR’s website are:
Mission: The core purpose of the National Association of REALTORS® is to help its members become more profitable and successful.
Vision: The National Association of REALTORS® strives to be the collective force influencing and shaping the real estate industry. It seeks to be the leading advocate of the right to own, use, and transfer real property; the acknowledged leader in developing standards for efficient, effective, and ethical real estate business practices; and valued by highly skilled real estate professionals and viewed by them as crucial to their success.
Working for America’s property owners, the National Association of REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research, and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property.
The proposed new mission and vision statements are intentionally pithier:
Our mission is to empower Realtors as they preserve, protect and advance the right to real property for all.
Our vision is to be a trusted ally, guiding our members and those they serve through the ever-evolving real estate landscape.
Does that mean NAR will no longer be in the business of helping its members be successful and profitable?
“No, that wasn’t the idea at all,” Bobbi Howe, chair of the Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee told Inman Sunday after the committee’s forum at NAR’s annual conference.
“We feel that this still contains that idea within [of] helping our membership be successful — preserve, protect, advance that right — but without just saying we want to make money as Realtors because we get that ‘greedy Realtors,’ we get that concept and this is just more about supporting our members as a whole.”
Sean Moore, vice chair of the committee, said the mission to “empower Realtors as they preserve, protect and advance” real property rights “requires a successful business model” and so that idea is contained within the new statements.
While “preserve” and “protect” are references to NAR’s advocacy efforts, the “advance” part of the mission refers to regular members “being in the field every day with fairness and equality and making sure that we’re selling real estate and that we’re helping everyone around us,” Howe said.
Local and state Realtor associations have their own mission and vision statements, so the committee tried to hone in on what the national association can do for its 1.3 million members, which is empower them, she added.
The new statements are meant to convey why NAR exists rather than what it specifically does, which is what many associations default to and end up sounding the same, Leah Hattendorf of Havas told forum attendees.
“The essence of the mission — this is why the organization exists — is important. That is not what you do or how it’s done. And then the vision — this is where you would like organization to be in future,” she said.
The new statements are designed to help the association evaluate priorities and communicate that NAR — often decried as slow-moving — is committed to evolving for the future, Hattendorf added. They are also meant to inspire pride and ensure members feel an emotional connection to the association.
“We wanted to make sure that we kind of set a high bar for ourselves in terms of the types of language that we use to ensure that it was really inspiring,” she said.
Howe revealed to forum attendees that NAR’s research department was actually unable to find the trade group’s current mission statement. What is posted on the website is not the same as another mission statement they found that appeared to be from a marketing campaign where NAR referred to itself as “the trusted voice for real estate.” This is partially why the trade group thought it needed a new mission statement, according to Howe.
The new mission statement’s emphasis on real property rights comes in part from the preamble of the Realtor Code of Ethics, which begins “Under all is the land” — a sentiment the committee considered powerful and emotionally engaging, Howe said.
The new vision statement “speaks to our continued commitment to build a trusted partnership with you, our members, and those they serve. It defines our targeted beneficiary as being Realtors and the consumer in the ever-evolving real estate landscape,” she added.
After the forum, Howe told Inman the mission and vision statements are meant to be used internally to help direct staff and volunteer leaders, not for marketing purposes.
“Where are we looking to go? Why do we exist? We need to have a purpose of why we exist as an organization, and where are we hoping to move into the future,” Howe said.
The mission and vision statements will be “the guiding principle” for decision-making at NAR, according to Howe.
“It goes back to whenever something comes before us, or we’re looking to do something as an organization, does it fit into why we exist? Or is it over here and it’s a distraction to what we’re doing?” she said.
Once the mission and vision statements are finalized, NAR will film a promotional commercial with Havas and prepare social media posts to get the word out to all of NAR’s members, Howe said. Moore also anticipates the statements will be displayed on NAR’s buildings.