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A local South Florida Realtor association is using its increased revenue from rising membership during the COVID-19 pandemic for a national consumer ad campaign to promote the Realtor brand.
Dubbed “Only a Realtor,” the campaign is meant to demonstrate the value of Realtors to consumers and their communities by highlighting the relationships between Realtors and clients and Realtors as trusted sources.
Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie Realtors, the country’s third-largest local Realtor association with 43,000 members, launched the campaign on May 16 with two commercials. A third commercial is in development and set to air around the first quarter and continue into 2024, the association’s CEO Dionna Hall told Inman via email.
“[The campaign] is a long-term investment in the future of our industry,” she said.
The association is using revenue from increased membership during the pandemic to pay for the campaign, according to Hall.
“During the pandemic, many local associations realized unexpected, yet significant membership growth and our organization was one of them,” she said.
“With the increased membership and revenues that accompanied it, we believed the creation of a consumer campaign was something that would provide direct value to all of our 43,000 members.”
Hall did not respond when asked how much the association is spending on the ad campaign, how much its membership increased during the pandemic and the price of its membership dues.
Membership in the National Association of Realtors, to which all members of local Realtor associations must belong, rose 11 percent between the end of 2019 and the end of 2021, though there is bound to be local variation in that jump. According to Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie Realtors’ website, annual dues for a Realtor with a primary membership to that local association applying now stand at $878.33 with state and national dues included.
NAR has run its own consumer ad campaign for more than two decades. The 1.6 million-member trade group charges a mandatory special assessment every year to its members to use exclusively for the campaign, which promotes the value of property ownership and the Realtor brand. NAR’s special assessment is currently $35 annually per member but is set to rise to $45 in 2023.
A common complaint in the real estate industry is that most consumers don’t know that only members of NAR can call themselves Realtors, though NAR itself has said that its own research shows consumers know the difference.
Still, the NAR advertising campaign’s core message this year is “the Difference is Real” — emphasizing that Realtors work “at a higher standard” than agents who are not Realtors, the trade group said earlier this year.
“NAR’s campaign is excellent, and it inspired us to take action and develop a campaign that focuses on reinforcing the role of Realtors as personal, local resources and trusted advisors,” Hall told Inman. “This is our local contribution to creating a national movement.”
Asked how the local association’s campaign is different from NAR’s, Hall said, “We developed the campaign to both inform consumers and help our Realtor members to tell this story on a local level.
“The focus of our campaign is on the essential role of a Realtor emphasizing that Realtors serve as trusted advisors to consumers to both protect them and understand their unique needs because each transaction is a unique consumer experience that Realtors have to navigate with varying levels of support, complexity and expertise. We need multiple platforms to tell this story and it will take the collective influence of Realtors nationwide.”
Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors’ ad campaign is running on major networks, including HGTV and Bravo, connected TV apps including Hulu and YouTube TV and paid social media ads on Instagram and Facebook, according to Hall. The ads don’t mention the Realtor Code of Ethics, a commonly-cited differentiator between Realtors and non-Realtor agents.
The association hired Orlando-based ad agency &Barr to create the campaign and Indie Atlantic Films to shoot and direct the commercials.
“Before we created this campaign, we spoke with Realtors to hear their stories, and we felt their empathy and authenticity around the deep connections they create with the people and families they’ve helped experience the American Dream of buying a home,” said &Barr Creative Director and Vice President Christian Wojciechowski in a statement.
“This campaign showcases how there is no substitute for a Realtor and no benefit worth the sacrifice of not having a Realtor. They become part of your family, and their role is not a transaction but to invest themselves in relationships that connect people with their dreams.”
In the past six months, the campaign has garnered more than 45 million impressions and 16 million video plays and consumers have spent an average of four minutes on OnlyARealtor.com, according to Hall.