Everyone understands what we mean by branding and creating name recognition right, so I won't go through the trouble of explaining that. I will however explain that when I ask if being a Realtor matters, I don't necessarily mean does it matter to thoughts that are Realtors. they pay their dues and joined, as do I, therefore I assume it matters to you. What I mean to ask for the most part is, does it matter anymore to the general public whose attention and affection we so desire, or has the term Realtor itself simply become synonymous with being a real estate agent?
For the first several years of my career I hung my license with the largest brokerage in the Midlands. It was started by two individual that still ran the place when I got there. During the recession when everyone was dropping out the business and the sky was falling, many of the Realtors in our company simply could not pay their dues.
As the company used the term Realtors in it's name, The National Association of Realtors rightfully sent a bill to the C.E.O to inform him that as long as they used the name, the company had to pay the bill for all the agents that didn't pay their dues. The answer was pretty swift from the Brokerage, they changed their name and replaced all the signs in front of our 14 offices. This was cheaper than paying the $60,000 or so that NAR demanded.
So for the next few years, the brokerage carried on with the term real estate replacing Realtors in the title. Not only did we continue to do well, but we gained significant market share during the recession and even more after. For about 3 or 4 years if memory serves correct, I was no longer a Realtor, but a real estate agent and at first I was very concerned about the change in the beginning. However, in those years, clients came and went and not a single one of them asked about the name nor did they seem to worry that I was not a Realtor. I even explained to each one that used the term Realtor in reference to me that I was a real estate agent now and that we were no longer members of NAR and therefore could not use the term Realtor. Again, no real concern shown.
I am once again after that small break a Realtor as the company I worked with was sold to a big box after the owners each passed away. The experience however reminded me of the fact that I don't know the last time that anyone asked me for a tissue without calling it a Kleenex. You see, Kleenex is a brand of tissue, not a tissue itself. However, their brand became so synonymous with the word tissue, that now everyone simply uses the terms interchangeably. They just ask for a Kleenex, when they really mean that all they want is a tissue, and the brand doesn't matter.
So have we now done the same thing? Have we branded our self past importance when it comes to the general public? Sure they say they would like to work with a Realtor, but do they mean that they just want a Real Estate agent, and the brand doesn't matter?