Entry by Jennifer Allan

The ReBranding (or not) of ACRE - an Update

  44 Comments

Just had a marathon brainstorming session with Merv here at the beach - my head is spinning and my brain is pretty much mush, but I'm excited about what we came up with and want to share some of it with you...

First things first... the Rebranding.

I have two reasons for wanting to rebrand and relaunch ACRE. The first I already mentioned - I believe there was some negative bias created by the early ACRE marketing of "Stop Working for Free!" that has given the industry the impression that ACRE is all about compensation and not at all about quality service. Instead of continuing to fight that perception, I believe that we can start fresh and go forth with a clear message that while we may offer choices in compensation as part of our business model, we do so in the interest of better serving the consumer, not simply out of frustration with "working for free." 

The second reason I'm proposing a rebranding is that the first word of ACRE is "Accredited" and unfortunately, the ACRE course is NOT accredited. My understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong) is that the original intent was to get the program accredited, but it proved to be more difficult than anticipated and therefore never happened.

While I don't lose sleep over it, I do believe that calling the program "accredited" when it's not is both a credibility and a liability issue. I personally am a little uncomfortable marketing a product with a name that could be perceived as misleading.

I guess if we could come up with a different "A" word to use, that might make me feel a little better ;-]

However, I do understand that there has been a signficant investment in the ACRE brand, and I don't want to toss it out over semantics. If the majority of the current membership feels strongly that the ACRE name and brand remain intact, I'll respect that, but I'd like to propose an alternative...

Take a look at this:  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7163/6636993955_48d67f0260.jpg - it's a logo I had designed that incorporates a new name for the program and designation (if we continue on the designation route), but incorporates the original ACRE look and brand. Mollie actually came up with the new name - and believe it or not, most of the associated domain names were available.

See what you think... feel free to comment below or message me privately... and we'll go from there.

44 Comments

My 02 cents is that I love it Jennifer. I understand everyone's feelings about having invested in the ACRE brand and since you included a small image of the ACRE logo, I don't see why people can't continue to use the ACRE logo on their sites and blogs.

But, I must say that I think that a new beginning should encompass a new branding. Changing is difficult folks but since I, arguably, should be the one most invested in the old brand and I'm ok with this, perhaps others will be comfortable with the change too.

I've enjoyed so much reading everyone's thoughts and look forward to further discussions.

I have not really marketed ACRE as much as incorporated the approach into my consultations. I like the logo.

The logo is appealing and nicely done. I think your use of semantics is very appropriate for the moment. Whatever we call ourselves fades from mind when sitting one-on-one with a client. I have never received a call asking that (place the designation here) come over and give a listing presentation, other than Realtor. 

Why does Moliie looked soooooooooooooo relaxed in her new Photo?

 

great Logo, Beaches agree with you!

Glenn, I was with my favorite neice in this photo and doing nothing involving real estate!

Happy New Year Mollie, Its great to see you.  That explains it!!

Seems "Real Estate" should be play a larger role in any logo.  

Love the logo!

Dear All,

I think we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. First we need to define our name to represent our philosophy - then the logo. The logo is nice but does it really represent what we are?

By the way, there are some semi-professional people who will bid on designing logos for a few hundred dollars. You don't pay until you choose one of them from all submissions.

I think it should be..."THE CONSULTING REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL"!

Personally I love the new logo. Thumbs up.

Jose - Actually I'm considering the full name to be The Consulting Professional in Real Estate, and that's how I'm referring to it in the material I'm putting together, but that's a lot to put on a logo especially with the ACRE stuff in there. If, at some point in the future, we remove the reference to ACRE, I would add a tagline in its place - "blah blah blah blah in Real Estate" or something like that.

John - Perhaps I'm off base here, but I think we do know who we are and what we represent. Our overall philosophy isn't changing - we offer professional consultative real estate services to consumers. Okay, so that's not the most eloquent description, but along those lines!

Thanks for all the thumbs up! It's always nerve-wracking unveiling anything for the first time.

By the way, if the majority says YEA and we move forward with this concept, there's certainly room for tweaking and adjusting. And this is just a logo design; the basic look and concept can be edited to be used in other applications.

If we decide to go the non-designation route and create more of a "society," we can adjust the logo and name to reflect that. For example: "Member of the Society of Consulting Professionals in Real Estate"

 

Cleaner logo is better. Less words/type. 

There are significant real estate brands that never mention real estate in their logo: Trulia? Zillow has a modernized house and real estate in the tag line.

The home in the logo does it for me. Real estate is mentioned in the tag line.

Jennifer,

It sounds great! Go for it!

I love the new logo and think it is perfectly appropriate.  The little house covers the the whole aspect of housing and that is all that needs to be said about real estate. A month ago I would have said that the word "consulting" was trite, but now, after digesting everything everyone has said, I think it is perfect that we do not overstep our station.  And it is clear that we are not trying to dispense legal advice (which the word "advisor" might imply.  And I think it is very nice that it lets people know we are the same people who have re-worked our ACRE image.

I like the new logo a lot!  And I didn't know ACRE wasn't currently accredited, so that is an important consideration for me as well.

Maybe REsultant PROfessional ?

I wonder if there is enough defferentiation. I run into Realtors all the time who use the word consultant on their business cards, but yet, do business as usual. They do it to combat the public's perception of the real estate agent salesperson which by the way is one of the Top 10 least trusted professions and one of the Top 10 most hated professions on the planet according to 2 recent research articles I read yestereday.  

The term Accredited seems to have some "pause" with Jennifer.  Is this because we aren't affiliated with NAR or because we aren't affiliated with a University of some type?  There are other designations such as the Accredited Seller's Representative (ASR) which also are not affiliated.  However, for someone like myself who has specialized in listings, this designation has been an effective way for me to set myself apart from my competition and show them a higher level of committment to what they are trying to accomplish.  A word like "Accredited" says that I am not just claiming to be a consultant, I have a tested, verifiable skill set that makes me qualified to work as a consultant rather than just a Realtor.  Another word of equal weight might be Certified. To me without this type of word in the title, there isn't enough differentiation.

With regards to the idea of "Stop Working for Free" associated with the ACRE brand, isn't this really an idea associated with working as a consultant rather than an ACRE?  It is an attractive idea to so many of us who have been burned by clients and is really a concept associated with consulting and a big reason why those of us who are ACRE's have chosen to work a consulting model.  It is unfortunate that for decades Realtors have given away valuable services for free as standard practice rather than as an exception to the rule. Being an ACRE has allowed me to go on appointments and charge for my services such as a market analysis after I have been retained, as well as not have to compete on the basis of a market analysis in order to gain a client.

The other important aspect of the designation is to have credibility in the eyes of our local Realtor colleagues.  I have been accused of being a "discount broker" for quite a few years. This is something I combated on a daily basis when I first went out to compete for listings with my first brokerage, Owner Assist Realty (gee, with a name like this I wonder why). Even though there are laws protecting discount brokers from having their listings "black listed", invariably a seller has spoken with a Realtor who says, "you may not want to use so-and-so because they work for overall less money which means they either a.) won't work as hard for you, b.) don't have as a great an incentive to sell your house, or c.) won't get their listings shown by other Realtors because they are undercutting the competition on pricing.  In my experience a designation needs to show a higher level of competency and give credibility to what I do in the eyes of the Realtors that I am counting on to bring their buyers and sell my listings.

I don't mind the idea of rebranding the ACRE logo, but I really think that Molly was onto something when she came up with the ACRE name and it will take a lot of work to come up with something better.  Would we rather be better or different?

By the way, that isn't my photo next to my name.  I have no idea whose picture it is, which goes to prove that there is definitely some work needed on the web site. lol

Thanks for your well-thunked-out comments, Ronald!

I'm running out the door, but I want to make one comment before I leave - and that's that each and every one of us is responsible for making our clients and prospects understand what we do and why we're special. No designation, membership or fancy tagline will do that for us. It's up to US to know who we are, be confident in who we are and proud of the level of service we provide.

As much as I'd like to provide a magic bullet that makes the phones ring and emails jangle with calls and emails from potential clients who already trust you and understand what you do and why they might want to hire you, I can't do that. In fact, that's a big reason I believe many real estate practitioners fail - they're counting on all those magic bullets for sale out there to get them business without their having to earn it by demonstrating, on a one-on-one basis, their competence, confidence and compassion.

If we want to be better than... or different from... the masses out there, that's not going to happen simply because we call ourselves Consultants or Advisors or ACREs or Consulting Professionals or Men on the Moon - it will be because each of us, individually in our own practice, demonstrates that we are better than... and different from... the masses.

Looks good. I like the fact that it preserves the ACRE logo as I have ordered new business cards using it ;-).

Maybe consider your proposed logo on an interim basis and then replace the tag line with the words "in Real Estate"

I think it is valuable to keep the words Real Estate in the logo.

Thanks Jim, I agree.

That is actually the plan. Right now, the ACRE tagline includes the word "real estate" so anyone glancing at it will know what it's all about.

While I like the overall concept of using the house graphic to identify our business, I find the whole thing a little too busy by reason of the explanation of our heritage in the tagline space. 

At the risk of sounding rant-like, please bear with my taking exception to the term 'Consulting Professional.' Both words being over-used and mis-used in our business, I fear they will do but little to separate us from the crowd. We will be considered professional by our conduct and standards, not by the label we arbitrarily apply to ourselves. Lawyers, CPSs, doctors, etc. don't feel a need to label themselves professionals - they just are!

I much preferred Merv's invention from a day or so ago with the term  'RealAdvisor(s).' The play on words around "Real" (or perhaps it was a double entendre) was elegant to say the least. Could we reconsider this wording? RealAdvisors might also synergize quite powerfully with the house graphic.

 

 

Ron, I agree with both you and Merv on your points of the term RealAdvisor. The fact is that semantics matter in a presentation.  Consulting Professional is overused by our peers who don't offer a consulting model but rather use a consultative approach to selling.  If I tell someone that I am going to invite them to a meeting it has a different connotation that if I ask them to "get together with me to discuss a business concept." They might both mean that I'm about to show them a network marketing plan, but one gets the appointment and the other gets a rejection.

It's exactly because I "am" responsible for making my clients and prospects understand what I do and why I'm special that I chose to align myself with the ACRE designation and build a real estate brokerage based upon it.  The ACRE designation is not a magic bullet, it does however give me a specific term, such as RealAdvisor, to give me the opportunity to explain how I am different and then demonstrate how I and my company are different.  

I know of a real estate attorney in Lincoln Nebraska who invented the term "Conveyist" and trademarked it to designate a specialzed group of attorneys who would convey properties, specifically targeting for sale by owner transactions.  This term set him apart from other lawyers and allowed him to demonstrate his expertise and high-level consultative approach in the marketplace as it relates to the transfer of real property.  As a result, he had a successful practice both with "by owner" property sellers and Realtors alike.

I would say the term ACRE has done the same thing quite successfully for me both with the clients that have hired me to consult with them this year since becoming an ACRE and with the top producing Realtors that I am successfully recruiting to my brokerage now that Choice Realty is getting established in Spokane.  My partner, who was the top broker at Windermere in my region over the past 4 to 5 years, chose to add the ACRE designation and has had a more successful career since doing so.

Philosophically, Mollie has done an excellent job of aligning like-minded professionals together under the ACRE banner.  I believe if we are going to change the banner, we need to keep the distinction between what we do and what "all" the other non-ACRE Realtors do very obvious in our branding so that the opportunities to demonstrate what we do increase.  Just because we build a better mousetrap, does not mean the world is going to beat a path to our door.

Thanks for all the comments about the rebranding of ACRE. I really do like the RealAdvisor idea, but it's already in use, so let's take it off the table.

I also hear what many of you are saying about the words "consulting" and "professional" being overused and even exploited. I'm not sure I agree, but I respect the opinion. While the words themselves may be a bit commoditized at this point, I do think they reflect what we are and what we do and what our goals are. I also like the way the words look and sound together ;-] AND the related URLs were available which is not an insignificant consideration.

I'm going to sit on this over the weekend. I want to do what's best for our movement as well as what will make the most members happy, realizing that there is no One Answer that will accomplish both. Merv and I tossed around a few ideas on Wednesday as to how to mesh the old and the new to create something bigger than the parts, and I'll devote a few brain cells to that over the weekend as well.

I am willing to make the final decision, based on my opinions and yours, and I hope you'll all continue to support what we're doing here even if you aren't 100% satisfied with that decision. I really am excited at what the future holds for ACREs/TCPs or whatever we end up calling ourselves!

By Mollie, I think I've got it! I believe I've come up with a solution that will satisfy everyone; if not 100%, pretty close.

Stand by... details cometh soon!

I don't like the title "the Consulting Professional" because it sounds generic and a bit gimmicky to me.  I think the look of the logo is great.   I think its very important to have something like "certified" " accredited" or even " designation"  - to show that the person has some kind of accountability.   I agree that putting in a word that isn't true, is not a good thing!  So what would have to happen to get accredited"  By whom would ACRE be accredited?  What about just Certified Realty Consultant? 

As a newly minted "ACRE" member (lets say a few months ago), allow me to expand a bit on the subject of Accreditation and Certification and how it may "legally" effect what we do in the Real Estate industry.  Way back in early 2000, I was fortunate to take a similar program to that of  ACRE and at that time known as C-CREC (Consumer Certified Real Estate Consultant), a program first initated by Julie Garton -Good, under the administration of the National Association of Real Estate Consultants.  Although there are some similarities to these two so call Designation programs, my focus is on the term Certified and exactly what that means.  From my perspective Certification refers to a whole process of professional processes, ie. courses, work experience in the field, on going annual reviews and update courses, possibly mentoring, writing articles relevant  to the industry, etc, and of course pay an annual fee.  To this end I encourage everyone to take a close look at the following web site:  www.NAREC.com.  Now referred to as the International Association of Real Estate Consutants.  Come a long way from the beginning  in 1999 and offer another view of the RE consulting model.  As noted there is no mention in their terminology of Accreditation but rather of Certification.

Accreditation, and although I am a member of ACRE, this is where the difficulty comes in.  From my perspective in Canada and I am sure the same goes in the USA, Accreditation signifies that the program or the individual has been Accredited by some State, Provincial, or National organization based on a very lengthy program of study and quantifiable field experience and in may cases this is base on several years.  I know that in Canada and specifically in Ontario, if we are to use the term Accredited as it is currently applied and stated is missleading and provides issues with the above governing bodies.  It is my view that the word Accreditation or Accredited should in fact be deleated from this program.  Perhaps the word ACRE should be retooled and given a new set of meanings of deleted altogether.  If as you say you are ReBranding; then I think that the definitions of everything one puts in the logo, to define the organization has to be well founded and quantifiable meaning.

In terms of both organizations which I am a member of, ie. National Association of Real Estate Consultants (NAREC or IREC)...C-CREC or ACRE, I have chose to work under the premise of being a Broker and Real Estate Consultant and not use the words, Accredited since we are not.

I agree that not only is ReBranding necessary but also a clearer definition of what the organization is all about and not play on words which are not and cannot be supported by governing bodies.

Accredited by who and on what basis and supported by what professional Real Estate organization.  The same for Certified....Certified on what basis. Based on what qualifiying program and work in the field.?  To use these terms; they have to be based on a clear , quantifyable educational program, supported by Real Estate organizations, Provincial, State, or National, as well as extensive work experience.

Thank you John!!! As Mollie explained it to me, when the program was in its development stages, the founders fully intended to get it "accredited" by NAR. But, as anyone who has ever tried to work with NAR can attest, it turned out to be a lot more difficult than anticipated. Unfortunately, much of the branding and registration (trademarking) work had been done at that point, so they moved forward, planning to address the "accreditation" at a future time.

I have no desire to deal with NAR (or any other accrediting agency) - call me lazy, but I have better things to do than spend hours enmeshed in such bureauocracy (sp?). I just wasn't put on earth to do things like that; if anyone else would like to take it on, speak up!

I think we'll be just fine going forward, whether or not ACRE/ TCP is a designation, a certification or an association... but stay tuned... more coming soon.

 

Y'know, something just occurred to me about the whole certification and accreditation issue...

Call me elitist, but I think what we have going on here is pretty special and unique, and definitely outside the proverbial box of traditional real estate practice. Therefore, I'm not sure I even want accreditation or certification from a traditional real estate entity - and especially if they're going to want a say in what we teach or how we teach it.

So there!

Jen, I luv that.  I could almost see y a little pink tongue sticking out of your mouth when you wrote, "So there".

 

LOL... that's pretty much the attitude I have about such things...

Jennifer, should ACRE become an association, I would believe they would then have the authority to certify or provide an accreditation based on established rules of the association. There is no need to become part of the NAR, NAREC, IREC, C-CREC or whatever. From you statement above, I don't think you would want to be associated. The alphabet soup syndrome doesn't carry much weight with consumers anyway.

This is your organization and you can make up the rules as long as they are within the guidelines established by the Board and governed by its by-laws.

Thank you, Michael!

Although - I attended a webinar the other day about a particular training program that was "certified" by a fancy-sounding association -- that was clearly run by the same people offering the program. Even my non-real estate husband chuckled when he overheard that part of the show - it was so obviously self-serving and misleading.

I'd hate for anyone to think that about us ;-]

A member can be accredited or certified by its own association. I could be accredited by ACRE.  Why does an ACRE need to be accredited by another organization? Each of us,  can be certified or accredited by our larger and our own organization when one of our members finishes the process to become accredited by ACRE (you insert the name).

Lester - I'm thinking out loud here... but you may be onto something... IF we rename ACRE to be "Association of..." and THEN "accredit" our graduates, that might work. Hmmmmmmmmm....

Of course, that raises the issue mentioned earlier that it might seem a bit self-serving and cheesy to market an accreditation that was created entirely by the organization that is accrediting (sp?) it.

 

Jennifer, cheesy or not isn't that what other associations do including the NAR.

I'm with Lester on the substitution of the "A" word and maintaining the ACRE designation through any re-branding process. The tagline you used in the new logo can only be temporary at best and, once removed or revised, would be subsequent to the removal (retirement) of the old logo. I'm okay with losing the old logo, but don't want to see the loss of any established credibility so many of us have worked so hard to secure. I'm all for reinvigorization of the the brand, but despise the total rebranding process. I've been through it too many times and can be very difficult and potentially detrimental to many folks with real estate in such a fragile state. We are walking on eggshells here. Please don't be hasty.

This page contains a single entry by Jennifer Allan published on January 4, 2012 4:22 PM.

A Day at the Beach - with Jennifer & Merv was the previous entry in this blog.

New ACRE/TCP Website Cometh... is the next entry in this blog.

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