More than ever, people are questioning the ways they live and work, which has given agents and their marketing managers an excellent opportunity to build consumer confidence and, ultimately, customer trust.
In conversation with REB, Raine & Horne Group’s national marketing manager Anjee Hopton explained the importance of building customer confidence, especially during times of uncertainty – such as what’s been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She began by stating that “when you build customer confidence, you can charge fair prices for your products and services”.
This remains true even if competitors are offering discounts or deals, with Ms Hopton explaining that “customer trust overrides price when it comes to doing business”.
“A study by Harvard Business School found that 60 per cent of consumers find themselves turning towards major brands that they are sure they can trust.”
She added that more than ever, people are questioning the way they live and work, and this has created plenty of uncertainty on a societal level.
Ms Hopton highlighted how any black swan events – whether it be a pandemic or a global financial crisis – do have an impact on the psyche of a community, and its individuals, and require brands to build trust with both their clients, and potential clients.
“In the case of real estate, which has traditionally been a business based on agent/client contact, lockdowns and social distancing measures have forced a change in the psyche of property owners and purchasers.”
From her experience, whether it is sales or property management, all marketing conversations now begin and end with COVID-19.
In some ways, it worked really well: “In 2020, discussions turned to the benefits of conducting online auctions and the steps involved.”
The success of virtual inspection tech and the purchasing of properties sight unseen was partly due to the dialogue that surrounded the advent of such initiatives, and means many of these tools and practices will be here to stay, even when we get back to normal.
In other aspects, agents weren’t so lucky; Ms Hopton conceded that recent COVID uncertainty did mean “many Australians who may have been thinking of listing their homes earlier in 2020 stayed put”.
Now, with the spread of infections somewhat under control, Ms Hopton said more vendors might now be rethinking their property plans, “especially with plenty of buyers set to pounce”.
In the national marketing manager’s own role, it meant working out a way to direct consumers to Raine & Horne agents “as their local property experts, who can help turn their speculation into knowledge and confidence”.
It’s why they developed a national marketing campaign focused on optimism, clarity, confidence and warmth.
Subsequently, “Turn curiosity into confidence” is the catch cry of Raine & Horne's 2020-21 spring/summer campaign, which uses “a range of warm images to reflect the enormous variety of markets we operate in”, Ms Hopton said.
“Utilising the psychology of colours, the gold of our brand represents optimism, clarity and warmth. We have woven golden overlays and details throughout our images, to reflect Raine & Horne as a beacon of confidence,” she explained.
A series of property-related questions was also used as a call to action, with the marketing manager considering these questions as “what consumers are already asking”.
“They know that with change, there’s an opportunity. So, through this campaign, we are directing consumers to our agents as their local property experts.”
According to Ms Hopton, the emphasis on building confidence has worked, so far: “The proof is in the pudding with the first 10 days of the campaign producing 500 genuine leads.”
The national marketing manager has previously warned real estate agents of the importance of engaging with digital marketing strategies, or risk being left behind.