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What comes first: the agent or the brand?

By Grace Ormsby
10 March 2021 | 1 minute read
Peter Hutton

 

Do sellers list with brands or individual agents? A boutique agency’s CEO has weighed in.

In conversation with REB, the group CEO and principal of Brisbane’s Hutton & Hutton, Peter Hutton, has mused on the idea that it is too simplistic to consider an individual’s personal pull as the only factor attracting clients to list or sell their property with that business.

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Having reflected on the trend towards micro-branding, Mr Hutton has acknowledged that the groups behind the push to agents taking on their own agencies sometimes use the trope that sellers list “with the personality of the agent, not the brand”. 

While acknowledging that there is some truth in that, he argued “it’s not entirely true because they find comfort in a brand as well”.

“An example of that is Ray White,” he offered.

“Look how big it is and how successful it is, and they’ve got agents there who have got personal brands!”

Not only do those individual agents benefit from the reach of their own profile, but the CEO said “the people listing with them feel that they’re listing with a sizeable machine that is designed to produce an end result for the seller, and that is, get them buyers and get a contract and get their property sold for a good price. Thats why people list with Ray White.”

He considered the same to be true for his own agency, “on a smaller, much lower scale”.

“It’s a dual thing,” he stated.

“People list with us because they really like the agent. They feel they can work with that agent, they can trust them, but they also really like the brand. They feel that the brand is going to support them in achieving their goals.”

Saying that it is too simplistic to consider that it’s the agent and the agent alone that leads people to make decisions around their property, Mr Hutton posed the idea that if that was true, then big brands would simply cease to exist.

“We would all be just micro-agents working for ourselves, using backend somewhere.”

But “we all know that thats not going to happen”, Mr Hutton said.

Calling brands “a very powerful thing”, he pointed to some of the most recognisable names on the planet such as Gucci, Prada, Mercedes, Ferrari and Virgin, to name a few.

“They’re all brands. Those brands are driven by individual people, no doubt,” he commented, acknowledging that many of those brands are often helmed by an individual who also benefits from being high-profile — but even then, he considered it as “a combination of the two”.

“Let’s face it,” the CEO said. “Nobody would buy a Mercedes-Benz and pay the amount of money that they pay for a Mercedes-Benz if it didnt have that brand on it.”

He argued that no one would especially purchase a Mercedes-Benz if it was a no-name brand at that price point simply for the fact that they “really liked” the person selling that car.

“Youre buying it because of that brand,” Mr Hutton said.

“It says something about yourself as a purchaser and it gives you confidence in maybe doing the right thing.

“You align with the ethos of that brand or the brand promise.”

REB has previously reported on Mr Huttons observations around the increasing trend towards micro-branded agencies. You can read the story here.

What comes first: the agent or the brand?
Peter Hutton 2 reb
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