“When you intersect a lot of curiosity, passion and drive, you can come up with something truly incredible. Maybe some people define that as genius.”
Austin Russell, Founder of Luminar
How would you describe yourself; conservative or unconventional? Are you a traditionalist, or an innovator?
When we launched AshdownJones, we needed to decide where we would position ourselves. After all, there are several traditional estate agents in our area, all long-established. What would make us different? And would it be the kind of different our perfect clients would want in an estate agent?
So we looked at brands we admired, like Airbnb, Apple, Uber and Innocent Drinks, and compared those with brands that have failed, like Kodak, Blockbusters and Woolworths. What were the differences? What made one brand a huge success, whilst others disappeared without trace?
We realised it’s because the best brands stand for something.
As a new estate agency, wanting to do things differently, what could we stand for? We brainstormed this question time and again over several weeks, and it turns out there is a lot we do stand for. I’ll explain:
Start With Why
If you aren’t familiar with this book by Simon Sinek, it’s a great read, even if you don’t own a business.
In it, Sinek tells us to start with our ‘why’. So we did.
And we decided our ‘why’ is:
“to help people enjoy the experience of moving home.”
After all, moving home often is not a great experience; we know we can change that.
Then Sinek moves onto the ‘how’. This is what we came up with:
“by creating bold, beautiful and bespoke marketing for their home.”
Our photography and brochures are truly exceptional; we are very proud of them, and our clients love and treasure theirs.
Finally, we needed to define our ‘what’. What do we actually do?
“We are a customer experience company that sells houses.”
So that works like this:
“We are a customer experience company, dedicated to helping people enjoy the experience of moving home, by creating bold, beautiful and bespoke marketing.”
During this process of really drilling down into what we stand for, we looked at the famous Steve Jobs advert from his Think Different advert in 1997:
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do
We have a dream.
A dream where photographs of a home will always be beautiful, created lovingly by talented artists who care how the home will look in a final image, because every image will be a work of art.
Better is not enough.
We don’t think just being ‘better’ is enough. After all, better than mediocre can only be good, at best.
We offer something completely different, but only to those clients who think it’s important for their estate agent to be different.
In the same way as a Mac is not ‘better’ than a Dell – it’s an entirely different proposition. And our clients – our true fans – love us for that difference.
We asked the hard questions
Why is the standard of property photography so mediocre?
Why do estate agents describe properties in that lacklustre way? (‘comprises of’, ‘benefiting from’, ‘dual aspect’)
Why do for sale boards only advertise the agent, and not the house?
Why can’t property details be as beautiful as say, a Tiffany brochure? Or that of Mercedes?
So we decided to take a stand against how it’s always been, and hold ourselves accountable to be something completely new. Because what we are against is just as important as what we stand for:
We are anti-bland, anti-boring, anti-mediocre. And anti-‘stick-it-on-Rightmove’.
We are anti-standard, anti-traditionalist, anti-conventional. We eschew unflattering photography, lacklustre written descriptions and uninspiring Rightmove adverts with auto-generated ‘property details’.
We reject fixed opening times, ‘company policy’ excuses and limited viewing slots. We shun complacency, automation and stand-offishness.
We are not all things to all people; we specialise in the unique home.
We are a client experience agency.
We deliver a truly emotional service: strong, exciting, distinct, and authentic. Our clients will be clear about who we are and why we do what we do.
We will create a new criteria for choosing an estate agent. One that is simpler and different from the norm.
We want to be their ‘moving PA’, their mentor and guide, and even their friend.
We are obsessed by property marketing.
Our marketing is bold. It’s beautiful. And it’s bespoke.
Just like the best homes.
Our brochure is hand-crafted around our client, their home, their lifestyle.
We know that we make the biggest decisions in our lives with our heart, but it has to make sense logically too. And when you’re selling your home, that’s also a financial decision. Which is why we’re delighted to be able to prove that…
Bespoke marketing sells unique homes faster, and for more.
What are we really selling?
Trust that we will do as we promise we will
Reassurance that we have successfully sold homes like theirs before
Belief that we will do absolutely anything and everything it takes to sell their home
Understanding that selling their home is a joint effort – a collaboration, a team target
Hope that they will sell quickly and be able to move onto the next exciting chapter of their life
Surprise that they will actually enjoy the experience, including all the ups and downs they may face along the way, knowing that we will be their side at every step
Certainty that no matter the outcome, we have done absolutely everything we could possibly do to make their plans a reality.
So let’s shake things up. Let’s get a bit obsessed, take some risks, disrupt the status quo. Because if like us, you’re crazy enough to think you can change the industry, you may just be right.
If you’d like to know how you can work with me to take your agency to a whole new level, tell me a bit about your business here and if I think I can help, I’ll be in touch. https://samashdown.wufoo.eu/forms/apply-to-work-with-sam/
What to read next: Brand communication for estate agents
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