Realogy will be renamed Anywhere Real Estate, according to an announcement Thursday at a Realogy Investor Day event at its headquarters in New Jersey.
With the brand refresh comes a strategy to “reimagine the consumer experience at any point in the real estate transaction journey,” according to a statement. Realogy promises to invest in “improving and simplifying the home buying and selling experience for consumers who are demanding a more seamless, integrated transaction.”
“We will harness the power of our agent network, leading brands and our technology to create a better transaction experience for any consumer, anywhere,” Realogy CEO and President Ryan Schneider said.
Now approaching his fifth year as CEO, Schneider has returned the company to profitable growth and cleaned up the balance sheet. For Schneider’s next chapter, he’s spearheading a new name and strategy, though the details are sparse.
Schneider promises a new consumer driven plan going forward while preserving the company’s successful franchise business model, which, in good and flat housing markets, generates generous cash flow — a necessity as the economy sputters, stocks tank and the housing market faces fresh headwinds.
Name changes are a trend in company branding. Facebook was renamed Meta last year and earlier Google changed to Alphabet, a holding company and a better way of describing the search engines’ many ventures. In the case of Facebook, Meta describes its foray into the Metaverse. But the change also represents an exit from a slew of problems at Facebook, which has become a tainted brand.
In 2006, Realogy also ran from a spoiled brand, when it changed its name from Cendant. A year earlier, former Cendant vice-chairman Kirk Shelton was convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Realogy’s name change this time around suffered from none of the inflictions at Facebook or Cendant.
Instead, the awkward name Realogy — challenging to even pronounce — represented the company’s stodgy past.
The new name is bolder, giving a lift to the company that celebrates its many real estate brands. Which raises the question, will the new brand ever compete with Sothebys, Coldwell Banker, Century 21 or Better Homes & Gardens?
The company says no, but the details of the new strategy will fill in the blanks on that concern.
The work of an ad agency — in this case, the San Francisco-based design studio Hybrid Design — is all over the new name and logo, which has a lot going on, like the asterisk. Here is how the company explains the branding elements:
“The Anywhere mark is an eight-stroke asterisk, symbolic of depth, connectivity, and amplification, with the bottom vertical stroke falling away to lie horizontally as the foundation of a home. The two lower strokes form a pitched roof, the linear middle strokes form the horizon line and the upper three strokes form the arc of a sun rising above the home.”
For me, the name “Anywhere” is the most engaging element, connoting a bigger vision for the company. It pops, combining real estate with aspiration, meeting the branding test of simple, relevant, memorable, timeless and versatile.
The color coded “RE” at the end of “Anywhere” feels like an old-school real estate marketing gimmick, cute but unnecessary.
This may be where lawyers came in. Getting a service mark for such a generic term is tricky if not impossible.
Hence the other ornaments. The service mark bug sits behind the new name.
The color mix works well and does not compete with any of the real estate brands. But according to executives, the rebranding effort doesn’t stop at the name change and logo.
“This is not only a business and strategic transformation but also a culture change,” Tanya Reu-Narvaez, Realogy chief people officer, said in a statement. “Our talent strategy, led by our new purpose and positioning, enables us to engage employees anywhere in their career journey. Additionally, with our remote-first, hybrid company approach, many of our people can literally work from any place, offering employees the benefits of productivity gains, flexibility and choice.”
Get ready for the jury of real estate popular opinion (300,000 “Anywhere” Realtors across the globe). When Century 21 and Coldwell Banker rebranded, everyone became an expert on fonts, marks and color palettes overnight.
But this rebranding is less personal, because it doesn’t affect yard signs, business cards or agent and broker advertisements. Plus, any marketing rebellion will fizzle out quickly because people have more important things to work on right now.
Anywhere is a recharged company with a refreshing new name. Now we need more details about its new consumer strategy.