Hooptown Dreams: 5 Questions With Coldwell Banker CMO David Marine


Coldwell Banker Hooptown March Madness NCAA bracket

Coldwell Banker’s brand sweet spot lies between the emotions involved in finding and buying a home, and the rational side of what is most people’s biggest single lifetime investment. Now it’s leveraging March Madness to lean into the crux of that equation.

After a few years of focusing on the emotional side of that equation, with a long-running campaign exploring canine-human relationships as the center of home and hearth, the realtor is using a data-driven approach that highlights the science of picking out the right home—with a nod to the heart, via a kid’s love for basketball.

The brand’s new March Madness campaign strums emotional chords, featuring a Coldwell agent and a teen’s need for a basketball hoop for driveway practice shots a deal-breaker for accepting a home.

But the underlying campaign, which kicks off on Tuesday, has Coldwell Banker predicting winners of the March Madness NCAA men’s college basketball tournament in five brackets based on how each team’s hometown would perform as a “Hooptown.”

Using its proprietary algorithmic tool that Coldwell Banker harnesses for the benefit of its agents and customers, CBx, the bracket categories are: Most Expensive, Most Affordable, Easiest to Move To, Newest, and Best for Singles.

Coldwell Banker SVP of Marketing David Marine “The best hoops town for ‘Singles’ would be the one with the highest percentage of single adults in that college market,” David Marine, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker, told brandchannel. So, for instance, CBx came up with Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan, as Best Hooptown for Singles.

The other winners were:

  • Most Expensive Hooptown: Long Island University-Brooklyn, with the highest residential home-sales price based on 2017 data;
  • Most Affordble Hooptown: Norman, Okla., home of the University of Oklahoma;
  • Easiest Hooptown to Move To: Chicago, home of Loyola University, based on the most listings on the market as of February 13;
  • Newest Hooptown: Durham, N.C., home of Duke University, because it has the newest homes based on the average build-year as of 2017.

Marine shared more insights on this latest expression of the brand:

How does the new campaign relate to the evolution of the brand?

Our focus has been on the yin and yang and balancing of emotional and rational sides of home ownership. The significance for making the move is typically for lifestyle reasons. There’s a balance. We’ve had a lot of success over the last five or six years telling the emotional side, and our “Somebody To Love” commercial last year [featuring a man who adopted a dog] was the highest-rated real estate ad of all time. It also activated our network around this idea as well, such as hosting dog-adoption events.

How does ‘Hooptown’ fit in with this brand positioning?

The campaign is a perfect marriage of the emotional and rational sides. We connect with people every day and read the situation, and on the other side we have the opportunity, because this is the time of year, to talk about the rational side of home ownership. We’re using CBx to create products around how the NCAA tournament might fare if you used real estate to pick a winner in a variety of categories.

How might this work?

For example, Villanova will do very well as one of the more expensive markets to move to because it’s a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia. The market has an average price of around $940,000. Also, Miami and the University of Virginia will do well in that bracket. But you also get insight into college towns and ones that have the youngest homes, and those with the greatest inventory.

March Madness is mayhem for marketers and a branding overload for consumers. How do you stand out without being annoying?

This shines a light on the unique offering that Coldwell Banker has that no one else does, CBx. We create a proprietary algorithm that predicts where buyers will come from for a listing. We can walk in and say basedon the data our most likely buyer is going to come from one town over or the next town over. We’ve been using that data to then target in prospecting or social media, to locate that property outside the usual tier of where agents are just talking to neighbors.

And apart from it being March madness, does the timing of this campaign make sense from a customer perspecticve?

One reason we like to have a major push in the March time frame is that, while much of the Northeast U.S. is still blanketed with snow, this is when people think about the (real estate) market. Once school ends they’re ready to make that move.

We are always considerate about what we’re hearing from our networks. Listing inventories and being able to separate themselves in this kind of market, especially where our competitors are focusing on trying to get in on the business, it makes perfect sense for us to make a big play around this.

It’s also why I like our messaging around the “Hoops” campaign, focusing on technology and how people and our agents are an essential part of it. It’s core to our success and the longevity of our brand.

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