Connect SF08 – New real estate franchise launches at Connect

As a testament to the status of Connect and the positioning of the new franchise – Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate opened for business on the 23rd July.

This is a very interesting development and a mirror of one of the many components of Stefan Swanepoel’s Trends presentation (specifically the concept of licensing for real estate). BH&G Real Estate apparently has existed before, but exited the market over a decade ago.

The greatest benefit this new franchise will bring to the market is clearly the synergy with the off line magazine and the rich content integration that it offers. This will not be the first as Frontdoor.com launched last year – not as a franchise but as a web portal. Their ownership by Homes and Garden TV again provides this content integration whereby the real estate transaction process can fall seamlessly into long term association with the consumer that involves designing, building, remodelling, decorating and then naturally buying and selling.

We have been working to build a similar integration over the past few months with Trends Publishing – this is evolving into richer content within our Ideas section of the website.

To launch a whole new franchise right in the middle of the downturn is I think a statement of confidence by the parent company who have bought the license to use the name – Realogy who as the largest group franchisor also own Century 21 and Coldwell Banker. They clearly see the need to keep reinvesting in their business. They also see the value of collaboration between these competing franchises within their portfolio as they share listings on each others website. The logic being the consumer will be more interested in searching a Century 21 website if instead of 200,000 listings it has over 400,000 due to the inclusion of Coldwell Banker listings (actual number of listings is an estimate). This approach provides BH&G with a massive start with their new website having this amount of content when in reality they only have around 1,500 agents and less than 4,000 listings (estimate).

Certainly a franchise model to watch for the future.

July 28 2008 01:27 am | News

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