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Love everywhere.

How this innovator in real estate got clear on its brand and amplified its people to expand into new markets and land a successful acquisition.

It’s all about love. 

The right home, in the right neighborhood, is a match made in heaven. Like Alicia Keys and New York. Monk and San Francisco. Ferris Bueller and Chicago… @properties is the matchmaker extraordinaire: connecting buyers, sellers and agents in the communities they will cherish for years to come.

Born in Chicago out of the minds of dynamic duo Mike Golden and Thad Wong, @properties was founded from tremendous personal sales success, a longstanding friendship, shared philosophies, and a mutual vision for the future of Chicago Real Estate. But @properties didn’t become #1 in Chicago and #10 in the nation just through hard work. It was a genuine love for the cities and unique neighborhoods the company serves—and the desire to expand its mission of helping people build better lives and increase happiness.

With a culture of innovation, collaboration and success at its heartbeat, @properties has reinvented real estate across the board: process, people and experience. Their proprietary pl@tform™ technology—the industry’s premier suite of end-to-end technology applications—provides tools and resources that revolutionize the process of buying and selling for its 3,000 agents and their clients.

So when @properties came to SimplyBe. in late 2020, they were already one of the nation’s fastest growing real estate brokerages and were recognizable in key cities by their signature Love marketing campaigns. The company had invested in design from the start, but with such fast growth, the messages had started to feel fractured and there wasn’t a clear strategy to move forward. With plans to franchise into new cities, @properties knew they needed to not only unify their messaging, but ellevate the voices of their organization to make an impact in new markets. 

They also understood their reality, being in the real estate industry, that the company’s success was reliant on their brokers’ success, and @properties had a vested interest in investing in their people. 

As we began our work, our objective was clear—to support @properties in becoming a nationally recognized real estate firm through a robust franchise strategy supported by an overarching brand identity and cohesive marketing rollout that supports its growing agent base.

Enter: SimplyBe.’s Personal Brand Elevation Program.

@properties needed more than corporate branding. They needed to activate the humanity inside of the company. SimplyBe.’s Elevation Program was perfect for their needs because it is a holistic enterprise solution, solidifying their reputation in the market through a top-down, bottom-up approach.

We worked with @properties executive team to create:

  • updated messaging for the company
  • individualized branding and strategy for key executives inside the organization
  • custom-tailored workshops for the larger organization
  • an ongoing content hub to arm their agents with the tools to amplify the @properties message far and wide

Through this work, @properties increased broker retention and satisfaction, increased brand awareness, and aligned executive leadership to marketing initiatives, ultimately leading to an acquisition of Christie’s International Real Estate a year later in December 2021.

Step 1. Refresh the company’s messaging and goals.

@properties has always understood the importance of branding and came to SimplyBe. with a defined logo and successful campaigns.

@properties - Client Story - Logo and Campaigns

With such fast growth, their marketing efforts had become fragmented and saturated. SimplyBe. began our engagement by working with its key leadership and marketing team to craft a crystal clear message and strategy. 

Through brand discovery, audience and competitive analysis, and strategic planning, SimplyBe. built a strategy the marketing team was then able to execute, and that would serve as the foundation for the rest of SimplyBe.’s work.

Step 2. A company is only as strong as its leaders.

SimplyBe. worked with @properties to identify key executives to elevate as part of its greater marketing strategy. We continued our engagement by doing a Thought Leader Program for its cofounder and co-CEO, Thad Wong.

Thad Wong has always been a key face, both externally and internally, of @properties. He has never been interested in having a public image for the sake of it, always focused on the company’s goals. With that in mind, SimplyBe. proceeded with a Thought Leader Program for Thad, grounded in @properties’ objective.

We knew that if we were going to help Thad stand out in a hyper-competitive real estate industry, he needed a crystal clear brand message and a bespoke content, PR, and social media strategy, so we built and executed a custom brand strategy for Thad, focusing primarily on garnering strategic press. We created Thad’s comprehensive brand identity, visual brand and a strategy driven by original video content and a consistent and active presence on both Linkedin and Instagram. We then utilized his various original content to pitch him to strategic media opportunities to amplify his thought leadership and further the objectives and footprint of @properties as a national brand.

@properties - Client Story - Thad Wong's Personal Brand

Our work together allowed Thad to scale his message without compromising his concern of polishing his platform as an act of vanity or celebrity. We placed Thad on the cover of 1851 Franchise Magazine and landed him a feature in the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune story specifically had over 300 social shares and an ad value of $6.3K. Thad’s network of influence on LinkedIn has also grown by 112K since our work began. He is averaging 43 more likes per post and 100 more comments per post than before implementing our Linkedin strategy.

@properties - Client Story - Thad Wong Features

Step 3. Activate other influential voices inside of the organization.

Once Thad’s brand strategy was being executed against, we strategically selected two other individuals inside the organization to bring to the market—Amy Corr, Executive VP, Culture & Development Agent, and Kevin Van Eck, EVP of Innovation & Education. Because, after all, if you only invest in top leadership, the buck stops with them. You must also invest in other leadership to maximize on the voices and continue the company’s legacy.

During quarantine, Amy and Kevin had started an internally-facing “talk show” called Coffee with Amy and Kevin. The show started as a way to keep @properties agent morale up during the COVID-19 lockdown and it quickly took on a life of its own. As @properties continued to grow, Coffee with Amy and Kevin became the integral link to maintaining the company’s inherent humanity. With @properties’ brand of “love everywhere,” coffee is the means by which it’s truly felt everywhere, both in and outside of the office.

Make an impact with your organization through a custom personal branding solution.

Through SimplyBe.’s Thought Leader Program, we crafted a unique brand identity for Amy and Kevin and executed a custom strategy inclusive of a newsletter to better distribute their video content and an active Instagram strategy to bring their message to market. We also assisted in bringing their visual brand to life through custom set design for their show.

In less than six months, they had a strategic plan to expand their talk show and had organically grown their engagement on Instagram (their primary channel) by over 400%.

@properties - Client Story -Instagram & Talk Show Engagement

Step 4. Empower your people and your organization will soar.

Once the company’s brand strategy was defined and key leadership was speaking on behalf of it in their unique ways, it was time to bring the rest of the organization into the fold. @properties was faced with the question: how do we motivate our thousands of agents to want to speak on behalf of @properties? We knew if we were able to answer this question effectively, both agent retention and brand awareness would increase.

We worked with @properties’ marketing team to understand what tools we had at our disposal and learned they had a proprietary tool in which they could empower their agents with marketing materials to amplify the @properties brand. However, there wasn’t yet any strategy behind their communication or assets. The marketing department was spending time creating assets that no one seemed to utilize.

SimplyBe. suggested and implemented a custom workshop and content hub strategy.

@properties - Client Story - Social Workshops

Over the course of six months, SimplyBe. presented workshops on today’s most relevant social media channels—Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok—to their entire agent base. In conjunction, SimplyBe. created monthly campaigns and respective posts per platform for @properties’ internal content hub for agents. 

This two-pronged approach increased engagement and motivation because the content they were given to share was paired with education on how to do so strategically and authentically. Hundreds of agents registered for and attended each workshop and content was created by agents as direct results of the workshops.

@properties - Client Story - Everyday Kindness

Your organization’s legacy depends on its people.

In large organizations, messages can easily become fragmented. It’s also true that without aligning its people, the organization will not withstand the test of time.

@properties started by aligning leadership to a shared vision, then brought in everyone else to the fold. This holistic approach increased market share and employee satisfaction. With a people-first approach, your organization will not only survive, but thrive.

@properties is spreading their signature quirk across the country by rolling out franchises in an increasing number of new markets—disrupting the daunting process of home buying and selling with their authentic and warm approach to matching a property with its people. @properties understands home is where the heart is, and is creating a truly human experience finding, and sharing, love everywhere.

Let’s create a custom personal branding solution for your organization.

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