Talking Shop: Rebecca Rose, Co-Founder and CEO of STUDEOHQ

A skilled strategist and out-of-the-box thinker, Rebecca Rose seeks out, acquires, invents, reapplies, and implements awesome digital solutions to difficult business problems.

She has worked over 17 years in a range of industries, and has led the design and development of digital solutions that grow product lines, as well as generate new streams of revenue.

A visionary, a leader and a team player, Rebecca loves being the catalyst for growth and change.

Enter STUDEO HQ, which she co-founded in 2014 and serves as CEO.

Voted one of the top three emerging technology companies of 2015 by RESAAS — and winner of the 2014 Ignite Capital Prize — Studeo utilizes design, storytelling and interactivity to engage home buyers and sellers in a way never seen before in the industry.

Bringing marketing strategies from the consumer world into real estate, Studeo offers realtors and brokerages a way to stay relevant, increase market share and win more listings in this ever-changing fast-paced marketplace. We recently had the opportunity to talk a little shop with Rebecca, and boy was it eye-opening…

Can you share with your background in marketing with us, as well as what originally drew you to to real estate?

I came from the agency and brand strategy worlds. What excited me about real estate was that there was an opportunity to change the way the industry understood marketing. Storytelling and emotionally-driven content has for decades been widely known across many industries to build big business — these are basic concepts that anyone who studies or works in professional brand and strategic marketing already knows. Coca Cola didn’t become a multibillion dollar business because of its cola recipe. It achieved it because it learned to become a great storyteller.

So why create a company which provides marketing material for real estate agents?

Real estate deals and interacts with very emotional subject matter, way more relevant than sugar drinks — we’re talking major life changes and the largest purchase or sale any average individual will make in a lifetime — yet brokerages and agents tend to focus on the transaction rather than the human experience. And that misalignment is hurting the relationship between consumers and the real estate industry. Storytelling is the solution to changing that relationship. That’s why we created Studeo.

In your opinion, what are some key elements in the creation of a strong brand?

Brand is a set of meaningful ideas wrapped in a story that aligns to the needs and wants of a specific consumer group. Brand is action, represented by every interaction with the customer — everything that is communicated and everything of value that is delivered. People often think a great brand is a colour scheme or logo. Those are just visual representations of the story. If you don’t know who you are, what you stand for and what your story is, you have no brand and your logo won’t mean anything.

How would you say that applies to real estate?

In real estate, an agent’s brand is defined by the company they are associated with, the way they carry themselves, the public persona as seen in their marketing materials, their interactions with potential and current clients, the type of listings they generally work with and a variety of other factors. One of the joys we have had is seeing how Studeo is impacting that presentation and propelling agents forward. We are enjoying enabling that advancement.

Where do real estate agents often go wrong when creating marketing material?

The worst thing an agent can do is copy their competitor. When that happens, it is usually because the agent has not yet defined who they are. That process does not happen overnight and there are rarely shortcuts. Marketing a product or service is deeply personal and it must be authentic. Secondly, as agents look to differentiate themselves, it is important to avoid being self-centric or superficial. Instead, we all have to define how we add value to the buying and selling process and/or sharing valuable information that makes difference to a potential customer. Finally, agents must have a strategy before they engage in marketing

With regards to marketing, what are some important questions any agent should ask themselves?

Can you provide “the why” behind your marketing decisions? Is “the why” related to what consumers need and want? Are you encouraging the right behaviour in your customer base? How will you measure results? How will your business grow because of these decisions?

That kind of thing.

Are there any marketing trends or tendencies you’ve observed in recent years which particularly jump out?

We have seen a welcomed increase in how agents are embracing local lifestyle and neighbourhood specialization into their marketing mix. This a great way to reach active buyers and sellers — those who are operating quietly online for months before actually contacting an agent — or to simply generate value and awareness to others in the community.

Looking ahead, where do you see the real estate marketing industry going?

In the next five years, I think you will see a major consolidation of services: new types of real estate companies, automation and new kind of real estate consumer. The merging of culture and technology is changing the world as a whole and real estate, even though it tends to trail behind other industries, will be affected and change nonetheless. It will be especially felt once the Boomers leave the market and the new generations completely take over. It’s already started. The more this happens, the more critical storytelling and brand experiences will become in staying competitive, and being able to carve out your share of the market.