Century 21 Canada’s rebranding is intended to support the company’s new mission to “defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary consumer experiences”. The company says the rebranding campaign targets complacency and inspires consumers to demand more. It is also appealing to a younger generation.
The changes were launched in early March in the United States.
Martin Charlwood, vice chairman and CEO of Century 21 Canada, says a soft market launch in Canada took place in May, followed by a celebration with its franchisees at its national conference at the end of September in Winnipeg. The official market launch in Canada takes place during the first week of October.
“When a company has such a wide scale of a global footprint, it takes time for what’s first instituted in the head office to then cascade into other markets,” he says. “We’re excited about what’s happening down in the U.S. They’re launching it first down there and we will be implementing it in Canada and then it will cascade through other parts of the world.
“It is our plan to get a complete conversion to the new brand by December 2020,” says Charlwood. “When you have a bunch of fantastically excited franchisees, some will adopt earlier. Some will take a little while and it takes a little bit of resource.”
He says the new brand identity inserts Century 21 into the conversation for younger and new brokers who previously had not considered it as an option. “That’s what we’re most excited about,” he says.
Charlwood says real estate seems to be the side hobby for many Canadians. “It’s really a national passion, it seems like. We’ve been part of the residential real estate fabric in Canada for over 40 years now,” he says.
Century 21 Canada was a pioneer of real estate franchising in Canada in 1976. The first office opened its doors in British Columbia in February 1976. It is owned and operated by the Charlwood Pacific Group and spans nearly 400 offices from coast to coast. The Canadian operation was the first international franchise outside the U.S.
In Canada, the company has about 10,000 “system members,” which includes real estate professionals and administration staff.
Charlwood says there have only been three evolutions of the logo since the company was first founded 47 years ago in the United States. A few years ago, there was a minor adaptation to the house that was part of the original logo and to the colour scheme.
“This is the first time they’ve done a real re-working of the brand identity in the history of the company because it’s substantially different. What we like to say is they kind of tore the old house down to the studs and they’ve re-built it,” he says.
“The idea is to make sure that the market understands that Century 21 is adapting with the times and is actually leading by example. Our goal is to defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary experiences. That’s kind of the new mantra. And we want to challenge the status quo. The point here is we want to make sure that we keep up with the times and the new brand identity we believe provides a clean and clear stage for the agents to present their personality with the backing of the global brand. It’s a stylish and sleek, modern makeover of the original.”
The rebranding involves a complete overhaul of one of real estate’s most recognizable icons. The company says the new brand was developed around the disconnect between the investment people make in buying or selling a home and the perceived value they receive from finding the right real estate agent who fits their needs.
“This is just the beginning of the bold ambitions we have for challenging existing conventions in real estate relationships and to progress the industry in ways that favour the consumer yet directly help our agents and brokers break through the clutter and noise and win in the markets they operate in,” says Cara Whitley, chief marketing officer, Century 21 Real Estate in the U.S., in a statement.
Century 21 says the new logo features a refreshed colour palette that stays true to its iconic gold-and-black scheme, while also embracing new graphics.
By introducing the new brand identity with this Century 21 seal it’s bringing the organization into the forefront of the conversation, Charlwood says.
“We’ve had overwhelming positive response from our system members in Canada about the new brand identity and they’re telling us they can’t wait to get their hands on it. So, there’s people chomping at the bit who are excited about that,” he says.
“We’re pleased that it is attracting a younger demographic to the brand. That’s really important and one of the challenges we have in the real estate industry across North America…the average age of a Realtor is 57-years-old and it’s incumbent upon the real estate industry brokers to try and bring younger people into the industry. And this is a key part of the objective of Century 21 by re-defining the look and feel of the brand and making it more appealing to the younger generation. It encourages them to engage with the organization.”
Charlwood says that if you look at the history of many venerable brands, they all go through a similar type of evolution in keeping up with the times, but at the same time staying true to their original proposition.