A Successful Switch


Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes CEO David Cooper gives the scoop on a seamless brand transition.

Early last December, the former Prudential Kansas City Realty announced that it had joined the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchise network, following the announcement that Prudential Real Estate had been combined into the Berkshire Hathaway brand.

 Fallout could be expected: a total brand overhaul, replacing Prudential signs with Better Homes and Gardens signs and repositioning the brokerage in the market. But what actually happened was a seamless transition, as if overnight Prudential Kansas City Realty had simply morphed into Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes.

Credit the uneventful transition to a leadership team headed by President and CEO David Cooper and a long process of preparation advised by expert attorneys. Whether real estate or any other industry, the lessons learned by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes apply to any rebranding process. Here, Cooper identifies some of the most important lessons from his experience.

He also discusses findings from a survey commissioned by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. The survey assesses how 18-35 year old Americans, Gen X and Y, view home ownership now, and how that view has been affected by the housing downturn.

Q: Your contract with Prudential included an out-clause, which allowed you to pursue other options before the contract was up. How important was that out-clause?

A: We never thought the Prudential brand would go away. But it did. Without the out-clause, we would have had to stay the course with the contract, which had four years remaining.

Q: When drafting an out-clause, should it be general or specific?

A: Our out-clause was general. It said that in the event that Prudential sold, we had the right to look elsewhere. I think being specific could be more restrictive.

Q: With a brand as recognizable as Better Homes and Gardens, which has high national awareness rates, how do you capitalize on that awareness while maintaining a relationship with the local community?

A: Locally, the management and agents haven’t changed at all. We’re still locally owned and operated. We still provide the same service, but with a different look and tools. It has enhanced the agents’ service. The Better Homes and Gardens brand creates a new buzz for the agent and gives them another reason to go back to the client. Maybe a client just bought a year ago and isn’t really interested in buying again soon, but the agent can touch base. It’s just another opportunity for a touch.

Q: What were some of the greatest lessons you learned about rebranding during the transition process?

A: We had a lot of lead time to do research on the brand, so the launch was a very exciting, impactful time. The most important things we learned were doing our homework, reading the fine print in existing agreements and making sure the same fine print was in the new agreement, making sure we repeated the…

Read the rest of this Q&A with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Kansas City CEO David Cooper in the digital edition of KC Business.