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Rebranding Must Serve a Larger Mission

March 02, 2018 | John Salustri

Rebranding Must Serve a Larger Mission

IREM 2018/19 President Don Wilkerson takes a look at the mission of rebranding in his February column for NREI ( In it, he points out that new logos and reworked corporate names are springing up nationally as marketers and decision-makers attempt to dress their companies or organizations in a new and more modern style. He cites a recent article in Forbes that called the new emphasis on corporate brand a nod to “the increasingly transparent and accessible world driven by social media.”

“In all cases of rebranding,” he writes, “there is a menu of three elements that go into the process, and organizations choosing to update their image can go for any or all of the choices. Let’s take them one by one.”

Name changes are the most obvious, the column observes. Wilkerson points to vehicle-maker Datsun, which 30 years ago changed its small-car brand to Nissan to unify its identity. “Even Google began life as BackRub (as in: ‘Let’s BackRub this’),” he says. “Most recently, Coach—the handbag maker—announced its new name: Tapestry, a nod to its diversifying acquisitions.”

A second element of rebranding is an upgraded logo to reflect a new and forward-facing mindset, Wilkerson states, pointing to both new and old-line companies that have made that statement, including Apple Music, Converse, YouTube, Google and Audi. “The thinking,” he writes, “is that a new logo creates excitement, freshness and, in the case of the above, increased sales.

“But the logo is also an important statement of relevance,” he continues. “So it is not surprising that rebranding is a game any organization can play. Associations in all industries are getting into the act as well, with modernized logos if not all-out name changes to reflect a focus on a new—and, yes, younger—audience. For instance, the Consumer Electronics Association, a name that calls to mind palm pilots and desktop computers as big as suitcases, has now become the jazzier Consumer Technology Association, a subtle but important differentiation.”

Closer to home, Wilkerson points out that SIOR in 2016 unveiled a new logo, calling it “a commitment to the future.” A new website, research offerings and greater digital support for its members were all part of that commitment. “This year, the Institute of Real Estate Management is joining that chorus,” he says.

Promising to elaborate on that, he first points out the above-mentioned commitment to the future. “Therein lies the most important element of a rebranding initiative,” he explains. “The effort is nothing more than window dressing if there is no mission to propel it forward, no commitment to realign corporate strategies and methods of operation that put into action a new organizational mindset.”

He says examples are evident in the multifamily, office and retail properties we serve. “These properties are being rebranded in large part to remain competitive in a rapidly shifting marketplace populated increasingly by a clientele with a new suite of needs.”

For instance, the column continues, “multifamily assets are offering ample room for socializing, full-access wi-fi or 24/7 package pickup; office settings offer concierge services to relieve employees of mundane and distracting personal chores that can range from dry cleaning to car maintenance. Such spaces also provide work environments that accommodate with equal ease socialization, collaboration and heads-down activities.”

Retail too is rebranding to remain relevant and keep abreast of competition, he observes, listing such innovations in customer experience as highly customizable special promotions to instore services such as magic mirrors and remote checkout.

“Much like SIOR, IREM is living this new direction,” says Wilkerson. “This year marks the introduction of a new suite of services and a new focus on attracting the best and brightest among the new entrants to the industry. And while our name remains the same, reflecting the groundwork laid over the past 85 years, we have fashioned a new logo that heralds the importance of what lies ahead.

“For IREM, the logo was the culmination of a nearly year-long intentional process that began with in-depth conversations with key stakeholders. We listened when they shared their excitement for unconventional and edgy ways to increase appeal of a career in property management with IREM there to guide them. The new logo is a contemporary visual depiction of IREM as a champion of the property management professional--from college students to industry veterans across both commercial and residential portfolios. When combined with the other elements of IREM’s rebranding, it demonstrates a bold, revitalized commitment to and passion for good management.

“Rebranding, properly executed, is much more than a flashy design or a catchy name,” he concludes. “It is a serious reflection and response to changing market dynamics. There is no company or organization within the commercial real estate space that is not faced with the challenges of those shifting dynamics. The key to their ongoing vitality, the key to their success, lies in their response.”

Complete Article- Rebranding Must Serve a Larger Mission

About the Author

John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, Inc., a consultancy focused on enhancing the web and print content of clients around the nation. He is a regular contributor to JPM Magazine and a frequent blogger for IREM’s website. Prior to launching SCS, John was founding editor of, the industry’s premier real estate news website, where he managed the daily output of 25 international reporters, and prior to that, he was editor of Real Estate Forum Magazine. John is a four-time winner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ Award for Excellence in Journalism.

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