Can legacy firms adapt to a new age?

This past month, residential real estate mogul and reality TV star, Ryan Serhant debated Douglas Elliman’s CEO Scott Durkin and Brown Harris Stevens’ CEO Bess Freedman at a major industry conference.

Both Brown Harris Stevens and Douglas Elliman are legacy firms. Each more than 100 years old, they’re considered residential legends. On the other side, Ryan Serhant started his firm, SERHANT., only this year and is making his mark on the industry with only a reality TV show and a modeling career under his belt.

Despite contrasting levels of experience, the issue comes down to this: can legacy firms survive as new companies rise up with their better branding, new technologies and fresh perspectives?

With Millennials and Gen Z-ers taking over their family firms and starting new businesses, the institutional assets of the legacy companies — such as their infrastructure and their knowledge base — seem to be declining in importance. 

When it comes down to it, the core of real estate is relationships. It does not  matter whether that relationship is generational or whether it’s being built through an Instagram DM. As a commercial real estate brand, you’ll be profitable if you are finding ways to foster relationships and evolve.

Whether you’re a veteran or a rookie, success comes from fostering relationships in unique and innovative ways. To foster relationships in our industry, you need to:

  1. Connect and interact with your clients and leads via an omnichannel marketing strategy (e.g., email marketing, Instagram, LinkedIn, paid ads) 
  2. Be a thought leader by providing the insight and knowledge needed for your clients to thrive in the ever changing market. 
  3. Find ways to constantly evolve your brand by working with a marketing agency to come up with innovative growth strategies.

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