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10 May 2010

There’s Something About Bags

Back in the fall of 2007, when the rebirth of the BHGRE brand was still a twinkle in our collective eye, I went to a new grocery store in Canada that was the first to sell reusable grocery bags made out of recycled material that happened to be green. An idea was born, and I had our marketing team source similar bags around the world.

When we launched the brand in July of 2008 at Real Estate Connect, our conference sponsorship included the conference bags which were green, branded and made out of recycled material.  They were a huge hit. We were very proud to see 1,000 people walking around the conference with our special bags in tow. That prompted us to sponsor a number of conferences and launch a series of bags, all complimentary but different, a collectors series… and our obsession with bags had begun.

We carried that obsession further and decided that with every growth announcement, each agent would receive a bag filled with branded goodies, our very own version of a swag bag. After much deliberation, we decided these bags would be heavy canvas, expensive and monogrammed with the BHGRE logo in green.  The bags were a huge hit. The brand had begun to grow, and we realized that people loved to carry our bags; there were lots of positive comments and many requests for bags.

As we prepared our budget for 2010 and projected our growth, it became apparent that we had to scale back on the bags. Given the pace we expected to grow, the bags for every new agent would cost close to a million dollars! We began to look for alternatives. We found bags that looked really good and were less expensive, and surprise… everyone loved them. In fact, agents that had received more expensive bags started asking for the less expensive ones. Go figure.

You might be wondering why a brand CEO is so concerned about bags. Well, there is a lesson I want to share, and no, the lesson isn’t about cost versus value. The lesson is about taking time to pay attention the details. People notice the smallest of details. It is often the smallest detail that impresses the most.

It’s that attention to detail in the early days of a relationship that instinctively prompts your customer to feel they have made the right decision. And that is a great foundation for a successful long term partnership.

5 thoughts on “There’s Something About Bags

  1. Sherry, Interesting post, yet another take away is the Pride the agents have in the bag. The desire they have to carry the bag, or flag of the brand, to and from their daily endeavors. A study was done at major colleges and they found that students were more disposed to wear "University Branded" clothing on the Monday following a win by the football team. After the win 70% of the student body wore log apparel, after a loss 30%. Sounds like you have a winning team.

  2. Hi Sherry, Just wanted you to know that as a recipient of one of the heavier canvas bags, it has become my new briefcase. I have received many bags over time from conferences or I have bought and this is continually my go to bag. It is also a very subtle way to share what I do without always having to announce it. Our office is now in the process of working with a vendor to create a nice but less expensive canvas bag that we can fill with goodies to give to our clients at closings so that they too can share the brand in a very "green" way.

  3. Robert, Lisa, thanks for sharing your thoughts! II have taken to branding myself in different ways, my current favorite is a branded iPhone cover, coveted by many. I always carry a few extras with me to hand out to strangers who ask for one. Another easy way to extend the reach of a brand that seems to be noticed and loved by many.

  4. I am planning on handing out bags at our local 4th of July parade. I have found that the kids love them for collecting all the treats and candy thrown out at the parade and then the parents us them for groceries later on.

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