At ERA Real Estate's international business conference in Nashville this week, CEO Charlie Young said that the ERA franchise is launching a new brand strategy this spring that seeks to connect with today's savvy real estate buyers and sellers.

The new brand, which uses the tag line A Smarter Community, will be launched with to the public in April and will roll out additional programs and promotions in the coming months, Young says.

There's been a systemic shift in how consumers purchase real estate, says Anne Bluemenstein, ERA's director of marketing. They're always connected, and they have multiple online sources of information.

As a result, consumers aren't looking to their real estate professional for the raw data, which they can find on their own. Rather, they want to connect with real estate salespeople on an emotional level, says Greg Buchanana, a 29-year-old broker with ERA Woods Group in Lexington, Ky. He connects with a personal brochure that describes his wife family and a video of his 2 ½ year old son promoting ERA.

Today's tumultuous market may seem an odd time to launch a rebrand, but this is a great time to differentiate ourselves to consumers and make huge gains in market share, says Mark Warren, who heads ERA Real Estate Professional in Jackson, Miss.

Now's the time to change the game and focus on growth, Young says.

A Collaborative Effort

Young also said the company continues to embrace its culture of collaboration, in which brokers are urged to share their wisdom with each other. It gives us a collective arsenal of best practices that translates into a competitive advantage, Young says.

Steve Fischer, CRB, CRS®, broker of ERA Kelly & Fischer, Savannah, Ga., describes how he'd called up a fellow ERA broker and complimented his Web site. He sent me the entire site, which had costs him thousands to develop, he says.

ERA supports broker collaboration with weekly mastermind broker calls and regular Webinars with industry experts, says Gus Grizzard, CCIM, of ERA Tom Grizzard REALTORS® in Leesburg, Fla.