Engel & Völkers’ luxury agents poured into Miami this week for the company’s 10th annual conference, where Americas CEO Anthony Hitt revealed the brokerage’s “Refined” brand refresh.
In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.
The city of Miami was chock-full of luxury real estate agents and brokers this week as Engel & Völkers real estate advisers poured into town for the brokerage’s 10th annual conference, EVX, which took place Sunday through Tuesday.
Referring to the conference’s acronym, Engel & Völkers Americas CEO Anthony Hitt said, “a lot of people think the ‘X’ stands for ‘exchange’ because that’s what this [conference] used to be called. A lot think it’s for ‘experience’ because this is the EV experience. I think it’s for ‘extreme’ because when you people get together, this is extreme!”
To back this claim, Hitt pointed to “rumors” that he and Engel & Völkers CEO Sven Odia had danced on tables in years gone by. Fortunately, he joked, any photographic evidence of such festivities had been destroyed.
Approximately 1,500 attendees gathered at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel to hear about the brokerage’s new initiatives to elevate the brand and hear from expert Engel & Völkers advisers about tips for succeeding in today’s market.
Hitt noted that the brokerage’s core ideologies of competence, exclusivity and passion, as well as its relationships, had helped it thrive through the years as other brands came and went.
“What’s interesting about this brand is we are a brand that is stable, we’re secure,” Hitt said. “Maybe we don’t move as fast … but it works.”
Although Engel & Völkers only had its second-best year in 2022 amid a market hit hard by higher interest rates and a topsy-turvy stock market, Hitt noted that the company’s advisers are feeling optimistic, based on a recent sentiment survey the brokerage conducted.
“You all were saying that the last 30 days, you were feeling more positive than [you have] in a long, long time,” Hitt said. “Generally we seem to have a relatively positive outlook about where we are and where things have been.”
Hitt also used his opener at EVX to announce the brokerage’s brand refresh, “Refined.”
After about two years in development, the refresh — not to be confused with a rebrand — will elevate the Engel & Völkers brand identity with a new, proprietary font that increases white space surrounding letters, an expanded color palette, an updated Engel & Völkers villa graphic that features the motto “Dum Spiro Spero,” which translates to “While I breathe, I hope” and complementary network assets.
Senior Vice President of Marketing in the Americas Katelyn Castellano, Senior Vice President of Brand for the Americas Jill DeSilva and Head of Brand Management Lara Maier also later shared more details on the Refined real estate adviser profiles which will be more streamlined and better optimized for SEO.
In the spirit of Engel & Völkers Refined, Hitt also said that he’s focusing more in 2023 on eliminating unnecessary things in his life and business and focusing on helping the brand move forward, including getting back to the basics and focusing on facts, not sensationalism.
“Focus on being happy, focus on yourself, focus on your health — nothing else really matters if you don’t do that,” Hitt said, adding, “Can we all agree right now to have open minds but also know when to close them?”
As Odia joined Hitt onstage, the two reminisced about the early days of Engel & Völkers Americas [they actually first met in Florida], and also postured a bit on what may lie ahead for the company’s near-term future.
“When it comes to the people here in this room, I have all the confidence in the world,” Hitt said.
His simple advice for Americas’ advisers in 2023 is to “keep your head down, refocus, reconnect, refine, relax a little bit and just do it.”
In the next five years, the brand will “keep going straight up,” Hitt said. That’s why I love this brand … We’ve always had a sustainable growth strategy.”
To close the introductory session, Hitt presented a $309.7K check to the Special Olympics, the charitable sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, which Engel & Völkers has supported since 2015.
The conference was scheduled to continue through the end of Tuesday with a number of panels and keynotes designed to provide Engel & Völkers advisers with advice and inspiration for their businesses.