The Real Deal New York

Elliman marketing chief Nicole Oge leaves firm after two-year branding blitz

Exec oversaw major marketing overhaul at NYC's largest resi firm

May 19, 2016 07:34PM
By Katherine Clarke

Howard Lorber (credit: Richard Lewin) and Nicole Oge

Howard Lorber (credit: Richard Lewin) and Nicole Oge

Nicole Oge, who spearheaded Douglas Elliman’s all-out marketing blitz and quickly became one of the most influential voices at the city’s largest residential brokerage, has left the firm. The circumstances surrounding her departure remain unclear.

“Nicole Oge has resigned, effective immediately, to pursue other endeavors, including an initial focus on her long-time passion for philanthropy,” said a spokesperson for Elliman. “Nicole was a talented and creative force at the firm and we wish her success.”

Oge joined Elliman from Town Residential in 2014, taking over some of the duties formerly performed by Camilla Papale, who left the prior year. Her mandate, however, became far more ambitious than her predecessor’s thanks to Elliman’s big marketing push as it expanded into other markets, including Aspen and Los Angeles.

She was behind an effort to transform Elliman into a lifestyle brand: During her tenure, she oversaw the publication of glossy magazines with articles penned by Vanity Fair writers, sponsored see-and-be-seen events and partnered with Knight Frank, a global property consultancy.

Lorber threw the full weight of Elliman parent Vector Group behind Oge, spending tens of millions of dollars on her marketing initiatives.

“Our marketing budget has gone up substantially and that was also done to support our new development group and also our new markets we have opened in L.A. and Aspen,” Lorber said during Vector’s fourth-quarter earnings, explaining a drop in EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortization). “We invested for future substantial growth.”

More recently, there have been signs that the company was pulling back. On Thursday, The Real Deal reported that the firm was shuttering “Elevate,” the magazine Oge launched at Art Basel in December 2014.

Oge told TRD in January that rebranding Elliman was not an easy task.

“In hindsight, it was easier to build something from scratch,” she said, referring to Town Residential, which launched the year before she came on. “It’s like new construction. You can do it quickly and build what you want. An older company like Douglas Elliman is more like the Plaza. It’s historic, it’s irreplaceable, but it comes with a lot of history and a certain way of doing things.”

At Town, where she worked between 2011 and 2014, Oge helped establish the firm’s upscale vibe and was behind the much-acclaimed “Look up” campaign, which encouraged New Yorkers to notice the city around them.

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