UPDATE, Feb. 19, 2019, 5:30 p.m.: Three months after being named CEO of Brown Harris Stevens, Bess Freedman is shaking up the 146-year-old firm’s marketing — again.
The luxury brokerage has tapped Pablo Marvel, son of Marvel Architects’ Jonathan Marvel — as its chief marketing officer. The move, which comes on the heels of the firm’s rebranding last year, was a strategic decision to differentiate between BHS and its sister company, Halstead. Both are owned by Terra Holdings, and until now shared a chief marketer, Matt Leone.
“You can’t win for both companies. I wanted someone focused on us,” said Freedman. “Listen, we had a very solid marketing department with really quality people,” Freedman said, “but Matt was constantly pulled between both companies and we are different brands.”
Marvel, who is 26, is a graduate of Dartmouth College and co-founder of Nova Concepts, a real estate marketing firm that specializes in the use of drone photography. At BHS, he will oversee marketing strategy in New York City, the Hamptons, Miami and Palm Beach. “He can do things to attract millennials and also keep it super high end,” Freedman said.
Earlier this month, Leone transitioned to a new role as chief brand and marketing officer for Halstead. Chairman and CEO Diane Ramirez said BHS and Halstead have “different visions of how we wanted to be projected into the world,” which led to the strategic shakeup. Leone called the move clarifying. “Now I know my singular focus,” he said. “There’s no more fog… this is my goal.”
Last year, both Halstead and BHS completed major rebranding projects with the help of designers from Pentagram.
Marvel was not involved in BHS’s rebranding, but Freedman said he’ll be involved in fine-tuning some pieces of that process. For example, she said, BHS will be pulling back somewhat from its “Bold, Honest, Smart” campaign, which some agents felt “went too far” and came off as “braggadocios” at times. Freedman said the slogan won’t be buried though it will be used more sparingly.
Correction: The original story misidentified Matt Leone as Diane Ramirez’s son-in-law.