As ONE Sotheby’s International Realty begins the new year, the brokerage firm is shifting its strategy toward a greater emphasis on marketing, following a year of expansion and turnover.
In 2015, ONE Sotheby’s hired 195 agents, bringing its total to 550 agents in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. That growth includes the acquisition of South Beach International Realty, one of Miami Beach’s largest boutique firms with about 70 agents. ONE Sotheby’s has nine branches, and will expand with two more this year, Daniel de la Vega, president, told The Real Deal.
Now, the firm will begin introducing “micro-films,” short videos aimed at humanizing agents to prospective buyers and replacing the traditional business card model. Evoker, a Chicago-based branding company, is producing the videos.
“It’s a relatable business and that’s really humanizing,” de la Vega said about the micro-films. “A lot of people are starting their search online, but the fundamentals of the brokerage firm hold constant. Our business at the end of the day is relationship-based.”
De la Vega’s is the first to be uploaded, and about 30 videos are currently under production, according to a spokesperson. They will be promoted via social media and uploaded to each agent’s bio.
“We basically have gone to a model that has shifted throughout last year. What I really wanted to do was position the firm for continued growth, and the model that I had in place before, I was not happy with it,” de la Vega said, referring to the departures of a handful of executives. “The company is continuously evolving and that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is going to evolve with the company.”
In mid-2015, executives Gus Rubio, Eloy Carmenate and Mick Duchon all left ONE Sotheby’s and joined Douglas Elliman, as did several agents. When Rubio announced his departure in April, he told TRD that he was joining Elliman because of the company’s substantial growth during its 11 years operating in South Florida.
And on the flip side, ONE Sotheby’s brought on a former Elliman executive in New York, Amy Kane; and former Fortune International executive Fernando de Nuñez y Lugones as its executive vice president of the firm’s luxury condo development division. The firm also hired Alex Miranda and Joe Padula as global real estate advisers. The duo left Brown Harris Stevens | Zilbert to focus on areas like Midtown Miami, Edgewater and the Upper East Side, Miranda told TRD at the time.
Turnover, de la Vega said, is inevitable. In addition to Elliman, the firm competes with such other luxury-oriented brokerages as Cervera Real Estate, Fortune International Realty, ISG, Luxe Living Realty, Calibre International Realty, EWM and Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.
As he discusses the year ahead, de la Vega said he wants to focus more on his agents. “As long as more agents come than go, you’ll be all right,” he said. “What I take most pride in is when agents leave and then come back.”
As part of its marketing efforts, the firm is also updating listing presentations, launching a new website back-end, and a new app through its development division. ONE Sotheby’s represents 19 projects and $3.5 billion in inventory, more recently including Turnberry Ocean Club.
“We’re really concentrating now in 2016 on selling what we have,” he said.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the firm’s inventory as $13.5 billion. It is $3.5 billion.