Douglas Elliman rolls out new marketing campaign and, finally, a modern website

It’s been a decade since the brokerage updated its digital presence

TRD NATIONAL /
Mar.March 03, 2020 09:23 AM
Douglas Elliman chairman Howard Lorber (Credit: Photo by Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Douglas Elliman)

Douglas Elliman chairman Howard Lorber (Credit: Photo by Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Douglas Elliman)

Douglas Elliman is launching another splashy marketing campaign, but this time it’s got a new website to boot.

The brokerage’s new image-heavy site, built by Gabriels Technology Solutions, marks its first such overhaul in nearly a decade.

Following industry standards, the site is built with responsive design — meaning it adjusts when viewed on mobile devices — and includes curated sections, such as neighborhood guides, optimized to boost its ranking by search engines.

“We’re fully embracing the digital age,” said Scott Durkin, Elliman’s president and COO.

Simultaneously, Elliman is rolling out a modified logo, fresh tagline — “The next move is yours” — and new marketing collateral for agents.

It is the culmination of Elliman’s year-long rebranding that kicked off last January when the firm hired ad agency Grey New York and decided to split its top marketing job, which had been held by Dana DeVito and previously Nicole Oge and fueled with millions, into two roles.

Amy Rosenfeld, a former creative director at luxury conglomerate LVMH, became Elliman’s first “vice president of creative” and, months later, fashion executive Stephanie Garbarini became vice president of marketing. Rosenfeld and Garbarini collaborated with Grey and both report to Durkin.

He said the new logo and tagline would be part of a 2020 marketing blitz that will roll out nationwide over two 90-day periods — the first from April through June, and the second from September through November.

Along with digital ads, the company will plaster billboards and transit systems with its new look. A handful of the locations include Palm Beach airport, the Hamptons Jitney and Grand Central, he said.

Durkin declined to comment on the budget for the advertising campaigns, but said that “it’s a launch in every region at once, in tandem. It’s a very big statement.” He also declined to comment on the cost of the contracts with Grey and Gabriels.

The new website and marketing materials launched just days after the brokerage reported its 2019 earnings. During the earnings call, chairman Howard Lorber promised to examine the firm’s overhead with an eye toward cutting spending “probably” in marketing.

Durkin noted that working with Grey and upgrading Elliman’s website was a one-time cost.

“You can’t let a tough market give you any hiccups,” he said. “You have to forge ahead.”

Rosenfeld noted that Elliman’s team did a lot of the heavy lifting instead of billing it to Grey.

She said she took the lead in handling the photography that stocks the firm’s new digital library for use as a backdrop online and in marketing materials. For example, rustic leather was shot for Texas, lush green leaves drenched in dew for Westchester, fir trees for Aspen and sparkling blue waters for Florida.

When it comes to its websites, Elliman was trailing its New York-based competitors, many of which invested years earlier in their digital presence. In 2016 the Corcoran Group touted its mobile access to listings, while Citi Habitats, which has since merged with Corcoran, rolled out a new website.

More recently, Compass tweaked its website last spring to showcase listings from all agents in a bid to win trust from its industry peers and boost traffic.

This fall Brown Harris Stevens quietly launched its new consumer-facing website.

Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]


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