CBRE is Taking Advantage of Advantage

CBRE Group Inc. is already the top commercial real estate services firm in the world in terms of 2013 revenue, but the company is not resting on its laurels. CBRE has just kicked off a new global brand positioning: transforming real estate into real advantage.
Paul Suchman, CBRE

Paul Suchman, CBRE

CBRE Group Inc. is already the top commercial real estate services firm in the world in terms of 2013 revenue, but the company is not resting on its laurels. CBRE has just kicked off a new global brand positioning: transforming real estate into real advantage. And paired with a platform, Build on Advantage, that promotes it inside the company as well as beyond its doors, the positioning is comprehensive.

It’s no gimmick. “This is a long-term play for us; we are investing in our brand for the long term,” Paul Suchman, CBRE’s chief marketing officer, told Commercial Property Executive. “Our people are our most important asset and second behind that is our brand. We categorize our brand as an 11-plus-billion-dollar asset and it’s something that we are investing in, we are caring for and we are stewarding for the future.”

The new positioning, nearly a year in the making, was crafted based on clients’ response to the question of why they choose to put their real estate in the hands of CBRE. The response was clear: advantage. After all, having that edge can translate into additional business value. CBRE listened, and now the new positioning is under execution, with implementation in more than 350 offices around the world and a global advertising campaign with an initial kickoff in the U.S., U.K., Hong Kong and Australia.

CBRE’s goal with this aggressive move is to take the firm’s presence to a new level by evolving into the premier professional services firm across all industries. CBRE isn’t operating in a bubble; others can see where the effort is going.

“CBRE has been working to better align its various service-line selling efforts into more of a ‘cross-selling’ type of mentality that is more common in professional services and business process outsourcing industries, and if they can get their employees to buy into the internal efforts and the impact it could have on their clients, then the money and time spent on the brand positioning should generate some extra tailwinds for that cross-selling effort,” Brandon Dobell, group head–global services with investment banking and asset management firm William, Blair & Co., told CPE.

Again, this is no temporary promotional scheme. The “transforming real estate into real advantage” brand positioning and the external market-facing “Build on Advantage” platform are concepts designed to be synonymous with the name CBRE. The company will continue to bring it all to life by means of both a top-down and bottom-up approach.

“Our brand advertising will drive that messaging through our lines of business and through our local offices at that brand level,” Suchman added. “At the same time we’re integrating it bottom up, so you’ll see it integrated into our research product, you’ll see it in our website, you’ll see it in our collateral, you’ll see it in our business development materials. We’ve created messaging for all parts of the organization, so bottom up and top down.”

And the move is being taken seriously in the industry. Dobell added, “While it’s often easy to dismiss brand positioning efforts, particularly for companies that are already leaders in their industries, I think this rollout showcases management’s desire to be viewed as a partner with its customers from a very broad perspective within the real estate industry.”