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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide moving to "fewer, stronger brands" - but staying local

Chief executive Alison Platt says Countrywide Group will always remain a “house of brands” but will nonetheless move to “fewer, stronger brands” in the future.

In a presentation to investors earlier this month - in front of a projected slide showing over 50 national or local brands which are currently under the Countrywide banner - Platt said that rebranding was “not about changing names” which she described as “a very expensive waste of time.”

Instead, she said any rebranding would be based on “great brands” that exist in some localities and how much the group could “expand their proposition.” This would involve some “tidying up” of brands as well she said, without detailing what that might mean in practice.

However, she insisted that Countrywide would always remain what she called “a house of brands” and said she could not envisage a time when there would be “one or even single digit brand numbers across this group.” 

But the session was told that London was the market with “the biggest opportunity for smarter alignment of brands with customer segments.”

The session took place before this week’s announcement highlighting the latest management reshuffle and larger-scale reorganisation of the group, reported on Estate Agent Today yesterday.

In line with that re-organisation, the presentation explained the restructuring of Countrywide into four major business unita - Retail (the generic term given now to the group’s 1,000-plus sales and lettings offices), London (regarded as having sufficient unique characteristics to justify a geographical business unit), Business To Business, and Financial Services. 

Platt told investors that “what we’re running here is a retail business” led by a newly-formed executive team offering the “best blend of sectoral experience and fresh thinking from more contemporary organisations who’ve really had to work to win in a consumer-driven space.”

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    Warning to all investors the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Now is the time to bailout

  • Terence Dicks

    Retail eh?? Should be interesting. Reminds me of when the board of directors of a soccer team say they are "standing behind" their rubbish manager. Bye bye brands.

  • Russell Quirk

    Wow. Even consolidating from 50 brands to 10 would be too many to promote and sustain in a space that is ever shifting online. I wonder how many consumers have heard of Countrywide and know that they are the largest UK estate agency player? Not many I suspect. Interestingly, as the largest, the group have just a 6% market share in the UK and this perhaps makes Countrwide vulnerable against single brand, consumer focussed players. Wasn't 'retail' surpassed by eCommerce a while back?

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    It's share price has taken a kicking on the strategy - Down from 553p to 471p today.

    The multi brand approach is argued on the basis that nearly 40% of local business is repeat.

    All you need to do is keep the focal brand and introduce the main -

    'Blundells -Part of the Countrywide Group' etc

    Then change the 'Blundells' typeface/colour

    Then 'Blundells' disappears.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Countrywide is the biggest online and biggest traditional office based agency. They like 99.9% of agencies are already online. The article mentions restructuring to do more B2B in the consumer space.

    Sounds to me as though internally CW are looking to generate more revenue from within what they already have. Solid move, pre growing further outlets.

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