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Industry guru reveals Britain's only truly 'different' agency brand

A brand and marketing strategic who also ran one of the country’s most successful lettings agencies for a decade has said that Foxtons is one of the very few truly differentiated brands in the property industry.

Dan Channer - former managing director of Finders Keepers prior to its acquisition by Countrywide in 2016 - now operates as a consultant advising agents and has written on brands in the latest issue of Property Chronicle.

In it he asks: “Why is only one brand in the UK [agency industry] truly differentiated?” His answer is - Foxtons.

“It was/is unique, infamous and the subject of envy and no little schadenfreude at times. It spent money on its offices like no other agent; the Millwall positioning (‘Nobody likes us we don’t care’) was like no other agent; it did hard sales harder than any other agent. It. Stood. Out” he writes.

Channer accepts that to some Foxtons is famous for poor service and he says it’s entertaining to see it now trying to undo decades of its previous reputation by now being more conciliatory. 

He accepts the company’s past performance may have sown distrust amongst some but he concludes “I still think it’s a fantastic business.”

He adds that while Savills has been praised as a “superbrand” as recently as last September, he does not believe it to be that different to, for example, Knight Frank. 

Channer then urges agents to work harder to differentiate, because “blandness is death; being forgettable means being forgotten.”

The article also includes his views on “the individual agent brand” expemplified by some recent American-influenced start up agencies: he regards thisas a growing phenomenon, and a reason why large agencies should hold on to their star employees.

You can read the full article here.

  • Chris Arnold

    Differentiation, to my mind, is something that cannot be replicated. Everything that Foxton's does can be replicated by any other agency, should they so desire.

    The only point of true differentiation is personal brand. Not to be confused with reputation, personal brand forces a vendor/landlord to choose. Instead of comparing. Choose, because you like or not, but there's no comparison. And because there's no comparison, there's no competition!

  • icon

    Fair points Chris. I agree with most except the culture of Foxtons - for better or worse - is very hard to replicate. The personal branding is a big trend likely to stay. The best agents have been the proverbial 'man/woman about town' for years now, eg. the people who know everyone in their patch.

    John  Savage

    It was hard to replicate because of the amount of money foxtons we’re willing to spend each month...

    Couple that with say what you need to in order to win an instruction compared with an agent that told the truth about value...

    And if you were a homeowner, would you risk losing £100,000.

    As panos once said, “Theres the emotional figure. The probable figure and the mathematical figure...”

    In my experience, Foxtons understood the power of the emotional figure better than anyone else...

    Spent more to get in front potential clients...

    Yet rarely achieved the probable price...

    That matters of course if you think it matters.

    If lying to homeowners (and includes all agents) About price is seen to be the way forward then the agents who achieve above market results, in far less time which put their seller in full control of the sale of their home is playing a completely different game...


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