Behind the Brand Interview with — The Broke Agent.
“There should be a real estate version of the dating app Tinder. Swipe right if you like the house, if it matches your budget you can contact the agent.
I just trademarked that so nobody can steal it“ — @TheBrokeAgent
As you may know, the recent digitization of the real estate industry have caused lots of disruption in the past few years. And since its heading towards that direction, we figured: why not speak with realtors and brokerages that are honing their online branding?
So we at Checklistings decided to chat with unique brands that incorporate digital technologies in their real estate marketing strategies. And share the interviews with you all.
Earlier this year, we came across The Broke Agent. And, as you figured, we were crying from laughter. We can go on about how amazing they are, but we’ll let the interview do that for you.
We hope you enjoy it.
“Nobody wants to hear jokes from ‘the rich agent.’ We see enough of them on TV” — The Broke Agent (click to tweet)
For those unfamiliar with The Broke Agent, can you kindly introduce yourselves?
My name is Eric Simon. I am a part time comic, full time Slytherin. I love USC football more than my family. My passion is to make people laugh and I discovered that the real estate industry is comedic gold. I can’t wait to launch our YouTube channel.
My name is Wes Pinkston. I am a former college football player and a Hufflepuff. A unique fact about me is that I throw with my left hand and gel my hair with my right. I make sure Eric doesn’t say or do anything insane.
Thanks guys. Now, out of all names, you chose “The Broke Agent” for your brand. Care to share why?
It is simple and catchy. The majority of real estate agents are actually “broke agents,” so we thought it would appeal to a larger demographic. Also, nobody wants to hear jokes from “the rich agent.” We see enough of them on TV.
As of today, you are the only recognized brand focused on the brutally honest, funny and painful side of real estate.
How did you come to the realization that your content might yield to such high reception?
The real estate industry is traditionally very stiff and old fashioned. Nobody was taking the side of the inner-monologue of what is actually going on in an agent’s head. We knew it would receive a positive reception because people need comedic relief in a stressful, unpredictable industry. We want to capture what everyone is thinking, but nobody is saying. We say what you can’t, and it resonates with almost everyone.
You recently blogged on reasons why agents smoke weed. Did it ever occur to you that certain topics might offend or ‘turn off’ potential leads?
I was high when I wrote it, so at the time I wasn’t very concerned (joke). The Broke Agent is not trying to generate leads and is not a marketing tool for us as actual agents. Our goal is to stir things up and create controversy, so we might offend some people on the way. People understand that our brand is satirical, and not everything is meant to be taken seriously. If you get offended, you can unfollow us. We don’t really care.
Were there any instances that made you rethink your social media/branding strategy?
Originally we were a little concerned that people might not want to be affiliated with a company that has “broke” in the title. We thought it might prevent some people from sharing our content. However, the feedback has been so positive and the shares have proven that this is not the case. We love the name.
You’ve clearly mastered your branding by using technologies and social platforms. How do you feel about the industry and its adaption with new technologies?
I don’t really know much about it to be honest. I feel like the real estate industry is slow out of the gate with mobile apps and other technologies. There should be a real estate version of the dating app, Tinder. Swipe right if you like the house, if it matches your budget you can contact the agent. I just trademarked that so nobody can steal it.
Haha, that’s pretty genius. Now that you mentioned that, what do you think of the current leaders of online real estate; companies such as Zillow and the like?
I think a lot of people post too many memes of Zillow’s inaccurate pricing estimates. That’s really my only thought on the issue.
“I think a lot of people post too many memes of Zillow’s inaccurate pricing estimates.” (Click to tweet)
Compared to traditional marketing techniques, the online world is becoming a leads goldmine. Do you think ‘discount’ or ‘online’ brokerages will trump traditional brokerages? Whats your take on them?
I think Redfin has a good model. I don’t know if that counts as a “discount” brokerage but I think they are on the right path from a younger agent perspective. Getting paid to do showings and open houses is great for someone starting out in the industry. Hell, I would love to make my own schedule and show houses whenever I want without worrying about when my next commission check is coming in. But, would I list a luxury home with Redfin?…. Probably not.
Now this is the question that most readers are probably wondering about: Are you generating legit leads through The Broke Agent?
As we mentioned earlier, we have not used the Broke Agent to generate leads yet. I do believe this will come because our voice is trustworthy and authentic. We can come up with different ways to wrap branding with humor and share listing information to our large audience.
Ah I see. But from brainstorming to writing, creating all this content must require lots of time. Do you list the time spent on content as part of your ROI metrics?
We don’t think about that at all. It is extremely time consuming, but it is also fun and receives immediate feedback unlike actual real estate. I can spend three straight weeks cold calling and door knocking 8 hours a day and receive zero ROI. But, I can tweet out a joke about a hot Escrow rep and receive immediate pleasure through peoples’ responses.
And that sums up our interview for now.
Be sure to connect with The Broke Agent for funnies delivered straight to your screen: