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Rebranding in the Digital Age

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By Emily J Weitz

Prudential Douglas Elliman has undergone a facelift, both on the global and local levels. The real estate giant is the fourth largest in the country, and as they launch a rebranding campaign, the local office has also taken a big step forward. Gioia DiPaolo, who has been with the company since 2008, is the new Managing Director.

In October of last year, a rebranding effort shifted the attention from the name Prudential to the name Elliman. Still the same company, the shift signaled a desire to create something fresh.

“The Prudential franchise was bought by a Canadian company,” says DiPaolo. “So Prudential will ultimately be phased out. The rebranding had a lot to do with that.”

By emphasizing the Douglas Elliman name, the company hopes to attract people to a brand that New Yorkers have respected in the real estate industry for a long time.

“There’s been great buzz,” says DiPaolo. “The AskElliman campaign has been created solely around the needs of today’s consumers.”

AskElliman utilizes the most up-to-date technology to bring customers a more thorough, simple experience as they navigate the confusing terrain of home-buying in the Internet age.

“Through our web site,” says DiPaolo, “you can send us your real estate question and a team of top experts will provide a timely answer. Whether it’s buying, selling, renting, financing, credit or legal, we are here to guide you through the process to make sure that you make the most informed real estate decision.”

In addition to the massive changes of overhauling a web site and changing the company name, there have been a lot of little changes that make a big difference. Staying on the cusp of new technologies is integral for a real estate business to thrive. Online property search engines and mapping technologies are always evolving. And then there are the apps.

“I just got the Sun Seekers app,” says DiPaolo. “When you’re showing a house, people want to know where the sun will be. With this app, you can click on it and it shows the location where you are and where the sun is at every time of the day.”

These technological advances are important because they help the customer be as informed as possible. “Because real estate is one of the most important financial decisions one can make in a lifetime, having the right information is absolutely crucial,” says DiPaolo. “Every manager brings their own style and particular interests to the workplace,” she says. “I’ve been told one of my biggest strengths is the ability to bring out the best in people. I think our agents will benefit from the support I’ll bring to their efforts. We’re prepared to take advantage of the uptick in business we’re experiencing in our marketplace right now.”

Though the housing slump is still at the front of people’s minds and a top issue at the ballots, DiPaolo believes the market here on the East End is showing signs of life.

“A cursory search of homes sold and homes that went in to contract since January 1,” she says, “shows 20 sold and 13 in contract in our area…We’re now really busy with people who want to be in by summer.”

She attributes the uptick to the fact that “Prices have come down, and interest rates are still really low. At this time of year, people who want to be in the Hamptons for summer know they have to buy now.”

One of the things that the company prides itself on most is that it has the resources of a giant company, but it’s still deeply involved in the community.

“We’re neighbors,” says DiPaolo. “We don’t just sell people a house. I’ve taken people over to the morning program at Sag Harbor Elementary to give them a feel for how great [this town] is. People rely on their agents for a lot more than finding the right house. There are a lot of things they want to know, and we’re local. We tell them.”

For more information call the Sag Harbor office at  725-2125 or visit www.elliman.com.