In Canada, there’s a battle of coffee shops and one competitor now rules almost to the degree of monopoly. It gives us food for thought about why some real estate agents flourish and others perish. It’s all about consistent, persistent visibility on the media and on the streets. It’s about the amazing power of branding and how it can overcome any competitive advantage. Tim Horton’s marketing program is complete and cohesive and like the Borg in Star Trek, it’s unbeatable.
Tim Hortons is a true Canadian coffee shop, begun decades ago by a former NHL hockey player. Today it is promoted by a Canadian hockey superstar and its inevitable that this company will conquer markets in the US. Dunkin Donuts is no match for this slick marketing crew. The chain has been strong for over 4 decades, has thousands of retail locations across Canada and is now moving into new markets in the US. The company failed in a bid to penetrate the New England market, but this company isn’t daunted by small setbacks.
In Canada, you’ll probably see a Tim Horton’s store every 10 blocks, in gas stations, malls, and residential neighbourhoods. Incredible visibility which no one could have foreseen years ago. They now offer the TimmyME iPhone app that helps locate all their nearby stores so you’ll know where the next one is at all times. Believe me, they are a major point on the average Canadian’s compass. We drink a lot of coffee.
Another coffee shop called Country Style has been around just as long but hasn’t flourished. It has less stores and its marketing is not strong. They don’t have a major hockey star promoting them. There’s one particular store in my home town which has a great location on a major thoroughfare and is about change ownership again. It’s enough business to stay alive, but you have to think that with another Tim Horton’s appearing within the gas station across the road, that it will go out of business. The store did have a major renovation but it hasn’t helped business.
Strangely, Country Style coffee tastes better than Tim Horton’s coffee and much better than the acidlike Starbucks who are also trying to take some marketshare away from Tim Horton’s. A comparison of this Country Style and the Tim Hortons location down the street help to tell us why Country Style is doomed. First the Tim Horton’s location is kitty corner to a high school, at an active crossroads, and the drivethrough is nicely treed and landscaped. Acquiring this prime location was the product of good marketing. Location is very important. The store itself has more foot traffic and the store’s menu is fuller with products people like. Country Style’s menu is more limited. Although the staff are often more friendly and the drive through is not busy, people aren’t buying there. They go right by to get their “Timmy’s coffee“.
I’m not going to say anything about the flies on the doughnuts at Country Style during the summer and the broken down washroom, or the depressing drive thru. But if your website looks awful, you get what I’m saying.
Tim Horton’s is much more visible on TV and Radio. The morale for us as real estate people is to ensure maximum exposure in media, build our brand image continuously (Kaizen), and deliver great products (great homes) and outstanding service. People pay more for Tim Horton’s food products but they don’t care. They know Country Style has smooth coffee and has a quicker drivethru, but they put it out of their minds.
The fact is that good marketing can overcome anything. This company is relentless, overexposed, omnipresent, and very successful. It’s the fast food equivalent of Google and their success is food for thought for any realtor. Especially if you’re a Canadian realtor who’s drinking all their coffee :).
Why not give me a call for a free evaluation of your real estate website and your marketing program? I’m keen to help agents and brokers who are keen to be the best and corner the market. I’m used to dominating keyword areas and building large scale traffic and this is the goal I think you should have. One of my clients now resides in the Virgin Islands in an upscale condo with incredible views, enjoying a great lifestyle, sailing, fishing, and liming about — all because of the success we built together. You and I can do that too.
Yes, you’re successful, however you’re probably working yourself into an early grave. Give me a call to put some wind in your sails and lets see if we can’t double or triple your leads and commissions.