When a business’ focus changes or its offerings begin to shift to meet a new demand, its name—especially if established decades ago—sometimes may not seem to fit like it once did. Whether considering a rebrand to consolidate multiple identities, match a fresh direction, or avoid legal concerns, defining “the why” is a necessary step before jumping through the many hoops a rebrand can present.
ARK Homes for Rent, formally known as Transcendent Electra, announced its rebrand at the start of the year with a goal to acquire and develop new single-family rental (SFR) properties. In February, Brightland Homes announced its new name, unifying Gehan Homes, Gray Point Homes, and Wonderland Homes into one identity across Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, and Texas.
Having gone through the process recently, BUILDER asked Christina Lombardo, vice president of marketing of Brightland Homes, and Jordan Kavana, CEO and founder of ARK Homes for Rent, to share their insights on how to make rebranding easier—and the benefits they’re experiencing.
- Do the Research. Both Brightland and ARK Homes for Rent began the rebranding process with extensive market research. “We conducted market research with employees, past customers, and real estate professionals to evaluate our existing brand, how it was perceived, along with its strengths and weaknesses and then outlined our ideal brand identity, considering factors such as our company’s personality, values, and desired positioning within the market,” Lombardo explains. For ARK Homes for Rent, Kavana and his team looked at their residents’ engagement and perspectives which served as a compass for the firms’ evolution and repositioning in the market.
- Define a Purpose and Objective. To shape a new identity, a clear path of what one would like to accomplish is needed. For Kavana’s company, that path included their residents’ preferences and the inclusion of “ARK” because of the company’s established health and well-being platform, ARK Living. “The decision to unify under the name ARK Homes For Rent allowed us to further strengthen our residents’ well-being by seamlessly integrating the principles of ARK Living with our real estate offerings. The name symbolizes a stronghold of quality, safety, and communal living in the realm of real estate,” says Kavana. “Our icon, the ark, is a testament to our commitment to providing not just homes, but secure havens built on the foundations of quality and safety. Just as an ark offers protection and unity, our new homes bring together a community of residents in a secure, high-quality living environment.”
- Ensure Easy Discoverability. After establishing key attributes of its brand, including dependability, warmth, authenticity, and excellence, Brightland Homes set out to discover a new name that would respect not only the company’s history but also its future. Finding the right fit is rewarding, but Lombardo points out the need to review legal and marketing concerns. “When renaming a company, there are several regulatory challenges that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth transition and avoid potential legal issues such as trademark search and registration,” she says. And to make sure potential customers can find you, she adds, “It is imperative to consider domain name availability to ensure easy discoverability for potential and existing customers online. While you might identify multiple names that align with your brand, the unavailability of the corresponding domain can pose a significant challenge.”
- Compile the Checklists. With any company-wide changes comes a magnitude of follow-up tasks and updates. “Organizing all the elements required for a company renaming is crucial to ensure a smooth and efficient transition. There can be literally thousands of elements that need updating, including signage, marketing materials, website, and legal documents, which are some of the obvious items,” Lombardo says. “But there are also so many places your brand is displayed that are not as obvious, such as charitable websites that you donate to, developer marketing materials, third-party website listings, and more.” The careful execution of aligning a new name—and all its materials—can move a bit smoother with prioritized tasks outlined in logical order.
- Stay Transparent. After identifying a new name and brand, involving employees and key stakeholders in the transition is important. “We worked diligently to communicate the changes effectively,” Kavana shares. “Consistency and transparency in communication were vital in building trust during the transition. Flexibility was also key, as we had to adapt to unforeseen challenges and market dynamics.” Likewise, Lombardo says stakeholder involvement in the process is beneficial as it creates a collaborative environment. She recommends training for employees to help them understand the new identity, values, and messaging. “Equip them with the knowledge and tools to effectively represent the company during and after the rebranding,” she explains.
Both Kavana and Lombardo report positive feedback and alignment with their initial objectives since their rebrands. Lombardo says the response from real estate agents, developers, vendors, and customers has been uplifting. “Our name is now easily pronounced, making it more memorable for customers and potential clients,” she adds. “People have been more likely to recall and recognize our new name, increasing the chances of brand recall during buying decisions.”
Kavana shares that the change has reaffirmed the company’s emphasis on fostering a sense of community and has produced stronger resident loyalty and advocacy. “In an environment where many companies are entering the SFR and build-to-rent space, our residents recognize the distinction of a company that prioritizes their needs above all else,” he says.