Story | danbolig

“I nurture my curiosity so I can better understand things in a new way”

150 properties are sold in Denmark every single day, which means that estate agents are fighting house to house, for sellers and buyers alike. danbolig’s Commercial Director, Anne Mette Koch talks about danbolig’s digital transformation, innovative communication concepts and her own motivation to stay curious.

As a brand, we have to engage at every step of the customer journey

“For me, staying curious has always been vital to my work. You can certainly be curious when everything is new but maintaining curiosity also means having the ability to change your point of view and understand things in a new way and context, as well as being able to say “no”. This curiosity was my motivation at Lego and DSB, and also serves as my motivation at danbolig.”

Choosing an estate agent is not like choosing a bag of crisps or a bottle of shampoo. This is a choice built on a long-term perspective and long-term relationships. When it comes to establishing brand image and credibility, Anne Mette explains patience is required,

“Previously, you could just sit down, develop a campaign and say, “this is our image and now is the time to ensure it is understood by everyone in film and print”. You can’t do that nowadays. You have to accept that your brand is built on smaller impressions. You have to be consistent, sustainable and relevant but only in chunks that customers are willing to take in. Customers are doing the work and we, as a brand must make ourselves available.”

“We have to tell stories that create value and make it natural to recommend danbolig”

“The task for everyone in marketing is to build and retain the value of the danbolig brand. This means really focusing on where we are relevant in the customer journey and where we may be falling short. Sometimes, this means that we should push the brand slightly into the background and let the sellers themselves do the talking. That’s actually why we created the “Our Neighbourhood” concept, where the sellers’ own stories and personalities can shine through, acting as credible senders to other consumers who may be considering buying or selling.”

Real estate has always been a relationship-based industry. Your home is the most valuable asset you’re ever likely to own. Trust is therefore a huge factor when it comes to choosing which agent to work with. At the same time the customer journey within real estate has changed radically with digitalization. Consumers can log on at any time to browse homes and buyers are often much further along their buying process before reaching out to a real estate agent. This makes online differentiation vital. As is maintaining the human touch despite the proliferation of interactive, screen-based touchpoints. As Anne Mette puts it,

“It is not just about telling good stories. A stronger degree of preference, high recommendation worthiness and credibility have to be established as our customers value these attributes very highly. When choosing an advisor, which is what you are doing when choosing an estate agent, you listen very closely to what your peers say. Who have they been satisfied with? What do they think about their estate agent? This is the focus of our strategy at danbolig.”

danbolig created the “Our Neighbourhood” concept to humanise the online format. The idea began from the observation that buyers and sellers exchanged vital information about properties and neighbourhoods when they exchanged keys at the end of a sale.

“The sellers have unique knowledge; they know exactly where the hole in the hedge is for a shortcut down to the lake, and where there is a good playground. All the little unique things. By putting these into play, we create huge relevance and a powerful way of saying to our sellers that we have a great tool to sell their home with.”

The idea of mapping this information was then born so that people could understand what each area is like to live in, not just about the house they are buying. danbolig therefore developed a unique, impartial tool that changed how agents interact with customers. Agents could ask them about particular features they wanted to highlight about their properties before selling.

Digitalization is primarily about helping customers wherever they are right now

One of Anne Mette’s most important tasks when she came to danbolig was to figure out how to digitize the brand. This stark change in the customer journey necessitated a change in how and where the brand was presented to customers. Research among agents suggested that it takes two to three weeks from when the agent meets the customer, before the customer is ready to sell. During the eighteen-month period when the customer is already preparing to sell, danbolig has no actual contact with them. If sellers have no impression of the brand, why should they be interested in doing business with it? In light of this fact Anne Mette began to formulate a strategy,

“My idea was that we needed to be more relevant during the earlier stages of the buying process. We needed to be more present, so we changed our entire website. We did so in a responsive manner, and at very basic levels, so we could have a presence on all platforms and so we could see the traffic. We saw a huge increase in traffic from mobile devices. We then prepared a strategy for how we could become more relevant throughout the entire customer journey, building it from inside out in order to be certain that our agents were on board right from the start and that they were the people who could leave a new impression.

The journey towards digitalization

Anne Mette points out digital transformation doesn’t come without its challenges,

“It is important to believe in the core of the brand. This can often be overrun by ‘Shouldn’t we do something new?’. No, we shouldn’t. We need to be consistent with these things. Let’s not do something just because it got 400 clicks. It can be a challenge to focus on what’s right: What exactly are the basic metrics? What are we supposed to keep an eye on? Maybe the immediate impression of a campaign is ‘Wow, we got so many visitors’, but what was the subsequent impression? Did we get a persistent, on-brand effect or not? While another campaign might not create such heavy traffic, it may actually have just the right effect on a specific target audience we want to speak to.”

Anne Mette is focused on keeping the danbolig platform relevant and remains open as to how digitalization and technology can help refine both the platform and danbolig’s brand.

“Machine learning is also something our agents can see a great deal of benefit from, in relation to setting prices and providing advice. This allows them to draw on factors other than their own experience…It would almost allow you to go in and say something along the lines of “well, a house this size and this price here on the South side of the road, will most likely be sold in 76 days.”

It is my job to think outside the box. Perhaps we should get our customers to think outside their homes?

Now well into the digital transformation of danbolig, Anne Mette continues to be curious, keeping herself up to date with technology and current trends via offline and online networks and in other industries. Keeping on track with technological disruption is also highly relevant – what if home ownership starts to follow a similar model to car ownership?

“Right now, we think moving is a miserable process! Painting and decorating, packing, unpacking and repeating. But what if it was easier? What if this was integrated into a concept? Would we change homes every seven years, because it was fun or easy?…what if we could make it more accessible?”

Staying curious and responsive to technology, change and disruption is central to Anne Mette’s digital strategy for the danbolig brand. Thinking creatively about how the industry will change will always keep her strategy one step ahead, maintain its relevance and elevate it within the minds of consumers. Equally, ambitious, long-term plans must also be balanced with what can actually be delivered, but for Anne Mette it will always be curiosity that triggers where the next idea comes from.

Do you want to hear more?
Contact Consultant
Katrine Nordgaard
+45 53 70 91 80 or kno@sunrise.dk

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