Katherine Tarbox is a senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine. Formerly, she was editorial director for Washington Life. She is the author of the international bestselling book A Girl’s Life (Dutton, 2000) and has made hundreds of media appearances including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and CNN.
Two Oklahomans use their super powers to overcome obstacles and create a strong brand.
May 1, 2009
Seanlai Cochrane and Laura Cox, sales associates with MetroFirst Realty in Oklahoma City, didn’t start out as super heroes. Cochrane was a pharmaceutical sales rep, walking her dog in her designer heels, when she first bumped into real estate salesperson Cox, who was also walking her dog.
The neighbors quickly clicked, and within months Cox, a four-year real estate veteran, had convinced Cochrane to get a real estate license and team up. When their former managing broker walked by their office and overheard their constant banter, he always mused, "I wonder what those women are up to?" says Cox. That gave birth to their team name, The WonderWomen Team.
Cochrane and Cox began branding the new team name in early 2005 by farming their neighborhood with branded print material, but it was not until the following Halloween that they established what’s now their signature promotional event. Each year, dressed in super hero costumes complete with red go-go boots, the duo sets up a trick-or-treat stand in front of one of their listings.
They take pictures of the costumed children and mail the printed photo and a magnet with their contact information to each parent. "It gets kind of cold standing out in a bustier in October, but we love to do it," Cochrane says. They follow up in the holiday season by dropping off canvas bags custom-printed with their WonderWomen Team logo to clients. Clients fill the bags with canned food, which the WonderWomen pick up and deliver to a local shelter.
"Everything we do is geared around super heroes," Cox shares. They do mean everything, from t-shirts emblazoned with "The WonderWomen Team" to their phone message—"WonderWomen Team; how can we save you?" They even drive matching 2006 silver H3 Hummers; Cox’s license plate reads "1DRWMN1," while Cochrane’s reads "1DRWMN2."
This clever campaign has paid off in strong sales for the dynamic duo, even in a slower market. In 2007, they raked in over $12 million in sales volume from 54 transactions. Last year posed significant obstacles, even for the super team.
During a slowing housing market, Cochrane lost her mother; five months later her house went up in flames and her son was diagnosed with a tumor. Cox struggled through a divorce. But despite the distractions, the super-strong branding of their WonderWomen Team kept sellers calling and buyers interested in their listings, giving the team 40 transactions that brought in over $11 million in sales volume. Their homes sold in 2008 for an average of $203,000, compared with an area average of $179,000. No small wonder in this economic climate.
Through it all, the women have maintained positive attitudes. "We refuse to get sucked into the ‘sky is falling’ mentality," Cox says. When asked whether business is good, they tell everyone, "It’s great." Whether it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy or just their hard work, these ladies fight the forces of negativity—and prosper.
WonderWomen Team’s Tips for Indelible Branding
- Choose a branding identity people can remember. For example, it’s hard to forget two women in go-go boots.
- Constantly reinforce your brand. From brochures to phone messages, use your brand in everything associated with your business.
- Remember that humor sells. Work seriously, but don’t be afraid to have fun.