BOULDER – It has been a glorious year for WK Real Estate. Celebrating its 40th anniversary as a leading Boulder real estate company, it embarked on a major company rebranding.
And even with its new company name, WK Real Estate won for the 16th consecutive year “Best Real Estate Company/Office” in the Daily Camera’s Best Of Boulder County 2016 Awards.
“To be given this award in 2016, after working so hard on rebranding our company to ensure continued success in an ever changing market, reminds us that our Realtors®, staff and leadership team are just as dedicated to serving clients professionally as ever,” said Lew Kingdom.
WK Real Estate is the largest independent Boulder County real estate company, delivering old-fashioned service with the latest technology. Referral and repeat business make up more than 80 percent of their activity, showing they have earned their customers’ trust and loyalty.
Rebranding a Boulder institution
According to Trish Thomas, CEO of Atomic20, WK engaged her agency to lead a rebrand to attract top-tier agents and demonstrate to potential buyers and sellers the strength of WK’s technology and team, preserving the positive legacy of their brand while modernizing their visual identity and message.
The agency was very conscious about retaining the reputation earned by ‘Wright Kingdom’ while updating the company’s external face to be more appealing and relevant. They recommended retaining WK as the name, and continuing use of WKRE.com.
“It was important that the design fit the Boulder lifestyle, capture the journey of home buyers and sellers, and rise to the level of sophistication, professionalism and advocacy that WK agents deliver for clients every day.
“Our driving strategy was to aim for the future while honoring the past. We also aligned all brand elements with three primary anchors that emerged in WK agents’ relationships with the community and their clients: welcoming, professional and authentic. We had multiple strategists, copywriters, designers and account team members. Almost every element of the company’s external presentation was rebranded: signage, business cards, ads, marketing collateral… it was executed over many months.
“Our partnership with the WK team proved to be so personally rewarding. They are an amazing group of people and have become fast friends. One small example of a short-term win: Within a few months of launching the new brand, a great agent that WK had been priming to come onboard actually made the decision to join the company based on the power of the new brand and its alignment with their personal values as an agent.
“We believe that together we’ve built a brand that will stand the test of time and represent WK beautifully for years to come. It really was an honor to be entrusted with rebranding such an iconic local company.”
Ali Kennedy, Account Director at Atomic20, was Project Manager for the rebranding. “The WK team has become like family to us. WK’s business philosophy starts with a ‘people first’ attitude and culminates in positive outcomes for everyone they touch. This ethos is evident in everything they do. WK genuinely cares about their agents and the customers they serve. It’s why we say WK doesn’t just help people buy and sell houses, they help people find and create homes.
“Working on the rebrand was an honor and a challenge. There was a fine balance to be struck between maintaining the 40-year legacy that WK Real Estate has built and ensuring that the refreshed brand be current and enduring. I believe our talented design team, with Zach Lee at the helm, struck this balance with a classic emblem mark that conveys the warmth and sophistication of the brand it represents.”
Zach Lee, Art Director/Designer, says, “The style of the new WK Real Estate brand is intended to enhance the natural welcoming, authentic and professional feel of the office and its agents. The objective of the redesign was to create a brand that acknowledged its legacy, while aiming it towards the future.”
When he was designing the logo, he constantly thought of the journey of buying and selling a home. “Having sold and bought a home recently, this was fresh in my mind. It’s a very complicated process and the biggest difference is when you feel you have a partner by your side guiding you through the layers of paperwork and negotiations. This journey, this road, becoming a homeowner, is a deeply personal experience.
“Our strategy was to create a visual identity that helped simplify and streamline the process in any way possible – while retaining the natural personality of the agents. Colors are warm and approachable, and fonts are clean and legible. The logo mark is a monogram that combines the W + K into a stamp-like shape. The W is the mountains; the K (turned on its side) forms a road: Mountains (Colorado) and the Road (the journey).”
Further enhancing the customer’s experience
Associate Broker Dan Estey joined WK Real Estate in 2012, and he praises its people and systems. “The staff at WK goes above and beyond to service the agents and the clients. For example:
– WK has a designated digital marketing director focusing exclusively on the critical task of assuring that our properties and agents are optimally presented online. The technologies are evolving so quickly and having a dedicated team member to address this is a huge benefit.
– Each agent has a dedicated transaction coordinator who assists with a numbers of the details and compliance to allow agents to focus on their clients – not paperwork and data input.
– WK also has a full-time relocation director who is invaluable in assisting clients who are relocating into and out of our local market. From providing information on market data, coordinating the move, and making introductions to brokers and other service providers the director creates a smooth experience for those making long distance moves.
– Local Showing Coordinators. All of our showings on clients are set here with our local WK staff (not a national call center). This allows the staff to create a relationship with the clients and assist in working any unique needs they may have.”
Estey was a big advocate for the rebrand. “I thought our graphic representation and marketing materials had become “dated” and were not representative of how progressive and professional the company is. One of the keys was to create a look and image that were contemporary and professional, that inspired confidence in clients.”
He points out, “One of the biggest challenges was continuing to capture the brand equity and good will Wright Kingdom had established over 40 years, and at the same time having an appealing, meaningful brand that attracted those just moving into town.”
The WK Real Estate Experience
Judy and Jim Heinze moved to Boulder from New Jersey 43 years ago and settled in a house near Lew Kingdom and his family. They became friends, and over the years, Jim says, “Once we realized the professionalism of that firm we referred so many friends and colleagues from out of state, and even local people.”
Then, three years ago WR Real Estate helped the Heinzes to find a new home – in Lafayette. Lew and then Dan helped them. They looked at a variety of homes. “What makes them outstanding is they were very, very patient with us,” says Judy. “They showed us many homes over a year until they showed us exactly the home we wanted. And we said that’s it and signed the papers without delay.”
The pair pinpoints a number of areas in which WK excels: “Their extensive knowledge of the Boulder County market, what they do as a service to the Boulder community, understanding what people want and respecting their wishes. They don’t try to talk you into anything.”
Further, the Heinzes say, “Any business that can be as successful as they are over so many years has a good business ethic in dealing with people. They have continued to grow over the years and they’ve stayed current. They offer the newest technology. And now, they see it is time for a change, and they are the same people – with a name change and a new corporate logo.”
By Judy Finman, At Home. Photography by WK Real Estate