Sundae is a residential real estate marketplace that pairs sellers of restored and renovated properties with potential buyers. In this interview, Joey Campbell, Sundae’s Head of Content, walks us through their most important brand decisions.
What is the story behind Sundae?
Sundae was founded to help homeowners get a better outcome when selling a house that needs some love.
Owners of distressed houses–houses that need repairs–face difficult challenges when trying to sell their home. Listing and selling their house on the traditional MLS is not a great option, as most buyers want move-in ready homes. Many owners in this situation lack the time, money, or resources to do the necessary renovations to command a good market price. Often they’re facing difficult or tragic life events such as a death in the family, job loss, divorce, or health issues.
This leaves owners of these homes facing the prospect of selling to a limited buyer pool made up largely of small mom and pop operations that put very little focus on brand building or customer experience. These “off-market buyers” have low-profit margins and are motivated to grind sellers toward the lowest price possible.
Homeowners in this situation need an advocate on their side. Our founders started Sundae to change the industry for the better by offering homeowners a seamless process, higher price, and worry-free customer experience.
When did you start thinking about your brand name and how did you settle on Sundae?
Josh Stech, Sundae’s co-founder, and CEO, originally wanted to call the company “Sunday” after his favorite day of the week, which represents a day of rest and spending time with family. It’s a word that’s easy to say and easy to remember. However, in the process of founding the company, Josh began thinking that “Sundae” was an even friendlier and more approachable version of saying the same thing. In an industry filled with generic names that aren’t customer-oriented, Sundae stood out as a fun and refreshing brand. After getting positive reactions when sharing it with several others, the name stuck.
How did you get the domain name Sundae.com for your brand? Why did you select that one exactly?
It was the perfect fit for the company’s mission and values, and it was available.
How has owning Sundae.com affected your business? Do you own any other domain names?
Sundae.com has been a great domain name for the company, as it allows customers who have been exposed to our brand name to easily find us by typing our name directly into their web browser. It’s also a good domain for SEO purposes and will be even stronger in the future as we grow our footprint in organic search results. We own several other domains, including several derivations of Sundae.
Who is your target customer and how is your brand name helping in reaching them?
Our target customer is an owner of a distressed or dated home who needs to sell the house but may lack the money, time, or ability to prepare it to sell on the market. These homeowners have traditionally been the target of predatory buyers, many of whom are unsophisticated in their marketing and customer service offerings. Sundae provides a bright and positive brand name that reflects the friendliness and customer-oriented focus of our company. Many of our customers are going through difficult times and in need of a reliable, trusted partner who is not out to squeeze profit from them. The name Sundae embodies our positive nature and customer-friendly values.
How do you keep your brand consistent across different channels online and offline?
We adhere to branding, visual style, and messaging standards, and maintain guidelines to help any stakeholder when they are talking about or presenting the Sundae brand across our channels. The look, feel, and tone of Sundae should always feel the same in a piece of print collateral, on our website, or on social media. Most importantly, we strive to make all personal interactions with our customers to follow these guidelines so that we are always true to our word.
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
Like all businesses, the pandemic has had profound effects on our operations, employees, the lives of our customers, and the real estate industry itself. One huge change has been the conversion for many of our employees to a remote work environment. While our front line Market Experts are still interacting with customers in the field, many employees will continue working from home for an undetermined period of time. The other big adjustment has been in the perception of health and safety among our customers. We’ve had to conduct more business virtually, and we’ve implemented hygiene and distancing standards for in-person customer appointments. Finally, the housing market has been extremely volatile, with initial slowdowns in buying and selling activities and a more recent uptick in business. We anticipate further changes as new information related to the virus changes and macroeconomic events unfold.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
We emphasize data, efficiency, and relentless customer focus. This means we use all information at our disposal to get in front of the people who need us most. We’re constantly tweaking our marketing operations with performance data to maximize reach and efficient spending. Our mission is to get our customers the best outcome when selling their house. It’s important for us to live this mission in everything we do, including our marketing messaging. Sometimes we realize that we may not be the best fit for a potential customer, and rather than push for a sale, we consult them on their options. We emphasize informing, educating, and solving problems over hard-selling, so any content or advertising we create stresses a helpful, friendly, and approachable attitude.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?
There is no shortcut to building a successful brand. In fact, the way your brand is perceived by your customers is really just a reflection of who you are and how you operate as a company. This means you have to take time to develop core values and guidelines for how you operate as a business. Being fully committed to your customer cannot be simply a marketing motto. It must be a philosophy fully adopted by everyone on your team. You must believe in your values and personify them in every customer interaction and touchpoint with your brand.
Where do you see your business in the future and how does your brand name fit into that vision?
We plan to expand our service offering nationally. We want to be an option for every homeowner who needs to sell a distressed residential property across the U.S. The name Sundae is catchy, repeatable, and easy to say, and will help us build widespread brand awareness.
We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. How much does it cost you not having a strong brand? Get in touch, we are always happy to chat.