Spotlight On Durham: Blue Elephant Group
Innovative real estate brokerage, combined with a savvy branding and marketing agency, is taking Durham Region by storm
By Zoe Dobson
I recently had a chance to sit down with Mark Wadden, CEO and co-founder of Blue Elephant Group Inc., and his partner, co-founder Blair Johnson, to discuss their strategic push into Durham Region. This two tiered company consists of Blue Elephant Design & Marketing Inc. and Blue Elephant Realty Inc., Brokerage. It has become a one-stop shop for developers in search of a concise and cohesive approach to marketing and sales, as well as providing an alternative to the corporate style brokerage for resident homebuyers.
With two Durham Region development projects and over 30 residential listings signed for 2018, along with dozens of active buyer clients, it seems Durham Region is calling on Blue Elephant to spend more time in the area — and they are more than happy to oblige.
Q: Blue Elephant is the new kid on the block in Durham. Despite 2017 being its first year really focusing on the area, the company has seen quick growth with both buyers and sellers. How does the group standout in a saturated metropolis?
Mark Wadden: It’s really everything about our brand that differentiates us — we have an Elephant as a logo afterall. It all starts with our marketing and how we communicate with and educate our clients. From our inception we have really differentiated ourselves in different ways.
One, we have always been looked at as industry leaders in advertising, marketing and technology, we have always taken pride in getting incredible exposure for our clients. Two, our brand and the way we do business really resonates with millennials, who just so happen to make up the majority of the market today. And three, our people aren’t super salesly. We believe in relationship and educational selling. Our realtors are genuine people and you can tell the first time you meet them. We are boutique and that allows us to be selective about whom we bring on board.
Blair Johnson: For sellers and developers we created a stand-alone marketing company to provide more dedicated services to sell their properties. For developers in the new construction space, this allows us to provide a true end-to-end service under one roof. We partnered with an award-winning agency executive to form Blue Elephant Design & Marketing, which comes with an immediate pedigree of success on every scale. Combining this business with our brokerage allows us to be more agile and aligned than our competition, which saves time, money and always leads to improved results.
Q: What prompted Blue Elephant Group to pursue multiple projects outside the downtown core?
MW: It started with an introduction to a highly reputable Durham builder who was attracted to our boutique brokerage and unique marketing approach. Growing up in small town Cape Breton, I found myself instantly appreciative of how business is done in Durham in contrast to the downtown core. We found ourselves surrounded by like-minded people (in Durham) and I instantly knew I wanted to focus on business development here. To date, our growth has been through word of mouth but now we have built Durham into our official growth strategy for 2018.
Q: Many Torontonians equate the suburbs to lackluster lifestyles. Why is Durham exciting for future homebuyers?
MW: Durham offers a wide range of living styles, whether it is by the water or hobby farm acreage. The urban expansion of GO Transit, the Highway 407 expansion and the recently announced Pickering Casino project all go to show that both the provincial and federal governments are looking to it as the next place to be.
Q: What projects are you most excited for in 2018?
BJ: This is somewhat biased, for good reason, but our upcoming projects are very exciting. First, Eden Park by Fourteen Estates is comprised of 28 modern detached homes sitting on massive lots. Fourteen Estates partnered with renowned BONE Structure to provide cutting-edge, Net Zero-ready homes. They are literally building what will be the future of developments.
Our second development is the Clover Collection by award-winning Holland Homes. The homes are quickly becoming some of the most sought after in Durham. Once you have stepped inside a Holland Home you will know why. The Clover Collection is unique in that the lots are spread throughout Durham. Unlike a standard development, you get to pick your favourite neighbourhood, street and lot. Finding one is like finding a four-leaf clover — lucky to find but an easy pick.
BLUE ELEPHANT GROUP