Entrepreneur: Optimizing a brand

Kansas City Business Journal - Original Article
August 8, 2014

When you got it — flaunt it.

That slogan didn’t save Braniff International Airlines, which shut down in 1982. But Kevin Tubbesing, a metro-area commercial real estate professional, is using the idea to expand his business.

In 2010, Tubbesing acquired The Land Source, one of few brokerages nationwide that deal exclusively in raw ground, via a merger of it and Tubbesing’s development and brokerage business, Stag Commercial.

Through subsequent restructuring and rebranding, Stag Commercial became the name for Tubbesing’s development business and Evergreen Real Estate Services was born as his new brokerage brand.

Evergreen, which recently moved its headquarters to 7021 Johnson Drive in Mission, includes the land brokerage he bought from The Land Source founder Pat Daniels and what Tubbesing calls his “non-dirt brokerage.” But Tubbesing continues to use and promote both the Evergreen and Land Source names.

Why? Because The Land Source is the go-to name for undeveloped land brokerage, maintaining more than half of the metro area’s land listings and tracking more than 5,100 parcels, listed or not, with its sophisticated database.

If you’ve got all that going for you, you should flaunt it, said Tubbesing, whose firm has racked up nearly $20 million in land sales so far this year. And he isn’t just talking to himself.

Tubbesing is nearing completion of a plan to share The Land Source’s brand and expertise in other metro areas nationwide via either franchises or marketing licenses. His target customers? Existing commercial real estate brokerages, like his, that would use Land Source co-branding to differentiate their firms and bolster revenue.

He talked about the dual-branding strategy during a recent interview.

The dirt on stand-alone dirt brokerage: Trying to operate a stand-alone land brokerage is not a good idea because, eventually, “you’ll starve.”

“Land sales disappear in recessions,” he said, “while full-service brokerage firms can continue to do business because improved property leases and sells, even during recessions.”

What’s in a second name? Many other full-service brokerages list land, Tubbesing said, “but the way they look at it is: John over in the corner does land.”

“We’ve found that branding The Land Source separately, as opposed to just treating it as the land division of Evergreen Real Estate Services, actually creates sort of a forced multiplier,” he said.

Forced multipliers, a term used in business and the military, refers to tools that increase output exponentially.

More than a name: The Land Source brand isn’t the only forced multiplier he will offer franchisees or licensees.

“They’ll be buying into our entire process — the website structure, the database, the marketing,” he said.

A former tech company owner, Tubbesing said The Land Source database is the firm’s most powerful forced multiplier. Unlike most firms, which rely on third-party data providers, The Land Source captures and maintains its market intelligence. Thus, it can respond to an inquiry about any parcel in the region with a detailed packet including information on zoning, site plans, elevation, traffic counts, utility access, land values, demographics and more.

It would take most firms days to assemble all that data, he said, and The Land Source can do it in seconds.

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