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Status of ASHI Branding


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I have been out of ASHI for a while now so I do not hear much about it. I am just curious of what has happened recently.

I was wondering if the Branding has been a success and if it is going to continue?

How much does it cost to be a member now?

Is ASHI financially solvent?

What are the membership numbers?

Anyone know or want to tell?

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Originally posted by Steven Hockstein

I have been out of ASHI for a while now so I do not hear much about it. I am just curious of what has happened recently.

I was wondering if the Branding has been a success and if it is going to continue?

How much does it cost to be a member now?

Is ASHI financially solvent?

What are the membership numbers?

Anyone know or want to tell?

Membership numbers are about the same. ASHI lost some members with branding dues increase, but have made that up.

ASHI is solvent. Very.

I'm not sure what the dues are, I think they're $100.00 less than last year.

You can decide for yourself on the results:

Major Print Publications that have printed ASHI press releases or news articles mentioning ASHI:

Better Homes and Gardens

Chicago Tribune

Consumer Reports

Crain’s Residential Real Estate Guide

Do! Magazine

Living Without Magazine

Los Angeles Times

Money Magazine

National Mortgage News

Newsweek

New York Times (multiple placements)

New York Post

Popular Mechanics

Reader’s Digest

Real Simple Magazine

Remodeling Magazine

Smart Homeowner Magazine

Smart Money Magazine

This Old House Magazine (multiple placements)

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

Washington Times (multiple placements)

Where to Retire Magazine

HIGHLIGHT: The “Home Frontâ€

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Mark,

Thank you very much for the response. The statistics are quite impressive.

I still wonder how this actually affects the individual home inspector and the way that they get business.

My personal experience is that very little of my work comes from strangers that call out of the blue. This was the case even when I did more advertising in the past. People call me because they have heard about me through referrals from past clients, lawyers and real estate agents that know me.

Would this be different if I actively marketed my work or is this how most home inspectors get their business? Has anyone done the research to determine how people actually select their home inspector?

Have you goten any work directly from this campaign?

I am glad that ASHI is still solvent. Even though I am not a member anymore, I still have fond memories of the many meetings and war stories heard at Garden State ASHI meetings.

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The return on my investment for ASHI dues and branding fees has been repaid more than twenty fold in the form of ASHI generated referrals. I've been an ASHI member since 1990 and I am in it for the long haul. ASHI works for me and that's all that matters when it comes to my decision to support my organization. This goes far beyond the financial return. Equally important are the educational opportunities and friendships afforded me through ASHI membership.

NORM SAGE

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I noticed in the latest issue of ASHI Reporter our new treasurer (William C. Richardson) says we've paid off the loan taken out to getting Branding off the ground. That's good to hear. I didn't see any dues reduction last time, but I'm hoping & praying they'll come down for next time.

I haven't seen any benefit to my business, but I'm probably in one of the worst sort of markets for such a campaign (small & unsophistocated). Like Norm, I'm in it for more than marketing. My education and the company I keep are more important to me.

Brian G.

Hanging In [:-dog]

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MC forgot one major paper - The Houston Chronicle where ASHI was mentioned resently.

We're still getting calls from people asking if we're "ASHI" members due to that article.

I can't say for certain whether it is because of ASHI branding or because of the moon phase, but the hits I'm getting from the ASHI website has increased and I have been booking more people requesting an ASHI inspector. I've also been very pleasantly surprised that we have booked more than the usual number of commercial inspections because of people finding us on the ASHI site.

Even if I was in it just for the marketing, ASHI dues would be worth the money. ASHI is fast becoming one of my best lead sources.

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Originally posted by Steven Hockstein

Mark,

Thank you very much for the response. The statistics are quite impressive.

I still wonder how this actually affects the individual home inspector and the way that they get business.

MC> I know that some have gotten results they can directly attribute to branding and others have not. But keep in mind it's a long process. It's a journey, not a destination.
My personal experience is that very little of my work comes from strangers that call out of the blue. This was the case even when I did more advertising in the past. People call me because they have heard about me through referrals from past clients, lawyers and real estate agents that know me.

Would this be different if I actively marketed my work or is this how most home inspectors get their business? Has anyone done the research to determine how people actually select their home inspector?

MC> ASHI did some research on this. Somewhere around 70% of all referrals originate with the real estate agent. It's declined slightly over the last couple of years, I think it's about 68% now. That may have to do with the internet. That's why some of this marketing is aimed at the real estate community.
Have you goten any work directly from this campaign?
MC>I've gotten a few jobs - two that I'm aware of that I can attribute to branding, but I wouldn't be surprised if I received none or ten. That's going to vary tremendously from person to person.

MC>Without branding, I've gotten countless jobs that are referrals from other ASHI members, both locally and from across the country.

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We get zero realtor referrals and if a Realtor calls us we politely ask them to have the client call us directly.

We get all of our business either through attorneys, education seminars, non-profit housing advocacy, online advertising and alot through ASHI.

We seem to get great leads from ASHI, I do not have the numbers in front of me but we probably do 4-6 inspections some months through the ASHI site. ASHI pays for itself usually within one week of paying the dues. The number of leads seems to have atleast doubled in the last year.

We dropped NAHI and NACHI, NAHI produced maybe 2 leads in 2 years. Nachi produced nothing but price shoppers and we got sick of their hype.

I know alot of guys were upset about the whole ASHI branding thing but in the northeast most educated (not necessarily formal education but people who just have a clue) buyers seem to mention ASHI at some point.

Pete

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Steven,

I just wanted to add that some of the marketing funds are distributed to the Chapters for local marketing. The two NJ Chapters are a little slow in putting the money to work yet. My (South NJ) Chapter is just getting started with a few projects and hope to do some joint projects with the North Jersey Chapter.

I have had a few referrals directly from ASHI which have generated additional referrals from the clients. One was a one year warranty inspection (I hate new homes). After my ASHI referred client told everyone at a neighborhood party how I ripped his house apart, everyone in the development has booked.

The direct-from-ASHI referrals will never beat the referrals from fellow ASHI members.

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Just a little note. "Leadership" is not being truthful in the current membership #'s. Numbers are not "about the same". They are down by > than a thousand folks.

Branding is working to the extent that folks are getting more referrals from the website; I've gotten some. It is not working in that things pop up from time to time where it is apparent "leadership" is spreading thin layers of snow over various topics to make it look prettier than it really is.

Well, I guess it is about marketing, and marketing isn't about truthfulness, is it?

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Kurt, have you ever read the book "Hidden Persuaders" published late fifties and was all about "branding". IE: Kent cigarettes, Kleenex, Ajax, Coke etc.. It was one of the first books that dealt with brand idendification. Some successes and some failures. With branding we seem to have a 3,000 member board of directors and a national "director". My only concern is the seemingly lack of confidence in the general membership's ability to understand and influence the process.

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Originally posted by kurt

Just a little note. "Leadership" is not being truthful in the current membership #'s. Numbers are not "about the same". They are down by > than a thousand folks.

Branding is working to the extent that folks are getting more referrals from the website; I've gotten some. It is not working in that things pop up from time to time where it is apparent "leadership" is spreading thin layers of snow over various topics to make it look prettier than it really is.

Well, I guess it is about marketing, and marketing isn't about truthfulness, is it?

Here are the numbers I have from a board report. Current as of 12/20/04: 5548 members, 83% renewed.

12/22/03: 6129 members, 77% renewed.

Keep in mind these numbers vary dramatically throughout the year, peaking near the end of the year. The difference is mostly candidates who don't renew. The renewal rate for members and C-2 candidates is actually up to 93%.

Y'all can do the math. BTW, I was the one who said the numbers were about the same, it wasn't anyone in leadership. You can attribute that quote solely to me.

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All the specific #'s aren't what concern me; overall, I expect them to continue climbing as ASHI is still the best thing going for promoting professionalism in our work.

Mark's response is not entirely accurate; "leadership" did say that the numbers were essentially the same. Mark is deflecting blame to himself for gaffes made by others. Noble, but inaccurate.

When the numbers had the initial drop off of >1000, we were still being told that it was all rosy, and that nothing really happened. This sort of evasion & half truth approach to management is tiresome.

For the quarter mil wasted on moron consultants, we could have hired a crackshot publicist for about a year and a half. Instead, we got half baked plans for HI's doing their own advertising, a task that none of us are prepared for.

On the bright side, we finally have some Directors w/brains, & by my count are getting close to having a majority on some of the finer points of this sad experiment in coop advertising.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

So far the branding and higher dues haven't brought me one dime in new business. I attribute that to the fact that I am not a member.

I knew you were an astute observer of trends in the business; geez, that made me laugh.

You should join up ASAP; I'm serious. I promise I won't ask about your first 10.....

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Originally posted by Les

Kurt, have you ever read the book "Hidden Persuaders" published late fifties and was all about "branding". IE: Kent cigarettes, Kleenex, Ajax, Coke etc.. It was one of the first books that dealt with brand idendification. Some successes and some failures. With branding we seem to have a 3,000 member board of directors and a national "director". My only concern is the seemingly lack of confidence in the general membership's ability to understand and influence the process.

Yes.

Not a lack of confidence though. More like fear. "They" didn't want influence & input; "they" wanted slam dunk acceptance, which is why consultants were hired for a quarter mil to "sell" the idea to us.

Oh; and a lot of arrogance mixed in. At least a solid number of the new Directors are humbly asking for opinions now, although it's a little late in the game.

Okay, I'm done now......

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Guys like Cramer and Mitenbuler make me proud to be a home inspector. They are a contrast in styles, but neither is capable of saying something that is untrue. If I ever grow up, I want to be more like them.

Branding is a set of tools that ASHI bought with members' money. Some of us are unhappy about that, but it's history now.

If you don't use the tools, you'll build nothing. I think most HI's can understand that.

If you use them poorly, you'll build poorly, I think most HI's can understand that.

If you use them well, you'll build something useful and profitable, I think most HI's can understand that.

I didn't like the concept and I hated the way is was rolled out, but I have spoken with too many people who are profitting from it to see it as anything other than an opportunity now. I predict that the ASHI Experience success will crescendo for the foreseeable future -especially since the board is now loaded with some super smart, member-minded folks and the consultants have been fired.

Better days are coming,

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

I predict that the ASHI Experience success will crescendo for the foreseeable future -especially since the board is now loaded with some super smart, member-minded folks and the consultants have been fired.

Better days are coming.

There you go Father Morrison, give us poor huddled masses some hope. [:-angel]

Brian G.

Mostly Poor, Not So Much Huddled [-crzwom][:-crazy]

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Branding is a set of tools that ASHI bought with members' money. Some of us are unhappy about that, but it's history now.

If you don't use the tools, you'll build nothing. I think most HI's can understand that.

If you use them poorly, you'll build poorly, I think most HI's can understand that.

I think that's the best summation of the branding event that I've ever heard amongst all the grumblings and complaints here and at other boards!!

Bravo!!

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