Interview With Christopher Audette From The Group at Re/Max First, Canada

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Christopher Audette

Chris Audette is the founder of The Group at Re/Max First. This organization is a prominent real estate services and marketing firm in Canada.



Interview with the 2021 TITAN Property Awards Winner - Christopher Audette

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself, your background, and your job profile.

Hi, my name is Chris Audette. I'm the founder of The Group at Re/Max First. We help builders, buyers and sellers. We have a national real estate listing site, www.real-estate.ca We also have one local site for Calgary Alberta, Canada, that's Calgary-real-estate.com. Primarily though, we have expanded into the luxury market and builder and developer promotion and marketing. The foundation of that marketing is based around a new construction website www.New.ca. That's us in a nutshell.

2What is your role in the company?

I'm the founder of The Group at Re/Max First. Informally I act as the Creative Director for our property marketing and also have headed the Search Optimization side of the business.

Performance is what drives me. Every engagement, whether it is a website or digital marketing campaign, needs to be quantified in the context of solving a problem and needs to push the client closer to achieving their business goals. At the end of the day, as an individual and an agency co-owner, accountability for every dollar spent on behalf of a brand is of paramount importance. That has been a core differentiator for me.

3Please tell us more about your company / organization.

It's a primarily real estate services and real estate marketing firm. We were fortunate enough to find some really great people to work with early on in the formalization of our transformation to a team dynamic. We’ve never been the biggest, but we’ve been close. Primarily though, we just always tried to be among the best, and to always be learning, growing and improving in what we do and the job we do for our clients.

4Congratulations! As the winner of the 2021 TITAN Property Awards, what does it mean for you, your team, and your organization, to receive this distinction?

Pretty overwhelmed to be in here with such a high caliber of architects, designers, and marketing agencies. With representation of real estate developers from Qatar, to Singapore, Korea to the states, Madrid to Nepal. I mean the list is pretty impressive and to be included in that with a winning marketing piece is phenomenal. To have been nominated, period, was quite ingratiating and warming, but to be a winner in the video field.

5Could you briefly explain about the winning project / title you entered into the 2021 TITAN Property Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

So this one, was our personal residence. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to tweak out some of the marketing that we've been doing for more of the high end luxury properties. As part of that, we did the full suite including a property video. We called in my good friend, Darryl Crawford from InTheHood, to do a property video. When he showed up at the door, he had nothing with him and he looked at me and he said, "I want to do this all with the iPhone.” “I just picked up my brand new iPhone and I want to do this entire video with that." I thought this is really an opportunity to not only stand out, but to also show what amazing things you can do, not relying on the caliber of high cost equipment.

Getting a little bit creative with the process really led to a quite heartwarming and astounding little video. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't shoot it and go and perfect on the first take, but it really turned out well.

6What were the biggest challenges you faced with this project?

Did I also mention that it didn't come out the way we wanted it the first round? Darryl the videographer actually lives in Vancouver, BC. He shot back the first edited version, we felt like it was just kind of missing a little bit of something. So, I grabbed my iPhone and shot a couple of supplemental clips with my dog Eddie, and it just all pulled together really quite nicely from there. Those supplemental shots, basically just kind of book-ended the story, giving it a bit of a reference. Coming home to a pooch who's greeting you at the door and going on and playing with him at the end of the day.

7How has winning this award developed your practice / career?

I am inspired in upping my game in the world of real estate marketing for the most part. You don't have a lot of agencies partaking in this, unless you get into the large developments. The creative shops do a pretty amazing job, but here, at the individual listing level it's not particularly awe inspiring.

We want to really capture the essence behind the homes we represent. Typical property marketing is pretty devoid of life and it's more geared towards just taking pictures of walls, a little bit of furniture throughout. It really misses the living, breathing things that reside within it. The parents, the puppies, the pooches, the children running around, the friends, the families, the gatherings. All those things that make a house into a home and a property into something that really has intrinsic value.

8For Property Developer, Architect and Designer, what makes a “good” property design?

So I'm not an architect, not a designer in any sort of way. I'm a real estate agent here in Calgary, Alberta, but what I like in design is minimalism. I love clean, cut, pure lines. I liked that in graphic design as well, white space, minimalism and getting down to the bare essence of what makes a property appealing is really what I care for.

9Describe your property design style and its main characteristics.

I love Fusion, Modern design with old world industrial elements and touches. Where the warmth comes from cold steel. Where wood graining complements an industrial wharehouse feel all within a modern architectural guideline. Fusion.

10What made you / Why did you choose to become an artist / designer / real estate agent / property developer?

I got into real estate marketing, a little over or a decade ago. It kind of just happened in half steps. I left a fantastic marketing firm here called Rare Method and started a small internet marketing company called Christopher and Co. I saw an amazing opportunity within real estate websites. At the time, a little over a decade ago, the real estate industry, particularly the marketing and the websites, were so far behind it wasn't even funny.

I saw real opportunity to stand out from the crowd there and make a name for myself within the real estate industry. It never turned out quite the way that I had envisioned and thought it would. Things morphed into what it is now with a top producing real estate team. Thanks to the agents that we have that are boots on the ground, slugging it out there every day, and putting the clients first, and sacrificing every single day.

11What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

I am attracted to minimalism in marketing design as well. But it still needs emotion. Marketing that finds that intrinsic way of fusing a story and no story is quite inspiring to me. When a piece brings different things out in different people, in a very personal way.

12What led you / your organization to become successful within the industry you are currently in?

We were lucky right off the bat. I had a bit of a history of SEO early on into the process back then when things were frankly, a lot simpler and a lot easier to do. We transposed that into the main website and then some subsequent websites after that. Our websites www.real-estate.ca, www.calgary-real-estate.com and www.new.ca were formed with Google always top of mind. Those were all high traffic real estate sites. Thanks to the hard work of the agents and the consistent follow up and follow through, we managed to secure a pretty decent little business. Having said that, we're surrounded by some very amazing other real estate teams as well. So we look to them as motivation. Be bigger, better, and always growing.

13What makes your country specifically unique in the design industry?

I don't know that I'm actually the right person to answer that, but I will say this. Canada's cold, because of the cold environment we spend more time in doors. Particularly now during COVID with everything going on with it. We're just spending more time in our homes. It's caused a boom, not just here, but throughout an entire nation and throughout North America.

14 How has the country, you are based in, helped move your industry forward?

So I have to say, when I first started in this industry, I thought we were pretty disorganized. Then, when we took this site national, I started to get involved with other cities and jurisdictions within the country and through a number of groups and programs and stuff, paying more attention to things that were happening outside of even our country, into the states and such. I realized in some ways we are so much more organized than other areas. In other ways we are so far behind other areas. We've got a lot to learn and we've got a lot to contribute. I think that's a really nice part of sections of our industry is a willingness to grow, share, and compare, and grow through it. I fully believe in sharing the depth of my knowledge. I've been very fortunate in speaking with others who are much more successful and seeing them sharing freely and openly as well for what they do that's worked for them.

15For Real Estate Agent, what does “real estate” mean to you?

The term real estate is a little bit of a misnomer. It sounds so very clinical. However, the reality behind real estate is people's past, present and futures. It's their homes. It's where they create their memories and where they dream their dreams. It becomes a bit more of an emotional connection to a grounding for who they are as people. The things that they value, whether it's a family and children or kittens and puppies, or entertaining. A house is a home because the people within it make it so. I think that's the part that is kind of easy to forget at times. It is a very emotional connection to something that really is more than just aesthetically pleasing shapes. In Europe and North America, in so many parts of the world that we're fortunate to be living the lives we do in what sometimes is such beautiful structures.

16What are your top THREE (3) favorite things about the real estate industry?

This isn't always the case, but I love the mentoring and the sharing. If you get in with the right groups of people, and those people are usually the highly successful, highly successful people share... It's an abundance mentality versus scarcity. I also love the fact that I’m helping people succeed in moving up and on in their life. Like I said, it's a highly emotional transaction for many people and helping see them succeed and be confident in their decisions is kind of one of the reasons why I got into this business to begin with. Third, I love architecture. Beautiful design, beautiful homes, beautiful buildings, parks, outdoor spaces, integrated indoor outdoors. I mean, there's just so much to love about the beauty of design in architecture. We get to be a part of that. I love that. I love that aspect of it.

17Where do you see the evolution of the real estate industry in the next 5-10 years?

Technology will never take over our industry, but it enhances it in ways that if we don't grow with it, we won't survive in the way we exist now. This is very much a personal belly to belly, face to face industry whereas I mentioned earlier, we're dealing with hearts and homes and emotions, but technology makes it easier for people to take control back from this process and away from the industry that tries to control it.

Now so long as it's being done in a way that actually contributes good, solid, and relavant information, I think that's fantastic. I think the clients should be fully aware of what's going on out there and that the information should not be hoarded.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the real estate industry?

First off, find a mentor. You might go through multiples before you find the right one, but look for someone whose work you respect. I would say that's kind of first off, not so much for who you relate to or who you like, I think those are important things, but first off, whose work you respect. Find somebody that at least at the offset would appear to share the same morals and values you do. If it's quality of creative, fantastic. If its business conduct, great. If it’s the humanitarian efforts, or the corporate culture they’ve built great, What ever is important to you. Find that person and contribute to their success and they will contribute to yours as well. Find yourself a mentor. Really, truly, and honestly find someone that you would want to emulate.

19Who has inspired you in your life, and why?

I was doing a personal development course a number of years ago. One of the days we went to a climbing wall and there was an older lady. She was probably my age now, come to think of it! Now that I realize it was 20 years ago. She was stuck on the wall. She was about halfway up the wall and she could not move higher for the life of her. It seemed like an eternity that she was up there. It was probably, I'm guessing, over half an hour without exaggeration with her entire body quivering. She was in pain and agony trying just not to let go, not to fall, not to drop an inch, but unable to move up.

She was embarrassed by that moment, but it was one of the biggest inspiring moments for me that stuck with me these decades later. If by chance, she had managed to find just that one small hole that she could get one finger into that helped her climb up just a little bit to actually reach that next firm handhold, she probably could have made it to the top. Even as devastated as she was physically and emotionally through this. That really stuck with me, never give up because you don't know how close you are to catching that one handhold that makes life so much easier and being lucky enough as they say to see that opportunity or to have that lucky break given to you really had a pretty huge impact on me.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Never give up. Always know that you are one step away from great failure and one step away from great success. It's a matter of keeping your eyes open and your focus on your end destination. It's not trivial, but keep your eyes open for those little things that can take you to that next level.

21Do you have anything else, which we haven’t covered, that you would like to include in this interview?

I just want to say thanks to the team. They slog it out every day out there. I don't think people give them enough credit for what they do. They don't see the multitudes of sacrifices that they make every single day.

Primarily I'd love to thank my wife, Diana Dorais, for always being there as a massive support. I love you, baby. I honestly could not have done any of this without you. You inspire me every day. So thank you. Thank you so much and thank you for having me on this interview.



Winning Entries

Modern Luxury Visual Marketing Book | 2021

Interview With Christopher Audette From The Group at Re/Max First, Canada

Although this property fell well below the price point of a luxury listing in the Calgary Canada real estate market, we felt it deserved...
(read more at TITAN Property Awards)


Christopher Audette


Chris Audette is the founder of The Group at Re/Max First. This organization is a prominent real estate services and marketing firm in Canada.

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