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The Code of Ethics Centennial Work Group was formed to consider how best to recognize and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the adoption of the Code of Ethics, given the historical significance of the Code’s Centennial.

Appointed by National Association of REALTORS®’ Professional Standards Committee Chair, Stephanie Walker, and comprised of REALTORS® and staff with a wealth of experience in the professional standards arena, the group considered goals for the 2013 celebration, including messaging, commemorative activities, and implementation of communications plans.

The discussion of planning for the Code of Ethics Centennial included identifying appropriate audiences, development of design pieces and modifiable promotional materials, communications plans and implementation of unique, cross-generational messaging in NAR’s member, association, and consumer communications outlets, involving local, state, and National Association leadership in cooperative celebration efforts.

Defining an Audience and Determining Appropriate Messaging

Recommendation #1: NAR should conduct a member survey designed to determine what about the Code of Ethics is most important to members, and why it is relevant to them. This survey could be used as a guide in designing messaging for the campaign. It is also recommended that messaging be targeted at all demographics represented by NAR members, including various age groups. To be effective, the Work Group stressed that messaging must be easily assimilated into each general group’s preferred method of communication. Messaging about the Centennial should be tied into information already dedicated to the end of the Code of Ethics training cycle to further create and reinforce pride in the Code and the celebration. The NAR online ethics training course should also include a special message on the Centennial.

The primary focus for messaging should be on increasing awareness of the Code of Ethics and the higher standard of professionalism it ensures, instilling pride in our members and confidence in them by the clients and customers they represent. Messaging should focus on the history of the Code and why REALTORS® should know and care about the Code. Raising member awareness about the Code makes it easier to heighten public awareness, ultimately benefitting REALTORS®. The Code is a valuable marketing tool for members.

Duration of the Centennial Celebration

Recommendation #2: Messaging for the Centennial Celebration should begin during Leadership Summit in 2012, with the official kickoff of the celebration beginning at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo in 2012. Messaging should continue through 2013, with a concentrated period of activities, with a duration of two to six weeks, around the Midyear Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in May 2013.

NAR’s Member and Consumer Communications

Recommendation #3: NAR should consider highlighting the Code’s Centennial in NAR’s television commercials with either a logo or dialogue marking the occasion. The Centennial celebration will tie in well with the political advocacy focus of the commercials.

Recommendation #4: Centennial-specific content should appear on Realtor.com, HouseLogic, and the Real Estate Today Radio Show. It is important that Centennial-specific content be broad, highlighted, and cover all available channels, including those of the NAR Institutes, Societies, and Councils.

Recommendation #5: REALTOR® Magazine should dedicate a full page under the byline of 2013 NAR President Gary Thomas on the Centennial and its importance to members and the public. There was consensus that editorial content and the President’s message should focus on the Centennial in at least one issue of the magazine in 2013.

Recommendation #6: That a work group of NAR’s Publications and Board Policy and Programs develop a communications plan for 2012 and 2013 for possible Centennial content in REALTOR® magazine, Realtor.org, social media outlets, and the NAR officers’ speeches. Content on the history of the Code could be presented in multiple formats, including e-book, to educate members about the Centennial. Power Points about the Code Centennial could be created and shown at board of directors or membership meetings at all levels of the REALTOR® organization. Field guides could also be created to assist state and local association staff in developing Centennial-related programming.

Development and Dissemination of Commemorative Awareness Materials

Recommendation #7: A page on Realtor.org (“clearinghouse”) should be created in order to house shared Centennial-specific content, information, and materials for members and state and local association staff to use locally.

Recommendation #8: The library/archives staff could be asked to compile chronological and historical information on the Code of Ethics to be available to members and state and local association staff on Realtor.org.

Recommendation #9: Bill North’s materials on the Code of Ethics and the information on the Code of Ethics that appeared in the NAR book entitled 100 Years in Celebration of the American Dream should be updated and expanded for the Centennial.

Recommendation #10: A logo or approved image and other promotional materials should be developed for the Code’s Centennial.

Commemorative Statements by Government Leaders

Recommendation #11: Statements about the Centennial and the importance of the Code of Ethics in protecting consumers should be requested from President Obama and congressional leaders. Materials that local and state associations could use to request similar recognitions could also be developed and made available through the NAR clearinghouse.

Members Present:

Wally Folks (San Antonio, TX), Chair
Bruce Aydt (Chesterfield, MO)
Daryl Braham (Fargo, ND)
Lori Chapman (St. George, UT)
Jan Ellingson (Sedro Woolley, WA)
Ted Kelly (Winston-Salem, NC)
Patrick Reilly (Albany, NY)

Guests:

Professional Standards Committee Chair: Stephanie Walker (Kill Devil Hills, NC)
Professional Standards Committee Vice Chair: J. Kemper Funkhouser (Harrisonburg, VA)
Interpretations and Procedures Subcommittee Chair: Dominic Cardone (Media, PA)

National Association Staff:

Kate Moore
Diane Mosley

(5/11/2012)