“It’s About Being the Best Operator in Our Market and For Our Clients”

Branching out from a successful partnership with a global brand was not a decision made lightly by Cygnet West chief executive Imran Mohiuddin.

Prior to this year, his business, the West Australian real estate agency Cygnet West was operating under the Colliers International banner — and finding enormous success.

“In my time at Colliers, we went from the number 10 position to the number three position in Western Australia,” Mr Mohiuddin said.

Reflecting on the time spent with the global brand, he called their relationship “a long and successful one” — as well as one that delivered benefits for both parties.

But, like many things in life, and business, “there were some limitations and frustrations of the way we could operate.

“The analogy I have often used is it was a highly successful marriage,” he professed.

“But it was a marriage that had become stale. Now we have had an amicable divorce, and even if I’ve lost my surname, so to speak, I realised that we didn’t have to be a global brand anymore.”

“In fact, I think a global brand can handcuff you because you can lose your agility and your ability to be nimble,” Mr Mohiuddin explained.

According to the chief executive, making the move to an independent agency — and rebranding as Cygnet West, is “no longer about being the biggest and the best globally”.

“It’s about being the best operator in our market and for our clients,” he said.

It’s not a revelation that Mr Mohiuddin became aware of overnight, “but each year, it’s becoming more important”.

For him, “the most successful beast in the jungle is not going to be the biggest. It will be the one that adapts the fastest”.

Now, as an independent agency, the CEO acknowledged that the business is “not tied to platforms and technologies used by the parent company”.

He dwelled on the fact that one disadvantage of global companies is the fact that decisions will be made in head offices across the world — whether Chicago, Singapore or Sydney, to name just a few — “at a glacial pace”.

“By the time the decision is made, and the new technology is rolled out in Australia, it is often already obsolete. With our agility and commitment to innovation as an organisation, we can adapt and assimilate technology much quicker than our counterparts,” he shared.

Now that Mr Mohiuddin is able to make his own technology-based decisions, he said the business’ agility and commitment to innovation means they are able to adapt and assimilate technology at that faster rate.

And it’s already paying off, with the CEO highlighting “overwhelming” client support, thanks in part to their provision of as much information as possible at every step of the journey: “Once we communicated our reasons for rebranding, they understood that the value and standard of service they received from us was not going to change just because we had a new name on our door.”

Even so, Mr Mohiuddin concedes it wasn’t all smooth sailing, remarking that “launching a new company is never an easy process”.

“Perhaps our biggest challenge was making sure we continued to service our existing clients at a level above expectations while at the same time setting up a new agency. Creating a new identity, new branding and keeping our team informed on the change had the potential to disrupt our day-to-day operations,” he recounted.

“But I am incredibly proud to say that while it was a very busy six months in the back half of 2021, the countless hours and tireless dedication of our team ensured we continued to deliver what we now call the ‘Cygnet West experience’ to our clients throughout the change.”

Already, the fresh-faced outfit is reaping the rewards from the rebrand, with the globally recognised Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors naming the Perth-based brand as Australia’s Real Estate Agency Team of the Year.

And looking ahead, it appears the only way is up for the West Australian firm.

“I believe that the next 10 years will enable Cygnet West to demonstrate that by having the best tools, the business will attract the best people,” the chief executive has forecast.

Article by Grace Ormsby, Real Estate Business.