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NAI Horizon

NAI Horizon, headquartered in Phoenix, became the largest independent commercial real estate brokerage in the country in 1995. The CEO, John Schottenstein, knew that growth depended on attracting brokers from other, more established firms, along with their complement of clients and properties. This was an especially onerous objective, as well-established players were the rock stars of competing firms, and those relationships were regarded as impenetrable.

Introduced through their now-defunct graphic arts vendor, MHG convinced Schottenstein that an integrated Strategic Marketing Plan had the greatest potential for building the brand – a compelling message that told brokers from other companies that they could get the same high level of service and support, while keeping 70% of every sale, instead of the customary 50%.

The work involved group facilitation of two concurrent marketing plans. To achieve its goals, NAI Horizon required positive notoriety in the press, larger opportunities for commercial real estate practitioners, and the competency to recruit brokers from well-established brands in the local and regional marketplace. Separately, market research discovered new growth sectors for commercial real estate, which led to a marketing plan aimed only at the top seven producers, with discretion ensuring the secretive intelligence remain hidden until the candidates jumped ship at their respective firms. This dual campaign approach – one very public, one very private – helped NAI Horizon grow faster than any other real estate brokerage in the country.

MHG’s successful execution relied upon personal interviews of all key leaders at NAI, consensus-building among the management team and principals, reconciliation with market dynamics, and establishment of a substantial budgetary process to fortify the calendar implementation of the eventually adopted plans.


  • NAI Horizon became branded as the commercial real estate brokerage that gave greater support to its brokers, eventually becoming known as the brokerage with the largest pool of top producers.

  • Sales jumped more than 300% in 28 months.

  • Top producers who stayed at their respective firms forced a change in how they are compensated, transforming the landscape of commercial brokerage and the relationships they foster.

  • The campaigns were so successful they are still in use today, expanded for the national audience.

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