Branding your real estate business is vitally important, but what is a real estate brand? Let’s first start by giving you some (oft-quoted) key definitions of branding:
Walter Landor, one of the greats of the advertising industry, said: “Simply put, a brand is a promise. By identifying and authenticating a product or service it delivers a pledge of satisfaction and quality.”
In his book ‘Building Strong Brands,’ David Aaker suggests the brand is a “mental box” and defines brand equity as: “A set of assets (or liabilities) linked to a brand’s name and symbol that adds to (or subtracts from) the value provided by a product or service…”
As Al Ries once stated, a brand is “a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect.”
So taking these established definitions into account, it becomes clear that establishing your real estate brand is the process of communicating effectively and consistently a relevant message over time so that you will (eventually) elicit the desired emotional response whenever your company name is seen or heard by your target audience. Now let’s delve further in and lay out some fundamental steps you should take when planning and then pushing out your real estate brand.
5 Keys To Building Your Real Estate Brand
1. Evaluate The Competition. What niches are currently being exploited in your local market? Is there a high-end specialist? A condo expert? A low-cost leader? A “green” Realtor? Someone who sells mainly golf communities? Knowing what marketing angles your competition is pushing will help you see opportunities to market your own business in a unique way. It’s always important to ensure that your branding is not confusable with that of your competition; the last thing you would want is your prospects mistaking you for them when they are ready to pick up the phone and get started with a transaction! And knowing what is currently working out there may give you an idea as to what people in your local market respond to, which never hurts your cause.
2. Define Your Brand. Before you even think about a name, slogan, or look to your real estate brand, make sure to ask yourself the right questions so that whatever you choose will directly speak to your target audience. Here are some important questions that will help guide you though this process:
- What is your core demographic? Can they be narrowed down by age, gender, family status, or profession?
- What real estate services do they need? What services are the most sought-after? Are there any services that a premium is put upon?
- What neighborhoods that you serve are the most lucrative to do business in? Would it benefit you to brand yourself around those specific markets?
- What specific advantages do you hold over the competition? Some real estate companies brand themselves around a signature service that they provide.
- What are the values of your company? Branding around morals and ethics can instill consumer confidence in your real estate business.
- Do you rely primarily around referrals for your business? This can influence your branding decisions at the very least and can even be the driving force behind your brand in some cases.
3. Create Your Brand. Using all the answers to the questions in the previous step, brainstorm on some business names and possible slogans. Be creative, memorable and meaningful. If you aren’t good with words, you should find someone you trust who is to work with you on this project. It’s well worth a few bucks to hire a third-party writer if you must, because nothing will turn off a prospect faster than a real estate brand they deem “lame,” “cheesy,” or “inauthentic.” Unless your target demographic craves “cheese!”
4. Put A Look To Your Brand. In the online marketing world, some key demographics (especially men) are heavily influenced by visual appeal. So hire someone reputable to design an appropriate, unique logo for your business name. You should also consider creating unique logos for your signature services (or products if you have them). Once people become accustomed to your logo’s elements (the color scheme, the shape, and words contained within it), they will start to associate qualities to your brand. So that’s why it’s important to make that visual impact right off the bat in a way that’s easily memorable. You may want to think of some types of imagery that are popular in your local market and create your logo with a similar theme.
5. Deliver Your Brand! Once your real estate brand is complete, you need to do everything you can to push it out into your local market. Every phone call should be answered with your branding in the script. Your print materials, including stationary, business cards, postcards, and home signs should proudly display it. Then spread your brand throughout your online presence; from webites to blogs, from social networking profiles to email blasts… they should all have language and visuals (logos) that reinforce your brand. And consistency is key here; promote one slogan and one signature logo. That will impress a similar message to all you communicate with, and remember, exact repetition of your brand over time is what delivers your brand through offline and online channels.
For more information on how to effectively brand your real estate business, stay tuned to the Real Estate Marketing Blog for additional useful articles.