Published by Kartik Subramaniam
It has been said that branding first started in ancient Egypt as herders and livestock owners branded their cattle as a means to distinguish their property from another's. This way, if cattle was stolen, whoever saw the branded symbol could figure out who the actual owner was.
In modern times, branding is a way of marketing and communicating one company, or in the case of real estate, one real estate agent from another. Proper branding results in brand awareness, which is essentially the ability of a customer to understand what products belong to a given company and what products belong to another.
The goal of effective branding is to have what marketers call “top of mind” awareness. Essentially, this happens when the customer thinks of a specific need and a brand will immediately come to mind in a given product category. A good example of branding are the following associations:
Bleach = Clorox.
Face tissue, Kleenex.
These companies have done an excellent and deliberate job of branding and creating top of mind awareness with their consumer. How does this relate to the individual real estate agent? One of the first steps to branding for a successful Realtor is defining the market area that they are attempting to be an expert in.
Consider web and print assets that specifically are tailored to these farm areas. For example, if you are focused on a specific condo community in your town, consider registering some domain names that have the name of that condo complex in them and frequent updates as to the market in that building or area will help solidify your brand as an expert in that neighborhood.
If the condo complex is the “Jolly Arms Condos” the agent might register the URL www.jollyarmscondos.com.
As it relates to branding, a strong logo is critical. If you work for a national real estate company like Coldwell Banker or Keller Williams, you may want to check with their brand compliance guidelines before executing your strategy. Generally if you have colors or a marketing scheme that fits the area you're branding in, this can help give you top of mind awareness. Remember to choose your colors wisely in your logo. We've all walked through a department store and it's obvious that professional branders and marketers use certain colors to elicit certain emotions. Red and yellow tend to pop more than more muted colors.
Also, remember to use both online and offline methods of branding and advertising. Open house signs, yard signs, and door knocking, along with direct mail, are all strategies to employ to effectively brand you as the local expert in that area. There is a need for differentiation. Remember, there are a lot of real estate agents out there. Over one million people have membership with the National Association of Realtors once they obtain their real estate license. Consumers have a lot of choices and it's important to be able to differentiate your strategy and marketing from your competitors.
Consider adopting a specific niche market. Do you focus on retail tenant representation? Do you focus on short sales or bank owned properties? Do you focus on condos or luxury marketing? Being able to brand yourself as an expert in any of these niches is useful to building your brand.
Finally, remember that consistency is more important than creativity. Branding is a marathon, not a sprint. Even if your marketing isn't perfect, it's important to remember that consistent branding and marketing will help keep you top of mind in the eyes of the consumer. If you're going to do a blog, make sure your blog comes out with some regularity. If you're going to record YouTube videos, make sure that you have a predefined content calendar and schedule. This will help the public see you as a consistent and reliable source of information when they are considering buying and selling a piece of real estate.
Are you ready to get your real estate license?