“Know a good real estate agent?” Pose this question to just about anyone you meet and chances are they will have a friend, aunt, brother, second cousin or neighbour in the business…or they know someone that knows someone. You get the picture.
You’re competing with a lot of other agents for those coveted listings and buyers. So how do you stand out in such a crowded marketplace?
It all starts with your brand.
I’ve been in marketing my entire career, so it’s no surprise I would go here. But whether you call it branding or something else, the concept of doing or saying things to appeal to a specific audience to persuade them to like you or buy your product or service has been around forever. Simple things like the way we dress or style our hair, form part of our personal brand.
What is branding and why is it so important?
When we think of branding, the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. But a brand is more than just a logo. Your brand is all about how you present yourself in the marketplace. It is how you want to be perceived by your clients. It embodies your personality, your promise, your focus.
Beyond a logo, your brand includes elements such as a colour palette, typography and image style. But it doesn’t stop there. It is also about your voice – the words you use when you write a blog or post on social media. It’s the personality and tone that comes through everything you do. And yes, it can even include the way you dress and style your hair.
Branding is the foundation for everything you do. And it drives your marketing. Without branding, your marketing efforts are wasted. Think of branding as the foundation of a house and marketing as the rest – the walls, the doors, the windows and roof. Without a solid foundation, your house falls apart.
How do you develop a brand?
Besides reflecting who you are, your brand must appeal to your target audience. The first step in developing your brand is identifying your ideal customer.
Once you know your target audience, your brand look, tone and message can all be designed to appeal to this audience.
In developing your brand, ask yourself the following questions:
- What makes me different (from my competition)?
- What do I stand for?
- What do I stand against?
- What gives me inspiration?
- What is my promise (to my clients)?
Your answers should be supported by or reflected in all of your branding from your logo to your messaging.
Remember this though, just as your brand should appeal to your target audience it must also be authentic to you. If your brand doesn’t reflect who you are, people will see through it. It will work against you rather than for you.
Marketing your brand
Once you have your brand developed, you must use it consistently throughout your marketing – from business cards and signage to social media posts.
If you use an external agency to develop it, they should provide you with a Brand Guide that outlines the do’s and don’ts for your logo, proper use of colours and typography, how to use your tag line (if you have one) and other rules and directions for applying your brand.
This type of guidance is important because a consistent presentation of your brand helps to build trust. And trust is critical in real estate.
It’s fairly easy to get the visual parts of your brand consistent. Where it can get tricky is in the voice – how you communicate. One way to help with this is to develop a content strategy.
A content strategy sets the direction for your communication style and includes things like:
- Your audience – what challenges and pain points you should be addressing in your content
- Your messaging – what key messages should be communicated throughout your content; why people should work with you
- Your voice – what personality should be conveyed in your writing and how it should be expressed. For example, if you want to appear approachable you might use a more casual tone. You might use humour or keep things professional.
By presenting a consistent message and style in everything you do, eventually you become recognizable. It won’t happen instantly, but if you commit to your brand and use it effectively, you will stand out from your competition.