Starting a career in real estate can be very rewarding. But it’s a popular occupation, and that means you’re bound to face some stiff competition. To help agents stand out from the crowd, we’ve created a 3-day Branding Lab. Each day you will be given a topic, a short tutorial video, and some quick homework assignments that can help you develop an eye-catching brand.
Let’s get started!
What is a Brand?
Simply put, a brand is a name you recognize. Think of a famous company. What stands out to you is what we define as branding. It may be their logo, a slogan, a mascot, even a theme song. Most importantly, all of these brand elements make you feel something—ideally, a sense of familiarity, affinity, and trust.
To illustrate, try this exercise: jot down the names of five brands that you use every day. Then, next to each company, write down whatever pops in your mind: a product, an image, a feeling, etc. When I think of Nike, for instance, I instantly picture the “swoosh” logo. When I think of Dunkin’ Donuts, I assure myself that “America Runs on Dunkin.” And when I see an ad for Nationwide, I instantly sing, “Chicken parm you taste so good.”
Our goal during this Branding Lab is to help you build your own brand that inspires the same reaction from your audience, making them instantly feel something positive and unique when they see or hear your company name.
Why Is Branding Important?
Branding is not new. We as humans have a natural inclination to gravitate to places that have a great brand or reputation. It’s why we choose to go to a local coffee shop (“My friend recommended this place”), or why we go to a mom-and-pop diner (“They have the best Italian food”).
However, something happened in the past 20 years that elevated the importance of branding: Digital marketing. The rise of the internet has enabled us to discover and experience brands more quickly and easily. We no longer have to visit a brick-and-mortar store and speak to someone to learn about a product. Instead, we can do it all from our computer or mobile phone.
As a result of this shift, your brand must also be accessible everywhere. Whatever makes you unique and special should come across wherever and however someone interacts with your brand. Whether it’s a website, social media account, or digital ad, your brand must establish the same emotional connection with your audience as you could through a one-on-one conversation. Today, most people won’t wait to speak with you in order to make a decision. Instead, this decision usually happens the instant they interact with your brand for the first time.
How to Create your Brand
Even if you’re a new real estate agent, you already have some kind of reputation. This may come from your first few customers, or how your friends and family view your real estate business. Start by asking everyone you know point blank what they think you do well, and what they think you do consistently. Once you have an initial sense of your reputation, you can build on that foundation to create a more cohesive brand.
After you get that feedback, you need to define your niche. A niche can be centered on a specific geographic area, property type, transaction type, or subculture. Whatever you choose, it should be something that you are an expert at (or aspire to become an expert at). Once you become an expert at something, you can differentiate yourself from everyone else and stand out to the people seeking out that expertise.
When defining your real estate niche, it’s important to focus on something very specific.. Many agents are hesitant to narrow their focus, fearing that if they say they’re good at one thing, the market will assume they aren’t good at anything else. But that’s not how branding works. Once you establish what you are really good at, the right clients will flock to you, and you’ll experience a ripple effect that allows you to transfer that perception of excellence to other areas.
Create Your Brand Homework
Now it’s time to create your brand. Complete the steps below to come up with a brand that you want to be known for.
Define your Niche
Read through our How to Find Your Real Estate Niche guide. Don’t be afraid to get specific. After you define your niche, do a litmus test. Run it by past clients, family members, friends, and co-workers. Make sure that it’s believable. If the people closest to you can’t picture that niche for you, then prospective clients will have a hard time being convinced.
Take our Brand Positioning Exercise
After you define your niche and pinpoint your specialty, run through our brand positioning exercise. This will help you create a concise internal message that will serve as the basis for all future messaging. Each time you or your team creates something consumer-facing, you will read it against this brand positioning statement to make sure it’s “on brand.”
Tomorrow, we’ll explore ways you can share your brand with your audience.