Real Estate Branding – Building your Brand Image
When you visit other real estate agent’s websites, are you impressed by the quality of branding they do for themselves? Do they actively build a positive image of themselves as being a top notch agent, a clear market leader? What overall message do you get about them as a professional? How about the top agents in your city?
What is a brand image? It is the impression and understanding customers have of you and your business compared to your competitors. Perhaps the main branding features of a website are the color, pictures of homes and condos, descriptions, copywriting, headings, pictures of you, and the homes you have for sale. Maybe you have a tagline that works well.
I can think of one agent who had a great tagline “Rocco, The Rocket, Racioppo.” He doesn’t use it anymore. Perhaps customers didn’t get the Rocket part of it? But a rocket sure sounds like a guy who can get your home sold. But then there’s the downside, such as it may sound too phony or aggressive. If you were to focus only on desperate home sellers, The Rocket doesn’t sound like a bad tagline. Any tagline has to be supported by other material and it has to work in concert.
How would you rate your brand image compared to most other agents? Is your website nicer? But consider this for a moment. Does a slick website really project integrity, hard work, customer service, and cost efficiency or does it suggest the opposite? Does a sloppy website project competency?
You can do a search right now in any market from Boca Raton to Seattle to Baton Rouge to Vancouver and you’d come up with a swath of some less-than-impressive real estate websites. But hold on, a brand image has to be more than just a cool looking website doesn’t it? Most people refer to branding as a logo, tagline, and stylish design, but branding guru’s will tell you branding is just like marketing, it’s integral in everything about your business. It’s in how you communicate, service, and deliver to your customers.
Real Estate Branding Strategy
What is your branding strategy this year? Are you positioning yourself in light of the new real estate market? Is your brand image relevant against what is going on in the market right now, or is your position a traditional one, friendly, good service, professional, trustworthy, and hard working? Given how competitive real estate is today, I’m not sure a traditional brand image is good enough to make you stand out. Slogans and logos don’t seem to work well.
Instead, customers seem to create their image of you from what you say, such as the content on your site, the pictures of homes, sales record, and the number of listings. They assume a lot from what they see, but that’s just the way it is. Everyone makes snap judgements.
Your unique value proposition is very tied to your brand image, in fact, when people hear and see you or your website, the impression they get is your unique value proposition. Building a unique brand image and delivering unique value to really stand out as a market leader, you need to innovate. You can innovate by sponsoring charities and community events, doing blitz advertising, building niche websites, creating an interesting blog, make comments about the market and communities on your Twitter account, and creating an interesting Facebook page to showcase you. After all the your real estate brand is you.
Creating an interesting, informative, and compelling presence is important in Real Estate. People want to see a clear, cohesive, and strong image even if it is of a calm, pleasant and quietly competent. It’s not who you are really, it’s what you say and do that tells them whether you’re their go-to agent. So your brand strategy is understand your image and communicate it in a compelling way. Think about what aspects of your life are key to attractive branding. Is your spouse and kids something that can be branded? You don’t need a picture of them, it’s in how you describe them and what you do with them that suggests you’re a responsible person with a healthy attitude. Your integrity comes out in how you speak about topics so having a blog or twitter account lets others know you. Many agents don’t like to talk and they fear getting too expressive and exposed. But if you don’t do these things, it’s hard to project a sincere, honest image to prospects.
To brand yourself as really immersed in the real estate business, you’ll want to talk about everyday realty business. Buying, selling, talking to first time buyers, memories of transactions years ago, and discussions of your community demonstrate to the prospect that you are a major presence. And that’s someone they can rely on to be effective and act with integrity. In the end, your brand image has to project the qualities your targeted prospect believes in. Upscale and downscale property markets are very different. One brand image for both of those markets might not work. As you’re building your online marketing campaign, think about your brand image and whether it is projecting the characteristics that your prospects like. Don’t rely on your brokerages brand or logo. It just doesn’t carry the weight you think it does.
Contact Realty Market Leader – your personal real estate marketing manager.