Building Your Real Estate Brand
Creating a memorable real estate brand is hard. If you’ve spent any amount of time trying to do it, you’ll likely agree.
While the steps of real estate branding seem simple enough, the execution more times than not is the determining factor between real estate brokers and agents that do branding well, and the ones that are swallowed into the land of “me toos”.
What is Real Estate Branding?
Real estate branding is the strategic process where a brokerage or agent creates a business identity that resonates with a particular audience and differentiates itself from competitors. Real estate branding intentionally positions your real estate agency in a way that establishes a sense of trust with your target audience of property buyers and sellers.
The Importance of Real Estate Branding
Establishing your brand identity as a real estate agent or broker requires more than just putting the word out in your community that you have your real estate license and are ready to do business. It’s about showcasing your expertise. It’s connecting authentically with a niche. It’s about building trust, communicating a story that inspires a particular feeling and actions, and creating loyal clients for years to come.
In order to build your brand as a real estate professional, we recommend starting with the following steps:
1. Know Your Why
All real estate agents and brokers ultimately do the same thing: help someone purchase or sell a property. Therefore, your brand identity needs to go beyond simply letting would-be clients know that you specialize in residential real estate negotiation. You must dig deeper into your expertise to find your unique selling proposition. You must find your why. What is it that you do better or differently than the rest of the agents and brokers in your area? What makes your story unique from the other 2 million agents out there? Why do you do what you do every day? Why would someone choose to work specifically with you?
This step seems simple but can actually become a hard nut to crack once you get going. If you get stuck, check out this post for tips.
2. Be Consistent, But Malleable
When I mention the word “branding” to someone, 9 times out of 10, they think I’m just referring to the brand’s style: their logo, colors, fonts, tagline, and other design elements that are used to build a uniform look for their company. Don’t get me wrong, these are necessary branding elements that any agent or brokerage needs to have in order to drive public familiarity and recognition of the business.
Yes, branding certainly contains those design elements. But branding is also the consistency in the delivery of the message. Do you have a consistent 30-second elevator pitch of who you are and what your agency does? Is there a concise descriptive sentence on your website that says the same thing? Does everyone in your company have the same tagline in their email footer?
Consistency matters in delivering the same experience. But your brand also needs to be malleable. Times and circumstances change, and your brand must be flexible enough to adapt. Else, you risk losing your relevance in the marketplace.
For example, Keller Williams is a real estate company with a distinctive brand. But it has also started investing heavily in technology, including artificial intelligence and a dedicated app, so it can be in a better position to go head-to-head with websites like Zillow and Redfin. Keller Williams’ agents are still branded as experts in commercial and residential real estate, but it is also using technology to transform the brand to better fit the agent-client relationship in the digital age.
3. Drive Emotion
Any brand is only as successful as its ability to trigger a ‘feeling’ in its customer’s heart. People don’t buy a product for the ‘what’ or ‘how’, they buy it for the ‘why’ behind what it makes them feel. A real estate brand, which is associated with a unique concept is more likely to be remembered, loved, and chosen when it evokes a feeling. This is possible with the right brand strategy, good design, and consistent marketing.
To illustrate this concept in real life, let’s examine the example of fashion conglomerate Gap Inc. Among the brands that Gap Inc. owns, there are two absolutely different fashion titles, Old Navy and the Banana Republic. Old Navy targets low-income customers, while the Banana Republic has a more upscale image. While both are owned by Gap, neither has Gap in their names, slogans, or stores. They each take a different approach to the way their stores look, the colors and images used to market to customers, the models they use, and the message they deliver. They are two completely independent entities under the same, invisible brand umbrella, and thus are able to invoke two completely different feelings from their customers via their separate brand approaches:
What does an Old Navy customer feel? He/she feels smart to buy relatively well-designed apparel for less. Getting ‘value for the money’ makes him/her feel good.
What does a Banana Republic customer feel? He/she feels privileged to be able to wear higher-quality apparel from a relatively upscale brand. He/she feels like those models in the fashion ads.
Think about this example and how it could apply similarly to the way you brand yourself or your agency. How can you brand yourself as an individual in a way that makes your clients-to-be ‘feel something’ different from the agent next door?
4. Create a Strong Company Culture
There are many public-facing elements to building your agent or broker brand. However, when managing a team, your internal company culture is as much of a strategic part of your brand as anything else. Your team of agents help shape and determine what your brand is – how they approach clients, market themselves, solve problems, and more all impact your brand. You want a cohesive unit that applies the same standards to getting work done and customer treatment. It goes back to delivering a consistent brand experience referenced in the examples above.
As representatives of your business, your agents become advocates of your brand, and in turn, are the ones ultimately driving customer proof and customer testimonials of your business in the marketplace. So if you want a strong brand presence, make sure you create a strong internal culture first.
5. Inspire Loyalty
Strong brands are not built overnight. Neither are loyal customers. However, the two are interconnected so spending effort in both of these areas is well worth it.
According to a 2018 study by Canstar, when individuals were asked to rate their level of trust in Real Estate Agents in general from 0 to 10, respondents provided an average rating of 6.9.
Customer loyalty is crucial to building top-of-mind awareness and a strong brand. To keep would-be (or past) clients from choosing a competitor – or even worse, hanging a “For Sale by Owner” sign – you need to ensure you’re delivering consistent, highly personal brand experiences, service, and touches.
The first step to building a long and lasting relationship is earning the trust of those who have chosen to engage. Every interaction should instill that their needs will be addressed in a careful and stress-free manner as possible.
Above a consistent level of service, every customer touchpoint, from your logo and branding to the tone of voice used online, to the way properties are photographed should send the same message. This level of consistency sends a strong message of reliability, that they know exactly what to expect when dealing with you.
The Bottom Line of Building Your Real Estate Brand
Although many of these real estate branding elements and strategies may seem tedious or obvious, ultimately the best foundation for a great real estate marketing strategy is great service and a strong brand.
ZipperAgent has helped thousands of agents build and manage their brand strategies, marketing, and more through the use of intuitive technology tools. Contact us today to see where we can help you build your brand faster and stronger, which results in a more successful business in 2022 for you!