This week I want to talk with you about branding – what it is, and why I believe so strongly in it (and why you should too!)
At its core, a brand expresses the emotional or psychological relationship you have with your clients. It’s not something concrete – it’s the experience that a client can expect when they interact with you.
Strictly speaking, logos, “name treatments”, or other visual images are not brands … but they are representations of brands. Think of them as a shortcut to your brand, one that allows clients to immediately tap in to the positive feelings they’ll experience when they work with you.
Here’s one of the best reasons to have a brand: it allows you to accelerate the cycle of business with potential clients. Your brand allows you to quickly build trust with clients – and you’ll find that clients will gravitate to you based on the core values and emotional impact that resonates from your brand. Your brand also makes you memorable, helping you to stand out from the crowd.
It all began with a cow…
Way back when, livestock was marked with the “brand” of its owner. This had two results:
- It helped to prove ownership in a dispute, and
- It created a visual “memory marker” for anyone who saw the brand, linking the livestock with its physical owner.
Over time, this memory marker created a link between the livestock and the feelings that people had toward the owner. Because the brand was always used in additional ways (on the ranch’s gate, on horse blankets used by ranch staff, etc.), an identity was being built. Soon, a quick glance at a brand could conjure up feelings of the owner – perhaps the kindly old guffer with a heart of gold… or the evil rancher who worked his cowboys to the bone.
Branding can be just that powerful today.
A brand is a blueprint of your customer experience. It will season conversations about you and your company, and it must be an authentic representation of who you are. Your brand can instantly communicate what you stand for, the value your offer, and how you are different from your competition.
Over the years, I’ve seen successful agents leverage the power of their personal brand. By committing to a brand above and beyond that offered by their parent company, agents can create their own unique identities, while still leveraging their company’s brand.
Having your own brand allows you to have your own “marketing voice”, that speaks loud and clear about your commitment, your values, and your unique identity. It puts you head and shoulders above other agents, identifying you as entrepreneur who is serious about their business.
How do you know if you’re ready for branding? Branding is for you if you need to:
- Differentiate yourself in your market place.
- Take your competition out of the equation.
- Gain focus on your core values.
- Shorten the time it takes to build trust with clients.
- Leverage your opportunities.
- Start marketing yourself, not just the company you work with.
If these solutions match the problems you’re facing in your business, it’s time to develop your business brand.
Don’t forget: there’s still time left to enter our “Before and After” contest. We will be doing a mini-makeover to the winner of the contest to illustrate what a difference great branding can make. Interested in entering? Send a PDF of your current brand to: [email protected].