Several weeks ago I invited Zebra Report readers to send in their current brand, and I offered to do a “before and after” event showcasing those brands.
We’ve extended our deadline through the end of this week, so if you’ve been busy – or you just didn’t see the contest earlier – now is your chance to submit your current brand. Don’t forget – every agent who submits an entry will receive one free month of Safari Club services.
We’ll be posting our finalists next week, and then it will be up to you, my Zebra Report readers. We need each of you to vote and tell us which of the brands you want us to create an “after” brand for.
Because I’ve been sharing my thoughts on branding this month, many of you have emailed with questions about how to get started on branding, how to determine what level of service you need, and whether or not your branding should also be part of your website.
So as our focus on branding comes to a close, let me try to answer as many of your questions as possible. Here goes:
Q: Lots of companies, and yours too, seem to offer different levels of service when it comes to design. There are template designs, and then there is custom work. Which do you recommend for agents? – Caryn K.
A: In an ideal world, every agent would opt for custom design work. Only with custom work do you get an end product that is truly unique. Our company offers custom work (our Signature brands), as well as work that can be selected from our existing portfolio of designs. These brand options are called Instant Identity, and they are a great option for an agent who is carefully managing their design budget.
Q: How do I know if a brand is really “me”? – Sarah M.
A: Your brand should resonate with you. Whether you are creating a custom brand or selecting from an existing design, you should have a (positive) gut-level response to the brand. If you’re not feeling it, the brand is not right for you.
Q: There are lots of design programs out there, and I think I can teach myself how to do the work. I could save money going this route, but I’m wondering what the pitfalls are? – Thomas M.
A: There are two that immediately come to mind. First, most people have a hard time being objective enough to design for themselves. And second, the higher level design programs (the ones that will give you the range of tools you need to create your brand) aren’t easy. They take time and practice to master. I think your time would best be spent practicing your specialty (real estate) rather than learning new software.
Q: I have a brand, and I’m using it successfully. However, my web site is provided by my company, so it doesn’t feature my brand. That site doesn’t offer the option for personal branding. – Susan S.
A: You didn’t ask a question, but I think what you’re wondering is whether you need to get a second website that features your branding. Yes, you do. For branding to be most effective it needs to be showcased on all of your marketing collateral … and that includes your website.
Q: How much do I have to invest in branding?
A: Branding costs vary widely – from company to company, and within companies there are variations from package to package. Within our company, prices for non-custom work began at $1,050 … and the same package, with a custom brand, would be $3,750. Many companies have initial minimum orders of $10,000 but we prefer to offer more flexible options to our clients.
Thank you for all the questions you’ve sent this month about branding. It’s one of my passions in business, and I love talking about it!
The reason for that is simple. Branding can (and should) permeate every aspect of your business. Remember: a brand is a shortcut for clients to quickly connect to the experience that a client can expect when they work with you. Because branding can accelerate the cycle of business , help you quickly build trust, and help make you memorable, it’s one of the most important foundations for a strong, successful, and sustaining business.