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. Thank you to everyone who sent in an entry. Each of you will be receiving one free month of Safari Club services.
The results are in, and we’ve selected our finalists. They are, in alphabetical order, Roseanne Campagna, Gina Hanson, Karen Perry, Susan Sanders, Greg Shaw, and Francine Viola. We thought you might find it helpful to know a little more about what each agent is trying to communicate with their brand, so we’ve asked them each to share a few thoughts with you.
Relatively new to the business (she’s been an agent since 2010), Roseanne Campagna is nevertheless keenly aware of the importance of branding herself.
Here are a few comments from Roseanne:
“I want my brand to say “Trusted Advisor” – that’s the primary message I want to communicate, but I also want to reflect some of my personal interests. I am confident about the transaction side of the business, and am knowledgeable about many aspects of the rural and equestrian markets. In some cases, my knowledge and services goes beyond that of the average agent.
“I created this brand using a snip of an oil painting I did. It helps tie in the personal side of things, as my friends and clients soon learn about my artistic side. I also love horses, and am very, very good at evaluating horse property. I haven’t focused my branding in this direction because I don’t want my focus to appear to narrow, but I would like to incorporate that into my brand.
“The “sunny side of the street” is the kind of attitude I like to project. The market doesn’t always have positive news, so I look for ways to say things in a more positive way. My brand should reflect that attitude.”
An agent since 2007, Gina has had a range of reactions to her “bull” brand. While clients recognize the brand as “hers” when they see it, they can’t actually identify that it’s a bull. Gina selected a bull for several reasons. She loves the look, graphically, of a bull. And she always loved the bull from Looney Toons / Bugs Bunny. But the real reason she selected a bull is because she is strong, and will fight for what is right. She pushes herself to compete and complete where and when others give up.
“I want my brand to say I am the best of the best … that I have tenacity, style, and brains – and I will work my butt off for you. That I will push a deal all the way to the closing table. That I am strong and capable.”
Because Gina works a tough segment of the market – short sales, expired short sales, and pre-foreclosure homes – it’s important to her that her brand reflect her strength and her ability to be successful in areas many other agents avoid.
Karen Perry has created a brand that reflects the geographic area in which she works, incorporating the city and the mountain as elements of her brand.
“I want my brand to say that we’re different and unlike the competition. We stand out, we’re confident and professional. I want it to reflect the diversity and culture of the area.
“The brand “Inside Ashville” should encompass everything the city has to offer – a one-stop shop for where to go, stay, live, play, etc.
“Positive brand feedback has included “clean look” and “professional. On the negative side, we sometimes hear “the logo might work well for a spa, and “the cityscape is crooked”.”
Although she’s been in the business four years, Karen has only been using her brand for a year on the traditional real estate side of things, and for the last six months to advertise short-term vacation rentals.
Susan has been working the Seattle “urban market” for the past 13 years. She enjoys working with first-time home buyers and young families, as well as members of the “creative class”. A well-known artist herself, Susan founds working with creative types to be particularly rewarding.
Susan is drawn to brands with visual simplicity, such as Nike or Apple. Her own brand reflects this design sensibility, which has helped keep her brand memorable in the minds of Susan’s clients over the 13 years she’s been using it.
As Susan puts it:
“It’s important to me to communicate my expertise, my trustworthiness, my loyalty to clients, and my more individual skills which include the fact that I’m a creative thinker with a design/marketing background. I want to communicate a first class product, but I want to emphasize what I’m doing for clients instead of it being all about “me.”
“It’s also important that my brand communicates that I specialize in Seattle urban properties, have lived in Seattle almost all my life, and really do know the neighborhoods there. I’m hoping my brand communicates competence and sticks in peoples’ minds.”
Francine Viola has been a Realtor® since 2006, but has actually been in the industry since 1993, working as an appraiser, commercial property manager, and for a real estate tax company. Her market area includes Thurston county, and parts of Pierce County, including the areas near the McChord and Ft Lewis military bases. Here’s what Francine had to say:
“Some people may equate violins and classical music to being stuffy and high-brow, but I hope people see me through my brand as someone who is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and dependable. I think that my tagline, which is a play on my last name, will defuse some of the stuffiness and let people know that I don’t take myself too seriously; they can be comfortable working with me. That is also why I also made the violias different colors.
“Communication is the most important factor for me to having a successful transaction and to building a strong client relationship. I want my tagline to express that value. I want my brand to say that I work to be “in tune” by asking my clients questions and asking them for their feedback and to say that by working together, we will meet or exceed their real estate goals. My tagline has remained the same since 2006, but the look of my marketing materials has evolved and changed over the last 5 years to what it is now.
“I like brands like the magazine, Real Simple. I like that they use big, bold photos but their logo is a simple font that they change the font colors to match the magazine cover, yet you still know the brand.
“The only comments I get on my branding is my tagline. People like that but they don’t “get” the violas. Either they don’t know that a viola is an instrument or they just can’t put my last name and the instrument together. It’s like having to explain a joke you just told! So I am always trying to improve the look to clarify what I’m trying to get across.”
The next part is up to you, my Zebra Report readers. We need each of you to vote and tell us which of the six brands you want us to create a sample “after” brand for. You have until 4:00 pm on September 15th to place your vote. Vote below for the brand you would most like to see “renovated”, and we’ll go to work.
Remember, you’re not voting for the brand you think is the best right now – instead, you’re voting for the brand you want to see changed or improved.
Be sure to stay tuned for a future Zebra Report, where we will unveil the winner of our “before and after” event!
EDIT: Voting is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated in the voting!