I’ve been flooded with questions and comments about real estate logos and branding in the last 30 days. We had such positive response to our recent “before and after” contest … and it made me realize that I need to talk about the power of branding more regularly.
I’m a proponent of branding because it works. Branding your business will increase the success of your business. That’s why my company offers branding and design services to our clients.
I want to be very clear on my next statement. I don’t talk about branding because my company offers branding … I made the decision long ago to have branding as one of my company’s core services because branding works.
I’m going to be talking a lot about branding in the coming months so I can share my thoughts about why branding – coupled with ongoing training – could be the most important commitment you make to your business.
So just why am I so keen on branding? Why do I encourage agents to invest in their business via branding?
Let’s start with this basic premise: a brand is a blueprint for, or a “promise” of, the experience your client will have when using your products and/or services.
If you think about nationally known brand you’ll know this is true. Think about the following companies:
When you see these brands, you instantly have an expectation of your experience.
These companies have all developed a strong corporate identity through their brand – one which quickly communicates to past, present, and potential clients exactly what they can expect from the company.
Take a peek at the last two examples here – Budweiser, and Guinness.
Budweiser has incorporated several taglines over the decades (“The King of Beers”, “This Buds for You”, “When You Say Budweiser, You’ve Said it All”). However, what hasn’t changed are the brand colors – a strongly American palette of red, white, and blue. Budweiser positions itself as a beer for the patriotic masses. It’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s American-made. When you see the Budweiser brand, there’s absolutely no question it’s an American beer. Like many successful companies, Budweiser directs its brand message at a relatively young market, hoping to build brand loyalty and develop long-term relationships.
Contrast this with Guinness – an Irish beer known for its stout (think of it as very dark beer). Their brand reinforces this, with a dark, murky color palette. Guinness has cleverly introduced an image associated with Ireland – a harp – into their brand, and they call attention to their country of origin by referencing “Dublin”. They’ve also been very strategic in positioning the length of time their brewery has been in business – their date of establishment (1759) is clearly referenced in their brand. Like Budweiser, Guinness has changed their taglines over time (“Good Things Come to Those Who Wait”, “Bring it to Life”, “My Goodness, My Guinness”, “Guinness is Good for You”, “Out of the Darkness Comes Light”, “The Most Natural Thing in the World”) but has kept their brand elements consistent.
Your brand should be the foundation of all your marketing efforts. Not a piece of marketing – whether online or offline – should be seen by the public unless it showcases your branding.
Develop a brand, use your brand consistently in your marketing, and you’ll create an identity that resonates with clients.
Here are five easy ways to identify if branding is for you. It’s time for you to brand if:
- You need to differentiate yourself in your marketplace. Do you appear just like every other agent to potential clients? If so, how will they find you … or, if they find you, how will they know they would want to work with you?
- You want to eliminate your competition. When you are the agent with a point of differentiation, there’s a reason for a client to work with you, not your competitor.
- You want to gain focus on your core values. Nothing brings clarity more quickly to what is unique about you than the work of creating a brand. Branding forces you to discover – then articulate – your value.
- You want to shorten the time it takes to build trust with clients. With a brand, you’ve differentiated yourself from competitors, and you’ve articulated your core values. A brand allows you to deliver that message to your clients quickly, thus decreasing the time you must spend convincing clients that you are their agent of choice.
- You want to start marketing yourself, not just the company you work with. Too many agents rely on their company’s marketing materials. This is a huge mistake. Yes, if you work with a well-respected company you should leverage their name. However, you must also brand yourself so clients have clarity around your value as an agent, and to provide a reason for a client to work with you … not your co-worker in the next cubicle over!
Do any of these five reasons resonate with you? If even one of them does, it’s time to get to work on creating your business brand.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be talking about branding regularly in the coming months. Can’t wait? Download a copy of my free white paper on branding, “Jump-Start Your Business: Branding Ideas for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs”.