Ask any real estate agent that has truly embraced their authentic self in their brand and they will tell you that while it was scary at first, it was probably one of the best business decisions they ever made.
I am not talking about buying a $29 logo online from someone in a foreign country reselling that same logo hundreds of times over. I am talking about having a branding design expert create a cohesive brand identity that visually tells the story of who you are and highlights your area of specialty or expertise.
I have been a branding cheerleader for well over two decades and a branding expert for almost 15 years. My own brand is what helped me to build my successful real estate business when I was selling real estate. I was able to be a leader in my marketplace because my brand was memorable, stood out, and got my phone ringing. And today it is my unique zebra brand that has provided me and my business opportunities all over the country. I have often been asked about the best and worst business decisions I have made, and I can emphatically say that developing a brand was my best and not developing a brand sooner was my worst.
So why is it that some agents resist marketing themselves with a unique and memorable brand? I have heard many excuses from agents over the years:
- The most common excuse I hear is: “My company has a brand…I don’t need a brand.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth; you need to stand out against the sea of other agents that are also in your company.
- Then there is the excuse, “I can’t afford it.” When it comes to the cost of anything it is smart to look at the return on investment. I personally cannot think of a better investment I have made in my business than my brand. I built and paid for my brand once but it has returned that initial investment time and time again. That is a powerful return on investment.
- Finally, the other excuse I hear is “I don’t want to draw attention to myself; I don’t want it to be about me.” Great branding actually draws attention away from you and focuses on what you do, and what the experience for the client will be. It shouldn’t be ego-based marketing. Clients care about what you do for them and your brand should articulate that.
Many agents have backed away from including their niche market in their brand. They fear that if they are too specialized they will lose some of their general business. While it may be true that you could lose some business due to focused specialization, it is also true that you will attract additional business because of your specialization. A great brand should attract the right clients and deter the wrong ones. It should give your clients a very clear representation of who you are, what you do, and even who you don’t serve.
McDonald’s has been specializing in fast food for decades and their golden arches signify a place to go to get consistent predictable food and fast service – essentially their niche market. You don’t expect to have steak and lobster when you go to McDonald’s. That is what great branding does; it lets people know who you are, what you do, and what they can expect from you.
If you have a specialty in real estate, don’t be afraid to bring attention to it and build a brand around it. Let people know about your unique services. And if you worry about losing some clients, that worry will quickly fade when clients that want your specific expertise come out of the woodwork to find you.
A great brand should also solve challenges in your business; it is not just a pretty visual representation of what you do. It forces you to really think about what you do differently and better than anyone else. It requires you to “name and claim” your niche and provide a higher level of service. Because you have marketed yourself as the expert, people will expect more from you.
When people ask me where to start when considering branding I always tell them to start with a brand expert who specializes in helping real estate agents. Don’t just run out and buy a pretty logo online or work with your cousin’s nephew’s neighbor who is taking a graphic design course. Great branding is not just about graphic design. It is about telling your story, creating an experience for the client and articulating the benefits of working with you. That is a complex assignment that requires an expert.
If you want to talk with me personally about my favorite topic, “branding,” please feel free to call my office and set up an appointment. Nothing gives me greater joy than helping to transform an agent’s business by using powerful branding. Give us a call at (360) 527-8904 or email us at [email protected].