While moderating somewhat due to rising interest rates and other factors, the real-estate housing sector continues to generate record sales — particularly in certain pockets throughout the country, including cities in Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and California. Home listings recently jumped as sellers don’t want to miss out on the buyer demand we have experienced in the last few years. To get in on this action, it’s important for real estate firms to distinguish their brand in the marketplace. This, in fact, applies in both hot and colder markets.
Take a Hard Look at Your Current Real Estate Brand
Brand identity is the “face” of your company. It helps you build credibility and trust and supports your mission and values.
Take an objective look at your current real estate brand. Think about when you last updated the look and feel of your brand. Does it look dated? Does it reflect your value proposition? Does your brand stand out from the crowd in the sea of real estate competitors in your area? Your answers will tell you if it’s time to take a fresh look at your brand and update it. It’s well worth the time and expense to elevate your brand and the messaging it represents.
Turn to the Branding Experts
Don’t skimp when it comes to branding or think about developing your brand yourself. It takes a professional firm or individual who can provide insight and guide you through the process, so your brand truly reflects who you are and speaks to your target market. Create a brief and bid the work to three or four firms to receive several proposals for your consideration.
In looking for the right firm to develop your brand, I recommend the following:
- Ask for referrals from family, friends, and centers of influence for marketing firms they have used. If you like a particular brand, find out the company that created it.
- Make a thorough list of the work you need: company name (if you are new on the block or are looking to change things up), logo, and tagline for your brand; business cards and stationery; brochures and mailers (if applicable); website; digital ads; design for open house signage; and company profiles on social media platforms. You want to ensure you include all components to get as accurate pricing as possible.
- Ask the firm you select for a Statement of Work (SOW) detailing the work it will perform (based on the proposal), costs (including any potential additional expenses), and timeframes. The SOW should outline what is expected not only by the marketing firm but also from you and your staff to ensure deadlines are met.
You can also opt to use different companies for various aspects of your branding once the logo and messaging are created. For example, you may contract with a web designer/developer for your website and a printing firm for your collateral — the results will clearly be in the same “family” as far as look and feel, as long as they follow the branding guidelines established. I prefer using one firm to oversee everything as typically, a project manager will be assigned to manage the entire process, including deadlines. You want to spend your time selling homes, not playing production and traffic manager.
Talk Value Proposition, Messaging
Once you choose a marketing firm or individual with whom you want to work together, it’s then time to define your company mission statement and value proposition for your brand identity to reflect who you are. Set some clear parameters for your brand’s voice. Take into account how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand. Warmth and knowledge, for example, are tone choices that can help everyone who creates content for your brand at every level stay consistent with the brand identity.
In addition, define your targeted market in its specific geographical area. Create detailed customer personas that represent your target demographics to understand exactly what your customers want from your brand. Knowing your customers’ likes and dislikes and what they seek in a real estate company will assist you in developing a brand identity with which they will want to engage. For example, if you target high-end homeowners, be sure you speak to this demographic and your messaging resonates with them as a distinguished real estate buyer or seller.
Your brand identity is one you want to share with the world and a brand with which the world wants to interact.
The Importance of Visuals
The brand’s visuals – logo, typography, company colors, and any photography or videos used on your website, mailers, or signage – help the public recognize your firm. For example, if you are in the luxury real estate market, ensure all brochures for specific properties are beautifully designed with professional photos. Use the same glossy, high-end images taken for the brochure on your website to feature a new property.
Cohesion and Continuity Matter
Ask your marketing firm to create a company style guide for your business — a rulebook of sorts to ensure brand cohesion and continuity are maintained throughout all your offline and online channels. You want every employee in the company to understand the brand’s image and voice so they project the company’s values and mission through their communication and marketing – from writing social media posts to managing website updates, creating ads and new brochures or fliers, purchasing swag (hats, T-shirts, tote bags, coffee cups), and hosting house showings and events.
Written by Roger Pettingell.
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