Branding your real estate business is not much different than branding in any other industry, except... There are a few critical aspects that will determine whether your real estate branding gets lost in the crowd or stands out like a giant among pygmies.
Most people perceive nearly all real estate businesses THE SAME AS ANY OTHER REAL ESTATE BUSINESS. The average house buyer could hardly care less whether hiring Agent A or Agent B and often will make the decision on a few seemingly trivial interactions. The average landlord chooses a property manager in much the same way.
If that isn't old news repeat it again, please. For the sake of your company's longevity, remember that most clients perceive nearly all real estate businesses the same.
To stand out from the crowd, you need to be branding your business expertly, across all your marketing & sales messages. Here are some ideas for how to do that you might want to keep in mind:
1. Define Your Unique Selling Points
Branding a business goes beyond logos and letterhead - at the heart, establishing a solid brand relies on your ability to add unique value to your customers' lives (and make sure they know it).
Author Napoleon Hill states it well: "People buy your personality and ideas long before they buy your products and services."
If you want to have any hope at standing out, your personality & ideas need to present something unique... not "just another agent" or "just another property management company."
A good brand is one that connects with a target audience on an emotional level and adds value via positive interactions, good listening, attention to detail, consistency, and integrity, to name a few. To develop a successful brand, it's important to truly understand the needs and desires of your own unique & specific target group of clients and prospects who you can help the most.
Once you know your audience (based on what unique value you can bring to the table that none of your competitors can beat), your real estate company's branding is there to communicate this understanding throughout all marketing & sales materials.
2. Keep Up Your Visual Appeal
Now, about those logos and letterhead. Esthetics go a log way when it comes to representing your business. Often, your ad, direct mail, or website will be the first thing a prospective client sees before ever even meeting you. Communicating your Unique Value Proposition and "who you are" as a real estate professional via well designed brand elements such as a logo, website, presentations, marketing materials, and advertising campaigns is a crucial way to make your first impression (and every subsequent one) positive and lasting.
Childish fonts (I'm looking at you, comic sans) and poorly rendered graphics communicate a disorganized, behind the times, stale feeling. If you have poorly rendered property images on your website, MLS, or classified ads, or if your branding doesn't match across media, potential clients notice. Think about who you would do business with and what their logos and business materials might look like. Can you think of the last business card you looked at and felt impressed?
3. Consistency & Authenticity
Successful real estate professionals realize that consistency and authenticity build a solid reputation in an ever more competitive industry. One of the best ways to rise above the noise is to hold yourself to a higher standard.
Keeping your Unique Selling Points consistent, you will carve out a niche for yourself over time, and your company's longevity will be secured. Very few real estate businesses make it past 5 years, much less 10. If you can consistently provide unique value, and do business with integrity & authenticity, your brand will attract the clients who know a good deal when they see it (and who are willing to pay for it)!
4. AB...N? (Always Be Networking)
Everyone's heard the saying that networking is so essential to building a successful real estate business. It's not what you know, it's who you know.
But, beyond just forging new relationships & getting your name out there, your networking will be most successful when you have a clearly defined, unique, and easily articulated brand. Networking then simply means spreading your Unique Selling Points... expounding on your values and telling people what makes you unique (and valuable) in what you do! Make sure you always have plenty of business cards and brochures on your current projects (and make sure to include your consistent branding across all media!). Preparedness is impressive.
Your real estate brand is at the core of all of the marketing and advertising you will ever do, building upon itself, accelerating your business, creating an image worthy of your prospects' consideration as you strive for their business. Take your time and never stop cultivating your brand's reputation... as your business will live or die by it.