The real estate industry is dense, to say the least. While wading through a sea of agents, brokers and brokerage models, there’s a lot for potential buyers and sellers to consider before coming to a decision. Sometimes, the choice comes all down to the business identity — what is your business brand?
An effective branding strategy sets a business apart from the competition, increases brand recognition and even sets the tone for building a trustworthy relationship with your clients. Summed up, branding sounds pretty important, huh? If you’re in the process of starting a brokerage firm, or are considering a rebrand, here are a few key tips to effectively brand your business.
Branding does not equal a logo and color scheme
Initially, when thinking about branding, what comes to mind for many is a nice looking logo and brand colors. While that’s certainly an important component, branding goes even further than that. According to Entrepreneur, a company brand serves several purposes:
- Your promise to your customer
- Sets what your customers can expect by working with your brokerage
- Is representative of everything from who you are to what your business is to what services you offer
When beginning the branding process, get down to the core of your business. What is your purpose or your mission? What do you offer that is unique to you? What can your brokerage offer in comparison to your competitors? These are all questions you need to thoroughly consider and answer in order to successfully develop a brand.
Your business starts with you, the broker. Who are you, and what skill set do you have that sets you apart from everyone else? In order to brand your business, it needs to be authentic, which is why it’s so important to begin with what you, as the broker, can offer. And although beautiful calligraphy and logos are important (we won’t downplay that!), people will immediately see through any attempt at “false advertising.“ Keep it simple, and use your unique assets to build a brand identity.
Strong imagery is key
Sight is arguably our most important sense, and your brand imagery is the only way to capture its attention. Your visual identity should do everything from send a message, create an emotional response and get your foot in the door with potential customers. Put it like that, and the importance of imagery is quickly put into perspective.
In fact, your imagery should tell this visual story everywhere. From your logo to marketing collateral and your website to your social media profiles, your visual story needs to be strong and consistent for many reasons. First of all, the imagery drives your brand identity home.
Second, there are countless mediums where a potential client might come across your brand from social media to business cards, online ads, etc. You never know where a potential customer might be, and your imagery needs to convey your brand in all of these areas. And lastly, a strong visual story easily communicates the ways in which you uniquely service clients.
It’s all in the details
If you’ve done your due diligence in the branding process, then (hopefully!) you’ve built your brand identity on your authenticity and your individual specialty. This message needs to be communicated even in the smallest of details, which is called touch-point analysis. Essentially, your brand identity needs to deliver the same message at every possible interaction a client might have with your brand. For example, if your brokerage’s brand is a modern, high-tech brokerage, get down to as small of details as your software choices, technology (think laptops, smartphones and tablets), email signatures, closing gifts, blog images and even error messages and pop ups on your website. The brand needs to deliver the same message across the smallest, most seemingly insignificant areas.
Keep consistency a priority for you and your entire team
It’s important to keep the branding consistent across all messaging and marketing efforts. Obviously, we’re talking about the brokerage efforts, but this also goes for the way in which brokers guide their agents. To start, brokers should have the final approval for all marketing materials to ensure branding is, at the least, complementary to that of the brokerage.
Navigate the impact of your brokerage identity vs. the agent/team’s individual brand
This is where the longtime debate comes to play: do clients choose your representation because of the brand of the brokerage or the agent/team’s individual brand? Well… it could go either way. Some clients choose the brokerage for its brand, or even the name recognition, and work alongside whichever agent is assigned to them. Yet, other clients do the exact opposite and select an individual agent or team to work with regardless of the brokerage’s name or brand identity. As the broker, it’s important that you recognize which of the two scenarios best fits your brokerage in order to manage your team.
For example, if you have strong agents who pull in the majority of your client base individually, they will likely need to develop their own brand identity through marketing materials, visual imagery, logos, etc. You don’t want agent or team branding to completely clash with your brokerage, which is why it’s important to provide guidance by recommending graphic designers or even the designer that you worked with to build the brokerage’s logo and other imagery. This ensures that an agent/team’s individual logo and other collateral is built upon that of the brokerage. In addition, you could also provide templates for business cards, approved font styles and other specifics to ensure cohesion. Even if you did not want to control all of the marketing and materials that come out of your brokerage, this guidance provides just enough oversight to ensure your entire team has an aligned brand.
Zipi reimagines a fractured system to easily facilitate and transact real estate with our back office, accounting and digital payments products. Request a demo to get in contact with one of our expert team members.