The Power of Branding For Real Estate Agents

 

Bill Bathurst

Real Estate, Brand Strategy, Business Development

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The Power of Branding For Real Estate Agents

Posted by Bill on September 11th, 2009

 

Stand out with your own Brand

According to the National Association of Realtors, 76 percent of people who decide to sell their home with the assistance of a licensed real estate agent, interview only one agent for the job. Are you that agent? If not, who is?

What can you do to become the one agent 76 percent of the people in your marketplace are calling to list their homes? The answer is simple – eliminate the other options. By branding yourself correctly, you can create the perception in the minds of the public that you are the only option – the only agent – who will sell their homes. Build the perception in the mind of the consumer that you are the only one.

A concept used for many years by corporate America, personal branding is an invaluable tool that if used correctly, and it holds unlimited potential for real estate agents. Real estate agents are in a unique position to have success through branding because they are their own products. Yet many agents, who arguably spend more money than most other small businesses on advertising, are missing the boat when it comes to building a business through branding. As a result, the agents who do understand branding and build a consistent brand are able to take advantage of the market. They are that one agent three-fourths of the population calls to list their homes.

 

So what is branding?

Commonly lumped together with marketing, branding is actually a distinct concept, which if used correctly, can virtually eliminate the need for traditional costly marketing. While marketing is a quick, active message targeted at selling a product, branding is a slow process, building your image over time. Branding relies on consistency and repetitiveness. It’s about building your image in the minds of the public-creating a perception that you are the best, regardless of the market conditions.

A great example of a person who has used both personal branding and marketing is Oprah Winfrey. Over time, Oprah has built a perception of who she is and what she stands for in the minds of the public. That perception, that emotional, innate response to the name Oprah Winfrey is her brand. Her magazine, her television show, books, etc. are products she markets to the public. She markets her products through commercials, her shows, etc. The success of her product marketing is based in large part in the strength of her brand. Conversely, her brand continues to be strengthened because her marketing and her products consistently support her promise or her brand.

Everyone makes money in a strong market. Agents who are perceived as the experts, the leaders, make money regardless of the market conditions. Oprah does not need to do anything but mention a book and it shoots to the top of the best seller list. She doesn’t spend money on advertising her products. Her branded image pre-sells her, and, in turn, her products without the need for marketing. By building your image over time, by branding yourself, you can see that in the long run, you will spend less money on marketing yourself, but get greater return.

 

So how do agents brand themselves?

Branding requires a commitment. You cannot read this article, or read a book about branding, pick a slogan and consider yourself branded. Branding is more than putting your picture on your business card and a park bench and proclaiming you are the number one sales person in your market.

Branding is really everything you stand for – your promise to your customers. Read any book or article about branding and each will contain certain concrete steps you must take before you can begin to build your brand.

You must first evaluate where you are and where you want to go. This step is the most important for real estate agents. As an agent you have to live and breathe your brand every day or it will fail. You have to honestly evaluate yourself and your business. What does your business look like now? How do you want your business to look? What are you willing to do to get there?

After you have determined where you are and where you want to go, its time to step out of your box and define you as your brand. Did you determine that you really want to focus your business on serving the real estate needs of retirees? Pick a slogan or word that describes the commitment you have to your target. For example, “Providing golden service for the golden years.” Then own that brand in everything you say and do. Back up your brand with what you promised “golden service.” Use your slogan or brand consistently and repeatedly. Over time, your name will become synonymous with your brand to the extent that your target, in our example, retirees and their families, will think of you first when they want to list their house, regardless of whether you took out a full-page ad in your area’s local newspaper proclaiming yourself the number one agent in the market.

 

Remember, evaluate your business and your path, make a commitment to your brand and back it up every day. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to building your brand and becoming that agent your market calls first to list their home.


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