Let’s get straight to the point with this topic. It’s not rocket science, but it can feel that way. You’re a real estate agent. You work under a large company – maybe it’s a franchise – who gives you a lot of support under their own brand. So, you’re automatically branded as an agent with a corporate identity. But, is that enough?
Of course, clients are now more inclined to use you because you are backed by a great support system and a name that’s been around for years. But, what makes you, as their agent, different and most importantly, what makes you valuable to your clients? What sets you apart?
This is your brand, and if you can’t answer that last question, then maybe you need to step back, and take some time to establish who you are and why clients would choose you from your competitor. Telling your clients and potential clients what makes you different is absolutely necessary. After all, there are over 6,500 real estate agents in Western Pennsylvania alone. That’s a pretty saturated market.
So, what sets you apart? Is it that you’ve been in the industry for 20 years, you have an established name for yourself in the region and have the connections to make fast sales? Or, is it that you are new, young and hip in the industry and are privy to the latest technology to help the first-time home buyers? There is no wrong answer – that’s the beauty of branding.
Branding yourself as an agent simply means that you are pulling out your strengths and telling your customers a compelling story in order to get your target audience to do something – to contact you. In order to tell your story, the delicate balance of what platforms to use to tell your unique story and when to do so is formula that any branding scientists can create.
How? It’s not rocket science, but it can be a daunting task. It just takes time and motivation. And, a tidbit of creativity. We can help.
A tidbit of creativity goes a long way. Especially with your real estate brand!
Branding is now an essential part of any business – not just for the marketing team. Branding involves marketing, HR, compliance, finance, and all parts of any organization. Internal documents, the website, apparel, outdoor signage, social media, and the telephone greeting all need to follow brand standards including the brand voice and visuals. Marketing teams across the world are now more involved than ever making sure that the brand is well represented not just for customers but for employees as well.
Branding hasn’t always been so prevalent in organizations. As the digital world has exploded over the last 30 years, communication across multiple platforms also has increased at a rapid speed. Branding was introduced as a means to keep all messages looking and sounding the same. This widely popular term, “branding” hasn’t always been around. What? Yes, it’s true. Branding, in the way we’re talking, hasn’t always existed. Except, of course, on the rear ends of cattle.
So when was this new age “branding” invented?
“Incredibly, until the end of the 80s the word “brand” was only in very limited use and the word branding didn’t exist at all until I coined it when I published my first ever book on the subject in 1985, Branding: A key marketing tool.”
These are the words from the famous John Murphy, the man who essentially invented branding as we know it today. His philosophy is simple. Keep it simple. Branding can easily get mixed into the clutter of messaging, visuals, and overall marketing clutter. But, as John states, a brand is a product, service, or company that is different than all the rest.
Branding a cow made them the same yet different. Branding a product or a company is just the same. But, now instead of just one farmer branding 50 cows with one (let’s call it a) logo there are thousands of people responsible for upholding one organization’s brand through thousands of spoken, written, designed, printed, digital touch points. There is no doubt that branding can get convoluted.
The 20 most simple U.S. brands in 2017 – some are expected and some aren’t. They are intuitive and easy to understand. In order from #1: Google, Netflix, Zappos.com, Amazon, Amazon Prime, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Pandora, SUBWAY, KFC, USPS, Costco, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Southwest Airlines, Subaru, IKEA, Kroger, Publix.
There is no one answer to keeping a brand simple. There is, however, the one fundamental piece of branding that John Murphy developed that are left to all of us customers, business owners, and marketers to decipher how we see fit. Simplicity. Know the business, the competition, the product, and most importantly what the client wants. Create simple, unique, and compelling messaging and visuals on the right platforms at the right time.
“On its own, a brand can never guarantee business success; conversely, without a brand, business success may prove impossible.”
How do I know when I should create a brand? When should I rebrand? These questions get asked every day, multiple times per day by thousands of companies, both big and small. Making the decision whether to brand or not to brand (that is the question!) can be tough. A lot of time, money and energy all go into creating your brand. And, it’s subjective – do you brand today or tomorrow or next year?
How relevant is your messaging and your visuals? If there is a question in your mind, it’s probably time to take the plunge. Having both relevant and clear messaging to your audience is extremely vital to your business. If your customers cannot understand what services you provide, what products you’re selling, and how they can contact you to do business, then you have a problem.
Branding is simply conveying a clear, concise and memorable message to your target audience. It’s that simple. A problem should be present for a true rebrand to occur.
Logos, taglines, websites, color palettes, company shirts, signage, vehicle wraps, business cards and all of your company touch points are tidbits of your brand. They make up the message and feeling you want to portray to your clients.
When should you brand? It’s simple. When you need to convey a message. A company isn’t the only thing that gets branded. You are your own personal brand; how you speak to others, what you wear, and what car you drive are just a few simple examples of your own brand. You are telling your own story through elements you might not even think about. A marketing campaign needs its own brand (following the company brand, of course), an event like a wedding needs branded, and even an Instagram account needs branded. Consistent visuals and consistent wording are the core elements of a brand, and once those are final the rest follows suit.
When should you rebrand? Sometimes it’s a feeling, sometimes it’s reflective on sales/income generation, or sometimes it’s a culture change. There are many reasons behind why a rebrand is needed. A rebrand is not a change in logo and marketing materials. A rebrand is not stating you are adding more product. A rebrand IS a combination of the two. Branding is a solution to a problem. To increase sales, to change company culture, to change business direction, or to announce new leadership, to target a new audience, when merging and acquisitions take place – all reasons to rebrand.
The best advice when answering the question, “Is it time I create a new brand?” is this: If a problem needs solved, then yes. And, guess what? Tidbit Creative can help one tidbit at a time.