What does the concept of “brand” mean within real estate? We recently explored this issue with Marc Davison of 1000Watt, where he articulated two primary facets that real estate brokerages and agent teams should focus on when looking to build their brand.
First, determine your core values. These core values underlie everything you do in marketing and advertising your brand. These values define and differentiate your company and shape the perception of your company within your market. For example, looking at Zappos’ and Under Armour’s core values, you can see that these values are foundations to how they approach their business and engage their customers. Similarly, BoomTown conducted a “mountains and valleys” exercise in creating its core values, which guide everything from our small daily decisions, to the people we hire.
It’s important to give yourself appropriate time to establish your core values. Once these values are set, they operate as a living sounding board. For example, if you’re concerned about whether a new marketing strategy or response to a competitor aligns with your brand, bump it up against your core value statements to verify whether it stays true to what you’ve established. Trust the hard work you’ve put into establishing your core values.
Second, map the experience for your clients, which includes your agents and consumers. Branding and client experience in a real estate practice constantly cross paths, generating positive or negative brand impressions. According to Branded Service Encounters: Strategically Aligning Employee Behavior with the Brand Positioning (Nov 2013 Journal of Marketing), to create positive brand impressions, you should design your service encounters in concert with other strategic branding efforts like branded advertising campaigns and public relations programs. Another way to say this is to “walk in your clients’ shoes,” view your company through their eyes. What emotional connection are you trying to convey? What message are you trying to reinforce? Great brands like Nike and Apple ensure that every consumer touchpoint (from email or text message to customer engagement) is designed to reinforce a core value. For example, let’s assume you’re a luxury brokerage with “humility” listed as a core value and you’re wondering whether your email marketing campaigns are synchronous with your core values and brand messaging. Start with analyzing your email subject lines, imagery, verbiage, signature lines, and responses to consumer inquiries; look for gaps not only in response times, but in the manner and language you’re using to communicate. If your email signature has all your production statistics, every social media platform, and your name in bold letters, ask whether this type of a signature conveys “humility.” If it doesn’t, then trim it back. As Davison says, the key is making good on the promise you’re making to the marketplace. And fulfilling your brand promise is central to emotional branding, according to Emotional Branding Pays Off, How Brands Meet Share of Requirements through Bonding, Companionship, and Love (Sept 2012, Journal of Advertising Research).
Here’s a recording of the Davison webinar.
If you’re interested in how BoomTown can help align and empower your brand marketing objectives, contact us here.