The importance of personal branding is an important question for real estate agents, and their principals.
In largely franchised industries, like Real Estate, the topic of Brand is often ignored because it’s easy to assume that your ‘brand’ is simply the corporate branding of names, colours, and logos. In reality, brand, branding and marketing are three different topics and your brand as an office or an individual is not defined by branding. Your brand is what makes you famous in your market. It’s how people describe you when you’re not in the room.
As an industry, real estate suffers from one of the worst brand issues, and real estate agents are often ranked at the bottom of surveys among car salespeople and politicians. The opportunity here, however, is that a great personal brand will create enormous cut-through for an agent when done well.
Research by Al Ries and Jack Trout demonstrated that in most markets only the top three in their field will be remembered. Just as most people can’t name more than the three highest mountains or the first three people they kissed, so too homeowners will usually only recall a small number of real estate agents when they decide to list and sell. Unless an agent has created awareness and cut-through via their personal brand, they are unlikely to be remembered.
Having worked in the industry for the past 16 years, I have also seen many agents confuse brand and marketing. They hope that lots of signs and bus station advertisements will build their brand. While this marketing can help, you want to be remembered for more than being ‘the bus stop guy’. You create a great personal brand by deciding what specifically you want to be known for, perhaps transparent service or knowledge in your precinct, and then ensuring everything you do in your business from marketing to paperwork enhances that reputation.
Importantly for agents, you have to ensure your personal brand aligns with your office’s reputation – you can’t claim to be ethical if your boss is pilfering cash, and you can’t project premium results from a decrepit building with tattered window cards.
Having a clear Brand is as mandatory for becoming a successful real estate agent as having an email address and a nice photograph. At Real Estate Grow, we use the Brandonian Archetypes approach to creating an office and an individual brand, and for those offices looking to invest in a full Branding or Re-Branding strategy we recommend Belinda from Brio Group. The topic of Brand – one of 12 key areas in a real estate business – is a good example of where our clients can choose between being empowered with the skills we bring, or connected to those who can do the heavy lifting for them.
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