Although you might think that auditing a brokerage brand is the most difficult, it’s actually a team’s brand that provides the greatest challenge.
A team can grow quickly, and it can even be bigger than its brokerage firm, but yet it remains bound. It’s a fine line to walk.
Below you’ll find seven steps to audit your real estate team’s brand, which will help you decide if your marketing approach needs an update.
Team branding must evolve
Successful teams typically start small, but can grow quite quickly. Let’s take a look at one of the biggest teams in real estate, Mark Spain Real Estate.
When the team first started, it had a very amateur brand. However, it has since been tweaked and enhanced to evolve into a very clean, modern brand that is closely tied to that of its previous brokerage, Keller Williams.
It’s obvious that the new branding and logo is much more in line with the team’s offerings and demographic, plus it is much more professional than the original look. Though a rebranding was necessary to remain relevant, many elements of the logo were kept in the transition.
Times are always changing, and therefore, so should your most critical asset. However, as a team, you must also take into account the changes undergone by your broker.
You want to make sure that you always remain ahead of the curve and when your brokerage firm evolves, you beat it to the punch.
Don’t wait for your brokerage firm to undergo a rebrand. Take the lead, and continue to audit your brand, even before it invests in its own. You want to stand out and connect with your audience, even if your brokerage firm doesn’t.
As a team, you don’t have the amount of money that your brokerage firm might, nor do you necessarily have the reputation, so you’ll need to keep it moving. It’s even more critical for you to remain current and connected with your audience.
What that means is that you’ll constantly be putting effort into your marketing, and thereby, conducting frequent brand audits.
Much like a brokerage firm wishing to audit its brand, you’ll have to get together with lead agents or a leadership team if there is one (depending on the team’s size) to go over the health of your existing brand.
You’ll need to understand how your team stacks up against other teams within your brokerage firm, your broker and also other noteworthy teams in the area.
Ask yourself why you started your team. What issue were you trying to solve? You must have a greater purpose than just, “I capped out.”
Granted, we know you capped out as most agents can only handle 50 transactions without help. However, there has to be more of a “why” than wanting to do more business.
Therefore, you need to think long and hard about your objective as a team; what makes you different, and why you felt the need to take what you were doing as a single agent to the next level?
While answering these questions, identify your target audience, your one-year plan, five-year plan and even 10-year vision. Also, analyze whether your brand message and visual identity match your vision.
The tough questions
During this phase, you’ll have to get honest with yourself, as well as any others who are part of the leadership team. Here are the core questions to address:
- Does your team name still make sense? You might have used your name, but have you grown so large you might possibly need a change?
- Do you have a tagline? Does everyone on your team embody the tagline? Does it still resonate with your audience?
- How does your logo look when compared to your broker? How about other teams within your brokerage firm? Are you leading the design trends, or are you consistently trying to keep up?
- Do you have a style that is unique to your team, or do you often go with the materials provided by your broker?
- Does your team have a clear voice, or do you use messaging that sounds the same as all others?
As a growing team with ambitious goals, you will want to ensure that you have a brand strategy in place and that it is going to help you achieve your goals.
For a team, the future is particularly important. If you want to remain a team, you’ll need to take your broker into consideration, much like Mark Spain who links his own brand to that of Keller Williams.
On the other hand, your future goal might include launching your own brokerage firm without losing brand recognition. If that is the case, you need to take the necessary steps to prepare for that.
You need to understand what your current brand says to your current team. Take the time to ask the important questions, including:
- Why did you join this team?
- How would you describe the brand?
- How would you like to see this team evolve?
- What is the most memorable aspect of the existing brand?
- What is our brand promise?
- Why would you recommend that others join this team?
Now that you have a deeper understanding of where you want to take your team and thereby your brand, you are ready to surpass the competition — but first, you need to identify your competitors.
Where do you fall in the market against other teams? You may also want to look at brokerage firms that are comparable to your team.
Start by answering these questions:
- How are you stacking up against other teams?
- Do other teams have a more polished appearance?
- Are they bigger than yours?
- Do they get more business?
- What does their brand look like?
Of course, this is going to depend on your goals and where you are in your team’s path to growth. You should have dealt with that prior to getting to this stage.
If your goals are to be the biggest team in your area, you’ll need to make sure that you are more buttoned up and relevant to the audience in question. This means using marketing that resonates with this group and that separates you from the competition.
Now that you’ve gathered some internal insight, it is important to gauge how effective your existing brand is to your core audience.
Take the time to ask your audience the following:
- What broker do we work for?
- Are you aware that we are a team of X broker?
- What words would you use to describe our team?
- Are there major differences between our brand promise and our broker’s?
- What other teams are you familiar with?
- What other teams would you consider working with?
- Did you work with us based on our broker or our team?
- What made our team stand out?
- Do you recognize our logo when you see it?
- What does working with our team mean to you?
Remember, the goal of creating a team is to serve a greater number of clients than is possible alone. Cloning yourself is not an option; so voila, a team was the answer. In applying your personal brand (if you had one) to the team, there are going to be other things to consider.
Are you and your broker going after the same exact audience, with the same exact messaging? The good news is that if you work for a very large brokerage firm, it won’t have the ability to quickly update and adapt its materials to react to a changing audience.
Take advantage of this by keeping your brand and message current and fresh. By performing a yearly brand audit, you will maintain the upper hand.
Remember, you do have to follow the brand guidelines established by your broker, so you will have to get creative within these parameters.
If your broker has a significantly outdated brand look, you will want to see how you can get by without showcasing its logo and instead just use the name of the brokerage.
Change it up
By now you should know what the value of working with your team is, and you should also know the goals you want to achieve.
With this information, you will be able to make decisions as to how your brand should represent your team and if the current one is doing a good job.
Keep in mind, you will have to continuously assess your brand and how it is doing in comparison to the brand of other teams, brokers and even agents.
As a team, you have the flexibility to adapt and stay relevant. Don’t let this major advantage go untapped.