Whether you’re a new agent just starting out or a seasoned broker looking to sustain and grow your business, branding yourself in an era filled with personal brands is key.

But how to go about getting started with developing, refining or changing your personal brand?

A panel of experts debated this question at the Inman Connect New York 2019 real estate conference on Thursday.

Moderated by Valerie Garcia of Valerie Garcia Consulting, the panel consisted of Molly McKinley, founder and CEO of tea company Intentionaliteas and the vice president of marketing at artificial intelligence real estate company First.io; David Baldwin, founder of advertising strategy firm Baldwin&; and Cara Whitley, chief marketing officer of Century 21.

When it comes to splashy logos and online presence, there is a big difference between what you actually need versus what you want to put out there, the panel of experts says. And it all starts with the basics of your brand’s values.

“Understanding what you stand for and what you want to be in the world is the most important thing,” Whitley said. “First, understand what your team stands for.”

This also requires being completely clear about how your values line up with your company’s branding, down to its logo.

Of course, it’s hard to know where to start with all the options between colors, social media and messaging.

“It’s fun and easy to get lost in the colors and taglines,” McKinley said, which is why it’s important to find what it is that drives the brand out into the world and honing in on it.

This is why Baldwin stresses the idea of making a distinction between building a personal brand within real estate, and not going overboard by creating an entire industry around yourself through blogging and online publishing. 

“A logo is a symbol for something, so what is that thing?” Baldwin said. “As a human, you should have those values wired within you so you can move through life.”

“At the end of the day, every business is the same,” Baldwin added. “It’s almost always the same. We’re human beings and we’re wired to like things, so find what that is and go from there.”

And these days, it can be hard to build a consistent brand whether you’re a large corporation or a single broker, as we’ve seen from companies struggling to get political through activism.

This is why you should “be okay with not being everything to everyone,” Whitley concluded.

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