Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.
Before you can decide whether it is time to rebuild your brand, you have to understand the true definition of a brand because it isn’t just your logo or your company name.
Your brand is the essence and soul of your company; it is every experience and interaction that your clients have with your business and the perception that they have of it.
Your brand should communicate the value you offer to your audience, and it should establish trust and credibility. Of course, with time, it’s natural for a company to evolve after all, clients are constantly changing.
To find out if a brand evolution or rebrand is necessary, an excellent place to start is with a brand audit. You can either do this yourself or hire an agency to perform it. The result of the review will shed light on whether it’s time to rebuild or if your brand is still relevant and valuable.
Audit your brand
In conducting a brand audit, you will look at the following:
How does your brand look against the competition? Do you have a similar name and logo as your competitors? If you are using a stock roof line or key as your logo, it’s without a doubt the right time to rebrand. If your target can’t tell you apart from the competition, that’s a big problem for you as an agent, team or broker.
Also, having a name similar to the competition is never recommended; for example, South Florida Realtors, South Florida Realty, South Florida Real Estate, South Florida Expert Realty and so on. Names like that can make it extremely difficult for your audience to remember you or even identify you when looking at a list.
In contrast, if your competitors have a well-defined brand and accurately convey their message to their audiences, that too will hurt you. It’s probable that they will take over your market share.
When was the last time you updated the visual components of your brand? If you’re still using Comic Sans or 1990s colors, your brand is outdated, and you must rebrand.
The visual representation of your business can have a significant impact on the way that prospective clients see you. Even if it isn’t dated, you might have changed your offerings and the value that you bring to the table; if this is the case, your current brand is probably not appropriate anymore.
Remember, bad design will impact the way that prospective clients and clients see your brand, which will ultimately affect your bottom line.
Good design will help prospective clients understand and align with your values and your mission, increasing your chances of converting prospects into clients.
Even the best companies sometimes need a brand overhaul to part ways with a less than favorable reputation and show their commitment to a new brand strategy. Prove to your audience that you are turning a new leaf by rebranding.
If you want to position your business as new and improved, you need to convey that visually and in messaging, which will ultimately require a rebrand.
Over the years, it’s likely that your business has evolved. You might have started as the go-to rental team in your specific area, but now you’re the luxury community expert. However, if your brand still screams rentals, you’re going to turn away your prospects.
Internally your voice must have changed. You don’t speak to recent college grads the way that you might talk to your luxury clients, so if you haven’t updated your brand, that is precisely what you are doing.
Ultimately, your prospective clients and existing clients must be able to connect with your brand — not only visually but also in the message and tone.
Once you decide that your brand needs a redo, you’ll have to do some major soul searching, but not for you, for your brand — and most importantly — for your brand’s audience. Remember, this isn’t about you.
1. Brand strategy
Make sure you understand your brand’s purpose, vision, message, position and promise. This is how you establish the personality of your brand and formalize your strategy.
2. Analyze the market
Take the time to research what your closest competitors are doing. Determine what makes you different than your competitors, and define clearly what you offer clients that they can’t.
3. Update your visuals
Make sure that the visual components of your brand match your new brand strategy. Once again, this isn’t just about the logo, but about the elements that make up the visual brand: photography, colors, graphic elements, etc. Your visual components must support your brand strategy.
4. Fortify your brand
In marketing, consistency is vital. If you’ve ever read any of my articles, you should know how much emphasis I place on consistency because it represents the difference between success and failure when it comes to marketing.
By having a consistent brand, you reinforce your position in the marketplace and attract quality clients. A brand that is not consistent leads to confusion, mistrust and the wrong attention, which can significantly hurt a brand.
5. Create guidelines
To ensure that your brand is consistent and accurately conveyed to your target audience, you’ll want to establish strict guidelines. The guidelines will help other agents and vendors to keep your brand consistent.
Your instructions should cover proper logo usage, colors, tone, voice and how to use all the elements that make up your brand correctly.
6. Tread carefully
A rebrand can be fairly complex, so don’t take it lightly. Although a rebrand should be extremely helpful to your company, it also has the potential to be destructive. You must have a plan of action, as well as marketing in place to support it.
If you merely release your new brand without the proper plan in place, you risk alienating your existing client base and losing business. You must actively communicate your unique brand to your audience and get them excited about it.
Take this opportunity to reach potential clients and to reconnect with old ones. If you just swap out some images on your social media platform, your new brand is likely to flop.
Before you launch, get your existing client base excited for what’s coming. Most important of all is ensuring that launching your brand becomes the focal point. It is not uncommon for businesses to get up in the minutia and put the launch so far aside that it gets forgotten and then unveiled haphazardly.
Even the best brand launched incorrectly will hurt your business.
Explain your rebrand to your existing clients and your prospects so that they can understand the reason for the rebrand. By sharing the story, you will invite your audience to embrace it and be happy for the new brand; they will see it as a commitment to growth.
Rebuilding a brand is a significant undertaking that requires a commitment of time, money and effort. As a parting thought, change isn’t easy, but it is necessary. If you don’t evolve as a business, you’ll get left behind.
Laura Ure is the CEO of Keenability, a marketing agency specializing in lifestyle marketing that targets the affluent buyer. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.