September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. That means we’re talking to the chief marketing officers at major brokerages about how the pandemic is changing their jobs and what it means for agents. We’re publishing a suite of tactical Inman Handbooks for marketing on digital portals. And we’re looking at what pages of the traditional marketing playbook still work. Join us all month long.
Most of us are pretty clear on where we want to go. We typically define it in terms of lifestyle and money, how we want to live and what’s important to us at the end of the day. What most of us struggle with is really understanding where we are now.
The great news is — we all have a secret GPS to finding our perfect brand and marketing plan. Like a true GPS, it consists of three distinct points to help you discover not only where you are, but how to get where you want to go.
Start with your core values
In branding, finding the right audience is central. A simple glance at most agents’ websites shows they specialize in sellers, buyers, renters, investors, etc. Truth be told, most agents “specialize” in anyone who will pay them a commission. Widening the scope of your brand to include everyone is not effective, nor does it help you work with the clients who will respond best to you.
Your core values show you who your “best” clients are. By identifying what you care about, you can then build a brand that finds others who share the same values. What’s important to us and why it’s important is at the core of structuring a life and business of integrity.
At Berman & Pollinger, we developed a tool that we use in our onboarding with new clients to help them crystallize their core values. It becomes a benchmark for us and an anchor point for the GPS that we help build marketing and business plans around.
Build your brand around your inherent strengths
We’re all born with a set of strengths that’s unique to us. We start seeing them come out as children. They’re usually so ingrained in us that we sometimes have a tough time understanding that they’re special.
When you build your brand around your inherent strengths, you naturally outpace the competition. You can easily set yourself apart. You force others to compete against you on your best terms.
As you clearly define your strengths as an individual, it gives you a second point on your GPS. When looking at the strengths of your team members and those around you, you’ll start to see open places — areas that need to be filled in. Identifying your strengths is also the starting point of building the “how” part of your brand, marketing and business plan.
We use the Strengthfinder 2.0 to identify inherent strengths. It was developed years ago by the Gallup organization in its quest to define the best management candidates. What it has turned into, over years of refinement, is one of the greatest organizational tools ever created in business. The corresponding book is a bestseller, driven primarily from the fact that you’re required to buy a new copy to get the one-time use code to take the test.
The great news is that the strengths you were born with do not change as you age, so you only have to take the test once. Amazon has the book available for less than $15.
Implement based on your archetype
Your brand archetype is the third anchor point on your personal GPS. After 25 years of building successful teams and businesses, we’ve found that humans can do discipline in short spurts. Doing hard things is necessary at times, but for longevity, you have need to enjoy and have fun doing what you do.
Enjoying our daily activities goes a long way to avoid burnout. This last point on your personal GPS is where you will define the activities you and each of your team members will have the most long-term success with.
Brand archetype is 80 percent personality driven. There are literally dozens of personality tests out there. They range from colors to animals to shapes to letters. All of them have merit, and they are measuring similar identifiers. At the end of the day, when you are acting in accordance with your personality, you can find your flow and enjoy what you do each day.
Branding and marketing become surprisingly simple and effective when you know your personal GPS coordinates. Your core values show you who your best audience is. Your inherent strengths unveil your market positioning where you can outshine the competition. Lastly, your personal brand archetype gives you the no-fluff game plan to get your highest and best return on investment with your time, energy and money.
Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building.