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When we talk about branding, we often get no further than the creative side — the designs and the beautiful pieces of brand collateral that are mailed out, given out and posted online to represent your brand. What we often fail to talk about are the other parts that make up your overall corporate identity: the behaviors, service and philosophy behind your brand.
The reality is that design alone won’t deliver your brand promise. Rather, it must be supported by the “inside” branding, including operations, leadership, and a vision that offers a bigger picture that everyone buys into and works towards.
It’s the brand promise that permeates throughout your organization and every touchpoint with clients, partners, colleagues, and even competitors. That’s where brand equity truly makes a difference and drives results for you.
Here are three areas of focus to help you ensure that your brand is more than a pretty design — that it’s a true reflection of the deepest qualities of your real estate business, driving exceptional outcomes.
1. Focus on authenticity
It has never been a better time to start being real and authentic, as a person or a brand. Fear and uncertainty — and the impulse to ignore them in the name of a return to business as usual — leave many overwhelmed and feeling disconnected.
This may be your opportunity to find employees, partners and clients who are aligned with your brand, and reach a new level of brand loyalty that you haven’t experienced before.
Instead of making recruiting a numbers game, it’s time to find people who align with your vision and what you stand for as a brand so you can create a tribe and change for the better. By exhibiting what your brand stands for, you’ll have more success in executing and fulfilling your brand promise. This ultimately drives performance and results.
2. Focus on differentiation
Fierce competition brings out “interesting” behaviors in some of the biggest brands. Instead of focusing on their own strengths and what makes them unique and special, otherwise powerful brokerages take the call for flexibility to a new level.
By looking over their shoulder to their competitor, many companies appear to emulate a different big-box brand every day. Unfortunately, getting off their own success path keeps them from attracting the people they’re really looking for while delivering a diluted brand image.
Sometimes looking at other industries sheds a light on best practices. Early in my career, I spent years analyzing brands within the car industry, BMW specifically.
I’ve noticed that the brands that have the strongest brand equity and following are those that stick with their unique set of differentiators and brand perceptions. “The ultimate driving machine” — it erases any doubt of what the brand is all about.
The same is true for real estate brands. If you look at traditional brokerage brands versus tech-based brands, they are at their core different and attract a different audience. Why try to be everything to everybody?
When you look at it from the business side, more is not necessarily more. Not only does your uniqueness foster more loyalty, but it comes from a place of abundance instead of scarcity, which attracts the right people to your brand.
3. Focus on communications
Once you’re committed to letting go of recruiting practices that both increase costs and allow misaligned players to ruin your office culture, you’re free to dial it back, and get clear on what your brand stands for. This allows you to communicate in an authentic way both internally and externally.
It’s not a stretch to say that we are not going back to business as usual. It appears we are all in a shift, and if your brokerage has lost touch with what it stands for and who you really are, you’ll likely struggle to define yourself. That keeps you from attracting the right people during that shift.
Don’t be one of the leaders who fail to communicate their expectations and vision to employees or their value to potential clients. Effective internal communication — especially during times that require business optimization and corporate troubleshooting — and external communication through marketing and PR are essential for bridging the gap and moving closer towards achieving your vision and goals.
Marion Weiler is a senior business management executive, leadership & business consultant and president at Weiler International LLC, advising brokerage executive teams and real estate professionals during times of business growth as well as crisis. Connect with Marion on Linkedin.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.