September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
The video begins with a large group of people standing with their hands in the air, nestled on a balcony overlooking the Pacific, as the sounds of James Brown jolt the camera into motion with a sweeping aerial shot.
Then the scene cuts to a quote from marketing strategist Lee Odden: “Content isn’t king, it’s the kingdom.”
After that, it’s off to the races with quick shots of Fast Real Estate Team’s agents proudly brandishing their diversity — their personalities, quirks, cultures and identities for all to see — as Brown croons “Get Up Offa That Thing” in the background.
At less than one minute long, the video is fast — like everything else the eXp Realty team does — but in that time it also highlights the inclusive, supportive environment the team fosters and a number of benefits other agents who join the team stand to receive, such as access to marketing masterminds, an in-house photo booth and an in-house video room.
“That’s kind of how we built the company,” the team’s leader Kenny Truong told Inman. “It’s really based on personal branding as one of the No. 1 things … So we’re really focused on agents and helping them create their own [marketing materials].”
Fast Real Estate Team’s Director of Sales and Coaching Elias Astuto said that the recent video was created so he could use it to close out a session at Elevate Live 2022, a real estate convention at which he and Truong spoke in August.
“I told our creative director, I said, ‘Hey man, I need a video that we can close out our session with,'” Astuto told Inman. “‘I want it to be about [the agents], about content, about the way that we build, about inclusivity, about diversity.’ And within a couple of hours of us just talking, he’s like, ‘OK, let me see what I can do, and I’m going to put some really loud music on it.'”
Headquartered in the melting pot of the San Francisco Bay area, the company has easily attracted agents from all kinds of backgrounds. Truong said the team’s agents currently represent fluency in about 30 different languages.
With a group of nearly 350 agents who each have a different story, Truong and Astuto know a thing or two about creative, diverse and inclusive marketing materials. Here are the tips they have for other real estate teams striving for diversity in their marketing.
You are the content
Rather than try and force creating content in marketing materials, stick to whatever is true to your own life, Astuto advised. What resonates with clients or outside agents you’re trying to recruit is a connection to the individual agent creating the content. Especially in Truong’s team, which includes a large group of agents of all different kinds of backgrounds, it’s not hard for individuals outside of the team to find a team member to connect with on some level.
“You are the content,” Asusto said. “I think that so many times, agents try to find something to build content about, when in reality, they’re the character. That’s why people want to follow that person. So be yourself, have some fun with it, be opinionated and don’t shy away from the actual person that you are and don’t conform.”
It’s not enough to become the main character of your marketing content without authenticity. People can sniff out when someone is trying to force connecting with, for instance, their family’s Jewish traditions, even though they’re typically not interested in them on a day-to-day basis. So stick to your true self, but embrace what makes you unique.
“At the end of the day, I think the industry is thirsty for people that are just authentically themselves and that’s really what we try to promote within our team, is just be yourself,” Astuto said.
That kind of authenticity will also help agents perform better at the end of the day, Truong added.
“When agents are more authentic, they feel more confident in themselves,” he said. “They’re more comfortable being themselves and … they don’t have to think too much about what they’re going to say or not going to say, and then that just makes them more transparent. So when they work with clients, they’re more real.”
Allow for branding customizations
Maintaining consistent branding is obviously a crucial component in creating a recognizable name and brand for your business. But that shouldn’t prevent individual agents from putting their personalities into a brand, which can ultimately help reflect the diversity of your team as a whole.
Agents who are big advocates of breast cancer awareness might want to make pale pink an accent color to their brand, or LGBTQ+ agents might want a nod to the rainbow in their brand. Truong said by allowing agents to switch up the color of the team’s logo for their own individual marketing helps them reveal a bit about themselves without taking away from team messaging as a whole.
“Some of our agents are using blue and purple, and pink and green — they change the logo to those colors,” Truong told Inman. “And that could mean many things, right? If you’re using hot pink for your logo, that probably means you’re more eccentric and outgoing, and we have agents that are more down-to-earth who use dark blue. So we really have agents express themselves how they want.”
Celebrate heritage months — and the agents who embody them
Every month, Fast Real Estate Team typically hosts about two events that align with the current heritage or awareness month or other holidays throughout that month. During Black History month, for example, the team hosted a panel of Black women in real estate, and during Pride Month, the team hosted a panel with the team’s top LGBTQ producers.
“[At] the panels and events, usually about 100 people turn out, so we might log into the space, [attendees] see the diversity that we have, the inclusion, and then more and more people are joining [the team] because of that,” Truong said.
In conjunction with celebrating those heritage months, the team also holds a lottery for agents who identify with the current heritage month, when 10 agents who are randomly selected from the lottery are featured in an agent spotlight video that’s then pushed out on the team’s marketing platforms.