No matter what the industry, product or offering, building a strong, relevant brand is a challenge — and it is not something to take lightly. The Agency’s Rainy Hake Austin outlines four ways to help your brand stand out in a crowd.

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.

No matter what the industry, product or offering, building a strong, relevant brand is a challenge — and it happens to be my passion (my career initially started off in the world of marketing).

Throughout my time in real estate, I’ve seen how a thoughtful combination of creativity and innovation is needed to create a successful brand that resonates with people emotionally and stands the test of time.

Here, I outline four pillars of a strong brand and share some of The Agency’s unique approaches to each.

Identify what separates you from the competition

Know yourself. Pinpoint what really makes your organization different, and think of this as a brand thesis. It’s the thread that connects all your offerings and stands as the throughline for all your marketing. This is the “why and how” that makes your brand stand apart from the rest.

For example, one of our primary brand differentiators is our culture of collaboration — which has not always been the norm in real estate brokerages for this competitive industry.

Our unique culture is something we are deeply proud of, and it’s often what attracts new agents to our brokerage and drives our global expansion. What will compel someone — a customer or client — to choose your brand over another?

This question is paramount when building a brand and business.

Understand your value proposition, and communicate it

Get really clear on your value proposition and put it front and center in your brand narrative. Taglines, ads, emails and web design will all be built upon what makes you different.

Ask yourself, “What will a client or consumer get from me that they cannot get from someone else? Why should someone choose my brand over another?” For instance, we’re all about quality over quantity.

We choose our agents and partners carefully, prioritizing a new team member’s character and willingness to work with others over their success and accolades. At its core, real estate is all about people serving people.

Your values and beliefs lead your marketing efforts, influence your communication style, and will set you apart from other companies in the industry.

Tighten up your messaging

No matter what the piece of content — from eblasts and print ads to signage, billboards and farming postcards — I always say less is more. Finding the right words can be a challenge, but make sure what you say is meaningful, impactful and gets to the point.

Our in-house creative team, which includes copywriters, designers and public relations specialists, carries our value proposition and brand voice throughout all our materials, driving home our differentiating factors and making each brand touchpoint beautiful and inspiring.

Pick a message and execute it with clarity and creativity. Express it in a way that catches the eye and has an emotional impact.

Lead with strong visuals

The perfect complement to succinct messaging? Strong visuals. Our method —across corporate ads, agent materials and listings— is to tell a story that leads with compelling, eye-catching visuals and support it with bold, straightforward copy.

Whatever the project is, our motto is “Make it memorable.” What kinds of visuals and colors embody your brand? Is there a certain aesthetic that comes to mind? Minimalist, ornate, sumptuous or sleek? Hone your design language and own it.

At the core of your brand and its expression is authenticity — you don’t need to copy or emulate in order to devise a successful brand. Honest, compelling content wins every time, so dive deep, get clear and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Rainy Hake Austin is President of The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with her on Instagram.

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