In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.
Have you Googled yourself lately? If not, do a quick, anonymous Google search of yourself to understand better what the world sees when they look for you or a real estate agent in your area. Is your online presence consistent?
The last quarter of the year is usually the best time to plan for the following year. When doing your business planning, add a brand consistency check. Search for yourself anonymously to ensure your brand colors, fonts, logos, and brokerage are uniform and consistent.
Here’s a handy online presence audit checklist. Your mission? Complete it in 7 days.
You must gain the public’s trust to be a successful go-to agent. When someone looks for an agent to buy or sell a home, they often find agents through online searches. Even when an agent comes with a recommendation from someone they trust, most still do an online search to learn more. If branding is consistent, trust is easier to achieve. Brand consistency becomes brand recognition. Brand recognition converts into trust, and trust equals success.
Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure your branding is consistent.
Choose brand colors for all of your online and print marketing
You might think this is easy, but some companies spend thousands of dollars to find the perfect shade of red. I don’t suggest hiring a brand color consultant, but basic color research is a good starting point. Science suggests that specific colors evoke certain emotions.
For example, they claim that blue represents clean and pure. Ever wonder why so many water bottles have a blue label?
Once you’ve chosen your branding colors, write down the color codes and use the codes in any written or online materials. That means all marketing materials, both online and printed. These colors now represent your brand.
Choose a few fonts that allow for variation and consistency
We’re choosing more than one font because different fonts can grab attention when appropriately used. For example, my main font is Arial for written text, but I also use Playfair and Saturday Script to help some things stand out more (or look more elegant). Be consistent with font size as well. Choose a font size for headings, subheadings and body text.
Most online picture editors commonly used for marketing have brand kits where you can create fonts and colors consistent with your brand. You can also upload logos, photos, and other materials for consistent marketing. Brand kits make online marketing consistency super easy.
Update your photo when needed, but not annually
Because people recognize your photo and associate it with your brand, it must look like you. But changing it often can confuse the public, so I don’t suggest you update your photo yearly. However, I do recommend updating it whenever your physical appearance changes. For example, change your image if your weight changes, you are older, or your hairstyle or color is significantly different. You want people to recognize you on the street as well as recognize your brand.
Create a high-quality logo through a professional logo maker
There are a lot of free sites out there where you can create your own logo. However, it is best to take it to a professional from the start. And it is not expensive.
I am guilty of taking a shortcut and creating a cool logo that had low quality online and in print. I’m a Realtor, not a logo designer. Save yourself time and go to the professional from the start. They understand how to incorporate your idea into a high-quality design that is great for both print and digital.
You’ll want PDF, jpg and png versions of your logo and color variations such as black, white and full color. This way, your logo can be switched depending on your background but remain consistent with your brand.
Create a brand-consistent website
Now that you’ve chosen your fonts, colors and logo, you can blend them on your website. If your brokerage provides your website and you have little control over your website, no worries. Just ensure that everything you control is brand consistent and that the colors, fonts and logos don’t clash with your brokerage’s logo.
If your state license law or your brokerage requires their logo to be present on your marketing materials, follow their guidelines. Every state and brokerage has different rules for co-branding.
If you have control over your website, use your logo, fonts and colors consistently throughout the entire website. Keep your website clean and easy to navigate. Less is more.
Be consistent with all of your social media banners as well
Keep this one from falling through the cracks because this is where you will get most of your traction with online recognition. If you are on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media platform, your banners should all be similar. And they should also be simple. Use a few words to describe who you are and what you do; leave it at that. Colors and fonts should be consistent with the rest of your branding.
Once you have updated your branding for consistency, do a branding check annually to ensure it stays consistent. Remember, branding equals recognition, recognition equals trust, and trust equals success.
Missy Yost is a Realtor with eXp Realty in South Carolina. Connect with her on social media.