Framing The Concept: Real Estate Branding
- Branding gives customers and potential customers the “feel” of a company and can even influence their buying decisions.
- Building your brand starts with planning how you’re going to represent your image, performance, location, and services to your client base. For real estate companies, this should highlight positive attributes about your company or projects that set you apart from competitors.
- For the best possible results, branding decisions should be based on your target audience.
What is a brand?
Selecting a name and logo for your business just scratches the surface of branding. A brand is not just the “face” of the company; it’s what makes the company’s product or service more than a commodity. A brand should differentiate a business from its competitors that offer similar services. It’s also the sum total of what your business is, and of the experience that your business can give to your customers. The catchy name and visually appealing logo are just two aspects of the entire concept.
Does it make a difference in real estate?
In the field of real estate, branding is vital. It must be approached in a strategic way, because for many clients, real estate is one of the biggest purchases they’ll ever make in their lives. Whether you’re building a brand for an individual real estate property, a service related to real estate, or bundled services, it’s crucial that you get the right message across - that your clients can trust you and your expertise in this milestone moment.
Don’t settle for what looks nice at first glance. Branding for real estate requires careful planning and implementation. Your brand should introduce and represent you, reel customers in, and eventually convert them as advocates of your company. Proper planning and implementation ensure your brand is sending the right message.
Factors to Consider in Real Estate Branding
Branding in real estate can be broken down into four main components: image, performance, location, and services. It’s important to carefully consider each component before getting into the nitty-gritty work of brand development. You should know the wants and needs of your customer base better than anyone else, so keep those in mind as you put together the pieces of your brand.
You can - and must - use images to sell properties, but when we talk about image as a key component of real estate brand identities, we are really talking about much more than that. Image isn’t just the usual picture perfect pamphlets you hand out, your image is your brand in its entirety. It is the forefront of your business, it’s in your logo, your website, your employees and in your merchandise. This is how clients make first contact with you before the actual shaking of hands or inquiry call.
Creating a positive mental image that customers can associate with your brand develops trust and appreciation, even more so when your brand purpose and company core values are also aligned. It will strengthen your brand identity and give your company the recognition it deserves. When you take the time and effort to curate the image of your company, from your marketing materials to your name and slogan, to how you represent pieces of property, you are showing your clients that you care about how they see you because you care about them.
In the process of figuring out whether a property is a good match for your client, you need to consider the property’s performance - that is, how well the property performs the functions that fit your clients’ plans. Performance covers many different qualities of the property itself, as well as how the property can be used or altered depending on what your client wants.
After talking it out with your client and understanding their vision, ask questions like, Does this property have the right indoor environment? Does it have sufficient security for the privacy and safety of my client? If my client decides to make renovations, will it go smoothly and give them exactly what they are hoping for? If it’s a “Yes” on all three counts, then there’s a good chance that the property will perform up to par.
Location, location, location. This is the all time motto of buyers and sellers alike in real estate. While still valid, there are certainly more factors that play into real estate in this day and age. Price points are important, but coveted locations are where people start to get aggressive. With regard to the properties you’re dealing with, you should know the place inside and out. When you market your properties, consider the neighborhood they’re in and the neighborhoods near it.
Will the site allow your clients to be focused and productive? Is it convenient based on its immediate surroundings and the flow of traffic? These are factors clients consider when choosing a place to settle down, whether for business or pleasure. There’s no universal “right place”; it depends on your company’s strategy and how you present these locations to your target buyers. A “good location” means different things to different people. What a millennial is looking for in a property is miles away from what a nuclear family needs.
When you’re focused on making such a big purchase go smoothly, it’s easy to overlook the importance of excellent service as a key component of a winning customer experience. No matter what kind of business you’re running, you can’t avoid the shift in culture toward a service orientation. This shift means that customers are paying more and more attention to how a business treats them, not just to the tangible product that they have to offer. Some businesses lean on gimmicks or extravagant extras to freshen up their services, and though this can be helpful, it’s not a necessity. Having a warm but professional attitude is often enough to make your service memorable to your clients, especially if your properties are as good as you say they are.
Make it your own
You can use these factors as a guide, but at the end of the day, there is no single cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all solution for effectively branding your real estate business. Instead of forcing your business to fit an existing mold, think long and hard about what you want your business to be and what kind of services you want to offer to your customers. That way, it becomes easier to narrow down your target audience. When you know the group you’re trying to appeal to, focus all of your energy and resources there and build a brand that these target customers will recognize and trust.