Tips for Cultivating Your Real Estate Business’ Personality
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
You've heard it before:
Now that you're licensed and in business, you need to build a brand as a real estate agent. But what does that even mean?
Why is it important to have a brand? And how can you successfully create your brand? Let's tackle each of those questions below so you can get started on building an unforgettable brand that generates new leads and grows your real estate business.
If you’re struggling to figure out what a brand is, you’re not alone. Branding is an abstract concept that can be difficult to understand.
Put simply, your brand is what your clients think of when they think of you.
Still scratching your head? Think about it like this: We associate Disney with childhood magic, Nike with empowerment, and Apple with innovation. What your clients associate with your business is your brand.
Your brand isn’t just your client’s perception of your business, but it’s also your business' personality. Your business’ personality shapes how your clients will experience your service. Your brand can be friendly, brutally honest, or innovative, just to name a few attributes.
Every real estate business has a personality, but not every real estate business has a relatable personality.
That’s right: even if you don't do anything, you already have a brand. But if you aren't actively and carefully building your business’ personality, your brand is probably boring and/ or inconsistent. In order to build your business, you must create a personality that connects with your clients. This is important because clients will either be attracted to or repelled by your personality.
The good news is that you can craft a winning business persona and influence your clients' perception of your brand.
If you want to attract the right audience…
If you want to increase your credibility…
If you want to accurately convey who you are…
If you want to build instant name recognition around your community…
You must take control of your brand and build one that aligns with how you wish for your business to be perceived.
Start here: When a client thinks of your real estate business, what impression do you want them to have? Once identified, work backwards to design a brand that transmits that feeling.
Remember that your brand isn't just your logo. Your brand is the way you connect with your clients. It's crucial to create a brand that accurately defines who you are, who you serve, and how your clients will benefit from working with you.
Now that we've defined what a brand is, let's discuss how you can successfully build a real estate brand that you can be proud of.
Your brand should always reflect your value as a real estate agent. As a real estate agent, you have a fiduciary responsibility to act on the best interest of your client. That’s a given. But let’s take it a step beyond what you’re legally obligated to do. Because you are your business, your brand should also be an extension of your personality as an agent. What standout qualities do you bring to the table?
Are you tenacious? Are you a problem solver? Are you organized? Are you innovative?
Make a list of your top three traits as a real estate agent so that you can intentionally emphasize these traits in your branding.
Your brand should reflect who you are as an agent. In fact, your brand should be you on steroids.
Now that you’ve identified your standout qualities, the next question is: What do you offer that your competitors don’t? The answer to this question is your unique value proposition (UVP). It’s also the reason why you’re the best choice for specific clients.
Perhaps your UVP is that you were born and raised in the area and you know it like the back of your hand. Some prospects will love the fact that you’re a local and connect with you based on that UVP alone. Other prospects won’t care about that, but will instead choose an agent who has a proven track record for selling houses in less than 30 days.
Find out what makes you unique and use that to further define your brand.
A slogan is more than a cutesy, catchy tagline. It’s your introductory message to your prospective clients. It’s also a promise of what you will deliver. Your business personality is infused in your slogan, so choose carefully.
Take a look at this example:
Search Salt Lake’s slogan is “Enjoy a clear and simple home-buying experience.” Right away, you get the impression that Search Salt Lake will simplify the house hunting and purchasing process. The message is straight-forward and uses language that you easily digest.
When creating your slogan, focus on your client and what you can offer to them. Don’t focus on yourself.
The visual elements of your business make up your brand’s visual identity.
If you want to convey confidence and trust, every part of your brand should echo that message, from your clothes to your business cards. Your visual identity also includes your website, signage, flyers and direct mail, billboards, and branded merchandise.
When creating a visual identity, choose colors for your branding that reflect your business’ personality. For example:
Color psychology is not a perfect science, but it does indicate that colors influence the way that we perceive a business. For example:
What colors would you like to choose to represent your real estate brand?
In addition to color, you should also consider the following when designing your visual identity:
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that maintaining an online presence is no longer optional. Now more than ever before, buyers have taken their house hunt online. Do you have a presence online so that you show up in local search results?
Your first move is to create a website for your business. Sure, you're probably listed on your broker's website, but you also need your own space to promote yourself and your listings. If optimized correctly, your website will show up on local search results when prospective clients look for listings in your area. In fact, your website may even pop up before your broker’s website in the search results.
Your next step is to build your social media presence. Always keep your brand in mind. It’s crucial that your brand stays consistent across all outlets, from your website to your social media to your email. This will build trust with your target audience.
Once you’ve defined your business’ personality, it’s time to start marketing your services to your prospective clients.
But be careful for two reasons.
First, under Massachusetts’ state law, you must include the name of your brokerage in all advertising.
This includes any posts that you make on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform. If you advertise real property for sale, rent, or exchange, you must include your brokerage on the post.
This also includes any profiles for your business, not just ads. And even if you didn't pay for the post or if you put the post on a personal page, you're obligated as a licensed real estate agent in the state of Massachusetts to display the name of your brokerage.
Second, when branding your real estate business, it's easy to run afoul on the fair housing laws. If you hyper-focus on your ideal audience, you may unintentionally end up excluding protected classes in your marketing. This is a major violation of the law, even if you didn't do it on purpose.
Don't forget to adhere to fair housing rules when marketing your real estate business. Your ads must comply with federal, state, and local housing laws. Not knowing the law is not a defense. It's crucial that you know exactly what you can and cannot say in your ads. It's illegal to create discriminatory ads on the basis on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status federally, and there are even more protections in each state you might practice in.
In your ads, you cannot indicate a preference for a specific type of client if you're targetting something covered by fair housing law, and you cannot impose any limitations based on the above protected classes. So, even though you have a brand and a speciality, your ads must focus on the property instead of who you think would be the perfect buyer for the home.
You should also include the fair housing logo in your advertising.
To build a recognizable real estate brand that resonates with your clients, you must identify what makes you unique and what message you wish to convey. Authenticity, clarity, and consistency will attract the right clients to your real estate business.
Before you go, check out these related resources: