Real Estate Agents, Here’s Your Guide to Developing a Brand
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
Whether you know it or not, you have a professional brand as a real estate agent. However, if you don't know what your brand is or haven't taken the time to cultivate it, chances are your brand is not as powerful as it could be. When you deliberately identify your brand and work towards shaping it, you can control how you show up in the world. This is an important task for all real estate agents, but especially for those who are just starting their careers. If you're new to real estate, you already know that the competition is fierce. To find clients, you'll first need to understand what you do better than most and also be able to articulate how your unique set of skills will help your clients achieve their real estate goals. That's what branding is in a nutshell.
But building a real estate brand can be difficult to do if this is your first time. How do you amplify the best aspects of your personality? How do you broadcast your skill set? How do you sell yourself to others in a way that feels authentic and relatable? And, finally, how do you use your unique value to attract and connect to others?
In this article, we’ll discuss how to build a real estate brand from the ground up.
Every major company that's become a household name has done so by intentionally creating a recognizable brand. In the world of real estate, some of the most popular brands include Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Sotherby's, RE/MAX, and Keller Williams. While they all work in the same industry, they're different in the way that they approach business, which is an integral part of branding. And while your brand as an agent is inexorably tied to your broker, there are still different ways of positioning yourself in the industry.
Branding is a combination of your mission, your personality, and your presentation (or the way that others visually perceive you).
Your mission is your reason for being. In other words, it’s what you hope to do (besides making money) as a real estate agent or company. Do you have a passion for helping others find their bliss? Do you enjoy solving problems and removing obstacles for others? Do you like being a reliable guide to help others navigate through the often-confusing maze of buying or selling a property? Your answer to these questions will help you identify your overall mission.
Every brand also has a personality. In fact, it may be easier to think of your brand as your business’ personality. It’s the set of characteristics you use to communicate your brand’s mission. For example, if your mission is to be a guide for others, your personality will likely be friendly, relatable, and dependable. You need that type of personality to successfully connect with the clients who are looking for a specific relationship with a real estate agent.
Clients are drawn to different personalities based on their needs. A first-time buyer may prefer to work with an agent who’s more approachable, patient, and personable. If they’ve built a successful brand, the agent’s personality will match their brand’s mission to help first-time buyers successfully purchase their first home.
Other clients will prefer to work with an agent who’s more direct, forceful, and not as nurturing. This agent’s brand messaging will focus on delivering results by any means necessary. And while this agent isn’t for every client, they will successfully draw the right clients that match their energy and personality. This is precisely why developing your real estate brand is important: With a carefully built real estate brand, you’ll attract the right clients.
The final part of the branding puzzle is your presentation. These are the visual elements you use to communicate your brand’s personality. Visual elements include your logo, the colors you choose for your logo, website, and other marketing materials, your graphics, your editing style for photos and videos, and the way you dress. Your visual brand is likely to be the first impression that you make with a potential client.
Let’s take a look at the mission and visual branding of the above-mentioned real estate brands.
Century 21 focuses on honesty, commitment, and integrity. Its visual branding uses the color gold to reinforce the brand values of clarity and warmth.
Coldwell Banker focuses on integrity, dependable knowledge, and excellence. It incorporates the color blue in its brand to communicate trustworthiness and reliability.
Then there's Sotherby's, an international realty network that focuses on luxury listings. To communicate its values of excellence, honesty, and expertise, it uses both blue and yellow in its branding — both of these colors reinforce Sotherby’s mission state.
RE/MAX’s brand intends for everyone to win. It focuses on growth, innovation, and positivity. The brand colors of red, blue, and white reinforce the idea of confidence (red), dependability (blue), and optimism (white). Optimism is also echoed in the RE/MAX’s iconic hot air balloon symbolism.
Finally, there's Keller Williams. Its mission is to contribute value through its business practices and elevates teamwork, trust, talent, drive, and equity. The Keller Williams brand uses red to communicate passion and excitement.
All of the above brands defined how they’d like to be perceived by prospective clients and then used their visual branding to reinforce this perception.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the biggest real estate brands and how they’ve successfully communicated their mission in the marketplace, let’s discuss how you can do the same, albeit on a smaller scale.
You’re a unique individual and no one can sell real estate exactly as you can. Your uniqueness will be your secret to success.
The first step to developing your brand is to figure out who you are as an individual. What are your strengths? What energizes you? How would you describe yourself in three words?
This is a clue to how you may be different from other real estate agents out there.
As mentioned above, a mission statement is your reason for being in real estate. There are countless other ways that you could make money, but you choose real estate. What drew you to real estate in particular? And what goals do you have for your real estate career? These answers will give you major insight into what you want to accomplish. Defining your mission requires introspection. You must identify what you want to do for others with your platform.
While you can work with anyone who needs your real estate services, you'll likely be better suited to work with a specific group of clients. These clients may be first-time buyers/sellers who need extra attention and hand-holding, or they may be commercial investors who are looking for forward-thinking agents who can accurately spot opportunities. Understanding who would best benefit from your personality and approach to business is a key element to developing your brand.
Your real estate brand should include your mission, your unique personality and skillset, and visual components that reinforce your personality. You already have a real estate brand because you already have a personality. But professional branding is all about being intentional with how you present yourself to others. Use the above tips to get started in defining your real estate brand.