Believe it or not, real estate is one of the industries where branding matters the most. So, if you’re trying a build a business in any aspect of real estate, I’m going to give you the keys to branding success.
One of them just might surprise you!
My real estate experience
I’m so excited to talk real estate with you because I have worked in or around the real estate industry for almost 15 years. I’ve worked with property managers, realtors, real estate investment companies, Airbnbs (including my own), listing companies, really the whole gamut of real estate. In fact, my last job before starting this business was as a Creative Director at a multi-billion dollar real estate investment company with all kinds of products. So, you could say I have lots of experience in this space. I don’t really have niches, but if I did, this would be one of ’em. And if I have learned one thing from all of this experience, it is that branding really, really matters in the real estate industry.
3 Reasons Why Branding Matters in the Real Estate Industry
#1 It’s all about money
Money is one of the most emotional things in this world. While people want to think money is a straightforward, analytical decision, it’s almost all emotional. Because of this, large money decisions like buying a house require lots of trust. It takes so much to encourage someone to make those decisions to feel comfortable and confident with it. Every detail of your business and your business experience really, really counts.
Because people in this industry are giving you their money, whether it’s buying a house or they’re entrusting you with an investment, they expect you to look like you’re comfortable with money. They expect you to look expensive. I have a whole video on looking expensive, which is all about luxury brand positioning. As that actually overlaps quite a bit with real estate branding, you should definitely check it out.
#2 It’s extremely competitive
Why is it so competitive? Because you can make a lot of money; it’s a very profitable business. Competition means that your customers/clients have a lot of options. To really stand out, you need great branding. You need to offer something a little different, something that makes them feel more confident, and that’s gonna make them go with you over the alternative. And that’s especially true when you’re just starting out.
#3 It’s complex
The industry has a lot of layers and regulations, so you need to have a lot of very specialized knowledge. And, as the average consumer/client isn’t going to have that same knowledge, they’re going to have to trust you to be the expert for them. That is a BIG leap of trust, especially when it involves giving or trusting you with their money. So you really need to come off as an authority – aka like you know what you’re talking about – because of that complexity. Brand positioning is going to help you do that.
It’s all about building trust. Building trust is what most branding is about, but especially so in the real state space. A brand will help you do that.
Real Estate Branding 101
Of course, every brand is different. Every company is going to have nuances to their personality, offerings, angles, design – all that stuff. Even so, there are four key components that I’ve identified to every real estate brand. If you implement these components into your brand, you’re gonna be good.
It is all about making an impression and letting your audience know that they can feel confident with you. That means looking expensive, trustworthy, and looking the part of what they expect when they’re going to trust someone with their money. Often, that translates to really good design, a lot of polish, and great photography (photography is especially important if you’re actually showcasing properties). You may hear me go on in other videos about how I find “professionalism” somewhat unnecessary, but this is an industry where people expect formality and polish. That doesn’t mean you can’t show glimpses of your personality or you can’t be a little down-to-earth, but at the end of the day, it should be carefully considered and crafted. The choices that you make to show your personality, vulnerability and connect on that emotional level must be very calculated and strategic.
Expertise is all about making your audience/customer/client feel confident. As I said before, this is a very complex industry and people are trusting you to be the expert. So this comes down to making them feel confident that you know your shit, and there are a lot of ways that you can do that throughout the process.
Some of it is just simply how you communicate with them, how you express what you’re going to do for them, how you describe the process and demonstrate that you know what you’re doing. So it may take a little bit of education, like explaining to them how you’re going from A to B or what it actually looks like, and that’s gonna build trust that you know what you’re doing.
It could also be as simple as including data points such as:
- demonstrating your experience with case studies (aka showing that you’ve done this before)
- listing your certifications or your qualifications for operating the way that you do
- demonstrating your scale through number of transactions or how many clients served
- thought leadership: I’ve spoken at this conference, I wrote this blog post, I have this e-book or educational piece for you to read, etc.
All of these things demonstrate that you are the expert and you can support them
through the process so they can trust you to take it off their hands.
With real estate being so competitive, there’s a lot of exclusivity. You need access to the right people, the right deals, the right homes. Access is essential to creating this business. And this really goes deeper than simply the brand, it’s part of the core components of your entire business.
So this not only matters in how you actually operate but it in what you communicate to your clientele as well. So communicating things like
- We have access to something off-market
- I can get you the best listings
- I can get you in the door
- I know this agent so I can get your offer in beforehand
All of those are key, key, key advantages. Even if you don’t have those at first, it’s something you can aspire to because you know it will give you an edge over the competition.
Let’s move on to the final and absolutely most important part –
Real estate is all about relationships. That may surprise you, but if you’re a little more experienced, you know this is 100% true because people do business with people they like. That has been the key observation from every single real estate company that I have worked with either personally or professionally. People do business with people they like and trust.
Personally: When it came to buying our house in the desert (check out my video on that!), II ended up going with the realtor with the personal touch – the one I felt most comfortable with – regardless of qualifications or expertise because it really is about that that emotional factor.
Professionally: That was also true at the last company I was at, where we had an enormous sales team managing billions of dollars. The people who are most capable of building that relationship, making people trust them, the charming ones, the storytellers – those are the salespeople who are most effective by far. Sure, the technical knowledge was great, but the ability to make someone feel connected to you and to build and nurture that relationship is far, far more powerful. If you have any sales experience, you know that it’s not always the most intellectual or smartest person in the room who is most successful; it’s the people who make people feel good, are likable and charming, and can disarm you a little bit to get in the door to build that relationship.
Say it with me: relationships are everything in real estate.
What does that look like in terms of your brand?
Well, if you’re not familiar, your client experience is really an extension of your brand. Meaning you need to think about every detail of that experience, including personalized touches, like remembering their names, remembering their kids’ names, making them feel confident, using storytelling instead of just straight-up facts, etc.
Sometimes in this industry, people tend to be a little too technical and that can go over people’s heads or even make them feel stupid; it can alienate them. So rather than using jargon, use a story to make them understand, use metaphors or analogies to bring it down to their level. Strategies like that bring in that emotional element instead of just being super technical and factual. It can also mean just simply using really clear, honest communication, or showing up for them and like being a good, high-integrity person. It can be going above and beyond like making that extra connection if they need an interior designer or if they need a financial advisor or, you know, whatever other missing piece and giving that little extra bit of service. Think of those little details!
At the end of the day, real estate is really a service-oriented brand. My favorite example of this is hospitality (which you could definitely say is part of the real estate industry). The Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton are the most impeccable examples of service-oriented brands. They go the extra mile on every single level. You can learn a lot from how they operate and implement some of those little tactics into your brand.
Branding is absolutely essential in the real estate industry because it’s all about money, it’s super competitive, and it’s complex as hell. But you can combat all of those obstacles by showing up with polish, with expertise, by demonstrating your unique access, and above all, by building strong relationships and nurturing those relationships and everything you do with your brand!
If you need hands-on help bringing your real estate brand to life, book a discovery call with me! I can’t wait to talk about it!
Until next time, stay badass!
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