Branding through your network

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with 123 Social Media
Some people think that networking is handing out business cards.

Congrats, they have one step of the business branding idea down.

Real networking is about building your brand with individuals you meet. Like any marketing or branding experience, it takes multiple exposures to your message to create a “memorable” experience. The more the merrier.

As a Business Development kinda guy, working on my branding is the life blood of what I do. Every contact I make is a chance to stick my name out there with a different twist, sometimes I say it, sometimes I write it, and sometimes I even dance it (I’d post a video, but the net police would take it down).

Realizing each step is a chance to put my name out there, I’m very happy to wear a dress shirt with the Blogging Systems logo on it. I often get people asking half way through an introductory conversation why I’m wearing a logo shirt as the Director of Business Development, as if my title required me to wear some perfectly pressed Pradda shirt.

My response is simple and is usually in the form of a question.

”What company do I work for?”

Without pause, 95% of the people asking me the question look down at my shirt and say “Blogging Systems”

If I map out a generic introduction;

 

  1. I usually shake a persons hand and offer a verbal introduction. “Hi, my name is Barry Hurd. I’m the Director of Business Development with Blogging Systems.”
  2. I also inevitably offer them a business card, with my name, title, and company on it.
  3. To follow it up, I usually wear a nice dress shirt with our name and logo on it.
  4. My laptop also has a screensaver and emblem on the monitor.

By the time I’m done with a basic 30 second introduction, a typical conversationalist will have been exposed to our name and logo five to ten times from at least four different styles of presentation.

A lot of people ask “Does that really do me any good?”

The answer is YES. The most repetitive word in my entire introduction is “Blogging”. As a marketing fact, I have been introduced as the “Blogging Guy” by too many names to list. The terms that your audience here the most often and most repetitively will sink in.

On the same manner of relationship building, I almost always volunteer to wear a name tag with my name and company on it. It doesn’t keep me from verbally introducing myself, it merely adds another exposure to my name.

The real question everyone should be asking themselves is -

Why don’t I wear a nice shirt with my logo on it?

 

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Ambassador
1,651,372
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection
I don't have a shirt but I run an AD in the local newspaper every month and it is amazing how many people know me just from the Ads;  they see it over and over again.  I also use the same picture on all advertising pieces.  The Calendar with the magnet for my business cards have also contributed to my branding.  This year I had two listings because when the people decided to sell my face came to mind, I was right there on the refrigerator.
Dec 21, 2006 03:31 PM #3
Rainer
35,771
Neal Pender
IMPACT Carolinas Realty LLC - Concord, NC
I just spent $225 on a local designer to create a logo for me.  I've been using it along with a new full body photo in the "superman" pose consistently for the past four months.  After eleven years, I realized that every time I changed my mind on my amateur-made logo, I sort of started from scratch again instead of building on my brand.  I write a weekly article for the paper and they let me have my headshot in there, but no phone number. I then run a small ad with the same headshot and my web address and phone number figuring the multiple images of the same pic will spark some recognition.  I've heard lots of folks in the community mention reading my articles, so it's having an effect.  Thanks for your great post!
Dec 21, 2006 04:12 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,205,376
Jeff Turner
RealSatisfied - Santa Clarita, CA

shirtBarry, very well said.

When it comes to branding, I think there's another place people often don't take advantage of, the gym. You can be a bit more bold there, since it's not a dress shirt you have more options. The back can be utilized as well and you can lengthen your message.

I wear this t-shirt when I workout. It's meant to be provocative. I want it to start a conversation. During the NAR convention in New Orleans, I wore it to work out in the gym at the Marriott and it became the focal point of two impromptu conversations.

 

Dec 21, 2006 04:13 PM #5
Rainer
27,556
Barry Hurd
123 Social Media - Seattle, WA

I would go for your T-shirt Jeff, but I'm really holding out in hopes that my CEO will buckle and pay me $500k to tattoo our logo on my back. 

He keeps saying no one would ever look at it. :(

Yet the gym shirt actually brings up a good point- have your branding items designed for places your audience (and you) will be. If you happen to visit nightclubs, get a nice jacket. If you golf, have it put on your bag. 

There are thousands of places you (or your associates) visit that are probably great places to strike up conversations. I even had a special shirt for walking around the retail mall promoting one of my blogs that appealed to consumers.

 

 

Dec 21, 2006 04:29 PM #6
Rainer
76,527
Mary McKnight
Sacrilicious Marketing - Orlando, FL

Barry,

I agree that branding out yourself is effective, however, as a woman I would have a very hard time choosing a branded shirt (no matter how nice) over just about anything in my closet.  I really think branded clothing is a hard sell for women- branded accessories are definitely more appropriate for us. 

I do think that today's branding is more than just your logo- advertising has desensitized the public to corporate logos- Your branding has to be outside the box and catchy to penetrate.  One of the very few things I learned when working for Warner Bros. was that if you can make someone laugh (with a tag line or tailor) you have a 66% greater chance of them seeing the movie.  I strongly feel that that theory holds true with branding- make someone laugh and you have a greater chance of them remembering you, your brand and your message.  Just at the direction television have headed in the past couple years.

The one good thing about working in technology is that your development team will wear just about anything and often do.   When we send our core development team from Fueled to tech conferences, we do make them wear branded T-shirts.  

We've had them wear shirts that read:

Fueled Software: there's no place like 127.0.0.1 (for those of you that are scratching you head- to a geek- that means "home"

Fueled Software: a place for every </body>

Fueled Software: Recovering Technobitionists

They are definitely conversation starters.

Dec 21, 2006 06:51 PM #7
Rainmaker
613,042
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
Having my photo on my quarterly farm newsletter has been Branding. Often at homeowners' meetings or holiday parties, someone will come up to me and say, "I know you from somewhere". When through conversation they learn I'm a REALTOR® they'll exclaim, "Oh yes, I know you from your newsletter!"
Dec 21, 2006 09:11 PM #8
Rainer
47,407
JudyAnn Lorenz
Bar JD Communications - Mansfield, MO
Virtual Marketing Consultant

Bar JD    I take terrible pictures.  Of course that could be memorable.  I'm hoping that my BRAND will be stamped on the hide of your mind and heart.   (hmmm, maybe that is a new tag line.)

Dec 21, 2006 10:44 PM #9
Rainmaker
217,522
William Collins
ERA Queen City Realty - Scotch Plains, NJ
Property and Asset Management

Barry,

Thanks for the post. Great point! The concept of branding is key to successfully marketing a company's products and services.

Dec 21, 2006 11:55 PM #11
Rainmaker
206,264
Chris Tesch
RE/MAX Bryan-College Station - College Station, TX
College Station, Texas Real Estate
I use my business cards made into labels for extra impressions.  After all, I'm Chris Tesch, RE/MAX Bryan-College Station and what I want them to remember most is Chris Tesch.  I put the labels on the Homes and Real Estate Magazine, map of the area, outside of their folder and a business card tucked inside as well.
Dec 22, 2006 12:11 AM #12
Rainmaker
597,761
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
I love shopping bags because then your customers are all walking around marketing you.
Dec 22, 2006 12:28 AM #13
Rainmaker
599,889
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

I like the branded golf shirts but for most of them a little goes a long way. 

Personally I wouldn't want to wear one every day; it becomes too much of a uniform.

I have a couple of nice, CRS logo shirts that have been good conversation starters ("What's CRS??")  

 

 

Dec 22, 2006 01:06 AM #14
Rainer
119,752
Sean Carroll
The Get Off Your A$$ Academy - Manhattan, NY
Real Estate Speaker and "Expert" Coach
This was inspiring. Thanks very much!
Dec 22, 2006 01:14 AM #15
Rainmaker
112,039
Carl Guild
Carl Guild & Associates - East Hampton, CT
Central Connecticut Real Estate
I wear my prudential Tshirts everywhere - For 7 bucks its the best bang for the buck!
Dec 22, 2006 01:16 AM #16
Rainer
6,574
Marisa Ladd
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Austin, TX Real Estate

Jeff - I like the gym shirt idea.  Maybe that would make me actually go to the gym if I thought I might meet a prospective client.  

 

Mary -- Good point about women's branded clothing.  It just doesn't seem dressy enough for most occassions.

I love the 127.0.01 t-shirt - very clever!  (I'm a former computer geek)

Dec 22, 2006 01:40 AM #17
Ambassador
557,018
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

<Why don't I wear a nice shirt with my logo on it?>

Because all I really need is my ROAR! :)

TLW...ROAR!

Dec 22, 2006 08:32 AM #18
Rainer
27,556
Barry Hurd
123 Social Media - Seattle, WA

I agree with Mary that women tend to have a harder time selling themselves on wearing a nice shirt, and I also agree that a good laugh is an easy way to get someone to remember your name/business/product.

I've been on a few street teams that have done pretty much every type of physical branding- from placing a bumper sticker on my car, to placing one on my bumm. I've worn baseball hats, and also fine leather cowboy hats. I've worn a company name in ink, and also in lights. 

I think the  selling point of branding items is to adopt the ones that you can utilize 80% of the time. Business cards are the ultimate basic branding device, but professionals these days are often with a briefcase or laptop bag. 

Yet "dressy" enough or "classy" enough is really detailed by personal demeanor.

I often have to remind people who are client facing in the real world on this idea-

You wear the clothes, they don't wear you.

As with blogging, it is usually in your best branding interest to do something that sticks out.  

  

Dec 22, 2006 10:41 AM #19
Rainer
31,280
Jessica Hughes
Ambiance Staging - Boulder, CO

I usually can't remember someones name within minutes of being introduced.  Its nice to have some visual reminder, and for the person to reiterate their name for me.  Then at least I have more of a chance of remembering.  I always lose the business cards so it's nice when something sticks in my head.  If  write their name at any point I always remember.

I brought my 6 month old daughter to the last local realtors ass. meeting and it was a bit hit.  I think this was the best form of branding I could have done; they will certainly all remember me (luckily she was an angel that day)

Dec 22, 2006 06:36 PM #20
Rainmaker
136,958
Gerhard Ade
RSVP Real Estate - Seattle, WA
What sets me apart, will set you apart.
Ade HouseYou hit the nail on the head above, Barry: you wear the clothes, they don't wear you. The most basic truth about branding is this: no sticker or logo or slogan will ever substitute for truth or cover up reality. For more about "That Brand Thing" you can head over to the website of my now distant past
Dec 23, 2006 06:57 AM #21
Rainmaker
151,631
Harper Team
J Rockcliff Realtors - San Ramon, CA
good posts and comments - I'll add you to my list of new acquaintances from BS - Richard, Tony and Chris. 
Dec 23, 2006 08:32 AM #22
Ambassador
557,018
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

We wish you a merry Christmas! We wish you a merry Christmas! We wish you a merry Christmas And a happy New Year! Glad tidings we bring To you and your kin! Glad tidings for Christmas And a happy New Year!

Broker Bryant and The Lovely Wife (pretend we are singing it works better like that) ROAR!

Dec 23, 2006 11:47 AM #23
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