Be Careful Your Brand Doesn't Burn You

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Charlemagne International Properties BRE# 01147470

 

I met a woman at an open house a few weeks ago and her comment gave me reason to evaluate the marketing of me!

 

 She said she didn't know I listed condos or she would have called me to list hers.  She went on to add she thought I only sold in an upscale area and would not have the time to sell her little starter condo.  This conversation took place at a charming little bungalow in a trendy but not upscale area.

 

Oops.  I had to wonder--is my brand burning me?  Am I limiting my appeal by advertising my expertise in equestrian estates and luxury coastal homes?   I'll admit those are wonderful to specialize in, but not to the exclusion of all other real estate.

 

At least in one buyer's mind I don't sell condos, but I do.  In one buyer's mind I don't sell starter homes, but I do.  The take away lesson I've learned is not to be too narrow in defining your niche.  An incorrect branding can be a painful experience.

Norma Toering & Team RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
(310) 493-8333 / Office Phone: (310) 831-0800

South Bay Los Angeles cities I sell real estate and homes in: Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Long Beach, Torrance, Lomita, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.


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Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

Deborah - Thanks for your suggestions.

Mar 29, 2008 02:31 AM #3
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Kathryn - The buyer met me in my unbranded area, but she's obviously reading ads and seeing signs for properties in my branded area.  At least I know the brand is working!
Mar 29, 2008 02:35 AM #4
Ambassador
447,873
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Norma, you are right about that. In fact that's one of the main fears of the acting industry! Once Gilligan became Giligan, he was always Gilligan.

You'll be fine...try a secondary marketing plan to a whole new batch of people. You don't have to interrupt your current marketing just go for another. If done right...one won't dilute the other. Good luck!

Later in the rain~Deb

Mar 29, 2008 03:17 AM #5
Rainmaker
217,501
Mark Organek
And the United States of America - Mesa, AZ
On a journey to accomplish one huge goal.

Norma, this is a really great post.  I think anyone reading it might have done the same thing I did:  Pause, think, ponder, and now review (for the rest of my life!!).  Thank you!

P.S. Speaking of branding, you did an awesome job with the "branding" of your title.  Brand - burn.  That was great!

Mar 29, 2008 05:06 AM #6
Rainmaker
661,440
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate
I have thought about that when I see Realtors in my area who brand themselves as luxury home specialists. I'm sorry that you missed out on the listing, hopefully it won't happen again. Have a good one.
Mar 29, 2008 05:12 AM #7
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Debra - I'm adding a new mix to my marketing, and it won't mention luxury or equestrian because the new area is neither.  It will carry the same logo and style just target a different audience. 
Mar 29, 2008 05:48 AM #8
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Mark - Thanks for the compliment, and a review of our marketing material is always a good idea.
Mar 29, 2008 05:49 AM #9
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
JL, it was a nice reminder to make sure my marketing is not too specific.
Mar 29, 2008 05:51 AM #10
Rainer
144,509
Gary J. Rocks
Juba Team Realty - Jefferson Township, NJ

Norma

Thanks for making us think about what we are doing? I guess we have to market to everyone.

Mar 29, 2008 06:59 AM #11
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Gary - Yes, not too generic and not to0 specific.  Sort of a one size fits all approach.
Mar 29, 2008 07:20 AM #12
Rainmaker
473,514
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!
Excellent point Norma. It's a difficult choice. I know there have been times when I've worried about focusing on such a small area of the market (my town) but as Seth Godin says, "small is the new big". I don't think it hurts to let others know even though that's your specialty, you work with all price ranges.
Mar 29, 2008 07:29 AM #13
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Colleen, I like that quote, and although I'm good at limiting my geographical area, I do sell everything from condos to country estates in my area!  I think I'll work on spreading that concept a bit better!
Mar 29, 2008 01:08 PM #14
Rainmaker
101,823
Ray Nellum
Envision Real Estate Group, LLC. - Fort Smith, AR
Fort Smith Real Estate
Norma, I've often wondered the same thing.  I try to be as specific as I can in my marketing, and it's difficult to try and cover all the ground.   I do try to make sure that it doesn't come back and burn me! 
Mar 30, 2008 04:03 AM #15
Rainmaker
59,689
Sandra Workman
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Kankakee, IL
BBA, Broker, CRS, GRI, ABR, SFR, CNE, ePRO, CNHS
I had a similar experience lately.  I ran into a woman I worked with years ago and she said she didn't think to call me to help her find a house since I was President of my board and she didn't think her under $100,000 purchase would matter to me.  Shocked me!
Mar 30, 2008 09:45 AM #16
Ambassador
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Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Ray - It's difficult to be all things to all people.  I think we have to watch our verbiage -- the prospective buyer I referred to in my blog thought I only sold equestrian and coastal properties.
Mar 30, 2008 11:02 AM #17
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Sandra - Funny how people do their own branding sometimes!
Mar 30, 2008 11:04 AM #18
Rainer
16,231
Ben Myers
The Broker Ben Group at Realty Idaho - Meridian, ID
CEO/Designated Broker
I don't think its a bad thing to have a specific niche.  I think a lot of people in this industry fail because they aren't specific enough.  I always worry that if I am not specific enough I will be labeled a jack of all trades and a master of none.  I would rather be considered the master of a certain niche, and risk missing out on a sale here and there.  You've probably earned way more business by being considered a specialist than you've lost from possibly alienating other areas of the market.  Just a thought... 
Mar 30, 2008 11:54 AM #19
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Ben - I like your thought, and I hope it is true! 
Mar 30, 2008 01:00 PM #20
Rainmaker
671,751
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Norma,

 

Good point.  But your expertise has to fall into one or two areas of specialization. 

I think this will always be one of the pitfalls in our business. I think everyone has their own perception and many people make their own judgments without first asking the question. 

We try to cover all of the bases, talk up the business wherever we go...only to find your neighbor 2 houses down the street who has known you and talked to you for 5 years, puts their house up for sale with another Realtor.  Then they tell you, "Oh, I didn't know you could help me sell my house."  Often times it's so frustrating! I find that sometimes people have very short memories.

Sometimes, I think it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time!   

 

 

Mar 30, 2008 01:32 PM #21
Ambassador
1,584,261
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.
Sandy - I've always said everyone knows at least three real estate agents, and it's a matter of timing and a touch of luck as to which friend they will select--sometimes they select a stranger to avoid hurt feelings!
Mar 30, 2008 01:39 PM #22
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