Is "Easy" Killing Your Brand?

By
Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Is "Easy" Killing Your Brand?

Over the years, The Lones Group has built hundreds and hundreds of brands for agents. These brands are as unique as each and every agent they were built for. They are eye-catching, memorable, and brimming with agent personality. They do the job of talking for the agent when the agent is not in front of the potential buyer or seller.

Agents are faced with a unique challenge in their business - balancing their skillset, the best use of their time, and what needs to get done. When agents have too much on their plate, they delegate or find shortcuts, sometimes to the detriment of their business.

In that process of delegating or finding a shortcut, the agent sometimes compromises their brand equity. They set aside the investment they have made in their business for something easy. And what is even more concerning is they may lose their powerful voice in the process.

Here are several examples of how I have seen an agent compromise their brand:

  • Their brokerage creates newsletters for them, but only if they use their company brand. This results in all the mailers looking the same and everyone has the same voice!

  • In a rush to get a Just Listed postcard out the door, they use an online template (hint - if an agent knows how to use their branded templates, this can be the same amount of work as using the online template!)

  • They use their customized company website, but don't take the time to add any of their brand, elements, or color palette.

  • They use their company or MLS's CMA program and don't take the time to at least create a branded cover or bio page.

Of course, each company and brokerage is different when it comes to what you are and are not allowed to brand; usually signage and business cards fall into that category. Furthermore, there are some times you want to have a strong color palette take a back seat, such as when marketing a property. Those are business decisions you need to make. But don't forget that every time you have an opportunity to let your brand shine, you are shining a light on your business.

I recently had a conversation with one of my favorite agents. He has been mailing to his farm area, which is also where he lives, for years. He has made a significant investment in his farm over this time, but it wasn't producing the results that his investment has warranted.

This agent is a good agent with a good reputation…AND he has a strong brand. He had been mailing consistently. What was wrong?

When he sent over his mailers for the last year, I could see immediately one big component that was missing for me. He had moved from mailers that featured his Seattle-centric brand with his great photo to his corporate company version. The latter still had his photo and logo, but all the color and some of the Seattle-specific elements were missing, lessening the visual impact of this piece. Why had he done this? Because his office was creating the mailers for him and other agents, so it had to be a more-generic version. It was missing his voice and strong presence.

My first suggested order of business was definitely to reintroduce his brand elements and get his personality back into his mailers. Since he still wanted graphics help, that meant moving away from having his company handle that since they couldn't do a custom-branded piece. That means he is going to be investing some money into someone else (actually - us) formatting that for him each month which means this no longer falls into the "easy" category, but I have every confidence this will pay him back multiple times over.

Imagine going to an ice cream store. Part of the excitement is going up to the counter and seeing all the flavors. Would you be disappointed if you got up to the counter and saw only one option in the case?

We need to remember that our potential buyers and sellers are the same way. They want variety and they want choice. When we lose our distinct flavor, we become indistinguishable in the eyes of our potential clients. Our brands identify our flavor which will appeal to the potential buyer or seller looking for just that flavor.

If something is too good to be true, it probably is - or at the very least, there is a catch or hidden cost. Don't let "easy" dilute your brand and lessen the effectiveness of your marketing. Learn how to use your materials and delegate to professionals who can make your brand shine!


Brand Development Information

View our Branding Portfolio

  

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Comments (16)

Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Some times the agent needs to just take a reach and try their own creativity. That's when they get ready to say I'm sorry rather than it for permission,  When all is said and done we are independent contracctors.

Apr 09, 2021 05:21 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

HI Denise- I couldn't agree more. Just like here at ActiveRain when I see the same titles and posts on the blogroll. It was too easy for the agent to use the template and words of their broker. 

Apr 09, 2021 07:54 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sometimes, adversity makes you who you are, if not all the time. You can really learn a lot from your mistakes if not 90% of your lessons

Apr 09, 2021 09:44 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Great message I am all about being difficult just ask some of the members on this platform:))Endre

Apr 09, 2021 11:13 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727

And all about being cute. Lynn

Apr 12, 2021 09:40 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Denise... totally agree... too many agents wrap themselves in their company's brand instead of in their own brand. Nothing wrong with having your company's brand support yours, but yours should be front and center.

I've always worked on branding myself... and it works. I've changed brokerages any number of times and most of my clients never realized it and I never lost a client due to a change. 

Apr 10, 2021 08:24 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Apr 10, 2021 06:10 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Denise - this is where agents or other business owners slip up.  The short cut can dilute the brand they have created.

Apr 11, 2021 05:08 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Denise. The only thing your competition can't duplicate is you. Promote you! Enjoy your day.

Apr 11, 2021 05:11 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Thanks for the tips and reminder to stay focused on what matters.  Mark

Apr 11, 2021 02:26 PM
faye schubert
Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

Totally agree with your post! The "Easy button" , using company letterheads, templates, etc does nothing to separate you from the pack. 

Apr 12, 2021 05:33 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I was just preaching how easy in a market report was not a good idea to some folks interested in farming.  I prepare the reports myself vs. sending something any other agent could send.  Why?  Because I truly want to be the expert.

Apr 12, 2021 10:51 AM
Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD
federalfinanciallawgroup.com - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

The power of one is often understated and underestimated. Subtle changes can have huge impact!!

Apr 12, 2021 08:07 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Branding is an important factor as Nina Hollander explains in her comment. She is herself no matter which com[any unbrella is over her head! All the best - Lynn

Apr 12, 2021 09:43 PM
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Great topic as I get ready to send a quarterly postcard.     I never adopted my company's branding in printed materials or my website; I felt like it was too generic.

Apr 13, 2021 08:09 AM
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Great post, Denise! I feel blessed that very early on in my RE career I was told to get my own domain name and associated email address, and to NEVER use your brokerage email address nor their branded marketing materials. The same held true for uploading your database into a brokerage CRM, albeit that is a different conversation. It is OUR brand, after all!

Apr 13, 2021 01:29 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Branding is important, and should be stressed to those agents who are just starting out.  Being consistant with branding and marketing pays off with more exposure and name recognition.

Apr 15, 2021 12:48 PM