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!
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.