Barbara Corcoran, an American businessperson, suggests that you can’t just keep on working “without spending an equal amount of time and attention on building your brand. It’s what in the end will get you the most money and equity for your business.”
The real estate industry has given birth to several billionaires over the years in different parts of the world. Do you know why it’s a popular choice of career? It mints money. Nonetheless, if you are unable to lay the foundation of a successful personal or corporate brand, then your ship won’t survive the thrusting waves of this ocean.
In addition, it is critical to understand that this is a never-ending process.
• Repetitive tasks
• Innovative ideas
• Catchy campaigns
• Maintaining relationships
• Promoting brand identity
Understand that this cycle is useless for your realty business if it has no face.
Real Estate Brand
When you construct a corporate brand, there are several things you want to achieve from it. There are millions of real estate businesses in the world today, of different sizes and niche, and your aim is to stand prominent among them even if you offer customers a similar product or service. The question to which the answers you need to derive yourself before branding is what do you want from your branding? [+]
Reflect your corporate vision and values.
In From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation: The Strategic Process of Growing and Strengthening Brands, Leslie De Chernatony elucidates that a powerful brand focuses on “an envisioned future, the brand purpose, and the brand values.” These three elements should be the surface of your brand’s identity and its overall branding.
Create brand awareness in local markets.
Branding your real estate company in a typical domestic industry is challenging for non-local businesses, especially overseas firms. Nevertheless, if you analyze the market thoroughly you will find clues to extend your reach to local prospects.
Grow your realty business globally.
According to Global Investor Intentions Survey 2016, the investors of real estate industry have planned $1 trillion of expenditures to enter global markets. Chris Ludeman, President of Capital Markets at CBRE Group, said, “Investors continue to find real estate appealing, chiefly due to relatively higher returns and stability on offer.” This hints a bright future for real estate startups and small businesses.
Give your customers a memorable experience.
In Songs My Mother Taught Me, an autobiography by Malon Brando, the actor wrote that “power and influence” were not what he had asked for. People bestowed it upon him. If you, through your branding, provide an extraordinary experience to your clients then they will automatically become loyal to you, turn towards you and may become your brand promoter.
Build long-term relationships with your clients.
Your real estate company can only be successful if you build and maintain positive and healthy relationships with your clients. You can do this via your brand identity, personal branding, and marketing. Your real estate agents, consultants and other employees can become your brand ambassadors to connect with clients.
Have a unique selling point and be competitive.
In Brand Identity Essentials Budelmann, Kim and Wozniak suggest that in order to distinguish your brand, your brand builders and graphic designers strive to create the right brand connotation in your target audience’s mind. What is so special about you? It is vital that your branding style guide helps position your brand. You need to be distinct and make sure people understand your company the way it is.
Humanize your brand via personal branding.
The most obvious way to humanize your brand is by incorporating people in it. How? Use silhouettes, images and vector illustrations of humans in your logo, branding stationery and marketing items. Another way to do this is by solving people’s problems, or highlighting issues they face in daily life.
Appear confident, competent and professional.
You are a real estate company, and you don’t deal in day-to-day items. Your trade is to sell lands, houses, and buildings. The transaction is in thousands and millions. Your brand must appear professional and trustworthy.
Boost your real estate corporate brand recognition.
Who doesn’t want their target market to identify them? In a sea of realty companies, your brand identity saves you from being just anybody on the street. Even companies that are already famous, should also “work intensely to maintain the quality of the brand”, as per Forbes.
Become an influencer or an opinion leader.
In the next decade or so, the aim of your startup or small business should be to become a brand everyone looks up to for advice and solutions regarding property, capitalism, financing. Some well-known industry influencers include Katie Lance CEO of Katie Lance Consulting, Chris Smith co-founder of Curaytor, and Jay Thompson of Zillow.
Be the first brand preference of the target market.
Walter Landor, a famous brand designer emphasized that through your branding you should become the brand preference of your customers. For example, if a multinational is looking for expansion, it will need more space to accommodate new machines and employees. For this, it will search for land. At the time, your company should be the first choice.
Defining a Real Estate Logo
The nature of your real estate business also determines the kind of logo design that will work for you. A symbol, such as a diamond will work for a company that offers luxury residences to its customers. Thus, before starting to mold a brand identity for your startup or small business, you need to know your trade inside out.
Once you have figured that out, you can define and communicate your requirements in a client brief to the designer. If you’ve observed existing real estate logo designs, you may have noticed a pattern or usual practices to design a realty logo. [+]
Real estate logos seem similar to construction logo designs, but there are graphic elements that a real estate company, such as yours cannot use. This includes the equipment in constructing buildings, homes, roads, etc.
Instead, real estate logo designs incorporate skeuomorphic or abstract illustrations of houses and buildings often accompanied by defined strokes, shapes, and typography.
The principles of design widely recognized in such logos include perspective, symmetry, balance, and proportion.
You can also get your logo animated for online branding or television. This infuses entertainment and engagement in the design.
Assuming that a symbol, icon or image can solely convey your message to the world is not wrong unless the imagery is striking and meaningful. However when you’re starting a business, your aim should be to link company’s name with the logo design. This is the same as giving a name to a baby so people can recognize her.
Your client brief will include how you want to create your real estate logo– the look of it, but you don’t need to specify the exact typeface unless you wish. The designer researches and uses the best font that’ll accentuate your brand logo.
At the least, colors enhance your realtor brand more than a black and white version does. More than this, colors carry meanings. For example, blue is used in branding to signify trust and professionalism, while orange adds creativity and youthfulness. As Canva puts it, “color can be used to give a brand personality and meaning.” They sure can help your brand appeal to your target market.
A Logo Makes Your Brand Identity
There are two things, as an entrepreneur, marketer, and designer that you need to comprehend when designing a brand and its subsequent brand identity. These include the visible and invisible attributes of your realtor brand. [+]
Your brand identity comprises of all the branding and marketing material used to communicate your brand message across. Starting from a logo, this journey extends to basic brand stationery such as business card and letterhead to a website and social media. Your corporate brand can reach your potential leads and customers on every medium, which people can touch, see and hear.
There’s a reason why people will most likely connect with a well-known commercial real estate broker, such as Cushman & Wakefield. Through their brand identity and personal branding, they’ve managed to position their brand in the minds of their target market. This is not an easy process, and it certainly takes time to stand up to the expectation of your clients.
At every step of the way, people will judge your real estate company. They will form opinions and feelings about it. Thus, you need to tactfully take your every step.
Realty Brand Identity
Robin Landa, in the book Designing Brand Experience: Creating Powerful Integrated Brand Solutions defines a brand identity as “the visual and verbal articulation of a brand, including all pertinent design applications, such as logo, business card, letterhead, or packaging.” As a real estate company, you must develop a program, which integrates all the elements of graphic design to make a complete identity. [+]
The list of things needed to create your brand identity can continue forever, and everything you make will carry your logo or parts of it. Harvard Business Review brings to our attention that a sale is normally the product of multiple touches.
You can get innumerable items designed to brand your business. At a basic level, your real estate brand identity should consist of the following.
A business card is a great give-away after a formal meeting or presentation with both B2B or B2C clients. It contains important information, such as your name, logo obviously and your contact information. You should give this card to anybody who is interested in your company.
People may see your advertisement or number in local directories to reach you and meet you if they’re in the same geographical location as you. After trying to persuade them to do a deal with you, you should hand them your visiting card and wait for their response if they didn’t decide at that moment.
You can get a business card designed for yourself, as an entrepreneur. In fact, in some companies, the top-level management also has a customized business card with their respective names and designations written on a standard design.
In an age of e-mail marketing, why would a real estate company get hundreds of copies of letterheads printed? It is not wrong to question the authenticity of letterheads in this time and age. To be honest, even as a digital real estate business, you need letterheads to communicate your messages to clients, stakeholders, and employees.
Letterheads are a great when a real estate agency wants to appeal formal and credible in front of local partners, customers and dealers.
Instead of using a blank paper, personalize it according to your branding. You could ask the designer to place your logo on it and accompany it with elements of your logo design, such as the colors, or the shapes and icons.
This one is obvious. If you write a note on your letterhead addressing to someone outside or inside the office, you need to put it in a protective case with your logo mark on it for identity purpose.
As a realtor, you need to act professionally in all that you do. Thus, an envelope portrays that you know how to keep information confidential. Plus, this is a generally accepted business norm.
If you have a physical office, you don’t want strangers entering your premises. Thus, every employee should carry an ID card stamped by the logo of your company.
If you are a digital realtor startup with no current locations and everyone who works with you participate via their personal spaces, then your real estate agents need a customized employee card. This is an identifier for clients to know that the person addressing to them for a deal is from your company.
People either buy a magazine or newspaper or subscribe to them. This means that to see your company’s branding, your target market has to spend out of their pockets. Billboards cost you but not your local existing or potential customers.
Billboards are of various sizes and shapes. The dilemma of selecting a billboard depends on your budget and its location. The last thing you want is to place an advertisement of a luxury studio apartment space in Manhattan in Bronx.
If you have a physical location, which you should for online and offline local directories, then the building itself is a medium for branding. Real estate companies use their logo to suggest that space belongs to them, and to welcome shareholders.
You will see the realtor’s logo sculpted on the gate using wood or metal. Moreover, a logo adorns a wall of their building. When one enters inside, the wall behind the reception desk or the desk itself has a 3D logo.
The property that a realtor is selling or auctioning carries its signboard, usually with a photograph or map of the place, the company’s logo, slogan, a short description of the property and contact number.
In addition, if the vicinity is bought then SOLD is written and if not then FOR SALE is written.
How do people know who’s the real estate agency? The logo helps market your brand name.
This is a good option for realtors and brokers to market their business locally. There is a wide-range of vehicle branding styles available. This may include:
• Full car wraps
• Window clings
• Portable brand objects
• Partial decals and wraps
• In ride marketing
No matter what you select, your logo will be present on all forms of such advertising. The benefits of vehicle branding are:
• Lead generation
• Maximizing ROI
The cons are that it costs a lot to buy a vehicle and customize it according to your brand. Plus, if you think of redesigning your logo and brand identity, then you will have to change the branding on the vehicle as well.
A brochure is a compact compilation of information regarding your company and its offers. The front and the back is printed with your corporate logo. If you are selling a number of amazing and affordable properties, then a brochure is a good way to show people images of properties with the prices and other details.
Your brochure will contain your number, e-mail and website URL for clients to reach you. It is somewhat like inbound marketing, whereby you don’t impose orders but keep your doors open so anyone interested is welcome.
Have you ever been to conferences, tradeshows or casual meetups and got a bag of goodies and gifts? Those are branded souvenirs. These may include calendars, chocolates, showpieces, t-shirts, pens, stickers etc.
If you’re at a business level where you can hold events, then this is a great idea to impress your invitees. For brand recognition, your corporate logo is enough.
In this digital era where over 60% of the world’s population has a device that connects to the internet, you need to be online. A website serves many purposes, so make use of it.
Your real estate web pages contain your company logo on a standard position in the same size. There’s so much more that you can add on your website. You can add:
- Subscription forms for newsletters, financial reports, and eBooks
- Landing pages to get leads for properties and B2B business
- A page dedicated to your portfolio to state acquisitions and developments
- Press releases. News about your company in print, television and online
- About Us page with story about your corporate brand
Around 2 billion people have social media accounts, and more are counting.
Real estate is a business that cannot function right if you don’t build and maintain relationships through constant “conversing, interacting, engaging and caring”, as Anna Guerrero says in her article Introduction to Brand Building Through Social Media.
Since real estate is all about selling spaces, you may think that there is nothing humanizing about this industry. If you think that way, then you’re wrong. Real estate is a business more personal than you can imagine. It is all about two-way communication so that people put their trust in your brand. You can use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to share written, verbal and visual information.
You can disseminate your real estate newsletter online or via print. As a realtor, you can invest in design templates but that will not be authentic and customized. If you want all your visual communication items to match your brand identity, then you need a professional graphic designer and marketer to compose design and content on your newsletter.
You could get a standard design made from a crowd sourcing company, or you can hire a designer. This choice depends on what you’re willing to get done, and how much can you’re willing to spend.
As a real estate business, your aim is not to make viral videos. Instead, your goal should be to provide niche and quality content to your website visitors and YouTube or Vimeo subscribers.
For a professional and corporate video, hiring a professional graphic designer is a better choice than doing it yourself unless you’re well-versed about design aesthetics and skills.
Remember that the videos you make should not just be bragging about your company mission, vision, and brand. Instead, it should entice your clients. Use video ideas like:
- Lists in which you can mention about unusual or interesting properties
- DIY videos about searching a permanent accommodation or office
- How to videos on tips and tricks to deal with real estate agents
Get your marketers and content developers to do keyword research websites.
How will this help you brand your business? Your logo will appear at the start and at the end of the video, which is usually equal to 6 to 8 seconds of footage.
The aim of infographics is to visualize dreary data into a beautiful design. Instead of displaying statistics and other information (tips, tricks, advice, and descriptions) just plain, graphic designers use design elements and principles to uplift words and numbers.
Study your target market, develop content, and design accordingly. The last thing you want to add in your client brief is to ask the designer to make it look boring. Don’t worry about branding. Your logo will do the job. The point of infographics is to make content ‘pretty’, even if it contains serious information.
Benefits of Your Logo to Your Real Estate Business
David Airey in his book Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities emphasizes the importance of branding by highlighting its benefits to businesses. He explains that the practice of making a logo design, building a brand idea and doing branding assist companies in increasing the perceived value of their product or service. It establishes relationships with the target market.
This means everything that aids a company in its brand awareness, brand recognition, and brand preference process is essential. However, I believe that none of this is possible unless you have a logo. There needs to be a visual (mark, symbol, and emblem) that represents you and acts as your business’s face. The last thing any business, whether its construction or real estate, would want is to have no identity or a confused one.
Look at this infographic. Observe how to use a logo with all the elements of your brand identity.
If anything is missing, let us know in the comments below.
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