In the real estate industry, our product is the house we are marketing for sale. How we brand our listings is critical to our overall success. The brochures, flyers, for sale sign, online marketing, open house etc. etc. are all a reflection of us and of our brand.
Our job is to serve buyers and sellers who are transacting in real estate. We are in a service industry. Unlike a product where you can create a brand that a client can see and touch, branding your service is a little more difficult. You need to create opportunities for consumers to engage and experience your service brand in order to really establish yourself.
It’s long been said that people do business with people they know, like and trust. That couldn’t be more true anywhere than in the real estate business, where top agents leverage their personality to attract clients, retain them, and win referrals. Working your personality into your branding strategy is key to opening up and building a long-term business that you will enjoy and have fun at.
Combining Product, Service and Personality Branding
To understand how these three components of branding work together, think of Four Seasons Hotels. The product they are branding is a hotel room. They are world famous for their service. From managers to bellmen and housekeepers, every employee is deeply committed to providing an unparalleled level of service to the customer. And their brand personality is one that is known for top quality. No matter where in the world you travel, if you are staying at a Four Seasons Hotel or you mention the Four Seasons brand, quality is a brand attribute that comes to mind.
I would be remiss if I didn’t cite Apple as an example of a fully integrated branding strategy. Apple’s list of products has grown over the years, but even with more products they have stayed true to their design style and identity. When you see an Apple product you immediately know it’s an Apple product. Apple service has become legendary. Whether it’s a trip to the Genius Bar, an in-store training class, or Apple Care to cover life’s mishaps like dropping your iPad (which I recently did and walked out of the store in 15 minutes with a new one), Apple makes it easy and fun. Perhaps where Apple has excelled, in the most compelling way, is in the area of personality branding. Apple is just cool. If you use an Apple product it says something about you. It just works; it’s easy but sophisicated. It – and by extension you – have got an identifiable personality!
Collectively the combination of product, service and personality branding are the foundation for a successful real estate brand. They are like a three-legged stool- without one or more your brand will be out of balance and ineffective.
This article was originally published in the April 2013 edition of RISMedia Real Estate Magazine (page 19) and online at RISMedia.com.