I was recently lucky enough to attend the Real Estate Connect Conference, by Inman News, in New York City. The conference was held the first week in January, and brought together some of the brightest minds in Real Estate, Technology and Social Media. I was blown away by just about everything, from the speakers and presenters, to the ambassadors and attendees, and all of those in between. It was a nice mix of great content and great networking opportunities.
One of the sessions I attended was a workshop on Brand Management. This is what I learned and are some of my biggest takeaways from this workshop.
In determining what your Brand is, you must first determine what your purpose is. What is your why? Why are you in the Real Estate business? Is it to assist first-time home buyers, assist seniors in purchasing or selling in a senior community, selling or renting second/vacation homes? Define, to yourself, why you are in this business. Once you have your purpose, then you can create your standards and values by which you are going to achieve your purpose. After creating your standards and values, abide by them in everything that you do. Your hiring, marketing, culture, everything should be built around the standards and values that you create, and you must live them out everyday and in everything that you do. This will lay the foundation for building your Brand, it does not create it.
A Brand is not something tangible, it is a feeling or perception of you or your company that people have. Think of some of the biggest Brands in the world, names like Apple or Disney. When most people think of either of these two companies, it produces a reaction or a feeling. When you think of Disney, you think "The Happiest place on Earth." However, their Brand is not "The Happiest place on Earth" simply because their purpose, standards and values, or marketing say that they are. It is "The Happiest place on Earth" because that is the feeling and perception that people have when they think about Disney. People feel or perceive this because everything that Disney does revolves around their values and standards. They live it out in everything that they do. That's how you create a Brand and how you can stand apart from your competitors and all of the noise that is out there. There is no Brand without feelings or perceptions, people must experience your Brand and values and come away knowing what they are.
Once you have your Brand, you must now find an authentic voice to communicate it. You must monitor what that voice, and the ambassadors of your brand, are conveying. To do this, you must create a set of standards, communicate those standards clearly to your voice and your ambassadors, monitor how those standards are being conveyed, and act accordingly if the message being conveyed goes against your standards and values.
You also have to find a place or places in which to communicate or broadcast your Brand. In today's world, there are a lot of platforms in which you can convey your purpose and standards. There is also a lot more opportunity to interact with your community and sphere of influence in meaningful ways. The problem is that most of these platforms and opportunities are also used by your competitors. The best way to stand apart from everyone else in these platforms and opportunities is your Brand. Ask yourself what about you is different from from everyone else, and market yourself to those differences. This will allow you to stand out on those platforms.
When you are hiring an agent for your company, or to assist you in buying or selling a home, you should ask yourself a few questions. What is the their purpose for being in the Real Estate business? What are their standards and values? What are the standards and values of the Brokerage that they work for? Do those standards and values align with your own? As a Real Estate Brokerage, Real Estate agent, or consumer, why should this matter? Because if you do not know their purpose or values, or they cannot convey them to you, how do you know if they are the right agent or Brokerage for you? If their standards or values do not align with yours, they do not value the same things as you do, and most likely there will be a unfavorable parting of ways.
Define your purpose, create your standards and values, and abide by them in everything that you do, and you will create your Brand. Broadcast your Brand to those with whom it aligns with and you will stand out above your competition and all of the noise that is out there.