Published: 16/06/2021 By Paul Bauer - Marketing & Communications ManagerIt’s genuinely not an understatement when we say that a property agent’s branding is one of its most critical assets. And when we say ‘branding’, we don’t just mean the big name, snappy slogan or jazzy logo on your shopfront or website: it’s how you present every aspect of your agency’s identity to your customers and employees.
A property agent’s branding and brand identity is essentially that first big ‘elevator pitch’ to everyone in your agency’s orbit. It sets out your positioning within your industry and territory, and should aim to deeply resonate with your clients, customers and even employees. It’s the cornerstone of who you are and, like any big pitch, you only get one shot to make the amazing first impression. It should just do more than just look good; it has to convey how your agency is the only choice in a sea of competition.
No pressure, then…
So, what does your agency’s branding really say about you as a business? Is it encouraging the customers you really want to attract? Is it advocated by your own employees? Or, is it just ‘doing a job’? Let’s take a look at some core elements that can help you to determine whether it’s working hard for you, or working hard against you…
1. Does it Make a Positive First Impression?
Let’s be honest: we all make snap judgements about anything we see for the first time. Be it a person, a car, a building, your dinner… and it’s exactly the same for the branding of a property agency.
We’re all taught from a young age that making a positive first impression is crucial to success, and your branding has to make a dazzling first impression if it’s going to work for you. First impressions are made extremely quickly – with some studies finding that humans make a judgement on what they see within literal milliseconds!
Unfortunately, if your branding isn’t making the perfect first impression, those few first milliseconds can be extremely difficult to undo. If a customer feels your agency’s branding is perhaps cheap, inconsistent or generic - even if you’ve spent a considerable amount of money on creating it - then it can be incredibly hard to turn that opinion round.
2. What Perception Do People Have of Your Property Agency’s Brand?
Leading on nicely from that first impression, what perception does your property agency give to customers and employees? Basically, your brand perception is what customers believe your agency represents, as opposed to what it actually does or how good its’ logo design looks.
For estate and property agencies, brand perception comes from customer and employee experiences, industry reputation, quality of service and word of mouth recommendations – so, is your brand perceived positively, or is it perhaps holding you back?
This element of an estate agent’s brand identity is perhaps the hardest to measure and control – after all, it’s people’s perceptions of your business! You can however look to control your agency’s brand perception by developing a brand identity and personality that represents your property agency’s vision, mission and company culture, and connects with the types of customer and employees you want to attract.
3. Does it Convey Who You Are?
A successful brand should easily convey who you are as a business, and what your USPs are, too. And make no mistake: this isn’t just done through a slick logo or unique colour scheme. It’s done through all aspects of how your business interacts with its clients and staff; from those crucial first website visits, to property transaction updates to customers and even internal emails!
All of these aspects of your branding are covered by your brand’s personality – essentially, the more human characteristics of your property agency’s brand. Think of your brand personality as a person: How does it greet someone? How does it act with customers? What does your brand talk about, and even what does it wear? What does it share on its social platforms? When you can answer these questions, you can start to define just what your brand is actually about, and if your current branding is really doing the job it should be…
4. Does It Make Your Agency Unique Amongst Your Competitors?
Spoiler alert: property agents are ten a penny these days; and it’s easy to understand why given the phenomenal rate of property transactions right now! People are eager to cash in on ever-increasing property prices, and they’ll be looking to do this with a property agency then can trust.
With the general public having an absolute plethora of options to choose from when looking to instruct an agency – not to mention the ‘do it yourself’ platforms that are making waves – what makes you the agency of choice? What makes you special? What makes you BETTER than all the other options out there right now?
Whilst branding for estate agents won’t be able to cover all these aspects in one hit, it should set you apart from everyone else who’ll be offering the exact same services as you, and targeting the people that you want as customers. If your branding is just following the rest of the heard, just what exactly makes you the best choice?
5. Does It Speak In A Language Your Target Audience Understands?
We’ve briefly touched on it already, but your brand is more than just a nice visual; it’s also how you talk and engage with your customers and employees – and this is where a brand needs a consistent and well-structured tone of voice.
The language you use in your branding should be consistent not only to your brand identity, but also match who you and what you are as a business. For example, Virgin have always been exceptionally good at crafting unique and consistent brands across all their many sub-brands – and a huge part of this is how they talk with their audiences using a consistent and carefully-crafted tone of voice.
The way they speak to their audiences works across all levels of their brand as it matches their brand identity and personality; from their top-level marketing campaigns, to their social media posts and customer communications. By doing this, their audience knows virtually from the get-go who they’re speaking with and can instantly engage with the brand on a much deeper level.
6. Is It Memorable For All the Right Reasons?
Lastly, when you ask people or previous customers about your brand, what do they say about it? Can they instantly recall your agency’s identity, or do they just give a non-committal shrug of the shoulders? In an industry jam-packed full of property agents, having a memorable brand is a key part to not only generating new sale instructions; but generating brand advocates who’ll do that all-important self-generating marketing for you!
To quote Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, "Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room." So, you’ll need your property agency to leave a memorable impression not only on your customers long after you've made that property sale; but also on the people who work for you and work with you, too.
If it’s not, then you’ll have to work twice as hard to make your brand work for you…
Webdadi have been helping property agents across the UK develop uniquely successful branding to not only help them stand out from the crowd, but build vital audience engagement. To learn more about our services, just hit the link below.