Here at Lucidpress, we talk a lot about the importance of brand consistency and what it can do to grow your business. When we started researching and evangelizing the value of brand consistency last year, we quickly found that our message resonated with real estate agencies who wanted to preserve their brands and make content creation easier for their agents.
We started attending (and sponsoring) real estate conferences to touch base with other brokerages who might be facing the same challenge. It's there that we started to appreciate the unique problems that real estate brokerages face when it comes to building a strong brand. Here are 3 major takeaways that we've learned about real estate branding this year from Inman Connect and the Indie Broker Summit.
Building brands for agents, not just clients
In real estate, your brand isn't just for your clients or potential clients. It's also for your agents.
Think about it: if your brand is your story, then your agents have to see themselves as players in that story. Where you came from, who you serve, what you do well... All of these things are part of your brand story. Agents need to relate to this brand before they can see it as valuable and worth protecting. [Click to tweet ] Are you telling them this story, and if so, is it resonating with them?
Of course, agents also carry their own personal brands with them, which adds a new layer of complexity. If they can't harmoniously combine their personal brand with the brokerage brand, it's going to be very difficult to maintain brand compliance.
Not only will compliance suffer, but your retention rates might, too. If staying on-brand is too much work for your agents, they might leave for greener pastures. We heard a lot of concern about agents leaving one brokerage for another, especially independent brokerages whose agents switch to a national brokerage.
Our advice is to cultivate a brand that is consistent but malleable. The core elements of your brand should always remain the same, but in other areas, give your agents the opportunity to add a personal touch.
Lucidpress: an easy real estate design tool
This is one big reason why Lucidpress performs so well against "form-fill" software. Our templates support drag-and-drop design, so agents can customize their own marketing materials. But we also provide template locking, so corporate designers can lock down logos, colors, fonts, and other assets that make up a brand. It's a win-win scenario: agents can quickly and easily make marketing materials that they're proud of, while designers can rest easy knowing the agency's brand is protected.
In this way, it becomes much easier to tell your brand story—to buyers, to sellers, to partners, and crucially, to your agents.
Building brands for clients
What about the other side of the equation—building brands for clients? We heard again and again that building a strong real estate brand is critical for success today. In particular, speakers said that real estate agencies need a strong brand to:
- Hold their footing in the marketplace
- Stand out from their competitors
So it's no surprise that agencies and brokerages are looking for ways to stand out above the pack, and branding offers an effective way to accomplish just that.
National brokerages usually have the advantage when it comes to brand awareness and legacy. Because many of them have been around for decades, they've achieved high visibility and built up good reputations. To preserve this goodwill, it's vital for these companies to protect their brands from poor design and off-brand marketing.
On the other hand, independent, local brokerages might have a leg up here—because they're small, they can adapt quickly. They also have the home-field advantage when it comes to fitting into the community and knowing the neighborhoods. All of this knowledge can be leveraged to create a recognizable, trustworthy brand.
Another theme we recognized at these conferences was the importance of innovation. Real estate tends to be a traditional industry, sometimes wary of new technology and hesitant to change how business is done. However, the successful brands are the ones who innovate.
If this is the case, why aren't more brands doing it? Most likely because innovation is hard. Like, really hard. In particular, innovation often requires:
- A willingness to take risks that may or may not pay off
- e.g. trying a new marketing medium before anyone else, like virtual reality or 3D technology
- Adapting and incorporating new technologies across the company
- e.g. training agents how to use a new piece of software
- A focused marketing strategy (rather than trying everything to see what sticks)
- e.g. getting everyone aligned with a singular brand message
Although it might seem daunting, innovation is worth the time and effort to do it right. If you can stay ahead of the trends, your brand will stand out. Real estate has become far too competitive to let your brokerage fall behind.
Although real estate is more competitive than ever, it's possible to pull ahead with a strong, consistent brand. When your branding is consistent, it's easier to innovate and branch out to new technologies and business models without diluting your message. By building and telling a brand story that resonates with agents and clients, your brokerage is laying the foundation for future success.