The Importance of Branding

Brand Strategy

What do BMW, Old Spice, and Apple have in common? These companies have mastered the art of memorable branding. Even if you've never driven a BMW, it’s probably the first car maker that comes to mind when you hear "the ultimate driving machine." Most of us can instantly recognize the jaunty Old Spice jingle, and Apple fans show off their brand loyalty every time they camp in front of an Apple Store awaiting the release of the latest iPhone.

It’s not only big corporations that work to cultivate their brand. Some of the most successful real estate professionals have also developed their own unique image. They are known throughout their community as the local expert for specific real estate needs, they create compelling, brand-focused content, and their personal branding truly sets them apart from the competition.

What makes branding so effective? People love consistency! If you offer a cohesive, familiar message throughout your marketing efforts—and actually live up to that message—your clients will show they appreciate your effort through brand loyalty. By contrast, if your marketing message lacks consistency, it may confuse prospective clients and dilute your brand. Imagine if BMW advertised a budget car to compete with the Ford Fiesta. That would run contrary to its brand, and its image could quickly erode because consumers would no longer know what to expect from BMW. In the long run, this could hurt their overall company sales even if the cheaper car proved to be a short-term success. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to branding, most brands that try to be all things to all people are easily forgotten.

So, what distinguishes you from your competitors? Are you known in your community for lending a hand to first-time buyers? Are you a strong negotiator on your clients' behalf? If you build a reputation for having a certain talent or area of expertise, you may begin to attract clients who value those traits, opening the door to greater client satisfaction and increased business!

How do you find and develop your brand? Step one is finding your unique value proposition and building your brand identity around it. Let's say you're a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist®. You should feature your certification prominently on your business card. Make sure your website contains information and links to resources that seniors find helpful (e.g., articles about long term care planning, moving tips for keeping heirlooms safe, etc.), and pass helpful articles along to prospective clients via a branded blog or newsletter. Finally, consider joining local service organizations that are of interest to seniors.

Developing a personal brand requires time, and maybe a little experimentation, but it's well worth the effort. Find a niche market that suits your interests and personality, become a master at serving that particular population, and build your brand around your area of expertise.

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