What comes to mind when you think about branding?
It can be a challenge to see where you would need this, but any business owner worth their salt must make an effort to create a recognisable brand, especially in the real estate space.
Real estate professionals need to meet customers where they are, and branding is a crucial piece of the puzzle. Being present, recognisable and memorable can make the difference between closing another sale and scrambling to find your target customers, and they’re overwhelmingly online:
- 41% of homebuyers’ first step during the buying process was to look at properties online, and
- Agents are 54% more likely to get the attention of their target audience with stronger brand recognition than a promotional offer.
Homebuyers see more than their fair share of content on a daily basis even before they begin their journey to purchasing their home, so it’s essential that you’re able to set yourself apart from the other real estate agents you’re competing with.
Strong branding does this by encouraging recognition and improving recall among your target audience, which can increase leads and conversion.
It’s important to have strong branding for your agency to encourage recognition and recall among your target audience, which can increase leads and conversion.
Why you need to brand your real estate agency
Before you start, you need to understand what will go into your agency’s brand as you’ll be involving it in multiple aspects of your communications. According to the Branding Mag, “Branding is the perpetual process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets and actions that shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders’ minds.”
While branding is more commonly associated with its visual aspect (e.g. business name and logo, design and packaging), it’s also about distinguishing your agency from your competitors by articulating and demonstrating your value proposition. You’re setting the perception of your company for your customers, so it pays to be consistent about what you’re communicating.
As much as you want to reach as many people as you can within your target audience, combining every positive association that you can think of for your agency (e.g. reliable, current, tech-savvy, diverse, supportive, etc.) will only confuse your would-be customers. All the elements of your brand — from colour schemes and image choices to cultural references and copy — have to be aligned with a central message your agency communicates across the board.
Ultimately, branding is important to develop and cultivate because it can impact the way people perceive your business, driving new business and increasing brand value. Once you neglect or do it poorly, your branding can negatively affect your business outcomes.
Examples of successful real estate branding
A successful real estate brand needs to be able to get its mission, vision and values to its target audience. Great property brands are able to consistently communicate these key aspects of their agency, connect with their audience and improve their recall as a company. We’ve shortlisted a few standout property agencies that you can pick up a few tips from.
Brown Harris Stevens
New York City-based brokerage Brown Harris Stevens has been in business since 1873 and has built a reputation for handling upmarket, exclusive properties that come with top-tier service. With such an esteemed impression for centuries of homebuyers, its branding eventually became dated and hard to relate to for the type of customer they deal with today.
As they primarily deal with upscale homes, Brown Harris Stevens needed to be able to define luxury for the current century. Upmarket properties include 90-storey glass towers, converted manufacturing spaces in SOHO, as well as bolder and varied properties in Brooklyn, Queens, and other up-and-coming areas, as opposed to just stately mansions and grand apartments.
Brown Harris Stevens, given that mouthful of a business name, also had the challenge of making it stick out in a saturated market of over 40,000 agents in the city. By using clean, simple typography for the logo, the company is associated with professional services firms. Light grey and orange accents work both online and offline in their other branded assets.
Based on interviews with agents and management, they came up with a tagline of “Bold, Honest, Smart,” which identifies and highlights the qualities of BHS’ stellar team. With everything in place, they echoed this branding from their digital presence through to their yard signs, promotional materials (e.g. totes, umbrellas, etc.), brochures, stationery, and signages.
Working in the same upscale market as Brown Harris Stevens, Halstead employs a different approach to branding than a heritage company taken into the present. Halstead positions itself as bold, creative and playful–instead of calling to mind professional services firms, it uses bright and happy colours to convey luxury for various markets.
As they operate in multiple neighbourhoods with their own local culture, Halstead uses a variety of vibrant colours that represent each area’s spirit, while still retaining Halstead’s identity as a dynamic and imaginative brand. Their campaigns also employ taglines that are just as brash as their visuals; “Move to What Moves You,” and “Bold Moves for Bold People.”
Colour, language and typography are all Halstead needs to communicate the kind of agency they are, and their creative branding draws the eye in whether they’re seen from a crowded sidewalk, a stylish-looking promotional tote or yard signage. These speak to a kind of high-end homebuyer seeking the same dynamic, outspoken and edgy agency for their needs.
Where Halstead is an eye-catching contender and Brown Harris Stevens banks on its updated white-collar appeal, Century 21 stands out with subdued but elegant design. The agency took its existing black-and-gold colour scheme–which was a hallmark of its company when it was established in the 1970s–and updated its branding for the present.
A clean and cohesive brand mark, logo and typography work well across multiple platforms, from their digital presence to their business cards, promotional materials and signage. Century 21’s understated but elegant branding enables the agency to stand out on its own, whether it’s on a multimillion-dollar beachfront or a starter home in an up-and-coming city.
How content can strengthen your real estate branding
Your real estate branding doesn’t end with a visual guidebook of logos, typography and taglines. You’re communicating your brand whenever you put your business’ name on anything you share with your audience, so it’s crucial that you aren’t bringing down any positive brand associations by not putting out any content at all, even worse if you only push products.
This is where content marketing comes in; increasing brand awareness is possible when you’re coming up with value-adding resources for an audience that’s increasingly reliant on digital research and influence. Home buyers only need to do a simple online search to find information, like background sale data and news articles about a particular agent or agency.
Impressions matter and they last, so your brand needs to be memorable in a good way; when a specific brand comes to mind for a particular product, making a purchase decision becomes a lot easier for a customer. Solid branding allows certain companies to corner and rule markets just from how easily people recognise them, and impactful content builds this recall.
When you incorporate your brand values and principles into your key messages, you set a clear reference point for your content. If you want to be associated with and remembered for a specific calibre of service or a certain variety of properties you’ve secured for past customers, then content needs to be able to express these and other qualities your agency represents.
Branding, content creation and marketing all work together to help increase brand awareness for your agency–so it has to be a well-considered and carefully planned process. Having a content strategy in place helps because you can always check your existing and upcoming content against the objectives, messaging and foundational aspects of your agency’s brand.
The more helpful content your agency produces, the better you’re perceived by your audience, and the more likely they are to share your content with others because it genuinely adds value to them at any stage in the buying process. When you stay true to your brand and are easily recognisable no matter the platform, this improves both awareness and recall.
Paying attention to your brand and your content does more than you think to improve real estate agency outcomes. When you aim for a seamless and solid brand, you help your audience associate you with consistent and helpful performance. Contact us and we will help you create content that boosts brand awareness and visibility.