A great thing about today’s transparent online world, is that it’s so easy to see what other people are doing, and who is successfully implementing brand strategies. You don’t have to be an expert on everything… because there are plenty of others who are! Your primary business is the business of real estate – why would you be a branding aficionado? And why would you only look inside this industry for the best ideas? The smart thing to do though, is to observe and model those who do it best across our economy, and at least look like you are a pro, and execute effective brand plans.
These are just a few winning formulas, as demonstrated by some of the most aspirational, game-changing brands across any industry in the U.S., including Twitter, Google, Zappos.com, Disney and JetBlue. More and more, our brand touches become virtual rather than physical, so core elements like these are even more important.
#1: Think like a brand
The most important rule is to always consider yourself a brand, whether on Twitter, Facebook, via email, on the phone or in person. You need to decide what kind of brand you want to be and then let that permeate through everything you do. The most successful brands in the world are consistent and precise.
#2: Send what matters
It’s no secret consumers will look at information that matters to them and discard anything that doesn’t. Sending information that matters will communicate that you are a significant and valuable brand. Therefore, the important thing is knowing what your consumers want – all of them – and then giving it to them.
This is a best practice from Twitter: tweet about the news, information and content that your consumers need. Think local and get granular, if need be. This can also be applied to direct mailings and email blasts – just stay relevant.
#3: Make it easy to communicate
JetBlue prides itself on communicating with consumers, no matter where they are. They respond via phone, email and even on social networking sites. The brand’s value proposition is simple: excellent customer service.
As an agent, you can emulate this same value proposition by communicating in ways that are relevant to your buyers and sellers, whether that is via Twitter and Facebook, email or phone. Communicating in real-time will show your community that you’re available and that you care.
#4: Be accessible
Although very similar to the above, being accessible across all forms of communication is important in order to reach varying audience demographics. No brand has done this better than Disney. From infants to seniors, Disney has long been a beloved brand that can ‘grow up’ with consumers. Although, as agents, we aren’t meant to have the reach of a mega-brand like Disney, we can work on becoming relevant for multiple generations by understanding what young couples and first-time home buyers need up as opposed to a down sizing retiree. The content – and the platform with which you communicate that content – needs to resonate.
#5: Partnering with your community
As Zappos continues to grow, its brand has never faltered in offering personalized communication and in going the extra step to communicate value.
Partnering with local businesses and vendors to get access to coupons, discounts or valuable insight will allow you to offer an extra, personalized service for individual consumers. For example, you could send special discounts for the local craft store to the newest ‘Martha Stewart’-type on the block. This kind of personalized service tells consumers you understand not only their needs, but also your community.
#6: Search easy
Google is so ubiquitous it is a verb. This was made possible largely because the brand is easy to use and always helpful. Taking a page from the Google book, your Web sites should be also be easy to navigate, with search engines and pertinent, updated content for the consumer. If consumers are looking for listings online, shouldn’t your site make it easy to find homes, information and news?
There are lots more ideas coming online every day, but these are a great place to start as we enter a more virtual branding world of the next generation brokerage.