6 August 2009

Think a Brand is Just a Logo? Think Again!

In talking about the ideas around the next generation brokerage, it’s impossible not to notice that we are facing a world where we have less direct control over our brand touches to consumers and influencers, while at the same time the pace and volume of those touches is increasing as we exist in an expanding digital world.

What’s a brand professional in real estate to do? How do you protect one of your greatest assets? One way I believe to take an ‘insurance policy’ out on your brand is to embrace brand building best practices. Brand foundations have to be solid now – no one is exempt from classic brand blunders. The following are my thoughts in a page – in my experience if you internalize these principles, you are 80{0a8e414e4f0423ce9f97e7209435b0fa449e6cffaf599cce0c556757c159a30c} there.

Brand – more than meets the eye

What is a brand? Is it a logo? A name?? A graphic design? Identity standards?  A color scheme?

Well it’s all of them. Your brand is the entire experience your prospects and customers have with your company. It’s what you stand for, the promise you make, and the personality you convey. Sure, creative elements are certainly part of the equation, but your brand also manifests itself every day with every interaction you have with your market.

  • The images you convey
  • The messages you deliver on your website, proposals and sales materials
  • The way your employees interact with customers
  • A customer’s opinion of you versus your competition

Your Brand
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This is why I describe brands as being a 360° entity. Every brand touch, makes an impression….

All You Need to Build a Brand

By the same token, I don’t want to scare anyone and make building up a brand message and look and feel sound overwhelming, because there is a simple way to look at it.  In a nutshell (see nutshell below) this is my summary view of the basic conversations you need to have, before you put pen to paper on a logo, brand promise or begin messaging.

  • Know what business you are in
  • Know how you do it, and who for and how they benefit
  • Describe your way of doing it…. Then the rest should flow our naturally.

Build A Brand
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7 Deadly Sins of Branding
(Matt Haig, Brand Failures 2005)

Brand FailuresOne of my favorite books about branding, is actually about brand failures. By looking at the big mistakes you learn subtleties about how to get it right. Matt Haig listed the 7 Deadly Sins of Branding in his book,  “Brand Failures: The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time”  and I have summarized them below. For more read the book, or just think about how these could apply to your business or a business that’s part of your universe?

Brand Failures

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Learn from the Pros

  • This will be my next blog post… some easy examples that you can follow to get branding right, and avoid the most common pitfalls…
  • In the meantime, if you only have a little time to read a couple of other books, these are the ones I would consider invaluable and a great way to get to the point quickly! They are written by Allen Adamson, Managing Director of the New York office of brand consulting giant,  Landor Associates. He has boiled down his 25 years of experience into these two easy to read books on branding, one dealing specifically with branding in the digital world.
View Camilla Sullivan’s Inman Presentation: Building A Brand

5 thoughts on “Think a Brand is Just a Logo? Think Again!

  1. According to Wikipedia, “Brand” is a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service. This is really vague, compared to the detailed description above. I like the description of branding being an entire experience.

    Value added service, using the tools and systems available today will differentiate you as a Realtor and help you become “your own brand” in conjunction with the national brand you may be affiliated with. Realtors today, have a whole toolbox to help accomplish this.
    Great post!

  2. A brand is a promise. No more, No less. The reason that brokers dont have an effective brand, is that the Realtors they employ are hired strictly on their abililty to write business and not on their mutual alignment with that promise. The day a broker decides what their brand is, and is willing not to hire or even fire any employee, subcontractor, agent, partner, or provider to does not live and share that brand. THAT is the day the brokerage model will start an effective branding campaign. The question is… “Is there a brokerage with the will?”

  3. Jim, you are right on the mark with your comments. There are brokerages out there that have the couragae and the will, (not many but the number is growing) and these brokers are proving it works. First, there needs to be a high level of trust between the broker owners and agents. We have a lot of work to do.

  4. We’ve defined brand for a long time this way, “Your brand is a commonly held set of beliefs about what you deliver and how you deliver it.” Jim’s comments certainly align with that. As to “will.” I scratch my head. How much will does it take to hold people accountable for their inability to meet the expectations of those commonly held beliefs or to applaud those whose behavior aligns without wavering?

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