Real Estate Brand Management – Real Estate Branding Series
WHAT IS REAL ESTATE BRAND MANAGEMENT?
This term may be slightly misleading. Brands aren’t managed or they? They are shaped, guided and moulded over time. Although you can’t actually control every single experience a client has with your real estate brand, you can drive and influence their perception of your brand. Brand management will help you establish, position and maintain your brand’s image in the eyes of your clients.
To make this process easier to understand lets break it down into phases: 1. establishing, 2. positioning and 3. maintaining your real estate brand.
1. ESTABLISH YOUR REAL ESTATE BRAND
This is the brand creation phase, where all the assets outlined in the previous series chapters are drafted, iterated and finalised. It includes the big ideas about your real estate brand as well as the tiny details like logos, fonts and colours. In this phase you should have a definitive beginning and end, with a strong brand idea.
If you join an existing agency after the brand has been established, you probably won’t participate in this phase, unless their brand has lost appeal and you are faced with the challenge of assisting with rebranding.
2. POSITION YOUR REAL ESTATE BRAND
This is really the communication phase, where the sales and marketing help to spread the word and build expectations around your real estate brand. All your communication needs to be aligned with the brand identity established in the creation phase, which means every brand player you work with, needs easy and direct access to all your current real estate brand assets.
No one in your team should have to waste their time trying to tracking down assets or creating their own versions of the brand. This is the perfect time to make sure your assets are widely available to anyone who uses them . Otherwise, your efforts to create a strong brand identity and culture will be severely diminished.
3. MAINTAIN YOUR REAL ESTATE BRAND
Once your real estate brand has been established in the market and is resonating well with your client base, it’s time to move into the brand maintenance phase. You should monitor what’s said about your real estate brand online, including social media posts and reviews, so that you can jump on any negative sentiment and to turn them positive. This includes brand hygiene, which is making sure that assets are updated and available for new channels and mediums.
Positioning and maintaining your real estate brand are phases without distinct conclusions. Most brands will move back and forth between them as they execute marketing campaigns to make sure their brand is still on the right track. You should visualise them as a cycle, where positioning is proactive and maintenance is reactive. These two phases complement each other to deliver a consistent, compelling real estate brand message.
REAL ESTATE BRAND MANAGEMENT IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
In this day and age the internet has transformed real estate brand management, and it’s much more involved today than it was a few decades ago. Brands have a large number of digital channels to deliver their message and clients have the ability to voice their opinions and feedback much more powerfully than ever before.
Considering that: 93% of customers read online reviews regularly, and 80%of them say they’re influenced by their online research.
Here’s another one: 88% of customers would be less likely to buy from a brand that has unanswered complaints on social media channel.
If you brand isn’t participating and driving these conversations online, your silence could be a major killer to your real estate brand. But it’s not just the response that matters, It’s the story your responses tell about your brand. Your real estate website and social media channels are extensions of your real estate brand, and consistency matters online just as much as it does in the offline world. A lack of brand consistency will make your brand less memorable and less trustworthy to your clients.
We find that empowering your property agents with a strong brand identity and the tools to represent the brand well is a cornerstone of success and future growth for a real estate brand.
DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT
The biggest impact the internet has had on real estate brand management is the way we organise and share branding assets across a variety of digital channels.
When brand management was popularised in the 1960s, a company’s marketing was handled by a tiny group of trained brand experts. Brand copy and art were produced to very strict specifications, delivered to printing presses, then shared with a mass audience on billboards, print ads and television. Controlling consistency wasn’t very difficult back then because all the marketing passed through the same few hands.
Even a decade or so ago, online brand management was much more simple. If you launched an online advertising campaign in 2000, you basically had three channels to worry about: your website, your emails, and banner ads. There was no Facebook, no Instagram, no Linkedin and no collection of digital services and social media that we have today.
Web 3.0 with all its multiple of different segmented channels. So rather than just a tiny group of marketing experts, you have a whole network of people producing content for your real estate brand. Think about it: marketing, sales, public relations, human resources, vendors, partners, agencies. Today, nearly everyone in the network is a marketer.
The problem is, not everyone knows how to create content that is on-brand. One way to combat this problem is digital asset management. DAM software acts as a repository for branded files. (Like Google Drive.) By collecting these resources all in one place, anyone who needs to use a brand logo or a letterhead can access them . Team member just access the database, download the files they need, and go on their way promoting the brand.
Even though this is so much better than sending files via email or driving across town to deliver a logo on film like in the old days, it still leaves the problem semi-solved. Property agents can download logos, fonts and documents, but do they know how to use them in the correct way that 1) demonstrates good design, and 2) maintains brand compliance, If you have ever witnessed stretched logos and clashing colour palettes, you know that this does happen with property agents who don’t follow the brand guidelines.
So you might be thinking, So what if sometimes a property agent uses the wrong brand colours or logos in the wrong format. What’s the big problem? Well It might seem like small issues and is there really any harm in having an inconsistent branding?
Well, that’s a good question and we will answer it in the next part of this branding series.
So please stay tuned to the next part of the series where will explore in detail on how to properly manage your real estate brand consistency. Here are the next topics in the series:
• Brand Consistency
• Sales Enablement
• Print Collateral
• Digital Collateral