Real estate investors need to be paying more attention to their Real Estate Brand. For those that haven’t invested in their personal brands yet, or enough, it’s not too late. However, now is the time to start building up a brand that consumers can trust. Having said that, what are the best moves in building and protecting one’s company name?
The Importance of Developing a Personal Brand for Real Estate Professionals
Sadly, far too many real estate investors fail to appreciate just how important and valuable building a personal brand is.
A recent episode of ABC’s reality TV show “Shark Tank” really drove this home for many real estate professionals, and new entrants to the business. In reviewing the pitch of a real estate entrepreneur, the sharks were adamant about the extreme importance of owning a personal brand. Even though the sharks may have come across a little egotistical, they had a point. Adding their name to virtually any product or business can add value and create sales, even if it is a terrible product. As the entrepreneur walked off stage, one shark even jested that he had already forgotten the individual’s name. The entire panel was firm on the fact that when it comes to investing and real estate consumers prize working with names they know and trust – brand names they recognize.
Success Magazine took a different angle on this at the beginning of 2015. In particular, it mentions the value of having a trusted personal brand. The featured author pointed to data from the hotel industry. Subsequently, integrity and a name brand provided a hard 2.5% bump to income; or at least $250,000 to at least one brand.
The bottom line is that success in the real estate world isn’t “what you know, or just who you know, but who knows you.” It is unlikely many will ‘know’ or remember you, unless you have a strong personal brand.
Choosing a Personal Brand Identity
So how do you go about selecting, honing, and building a personal brand?
A personal brand can certainly be developed. However, there are specific considerations to be made in the process.
Start by digging into your personal and professional identity. What are your strengths, and weaknesses? What are your passions? Most importantly; how are you unique, and unique in your space of the market? It’s about time many kicked the crusty old copycat approach to real estate branding to the curb. Just putting the same old profile picture in the same suit, with the same background as everyone else isn’t owning a personal brand. The same even might go for sitting on the hood of a silver Mercedes Benz in your print magazine ads, or the classic sunset background. What can you bring that is fresh?
There is also wisdom in ensuring synergy when brainstorming your personal brand. It has to work for business, and it has to be sustainable. If it isn’t in sync with your real personality and isn’t authentic, it won’t stick. There is a need for synergy with your target market. It doesn’t need to mirror your ideal clients, but should resonate with them. Will the homeowners, buyers, investors, and other professionals you need and want to work with be drawn to and connect with your personal brand?
Crafting and Claiming Your Brand Name
A part of staking claim to your brand identity as a real estate professional is naming and claiming associated name real estate. That may include taglines and slogan, website domain names, social media URLs, and sometimes names of trusts. A little Google research might also suggest the best and worst choices of your name to use in your branding. While there’s no need to change your name, are there good or bad associations with different variations of it online? For example; if your name is Bernie Madoff, you might want to think about that.
Naming research should be a part of your initial research. Claiming ownership of related websites and social media accounts should be done as soon as possible. Shortly after, start building up those presences as you see fit.
It is smart for real estate personalities and executives to take the time to put together a guide to both guide themselves and their team members and contractors to protect the personal brand. The most advanced will include images, logos, profile pics, verbal branding, typography choices, colors, and verbal branding guides, and more.
Just coming up with a strong personal brand identity isn’t going to do much. The next step should be proactively working to gain visibility. This might include; articles, podcasts, press, or entering award ceremonies.
It is also essential to build a business brand for those that organize themselves legally. These can have slightly different branding, but they need synergy too.
Finally, don’t forget to protect it. This means being careful with what you invest in, who with, and proactively preserving and building your online reputation too.