We often hear that when it comes to building a successful business, branding is one of the most important aspects. And not only that, but if done right, powerful branding can also do parts of the selling for you. Undoubtedly, branding can create a lasting effect on our businesses across markets, but it is rare to see and know how it is broken down and where to start. You may find plenty of information on branding but say to yourself “that makes sense, but where do I start?”
For most real estate professionals and brokerage owners, it may seem difficult to stick to one thing when they have many things to offer, and there is validity in that. However, branding is not about isolating your talents and choosing one. It is, however, about listening to and understanding the needs of your clients and solving their challenges while differentiating yourself from the competition.
Too often, branding appears reduced to logos or fancy design work, and while the creative aspect plays an important role, it is insignificant without a clear brand message and vision and defined goals that are all a part of your brand and business strategy.
Begin with a vision.
Every successful brand out there is built on a strong vision and leaders who have a tight grasp on how they want to show up and execute every single day. Your vision doesn’t need to be complex or define every single one of your goals. However, it does need to be clear and move your business in a forward direction that aligns with an over-arching theme that you believe in, you are inspired by and, hence, you stick to.
When I first started my global advisory firm, I knew I wanted to work with organizations and leaders to find better ways to operate and reach their full potential while building exceptional brands that drive profound brand loyalty internally and externally. The vision of making an organization or brokerage a better place drives everything I do.
What is it that you want to accomplish in your business? And what is driving you? Don’t think too long and hard about it. What will make you stand out and be different is the way you show up to move forward in accomplishing and staying true to your bigger vision, which brings us to our next step.
Find that unique part of what you do.
Believe it or not, there is not one solid way to do, well, anything. While there are many real estate professionals and brokerages out there, there is only one you. Finding different ways to do what you do, in a meaningful and unique way that will make you stand out, will all be a part of your differentiation.
Most importantly though, you’ve got to narrow down on what you do differently, and how it uniquely provides solutions for those you serve—better than everyone else. This can then be reflected in how your vision is executed and how you are perceived or “branded” in the market.
In essence, it’s the “mark” you’re leaving—making a difference in the most meaningful ways in terms of serving your clients.
Don’t overthink it.
When you start thinking about your business or brokerage and you’re getting confused thinking there isn’t one thing that sets you apart, it simply is not true. The answers may be closer than you think. Start by asking your peers, team and clients what stands out to them, what’s most important to them, and what they enjoy about working with you. It will help you get an idea of what they value most and what you do best.
From there, go back to your vision and link what’s needed and valued with what makes you stand out and excites you most. When you find that differentiation, it is very important to stick to it. There is nothing more effective in the world of branding than consistency, in everything you do and every touchpoint you have.
Based on my experience working with some of the biggest global brands across industries such as Sotheby’s International Realty, BMW and IBM, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t on all levels when it comes to branding—locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. And what does work is to know what sets you apart and what you stand for as a brand, what the deepest needs and desires of your clients are, and how you serve in a unique yet meaningful way.
And don’t forget, consistency over time is the name of the game when it comes to branding. You must be in it for the long game—when you turn brand awareness into a favorable brand perception, you’ll be on your way to creating a brand image that’s desirable, which ultimately is the key to building the brand that’ll do parts of the selling for you.
Marion Weiler serves as a trusted executive advisor, growth strategist, leadership expert and CEO at Weiler International LLC, advising corporate leadership teams to create new levels of brand loyalty internally and externally based on a culture of teamwork and collaboration, and as a result achieve high impact and growth. Visit www.weilerinternational.com for more information, or follow Marion on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/weilerinternational.