Would you like to be unique in the real estate market? Tired of wasting money on ineffective Facebook ads? This real estate branding guide will show you how to create a successful real estate brand from scratch and how to position your organization correctly.

When real estate agents say that their marketing techniques are not working, the problem is usually not the techniques themselves but rather a lack of brand identity. Agents who rely solely on social media to generate leads often find themselves disappointed, as they lack a clear plan for how to turn online activity into real-world results.

Pre-1983 real estate businesses relied heavily on selling the same services to a large group of people. They didn’t have many challenges. However, the internet changed everything and realtors now have to approach marketing differently.

As target groups started to get smaller, real estate agencies had to turn into brands to appeal to a more streamlined community of people who are the same. The free-for-all ad system made it easy for anyone, even people who are not realtors, to position themselves as “professionals”, which took away the last bit of reverence that was associated with the word and made people doubt whether they can trust real estate professionals. Now, the word “professional” is synonymous with the negative word “huckster”.

If you want to have a successful career in the real estate industry, you need to create a unique brand that speaks to your target audience.

What is Real Estate Branding?

The process of real estate branding is establishing a great perception of a real estate agent/agency through different methods of communication like storytelling and really big campaigns.

A brand, as Seth Godin explains, is more than just a product or service. It’s a collection of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that influence a consumer’s decision to choose one over another.

Branding can have both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, it can help consumers understand what your business is all about. On the other hand, people may see your brand as something they identify with and feel passionately about, which could lead to them spreading positive messages about your business to others.

Is Real Estate Branding the Same as Real Estate Marketing?

Many real estate agents confuse branding with marketing. However, they are two completely different things. Branding helps you stand out from the competition while marketing gets your message out to the public.

The Importance of Real Estate Branding

The number of real estate agents in the United States has increased from 1.11 million to 1.46 million in 2020, according to a Statista report. This does not account for unregistered real estate agents. There is a pool of real estate agents between you and your potential clients; you cannot appear and sound like every realtor if you wish to succeed at flipping homes. Agencies that skip the branding step never rise above the noise. A perfect example of a real estate firm that paid the price of poor branding is Buyfolio. The firm, which positioned itself as an online collaboration site for realtors, folded two years after it was acquired by Zillow. According to Zillow, their customer base could not sustain the business. As if the Buyfolio lesson was not enough, Zillow made the same mistake with Zillow Offers – on iBuying service.

Both Buyfolio and Zillow Offers were unsuccessful because they did not put in the effort to develop their ideas or build their brand. This lack of effort led to their slow and eventual demise.

It’s time to stop talking about Zillow’s flaws and instead focus on the importance of real estate branding.

Attract the right customers

To attract the right clients, real estate agents need the right skill set to distinguish themselves from others, and of course, position their agencies where potential customers are situated. For example, Ben Caballero, a 2015 Guinness world record holder for being the first real estate professional to surpass $1 billion in home sales in a year, attracts the right clients by getting new homes to potential buyers at a fraction of what his competitors are charging. He attained the feat by building a system that makes MLS listing and real estate marketing easier. Therefore, Caballero is the Phil Knight of the real estate industry; he discovered a problem waiting to be solved and tackled it with an innovative approach.

The type of audience you attract is determined by the brand you create. Different people like different things, so it’s important to appeal to a wide range of people.

There is no one-size-fits-all way to brand a real estate agency, but our expert creative team understands this. We have successfully helped over 350 businesses morph into their best versions. We use award-winning design strategies, such as the blue ocean process and the caregiver process, depending on the clients’ preferred brand archetypes. We have successfully helped over 150 businesses become top sellers.

High referrals from previous clients

Referral marketing is when current or past customers tell other people about your company. Branding is when you position your company in a way that consumers can understand what your company is about. Allowing customers to spread your gospel for you can be done through user-generated content, reviews, or testimonials.

Real estate branding is essential for realtors who want to build a strong reputation and get referrals from past clients. Because most discussions in the industry happen offline, real estate agencies that don’t brand themselves are not reaching their full potential.

What this means for you is that if you’re trying to get into the ultra-luxury real estate market, you’re going to have a tough time if you’re relying on online resources like Zillow or Redfin. These buyers and sellers are more interested in the reputation of the realtor than anything else, so you’re going to need to make sure you’re always at the top of your game if you want to succeed.

More sales; less advertising cost

Having a loyal fanbase reduces the amount of money a company has to spend on advertising. Fans of a company will help to spread the word about the company and its products, reducing the need for the company to spend money on advertising. Companies that do not have a loyal social media following often have to spend more money on advertising than on developing their products.

Incompleteness would encumber our guide if we failed to write about Barbara Corcoran, the founder of The Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage based in New York City. The Corcoran group is destined to prosper due to the engaged media presence of its founder. Barbara exploits her ample social media sway to advertise her real estate company at no cost. For example, she has 748k followers on Instagram and 735k followers on Twitter. Also, she is frequently featured on popular new platforms like Forbes, Nasdaq, and Legacy news platforms.

It makes marketing effective

If an ad campaign lacks a brand identity, it will be less memorable and people will easily forget about it. For example, an ad that highlights how your real estate company is working to enrich a community will appeal to minority groups. Without giving them a direct financial incentive to refer you, they will tell their friends about your business. A good example of this is the “support black businesses” narrative which is popular on social media. This type of narrative encourages people to refer, patronize and help a particular company without expecting anything in return.

How to Build a Real Estate Brand That Lasts: A Step-by-Step Guide

Marketing professionals use a simple process to build a brand. If you’re ready to take branding seriously, here are the steps you need to take:

1. Discover Your Mission, Vision & Values

If you want to build a strong brand, you need to focus on your mission, vision, and values. These are the core components of any great brand, even if they don’t realize it. So take the time to figure out what your MVV are, and use that as the foundation of your brand.

In Sean Moudry’s deep dive article, he discusses how you can define your MVV (Minimum Viable Volume). While the article is geared towards brokerages, the same concepts can be applied to individual agents.

Are you looking for ways to create an inspiring mission, vision, and values for your brokerage? If so, here are a few tips that can help you get started. 1. Define your purpose. Think about what you want your brokerage to achieve and why it exists. What difference do you want to make in the world? Once you have a clear understanding of your purpose, you can start to craft your mission and vision statements. 2. Keep it simple. When it comes to your mission and vision statements, less is more. Keep them concise and clear so that everyone in your brokerage can understand and get behind them. 3. Make sure they’re aligned. Your mission, vision, and values should all be in alignment. They should support and reinforce each other. If they’re not, it will be difficult for your brokerage to achieve its goals. 4. Get input from others. Don’t try to create your mission, vision, and values in a vacuum. Get input from your team, your clients, and other stakeholders. See what they have to say about your brokerage and what it stands for. 5. Review and revise.

2. Gather Inspiration From Successful Real Estate Brands

The next step to building your brand after you have your MVV is to look at other great brands for inspiration, including those of your local competitors. You can also look at franchises or brands from outside the real estate industry.

A “swipe file” is a collection of visual inspiration for branding purposes. It can include logos, taglines, brand colors, social media posts, website screenshots, and any other brand elements that inspire you. Having a swipe file available can be helpful when working with a graphic designer to create a logo, as it provides creative direction.

Here are some valuable resources to get you started:

3. Create an Actionable & Realistic Timeline

If you want something to improve, you need to measure it. It takes a long time to build a brand, so you need to have a timeline with goals to reach along the way. This turns the idea of building a brand from a dream into a concrete plan.

If you set goals for yourself on a monthly and quarterly basis, you will probably have enough motivation to keep going without feeling overwhelmed. Just remember that, as with most long-term projects, it will probably take longer to build your brand than you initially think. However, if you allow yourself enough time to establish a solid MVV (minimum viable value), the rest of the process should progress relatively quickly.

4. Choose the Right Team of Professionals to Turn Your Vision Into Reality

The saying goes that if you give a mediocre team a great idea, they will ruin it, but if you give a mediocre idea to a great team, they will make it work. This is why it is so important to hire the right professionals to help turn your brand’s vision into reality.

This company specializes in helping real estate brokerages create the branding they want.

5. Find a Niche

A niche does not have to be narrowly defined as only taking residential real estate jobs while avoiding industrial real estate opportunities. A niche could be defined as a particular issue or problem that no realtor in your city is currently addressing. For example, if in an imaginary American city, Latinos or blacks are having difficulty owning property because no bank is willing to lend them money, you could make it your company’s mission to “finance Latino-owned homes”. Such a community slogan would automatically make you a part of the Latino community. You could back this up with an inspirational story of how you became a homeowner and established realtor in the city despite coming from a poor family of Syrian asylum seekers.

6. Be different but authentic

If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll end up in the same place they do – which is nowhere.

Seth Godin and his family went on a 17hour trip to France over a decade ago. His wife suffer from transportation narcolepsy and was asleep for most of the trip. His kids were bored and causing a commotion. The journey was uneventful until they drove by a Pasteur. At first, the kids felt refreshed by the view but moments after, they went back to their unruffled state. Then, Seth thought to himself, “what if these cows were painted in purple?”

If there had been purple cows, his kids would have been so excited that they would have woken his wife up. The kids would have asked their parents for a picture with the purple cow. A purple cow could have stopped time from moving forward unapologetically.

7. Write your brand story

Your brand story should be a relatable narrative that captures the moments that led to the establishment of your company and helps establish what your company is all about. This story should be consistent with every message your company puts out. This story can be used as a guide for your newsletters, social media posts, guest posts, and blog posts.

Kate Santore says that every successful story must have four basic archetypes: something that the reader desires, a social connector, the embodiment of an attitude, and value for the reader.

Your brand story should be something that can be told by someone else without you being there. Think back to the events that made you start your agency/firm in the first place. It doesn’t have to be something like a founder who was unsatisfied and created a solution for himself and then for the world. You can also use customers’ stories as part of your online marketing process.

8. Build Trust

How do you build brand trust? The best way to build trust with your brand is to be the best at what you do and to have a great track record. Nowadays, people can easily tell the difference between a fake image and a real one because the internet has armed them with knowledge.

An example of this is Keller Williams, a realty company that has built a reputation for being an equal opportunity employer in the real estate industry. They do this by employing the best new talent and training them through their university program. Their liberal and digitized approach to the real estate business has made them a favorite among people.

Don’t try to be the best at everything. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be good at one thing. Then you can build a brand around that.

Final Thoughts

In the end, every business has brand equity, but some brands have more brand equity than others. The firms that get the most attention are not the ones that squander thousands of dollars on pointless ads. The ones who make it to the top are those with the most appealing brands and loyal fanbases, like Brown Harris Stevens, Ben Caballero, Keller Williams, and Mauricio Umansky.

Some of realtors are very conservative and want to maintain their core values while still appealing to the new generation of homeowners. Others are much more liberal and want to completely overhaul their old brand in favor of something more futuristic. No matter what group you belong to, branding can suit your needs.

If you follow the tips in this guide, your real estate business will improve.