Find your brand before you waste time, and money, on marketing
In the marketing industry, ‘on-brand’ is the term used for marketing material that aligns with the ideals and values of the company.
Marketing off-brand is not only ineffective, but potentially detrimental, as it blurs your brand identity and inspires confusion among consumers as your advertisements don’t align with your product or services.
These tenets hold just as true for real estate professionals’ personal marketing material – whether that’s business cards, fridge magnets, social media, etc.
Penny Burke, Director at market research firm Essence Communications and the brains behind Yellow Pages’ “Not happy, Jan!” campaign, says delivering an experience which isn’t the same as that which you’ve promised is the “quickest way to kill your ability to promote yourself”.
She says in marketing the first thing you have to do is know what it is you want to be recognised for.
“Once you have that, you have to make sure you can deliver it consistently, because the worst possible thing you can do is say to someone, ‘we’re really good at X’, and then have somebody come in to meet you and give them a different experience from the one you’ve promised,” says Burke.
Once you know what you want to be known for, and are able to deliver it, the final step, says Burke, is to “leverage that position”.
“For example, if you say that you’re a family guy, then one of the ways you might promote yourself is at your kid’s local school,” she says.
“That’s why it’s important to know what you’re famous for, because the way that you’ll choose to market yourself will differ depending on that decision.
“Everybody will have a website, everybody will have a business card, so it’s not a matter of asking if those things work or not – we know that they work – it’s about presenting not just yourself, but the sort of person you are, and what sort of service you’re going to offer.”
It might all sound well and good to market to your strengths, but identifying those strengths can often prove difficult.
The things that you’re truly best at are often hard to recognise in yourself, because it’s inherent to you, and probably something you’ve been doing for such a long time that you no longer realise you do it so much better than most.
To solve this problem, Burke says it’s a good idea to ask somebody else. Or, better yet, ask somebody to ask somebody else, because people may find it harder to be honest about your strengths when speaking directly to you.
So, for example, ask a friend of yours to ask a business associate about your best strengths, about what makes you stand out, and what you truly excel at. Their answers may be pleasantly surprising.
“That’s a good place to start because you’re getting an unbiased opinion,” says Burke.
“You’re really trying to find out, what’s your angle? What is the one thing that you absolutely nail in comparison to others.”
Only once you’ve identified this can you really be sure that all of your marketing is on-brand, and therefore as effective as it can possibly be.
Simply guessing your point of difference is going to result in hours of wasted trial and error, and trying to advertise with multiple voices at the same time – the scattergun approach – is possibly even worse.
“The strongest brands aim for one kind of platform from which to do everything, because it’s quite expensive to do,” says Burke.
“It’s hard enough and costs enough money, time, and effort, to create even one voice.”
Penny Burke will be presenting at REIQ’s 2020 Summit, during which she will explain how to find your personal brand – what you’re famous for – and how to hone in on that, building your fame and your brand. Tickets are currently on sale, but early bird pricing ends soon!