The importance of personal branding
More than ever before, real estate professionals must have a clear understanding of who they are and what they stand for in their business - and an ability to articulate that to the masses.
With an increasing number of agents placing heavy focus on the promotion of their personal brand, those who fail to do so, risk fading into the background.
"Loyalty can be built across so many different generational demographics, but loyalty is only earned when someone has a strong, positive feeling about you and your brand," says Tara Christianson, Branding Specialist at REA Group.
"Being able to communicate your brand clearly and concisely, in both your offline and online marketing, is the only way you'll be able to reach and resonate with your audience."
But what exactly is a personal brand? And how do you go about developing one?
"Your brand is everything you do, everything you are," says Christianson.
"It's how you talk, what you wear, the words you use, the logos and colours you use, your marketing materials - everything."
Your personal brand is how you market yourself and your services, and Christianson says that whether you like it or not, you've already built a personal brand.
"It's simply a matter of recognising it, refining it, and then translating it in a way that more people understand," she says.
So, how might one develop their brand in a way that people will understand, and ultimately want to do business with?
Christianson says a good brand is one that makes very clear what it stands for.
"A [good] brand has a clear-cut mission statement and set of values that all those who fall under that brand aspire to," she says.
"Once you have that foundation to work from, your messaging will be clear."
The prominence of social media has exacerbated the ability to promote a personal brand, as well as providing more variance in the brands we see, especially in real estate.
"Using those channels to showcase all aspects of your personality allows for the authenticity and transparency most consumers are looking for," says Christianson.
"It's best practice to use a mix of both organic and paid channels to achieve best results."
While Lee prefers to make fun, memorable videos, Duncan has started her own hashtag, 100dealsinheels.
With each new home sale, she posts a photo of the sold sign behind a pair of high heels, along with the hashtag.
"It started off as a novelty, but we thought 'this is pretty cool and something everyone can get involved with'," says Duncan.
"And now it's a business strategy.
"Because people want to engage with a real person, not with just the persona of an agent."
Duncan says you need to accept that no brand is going to engage with everyone, so stay true to yourself and people will see you as authentic.
It's also important that you don't concern yourself with the opinions of others.
"A lot of people are scared not only of what clients will think but even other agents, but you just have to do it," she says.
"It works, and we're having fun."
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