09 May How to Develop a Real Estate Brand that Looks Amazing and Destroys the Competition
In any business – including real estate – brand is everything. Especially with the highly visual culture we live in and extensive use of imagery that’s used to create appeal through online channels, you must create an identity that is attractive, memorable and keeps prospective clients interested and on your site.
So where do you start in creating a brand that will grab clients’ attention and keep you at the forefront of their minds?
Using Real Estate Branding to Your Advantage
In real estate branding, you want to utilize your strengths and specialties to set yourself apart from the competition. Start by:
- Examining your value, purpose, and passion – these could relate to commercial properties, high-end urban apartments, using whatever your niche is to identify your goals for your clients
- Leveraging achievements or certifications to create trust – i.e. college degrees, real estate association affiliations, years of experience, sales volume
- Relating your personality traits to your business – being persistent, persuasive, or possessing superior negotiation skills
All of these aspects of what you have to offer clients will help you decide on an angle from which to approach your brand creation.
Real Estate Logo
Your logo is the first thing people see, and the thing about you that will stand out most in their minds (or not). It needs to be professional, yet also have a distinct flair that sets it apart and makes it memorable.
Clip-art type house shapes and other cliché representations are old news and overused. Geometric shapes reinvented and other symbols that relate to real estate without being contrived – like restyled keys – offer a unique alternative to the norm, which means they’ll stand out more in clients’ minds.
Real Estate Colors and Typography
Stylized typography can add an eye-catching element to your logo design. Typography utilizes different lettering sizes and shapes to make the image stick in people’s memories.
If the letters are uniquely shaped enough, like this, you can even use this feature in lieu of a logo symbol or shape. Essentially, your name becomes your logo.
Color is equally important with your logo and marketing materials. Classic choices such as black, silver, blue, and brown reflect a distinct, professional vibe. Brighter colors like orange, green, purple, and red make excellent accent colors, adding a touch of interest to your identity.
Real Estate Imagery
Listing photographs should be crisp and clear, using a decent quality camera – cellphone cameras just aren’t going to make the grade in this case. Follow these guidelines for great listing photos:
- Stage the home properly – remove clutter and personal effects from the area being photographed. Open spaces offer the best opportunity for buyers to assess the room. And don’t forget the details – avoid these blunders.
- Take advantage of natural light – open blinds and curtains, and take photographs during the late morning to early afternoon when the sun offers the most help.
- Take photos from a doorway or corner – this allows you to get as much of the room in a shot as possible. Digital photography makes it easy to experiment with different angles and shots because you can take as many pictures as you want and choose the best ones later.
- Don’t be misleading – a wide-angle lens can make rooms look much bigger than they are, which could lead to disgruntled buyers when they see the real thing. Panoramic photographs can be a good alternative because they show an extended area without excessive distortion.
- Shoot as many exterior features as possible – front and rear, patio, outbuildings, special elements like fire pit or outdoor BBQ, and pools and hot tubs should all be shot from angles that frame them attractively in the landscaping.
- Consider dusk/dark photography for the exterior – shooting right at the cusp of light and dark allows the sky’s lighting to balance perfectly with the lighting inside the home, giving a unique view of both the exterior details as well as the lights that are on inside illuminating the interior of the home.
Real Estate Marketing Materials
You marketing collateral and electronic media like PowerPoint listing presentations are crucial elements of your real estate brand. They can either ooze professionalism and competence or scream gaudy and inexperienced.
Follow these basic tips to ensure that your brand comes across accurately on everything that passes through your hands:
- Keep the font clean and easy to read. Helvetica, Verdana, and Times New Roman are all classic choices.
- Letterhead should include your logo and contact information, along with any accent colors that are a part of your brand.
- Agent business cards frequently include a photograph – make sure that if you do this, you have the photo taken professionally and incorporated into a design that’s meant to feature a photo.
- Carry your color theme, fonts, and other brand elements across into your listing presentations. There should be no doubt that the client is seeing a presentation by your company.
- Utilize the grid design method to maximize visual appeal of presentations, website layout, and paper materials like business cards. Grids are divided up into either an even number of columns or odd number, with design elements strategically placed within the grid sections in order to create a balanced, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Real Estate Signage and Outdoor Advertising
When it comes to signs for your listings, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, the types of signs available vary widely in price and durability:
- H-Frame: This is the metal wire frame stake-type shaped like an “H” with a corrugated plastic sign mounted on it. These are the most inexpensive sign you can get, running around a few dollars each.
- Metal Frame: These fit in the ground similarly to H-frame, but the frame is thicker and sturdier than the wire used in H-frames.
- Post: This is the most recognizable of real estate signs – the colonial post with the sign hanging from it. Posts are slightly more expensive than metal frames.
- Vinyl Decals: Ideal for locations where front yard signs aren’t possible, this form of advertising can be mounted in a window and is reasonable in price.
- Feather Flags: These are the eight-foot tall fabric flag signs you see in front of apartment buildings. They are more expensive than any of the other options.
The information on your sign should include:
- Your logo
- Contact information
- The type of listing or event – For Sale, For Lease, Open House, etc.
- A photo of the agent if there’s room
- A Snapchat or QR code if you have one hooked up to a site containing property info
- Optional – tube to hold full-color brochures on the property
Writing for Your Real Estate Marketing Materials
While your writing style should always be professional and convey a position of authority in your field, you can and should use more personality in some areas than in others.
When writing listings:
- Be specific – use facts, but don’t let your writing become too sterile
- Use keywords – keep track of industry buzzwords that are attracting attention from buyers, and use them in context.
- Tell a story with your descriptions – don’t just state what the feature is, give an example of its use.
When writing copy (advertising):
- Be concise.
- Use your branding – if you have a motto, this is the perfect opportunity to utilize it.
- Show your personality – let people know you’re not just a robot by letting a little of yourself shine through.
- Have Balance – you do a lot of writing as an agent; the key is knowing when to be serious and stick to the facts (offer writing) and when you can add a little pizzazz (listing presentations, advertising copy).
Being a real estate agent in the 21st century means being online, and utilizing social media as a lead generation, networking, and advertising tool. But what is the etiquette for participating in sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram as an agent?
- Focus on information. Offer your subscribers value, rather than a constant stream of self-promotion.
- Be worth following. Good sites don’t have to beg for followers or subscribers. They provide actionable, helpful, or amusing content that gets shared and draws an audience organically.
- Keep personal photos and posts where they belong – on your personal account.
- Respond promptly – the online world moves lightning fast, so you must be ready to answer questions almost as soon as they’re asked. Give your followers ample attention, but ignore negative posters and trolls.
- Spelling matters. Your online presence is an extension of your brand – use spell check and make sure your grammar is passable. People notice these things, and it makes you appear less professional if you’re not paying attention to simple errors.
Creating a real estate brand can be intimidating, but as long as you are authentic, use a theme that is professional and relates to your specialty, and stay consistent across all of your products, you’ll soon find that people automatically associate your look with your agency.
Don’t be afraid to get creative – being professional doesn’t mean being boring! Check out these innovative ideas and have fun creating your new real estate brand.