June Laves, Marketing Coordinator| May 2018
It’s a marketing executive’s worst nightmare: stretched and distorted logos, a plethora of fonts, off-brand colors, and missing compliance marks.
You just felt a cold chill, I’m sure.
How do marketing teams within real estate brokerages encourage consistency of their marketing materials when each agent is an independent contractor? Every agent seems to be in a rush toward the next transaction. Agents are focused on the goals of serving buyers and sellers, and the brand’s consistency is not their first priority.
The answer is simple. They just have to love your brand.
So the answer isn’t that simple. While the word ‘love’ is only four letters, it can be one of the most complicated concepts known to mankind.
However, when your agents feel:
- … a sense of loyalty
- … respect
- … pride and honor
- … advocacy
when they talk about the brokerage, then they love your brand.
The following 4 tips can help your brand build that love.
4 Steps to Build Brand Love
Be Clear. Be Simple.
It’s good business practice to have your mission statement and values already established along with your other brand guidelines. If you do not, take a look at some of your competitors and find statements and values that clearly reflect your brand’s beliefs.
There is a false understanding among some entrepreneurs that your ‘brand’ is just creating a logo and a slogan that gets stuck in people’s heads. Brand is so much more than that. Simply put, your brand is the gut reaction a person has about the possibility and completion of a transaction. Does your brand proclaim ease, knowledge, success, strength?
Try to stay simple when identifying your brand. You do not have to be every positive adjective in the dictionary. In fact, an article by Quora puts it plainly, “Average brands lose this simplicity by trying to be everything to everyone.” And an average brand won’t be able to build up that love.
When you have your statement and values determined, be public about them. Many companies find success in communicating their brand message when it’s printed up nice and big, and framed, and hung in a common area of the company. Leadership roles will try in the key phrases of values into every message they give to the team. You cannot expect your agents to love a brand they aren’t confident explaining.
A good brand respects itself.
If you want agents to stick with consistent materials, you need to make sure that the rest of your culture is respecting the brand. Make sure that the messaging and materials already in play meet agreed branding guidelines. Are your internal communications the right colors? Can your leadership team name the company’s values? Everything produced by big brands like Apple or Starbucks show consistent branding whether it is an internal e-mail, a commercial, or the instruction booklet in a product.
Encourage agents to retire older materials or off-key materials, and offer incentives for them to adopt the new branding and messaging. Make the consistent branding a top priority, and agents will understand that it deserves the attention. Agents cannot be expected to respect design consistency if leadership gives only half-hearted attention to the brokerage’s internal AND external branded materials.
Communicate and Encourage.
You can’t talk about the brand enough. Have your brand in every conversation – the values, the mission statement, your keywords and phrases, your history. Display them alongside visual branding in your communal spaces, throughout presentations and educational sessions, and verbally in any kind of speech.
But beyond your own strength, build advocacy and engagement by encouraging your good adopters. Celebrate the successes of your agents that reflect well on the brand. Show that alignment with good branding guidelines correlates with success, and your team will begin to see and associate success with consistency.
Agents won’t stay loyal to a brand that doesn’t demonstratively support them. However, when success and recognition are built around your brand’s core values – and value is regularly shown to the team, advocacy and loyalty will follow. When you build a brand they love, you’re not just encouraging design consistency – you’re also increasing your retention of successful agents.
The adverb ‘actively’ is key in this best practice. Listening without taking further action (passive listening) will create stress in the relationship between your company and your agents. The best brands listen, internally and externally.
Seek out the opinion of agents who are routinely ‘going rogue’ on marketing projects. How can you as a broker provide them with an adequate solution that benefits both parties? Marketing Automation, workflows, and clear brand guidelines can assist in that endeavor – but perhaps your agent has hit an issue you hadn’t thought of before.
Agents will adopt a brand that listens to them and grows with them. People love brands that actively adapt and solve issues with which they can directly relate.
A solid brand – an authentic brand – a brand that is clear and simple to describe – that is a brand that people can love. Through that love, respect of your brand visuals and messaging can thrive.
June Laves, Marketing Coordinator at Imprev, Inc.