Michael Phelps wore a death stare, snarled like a dog and spit at the wall while his South African 200 meter butterfly challenger Chad le Clos shadowboxed in his face before their highly anticipated showdown in Rio Tuesday.

Of course, his game face didn’t win him the gold (his talent & hard work did), but remaining focused on his redemption/serious/GOAT brand definitely put him in position for victory, and also broke the internet.

In the intense competition for audience attention, it’s not just critical for real estate startups, brokers and agents to understand their audience, it’s crucial they establish their brand as part of their content strategy. Surprisingly, many I’ve talked with about strategy, don’t understand their brand — it’s perhaps the most important element of a smart real estate content strategy.

Fleshing out your brand is not easy. It takes time, energy and focus — resources in short supply everywhere. But it’s worth the effort. It’s part of the solid foundation upon which not just your content strategy rests, but your firm’s image.

An effective brand must genuinely reflect the firm, effectively differentiate it from competitors, and, perhaps above all, be simple.

Discovering your brand

If you’re a bigger firm in a competitive market, you’ll need to figure out exactly where you fit in and maybe bring on outside help. If you’re smaller, you can do it alone. Regardless, your messaging and marketing will benefit greatly from the effort.

After all, your company is not a solo endeavor. You’ll have employees, contractors, leads. A clear branding manual not only attracts the right vendors and contractors and clients, but helps your team better reflect your brand. Without a clear understanding, your brand is a nebulous entity — your messaging will be less effective no matter how good it is.

For example, want a part-time assistant to create blog post or listing flier? Pass them your tone deck and branding statement (see below) so they create something on-brand.

HageyMedia can help you with branding. Schedule a consultation if you’d like to know more.

Core elements of discovering your brand:

  • Business goals: Clearly understanding your business goals helps you build a brand to support them.
  • Positioning statement: isolates how your firm differentiates itself from competitors while aligning perfectly with firm skills and passions.
  • Tone deck: This chart includes a list of words/images/music/artwork in different groups: 1. define your brand 2. you want to use in your actually branding and 3. feelings you want your brand to evoke. You can also include a category of what the brand is not, which helps winnow the meaning.
  • Competitive analysis: Who are your chief competitors? How do they position themselves? What are their taglines? How do you stack up? Create a chart listing them and their messaging. This will help you precipitate your own.
  • Branding statement: This is a manifesto of sorts. After the above, you create a four or five paragraph explanation of your brand. You can give this, along with your polished tone deck, to new hires, vendors and consultants.