According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), more than 130,000 real estate brokers, agents and salespeople are registered CREA members. Group them into brokerage firms or real estate companies, with the remaining as private agents and realtors, and you still have several hundred companies with whom you compete in the marketplace. How do you break through all of them, especially if your real estate company is new and not yet well known?
Through branding. Branding a company, large or small, takes into account everything from the target market to the tagline. There’s a lot to get just right at every step of the way, and it isn’t easy. But it can be done successfully to create a positive perception and experience in the minds of your real estate clients, which is the goal of branding.
What’s In A Name?
A name can make or break a product, good or service. In fact, finding the right name is a critical part of the marketing process when new products are introduced to the market. In the real estate industry, marketable names are just as important. If you want to be a leader in the real estate business, branding is key. Your company name should stand for your mission, your goals and, most importantly, what you want your clients to understand about your company. That means before you brainstorm names, take the time to:
• Define your mission statement.
• Identify your goals.
• Determine the message you want to communicate to your clients about your company.
Let The Brainstorming Begin
It seems like many startups have names that are a couple of words morphed together, or they incorporate unusual spellings, both of which are hard to find when searching the web. That’s a trend that I don’t believe is in the best interest of real estate professionals. As one entrepreneur puts it, “Get the name right, and you get branding as a by-product of your advertising.”
And it’s true! Think of several well-known companies and their respective brands, and recall their logos and slogans. You’ll realize you have memories, feelings, experiences and perceptions about those brands. Successful names also have long shelf lives. Make that your ultimate goal.
Consider the following when creating or even revising a company name:
1. How does it sound when spoken aloud?
2. Does it imply a benefit and sound meaningful?
3. Is it a made-up/morphed word with an odd spelling?
4. Is it interesting, and does it avoid initials?
5. Is it specific enough or way too vague?
6. Can it be trademarked, if necessary?
7. How does it come up on Google AdWords?
Creating The Brand
The creation of the brand image and its personality are probably the toughest parts of branding. The logo and the tagline are, respectively, the visual and audio of your real estate business. The strongest ones are created with goals such as originality, creativity, honesty, relevance, passion and consistency in mind.
Positioning The Brand
Speaking of consistency, at my firm, for example, we carry the name through all of our subsidiaries, which positions the Ellicott name across several business areas, including the real estate and financial industries. We utilize the same design, style and tone across all the subsidiaries as well. By consistent use of the name, design and so on, our brand can continue to represent the mission and goals of our parent company and deliver on certain client expectations, even if an additional subsidiary comes along in the future.
Apply these principles of consistency with your name and brand to build name recognition, a critical element to positioning. Consistent use of a specific logo and design in collateral materials, online and out-of-home media indicates your commitment to the brand and establishes it in the mind of the potential client and the community.
Establishing your brand as a real estate agent or your company as a household name in the real estate industry is both an art and a science. Starting with a plan and purpose will lead to a more precise brand, which will represent your company and its ideals, and years of successful closings ahead.