The term “personal brand” gets thrown around a lot these days.
And as an agent you probably realise how essential it is to have a strong personal brand.
Everybody is trying to strengthen their personal brands in their areas in order to stand out and make a connection with clients.
For instance when you think of Fredrik Eklund you probably think of his High Kick and prestige New York real estate agent.
When you think of Trump things like businessman, opinionated, and loud mouthed come to mind.
Influencers like this have developed a strong personal brand.
People know who they are and what they stand for. It’s easy for them to reach a wide audience.
But this brings up the question of: How did they get to this position?
How does an ordinary person that nobody knows build a brand that is instantly recognisable and is known as the expert in their field?
What is personal branding?
First things first.
Let’s get a concrete definition of this term to ensure that we’re on the same page.
I like the definition from Personal Branding Wiki:
Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal.
It’s a bit long-winded, but I think this captures the essence of what personal branding is.
The end goal is to have a unique value proposition, build a strong reputation in your industry, and establish trust and rapport with your audience.
So let’s start with the basics.
Personal Value Proposition
Developing a personal value proposition
Before you can get started you need to build a foundation.
Developing a personal value proposition (PVP) will be the foundation that you can build your personal brand from.
Andrew Cooke suggests asking yourself the following questions:
People ‘buy’ you—so how do you differentiate yourself from others? What can you do to attract the people you want, and to be attractive to them?
You should then go a step further and ask yourself these questions:
1. What do you want to be known for?
You need to define what you want to be know for, so as you can start to build your brand around that. Here are a couple of examples:
” To be known as the go to agent in the suburbs of x, y & z who goes the extra mile for my clients, gets consistently above average results from extraordinary marketing and is a well known member of the local community.”
“To be known as the expert in selling off the plan inner city developments.”
2. Who do you want to target?
It is important to know who your ideal clients are so as you can target your marketing to them. If you want to sell high end property on Sydneys northern beaches your ideal clients are going to have very different interests and needs than an agent thats ideal clients own acreage land.
Here are a couple of ideas to create your ideal client:
“People in the areas of x, y & z that own houses valued in the range of $xxx,xxx to $xxx,xxx.
“People that own apartments in the CBD area valued at $xxx,xxx”
If you create your marketing with your ideal clients in mind you will pick up more of the properties that you want to deal with.
A lot of agents worry that if they segment themselves they will lose listings from other areas.
If you do this correctly you won’t lose listings, instead you’ll gain more of your ideal listings. For example if you can show that you are the expert in “suburb a” people in the suburb next door will see that and will want you to do the same for their property.
Once you get to a point where your brand is that well known you will be attracting so many of your ideal clients that you want to work with that the others properties that you get will just be bonus.
3. What are your strengths
You need to identify the key strengths that you possess. Once you have a list of the the areas that you excel at then you can focus on doing more of that in your business and marketing to those areas. Here are a list of examples an agent might have:
- Quickly building rapport
- Simplifying the real estate selling process
- Finding buyers for off the plan developments
- Networking at charity events
For example if you realise that you are great at networking at charity events you may want to focus more of your marketing efforts on attending, sponsoring and volunteering as an auctioneer at charity events.
Obviously you have to weigh up the results that your marketing efforts are bringing in, but if it brings results and you are good at it then it would make sense to focus more of your brand building time doing those activities.
4. What are the interests of you ideal clients?
Now that you know who you want to target you want to think about the interests and values of your ideal clients so as you can create your marketing message to appeal to them.
Create a list of the top things that your ideal clients are interested in and a second list of things that they will be looking for when they want to sell their home.
Interests could be:
- Local sports club
- Local Charity events
- Certain coffee shops/ restaurants
- Local Schools
What they are looking for when they are selling their home:
- Somebody that understands how to sell xyz style homes
- Information on ways to add value to their home before selling, how to know when the right time to sell is.
- An agent that they know and trust
The bottom line here is that you need to have a clear understanding of:
- Who you are
- What you’re passionate about
- What you want to be known for
- Your target audience
- The strengths you possess
- Your core principles and values
- Differentiating factors that distinguish you from others in your industry
After you have a good idea of these areas you can start promoting your brand.
Building Your Brand
Getting started building your brand is going to take time and a lot of effort.
The biggest part is getting momentum. Once you build up some steam your brand will start to snowball but initially things may feel like they are happening slowly.
If you are already an established agent in an area and just looking to expand your brand then this will be a little easier as you are already known in the area and have a list of connections that you can leverage.
So how do you go about building your brand?
The strength of your brand comes in two steps:
1. Your Message
Your message needs to be consistent and relate back to the interests and values of your ideal clients that we listed earlier.
You want to be talking to people in a way that they relate to and you want to be seen showing interests in the areas that they are too.
If a large amount of your ideal clients are highly engaged with a local sporting club or local school it pays for you to have connections there and put out content about those areas.
Joe from your area might not be interested in your latest listings but he does go to every game at his local footy club. So it would make sense that if you talked about the local footy club in your marketing that Joe might actually take notice.
If you want to be known as the expert in a particular field, eg. apartments, acreage, investors. Then this should all be present in your marketing message.
2. Your Presence in the marketplace
You message means nothing without presence. You need to be seen and heard by your ideal customers everywhere.
This is how you stay top of mind. Real Estate is a long term game and you need to make sure that people are consistently seeing you and your message or else they will forget who you are.
That’s where talking about things other than real estate can help as people can get tired of hearing about another recent sale. However they could listen all day if you are talking about something that they are interested in.
These are the traditional areas that agents have used to build their presence and remain top of mind to their ideal clients in the past:
- Bus stops/Signs
- Door knocking
- Cold Calling
- Sponsoring local events
These are all great and have delivered results for agents consistently.
If you are starting out or are looking to build your brand further than what you are doing currently then the internet gives you an opportunity to do all of these things on steroids.
When starting to build your presence online here are the big things you should do to begin with:
- Register your name as a domain
- Set up a personal website with a blog. Your website will serve as your home base for all marketing activities online and offline. A blog allows you to put out valuable content that your audience wants.
- Have profiles on at least three social networks. I’d start with either Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or Linkedin .
- Set up your database. You want to be able to capture peoples details on your website so as you can continue to market to them and keep your brand top of mind.
These areas are the main places that people are going to find and interact with you online.
The initial stages of building your brand can be time consuming, that’s why I recommend focusing your efforts on your website, social media and blog as this is where most of your results will come from.
You want to publish a combination of helpful real estate content and interesting local news on your website.
Some ideas for real estate content could be:
- How to present your home for an inspection
- 5 do’s and don’ts before selling your house
- Why you should consider auction
- The process of selling your house
- The latest pool regulations
- Every other question that you get asked regularly
The reason you want to create this content is because people are searching for it. Your ideal clients are looking for this information online and if you have the information readily available and you solve their problem they are going to see you as an expert.
So if you want to build your brand as an expert in a particular field like apartments then you should put out all the content you can on how to add value to your apartment, the latest regulation changes, why selling an apartment is different to selling a house.
Think of it this way. If you were looking at getting in shape or losing some weight, what is the first thing you would do?
Probably do a search online right?
You’d watch some videos and read some articles and when you came across somebody that had the information that solved your problem you would probably want to read and watch more of their content.
The same principle applies as an agent. If you have a stack of resources and helpful information, people are going to find it and trust you as an expert in your area.
The other content you can produce is local area content.
Zac McHardy creates a great local area blog where he talks about the latest happenings in his area 4034. If there’s an event on in the local area he features a story on it.
He is also interviewing local business owners and telling their stories which is a great way to easily create community content that people want to engage with.
But here’s the deal.
Establishing a brand requires you to do one highly important thing.
And that’s to be consistent across the board.
According to research, “It takes 5-7 brand impressions before someone will remember your brand.”
Whatever marketing methods and mediums you are using to build your brand the key is consistency.
If you are back and forth it can be confusing for your followers to keep up.
Follow this article that highlights the exact strategy you should use to market your brand in 2017.
The most important part of it all is to be authentic. People’s BS radars are highly sensitive these days and can spot somebody that doesn’t feel right. Make sure you stick to your beliefs and people will respect that.
It is easy to get overwhelmed when building your personal brand.
There are so many areas to cover that you might not know where to start. If you follow the process laid out in this article you will be on the right track.
- Define your (PVP) personal value proposition
- Define your ideal clients
- Set up your online profiles. Website, social media, database
- Put out helpful content on your website and spread it to your prospects using social media and your database
Once you gain some traction your brand will start to take shape in the marketplace and it will be easier to grow.
And once you finally get to the point where you’ve established as a legitimate expert in your area, the new opportunities that come your way will be completely worth it.