Do you know your brand? Not your colours, logo, and typeface, but what you’re known for and how your clients feel about you? Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” So what are your clients saying about you when you’re not around?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve worked on branding projects with realtors who were convinced all they did was help people, ANYONE, buy or sell a home. Umm, no. Your brand HAS to be more than that if you want to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other realtors in your area. You need to know key elements of your business, your style, and your messaging. Let’s take a look at the four things you need to know before you can create a personal brand that will help you stand out from the rest.
ONE | YOUR PEOPLE
Not everyone is your ideal client. Some people will love you, some will hate you, some will think you’re the cat’s pajamas, and others will think you’re nuts for Cocoa Puffs. That’s just the nature of being in business, and the faster you wrap your mind around that the faster you can get to the good stuff: taking the reins when it comes to who you want to attract. Your ideal audience might be based on a client or clients you’ve worked with in the past, or you might have a niche like first-time homebuyers or young, single professionals. Regardless of who your audience is, getting hyper specific will really help clarify your content and messaging. Imagine knowing exactly who you’re writing copy for when you put together ads or posts or neighbourhood flyers. One thing I often hear from realtors is that they don’t want to get specific because they don’t want to alienate anyone… But the truth is, when you try to connect with everyone, you end up connecting with no one. Having a clear message doesn’t mean you won’t attract a lot of people – it just adds focus to the overall messaging of your brand.
TWO | BRAND VOICE
Once you get clear on your audience, it’s time to figure out how you’ll sound when you’re communicating with them. Your brand voice is the way you talk to your clients and can be anything from playful and laid-back to professional and authoritative. Your brand voice is the style in which you communicate and has to represent your values and resonate with your ideal audience.
Now, as a personal brand, your brand voice is probably the one that feels most authentic to you, which is great news because all you have to do when you post is whip out your phone, open the voice notes app, and start talking. This is a trick I use for every single piece of copy in my business. I use an app called Otter.ai, which transcribes as I speak. So all I have to do is talk my post, blogs (yes, even the one you’re reading here!) and ad copy into existence, clean it up a bit, and then I’m good to go! Recording yourself is a great way to get familiar with your brand voice. If you’ve ever been staring at a blinking cursor unsure of where to start or how to get your thoughts out, then I urge you to try Otter.ai. It makes the entire writing process so much easier, and it prevents the dreaded “robot voice” that strikes when we try to sound like something (or someone) we aren’t. Keep it reals, keep it on brand, keep it YOU, boo!
THREE | BRAND CONTENT
Next, it’s time to get clear on what you want to share with your people (aka your audience) . What do they want to hear from you? And how do they want to connect with you?
Can I tell you a secret? My most popular posts and the ones that get me tons of DMs are the ones where I share about my personal life, which can be hella irritating when you’re a graphic designer trying to use Instagram to show off your product and services. But I stopped getting mad about it a while ago (okay, maaaybe it was last week…) when I realized connection is key to getting those clients and those sales. I had to embrace the fact that Instagram is a place to add value and connect. At the very bottom of the list is a place to sell.
So whether your brand content is behind the scenes of you helping a client move or insights into your family or added value in the form of seller and buyer tips, make it your own and make it personal. There are so many great Instagram accounts out there that perfectly blend professional with personal. You want to start incorporating things about your personality into your brand so that you can connect with your audience on a deeper level. What can you share that will help start a conversation with your people? Think of three things you regularly find yourself talking about with your favourite clients and start sharing that on the ‘gram.
FOUR | BRAND STYLE
I like to compare brand style to staring at someone from across the room while squinting. You can make out their shape, their hair colour, and maybe the type of suit they have on, but the details aren’t quite clear (“A full-on Monet… From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.”). Your brand style is like an outline of your brand – you just have to fill in the gaps with your personality.
Everyone’s brand is ultimately going to be different, but you can generally categorize brands into six main types. Knowing your brand style will give you a jumping off point and act as a guide while you work on crafting the details. If you like shortcuts, take this 2-minute Insta-style quiz that will give you complete clarity around your brand style. You’ll get a 12-page guide that will help you navigate applying that brand style to Instagram. It’s painless, it’s fun, and you’re going to get so much insight into how you can rock your brand on the ‘gram.