I’ll never forget the time a client called me up and said she wanted a new logo, the one I had designed for her just wouldn’t do and we had to start over. This is something you never want to hear as a designer and it completely crushed me and more importantly, my ego. But once the dust settled and I had a chance to probe her a bit about why she didn’t like it, it became clear that it was because we hadn’t done the work beforehand to understand what her brand was all about. She politely informed me that it just didn’t feel right, that after a few months of test driving it, she realized it wasn’t entirely her “vibe” and her clients weren’t jiving with it either.
I vowed then to never design another logo without first doing a deep dive into all the elements that I knew make up a brand. I devised system after system, revised my process again and again, and after 10 years of designing hundreds of brand assets for countless realtors I landed on a system that worked like magic each and every time.
This is what most people in search of “branding” get wrong, they believe their logo is their brand, but I want to make this very clear, your brand is not your logo. I’m gonna say it again for the people in the back, your brand is not your logo. Your brand is the way you make your clients feel, it’s the reason why you have clients and why they keep coming back to you. In essence, your logo is a visual representation of your brand.
Whether you are a new realtor looking for brand assets or a seasoned pro looking to revamp your look, we need to get clear on a few things before you can pick up that phone and ask a designer to give you that “modern, stylish logo.” You need to do a deep dive into what your business and your brand are all about and what’s so great about knowing these things is that it will help guide every single process in your real estate business, from prospecting to client onboarding, to how you stay in touch post-sale.
I’m about to gonna guide you through five things that you have to get clear on before you even consider creating that logo that stationery that website. I urge you to take a few days to think about each of these as they are usually not one and done answers, let yourself mull them over for the next few days and see what comes up. Ok, let’s dive in!
One | Your Mission
Without a clear mission, you’re probably selling yourself and your services like every other realtor out there. Think about it, if you don’t know why you are doing what you’re doing then how are potential clients going to connect with your business? Your mission paints the picture of what your business is about, what you’re trying to accomplish and I guarantee it goes deeper than helping people buy and sell their home. To get clear on your mission I want you to think about what outcome you’d like to see for your clients. Is it that you want to get them out of debt, and start to build their equity? Is it that you want them to have an asset that they can proudly pass off to their children? Or is it a thrill to help people invest in real estate to build their wealth portfolio? If thinking about your clients doesn’t spark a mission try asking yourself why am I doing what I’m doing? Is it just to get a paycheck, or do I truly believe that I can make a difference and help people? What does being a realtor mean to you? Once you get answers to these questions you’ll be that much closer to your larger reaching mission.
“Your mission paints the picture of what your business is about and what you’re trying to accomplish…”
Two | Your Values
Listen, people want to work with people who share their values. Common values are the basis for most purchases, if you start to pay attention to every single ad out there you will notice they are leading with very clear values. So getting clear on yours is only going to help the overall picture of your marketing and differentiate you from other realtors. If you value, transparency, authenticity, and friendship, for example, that’s a very different vibe than a realtor who prioritizes business transactions, investments, and wealth building. You get to set the tone of your business by clearly defining your values and by doing this your clients and potential clients will resonate with you that much more.
Three | Your Brand style
I like to think of your brand style like looking at a person standing across from you while squinting – you can’t see all the details but you can make out the general outline. What would your brand look like if you squinted and took a step back? Would you be modern and cutting edge? Technologically driven or more classic and refined? If you’re not sure then before you can do any work on your visuals you have to play around with your brand style and see which one looks best (like test driving a new car) The best place to start is with my Brand Style Quiz. It’s a 2-minute quiz and will give you 10-pages of fonts, colour palettes and resources to get you started. If you’d like to do the deep-diving your self then head over to Pinterest start a board called “my brand style” and get to work on pinning all the colours, fonts, images and inspiration you love… having everything in one place like this will help you clarity around what you naturally gravitate towards and will allow you to step back and see the bigger picture. Whether you take the quiz or jump into Pinterest, you’ll be guaranteed some insights into what your brand style is.
“What would your brand look like if you squinted and took a step back?”
Four | Your Audience
Before you say “Everyone is my audience” I urge you to dig a little deeper and ask yourself who you’d love to work with. Who lights you up and makes you love real estate? Think back to your few clients were their ones you loved to work with and would choose to work with again and again …and again. Maybe some had you scratching your head wondering why you even got into this business, to begin with. I bet if you take 10 minutes jotting down your last 10 clients you’ll be able to categorize them into groups and by doing this you’ll get insight into who your “true” audience is. Because if you centre your messaging around EXACTLY who you’d love to work with over and over again, you have a better chance of attracting those people. Is it young families, Millenials, down-sizers? Is it people in a certain income bracket? Is it single moms or people living in a particular area? When you have a crystal clear idea of who your audience is you get to create visual assets around attracting them.
Five | Brand Voice and Message
Once you know who you want to speak to, you have to figure out how you will be speaking to them and communicating with your marketing. The great news is, once you know your audience, it’s a lot easier to create messaging around what they value. Your message is a culmination of your values, mission and audience. You want to create messaging that centres around these things so you can attract your dream client over and over again. Your brand voice on the other hand is the style in which you’ll communicate. Will you be more playful and laid back, or more professional and informative. A great trick is to pretend you’re sitting across from your dream client in a coffee shop, then whip out the voice memo app on your phone and start talking. When you play it back you’ll get insights into how you like to communicate.
“Your message is a culmination of your values, mission and audience.”
Once you know those five things you can hand these off to your designer giving them a frame of reference on how to design for you and your audience. Answering these questions will give you the insights you need to create a thoughtful and engaging brand that will attract the people that you love working with over and over again.