"Strategic Branding" is defined, in my opinion, as the 'building of a culture'. How do we build a culture?
By responding to the following statement: "People like us stand for...".
You see, the direct marketer is focused on metrics. It's all about data. Most of the focus is on selling products and services to the masses - they look for the largest audience because they figure it shows the most promise.
"A certain percentage of this audience will buy, then we can recoup the cost of the ad. When we have a positive return, we scale!"
Branding goes beyond that. It's about the feelings created within a select audience. It's the impression we leave them with - the impression that encourages them to share our products and services with their friends, family, and associations.
If the statement goes: "People like us stand for...", we need to identify what that is.
I, as a real estate agent, stand for transparency and integrity.
ChoosING a specific audience:
As a real estate agent, the first question I'd ask myself is: "who has the biggest, most expensive problem?". What I'm asking is: "who is in the most need of an honest real estate agent with integrity at the moment?".
My job is to get the best possible home, for the best possible price, and assuring it fits a buyer's 'wants & needs'. My job is to negotiate. My job is to know what works and what doesn't. My job is to know the ins and outs of homeownership. This is for a younger couple, professionals, first-time homebuyers, who work long hours and have no idea of the home buying process.
The change we seek to make:
The reason we're real estate agents in the first place is to help people find their very own place to call home. We understand that homeownership is one of the biggest investments a person can make during their lifetime. And we also understand how important it can be to 'setting the stage' for the rest of one's life. We're trying to empower people. Trying to give them a sense of power, strength, and freedom. We want people to feel more in control of their lives, and less overwhelmed by the pressure of such a monumental moment.
OUR audience's worldview:
The young couple dreams of starting a family and having a beautiful, safe neighborhood in which their kids can grow up. They dream of building their perfect image of a house, exactly the way that represents them best. They dream of teaching their children the importance of family, education, and hard work.
They want to find the perfect, quaint house, full of potential, in a safe, quiet part of town. They want someone to help them find their dream home without giving them the runaround.
They want someone who understands them and works FOR them - someone they can trust to be, almost like, an extension of them.
They want an agent who will be fair, honest, and transparent with them.
They believe in karma. In treating people the way they'd like to be treated. They believe in hard work, dedication, and perseverance. They believe friends and family are an essential and important part of life. They believe people are genuinely good in nature.
Now that we've painted a good picture of WHO we seek to serve and their worldviews, we'll need to figure out what kind of problem(s) they're having and offer a solution.
In this example, the young couple is looking to relocate to a different town for work. Because their lives are busy enough as it is, visiting homes in person is quite challenging. But they understand that pictures don't always tell the whole story.
One solution could be achieved by using video to "tour" the homes for our couple, and have them watch short but revealing videos in their free time.
Whereas videos tours are not new, what I'm suggesting here is to create interactive videos so the couple may choose which areas of the house they'd like to see, in the order they choose.
A video that would be based on the "choose your own adventure" concept.
A video with clickable buttons embedded inside of it, allowing them to visit a property as if they were there in person.
This unique, interactive video would have a few great benefits:
it would put our young couple in control of their search, which would speak to their sense of freedom
it would avoid them wasting time, being shown homes or areas of a house they feel isn't important to them
it would perhaps give them more faith in, and appreciation for their agent - a feeling as though he's genuinely serving them
To take it one step further, upon purchase of the perfect home, as the agent, I'd offer the new homeowners a list of recommended services such as decorators, contractors, and lawn care companies.
The 'network effect' is created when our young couple tells friends and family the great news - they're looking at great homes for sale. Since this is a rather important milestone in anyone's life, it's sure to be talked about.
While I'm not a real estate agent, I'm only assuming all the above is possible.
Also, this is one of many possibilities.
If this is something you might be interested in implementing, simply leave a comment below or contact me.