5 Qualities of Successful Branding
Take It From the Pros
Creating a brand identity is particularly difficult for a service business such as real estate. In Fundamentals of Marketing, authors William Stanton, Michael Etzel, and Bruce Walker suggest the following:
- Include a tangible good as part your brand image (Travelers Insurance Co.'s red umbrella).
- Tie in a slogan with the brand (United’s "Fly the friendly skies").
- Use a distinctive color scheme (Target's red-and-white target; Tide's orange containers).
Branding is what differentiates one real estate firm from another, says Christopher Lee in Transformational Leadership In the New Age of Real Estate(Institute of Real Estate Management, 2012). "Throughout the next decade, brand awareness, brand equity, and brand loyalty will matter." Lee says. Does your brand effectively set you apart from your competition? According to Internet marketing columnist and expert Michael J. Russer, an effective brand is:
- Idiosyncratic. It reflects some aspect of the creator's personality.
- Memorably unique. It’s presented in a way that isn't easily forgotten or copied by others.
- Attractive. It’s pleasing, warm, friendly, reassuring, and fun.
- Congruent with the target market. The look and feel of the branding elements speak to the target audience.
- A logo. A logo is a graphical element that becomes a site's primary identifier. A well-designed logo is unique, memorable, and consistent with other branding elements.
Russer suggests a simple three-step process for finding the brand within you:
- For three minutes, brainstorm all your personal passions and interests. Nothing is too silly, and it doesn’t have to relate to real estate.
- For another three minutes, brainstorm a list of all unique ways your Web site, Twitter handle or Facebook page could appeal to your target market. Idiosyncratic is great, but keep it appropriate for your audience.
- Now, evaluate all the ideas select one that you feel most enthusiastic about. You’ll need a lot of energy to achieve a brand identity, so be sure you are passionate about your choice.
Still unsure about how to create a successful personal brand? Pili Meyer, author of Monday Marketing Tips, encourages practitioners to start by asking themselves these questions:
Tip: "Increase your brand by using one color of ink for all handwritten notes." —Nancy McConaghy of Coldwell Banker, as told to Pili Meyer in Monday Marketing Tips
- Is your service consistent? Meyer encourages the use of checklists to achieve this consistency. For Meyer, service consistency is an integral part of branding.
- What do you want your brand to convey? Whether it's friendliness, great service, or effectiveness, your brand should reflect both your overall business goals and the true you.
- Is every aspect of your business consistent with your brand? Every part of your business, from the design of your office to the feel of your signs, should feed into your brand. Every day, for about a week, review a different aspect of your business to be sure that consistency is built in. If it's not, plan changes to bring your brand identity into focus.
Useful definition: "What is a brand? It is the sum total of your image, activity, and messaging in the marketplace." —Pili Meyer, Monday Marketing Tips