Branding is not about:
Fees and pricing
What your product is and how it works
Canned, automated words
Stats, numbers, charts and reach
The rat tat tat of emails, newsletters, tips and tricks
These are things organizations do in lieu of branding.
The biggest brand marketing mistakes
Every day, agents battle each other with similar weapons. The same “Just Listed” cards, the same commissions, the same flyers, property alerts, newsletters and listing presentations.
Every day, brokers blur the lines of distinction between themselves and competitors by using similar website layouts, a similar emphasis on search, similar corporate collateral, similar stock photos, similar pie charts and bar graphs and similar words that position them as the “#1 market leader…” in reach, traffic, etc.
Every day, tech vendors use features, facts, figures, data and coma-inducing tech jargon their target customers don’t understand. We offer an all-in-one plugin integrated with a high-powered CRM solution that combines ease of use with powerful functionality and secure data backup that is highly efficient and effective.
Every day, coaches, trainers and gurus sell similar books, DVDs and get-rich systems through similar websites, seminars and events. Each makes the same promises.
When you brand around the things you share with all your competitors – your products, prices and promises – you end up lumped together. Indistinguishable.
This is pandemic in real estate. Sure, it lands customers and closes deals.
But it doesn’t build your brand.
The greatest truth in branding
The world is a complicated, noisy place. To be heard, understood, loved and remembered, brands must be clear on what they want the world to know about them.
That’s the function of branding.
It’s what Grey Poupon did when they branded around their belief that any meal can be transformed into an elegant, gourmet experience. (Watch this original spot.) This approach distanced them from the competition in the condiment category without ever mentioning anything about the product.
No features. No price. No reasons why they are better. Grey Poupon instead focused on the one unique aspect they owned – something every brand should possess – their point of view. This alone created a lasting impression.
The milk industry suffered a rapid decline in sales during the ‘70s and ‘80s despite their attempts to market around the health benefits of milk. Then the Got Milk? campaign aired and completely reshaped our perceptions of the product. They shared a unique point of view – the need to quench thirst – and in doing so focused on the absence of their product.
These points of view are the stories people remember.
These are the things that shape impressions and behavior.
Values. Purpose. Beliefs.
The bookshelves in our office house expired brand collateral once used by our clients. All contain information, facts and images designed to compel customers, market their value and brand them.
All show the endless effort and expense in the pursuit to sell goods and services. Each in its own way is missing the one component that would tie it all together – a unique worldview that shapes the reasons why the things they offer should matter to people.
It’s the one thing that draws people in and shapes their impressions.
It’s been 20 years since Apple’s Think Different campaign. This simple tagline summed up their entire belief system and ignited a world of customers. It also made the many who didn’t use their products feel left out.
Today, that narrative prevails despite the utter ubiquity of Apple’s product line. In fact, the company has become the very thing it rallied against – the status quo. Yet, due to the strength of their branding, Apple users don’t recognize that.
In the absence of branding, all you’re left with is marketing the same things your competitors have. When you do that, you will always be perceived as just like them. When you successfully create a brand, you will stand out. You will lead. You will develop fans. You will create clarity for your customers and help them understand and feel great about their place in the world.
When that happens, your customers will never let go.