Brand management is Job One

Take a look at this postcard I got in the mail today:


Better Internet than I already have. Plus cable. For less money. What a rock-solid offer! Great call to action!

But I’d never take them up on it. Ever. Because it’s Comcast, a brand freighted with all kinds of negative associations in my mind. I know I’m not alone. The offer is killer. The brand … well, not so much.

Now take a look at this image I snapped in my neighborhood:


There are brand problems here too. First of all, someone is trying to sell me on handling the biggest financial transaction of my life, one charged with emotion, from a bus bench. Second, there are actually a number of competing brands here. On top of all this, the offer itself — while seemingly as compelling as Comcast’s — is as sketchy as a three dollar bill. The fine print on this ad reads, “Seller and Dave and Carla must agree on a price and completion dates.” which of course qualifies the offer into utter meaninglessness.

The takeaways:

Many real estate brokers consider brand management an afterthought, a frivolous exercise compared to the real business of recruiting. That makes no sense. A trusted, healthy brand is a pre-condition for everything else you do. If you manage every touch point with vigilance, if you define your brand promise and uphold it unerringly, everything — marketing, sales, recruiting, retaining — becomes easier. If you fail on the promise more often than not, or fail to maintain fidelity to the brand in every context, everything — even pitching a no-brainer like Comcast is — becomes a challenge.

Even more fundamentally, make sure any offer you put into the marketplace stands up to the scrutiny of today’s consumer, who is more skeptical, more informed, and less susceptible to marketing gambits than ever before. I am sure the bus bench ad above generates some business. But it’s certainly not a way to build long-term trust, value and brand equity.

Your brand is everything. Obsess on it.

Brian Boero