Marketing

Digging for meaning

Author
Joel Burslem
No.
904
Date
12/03/14

At 1000watt, one of the first things we are often called upon to do by new clients is to help them craft their story.

Being able to answer your why, building a supporting narrative you can weave across channels and speaking the language of real estate with fluency are critically important.

We see all kinds of challenges. It may be that a company’s story is out of date, too arcane or complex, or has simply been lost over the passage of time and the accumulation of brand clutter. It’s our job to sort through all of this.

We start with our discovery process, which usually means asking the right questions and doing a lot of listening. Really, there’s more art than science to this.

We are something like archaeologists in this way. It’s our job to throw on our Stetsons Fedoras, claw through the cobwebs, navigate above and around obstacles and try to find the golden idol that lies at the heart of a company.

More often than not, there’s something there.

  • With Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, it was discovering the deep and mutually felt connection between the company and the communities it serves – an abiding affection that had survived market and brand changes.

But even once you have identified the essence of your story, it isn’t always easy to figure out how to tell it in digital form.

For larger tech companies, real estate brands or brokers, a custom website design is usually the way to go. But for the smaller team or agent – who, let’s face it, likely don’t have the same budget a big brokerage or brand does – the path forward isn’t so clear.

Luckily over the last couple of years, there have emerged a number of new tools that can help agents paint a fuller picture of themselves online without the hassle of trying to manage a WordPress install or custom portfolio.

Story is just one such app, launched this week by Jeff Lobb – a former national trainer with Exit Realty.

Jeff recognized the need for an app that would make it easy for agents to create a beautiful looking digital presence that would help them tell their stories better.

I had a chance to play with it today and I was impressed. Story lets you create a pretty cool single-page website – like the one I made quickly for myself. Their positioning statement, “Digital business cards shaped by your story” neatly sums up what the app does.

I think more and more – especially as property search transitions to mobile platforms – that this is the way for agents to refocus their efforts on branding themselves on the web. It’s finding a better way to tell their story, more fully and more colorfully.

My only suggestion for the Story app is that the content types you can add right now to the page do not include a way to pull in an agent’s current or past listings – or any other business activities for that matter. Today, the app is more focused on aggregating social media streams. I would love to see this evolve into a more professional tool moving forwards.

In any case, it’s still early days. Story is in beta right now, and will cost $6 per month post-launch.

A small price for a big, big part of your path to success.