Message over medium

It’s getting to be that time of year when our clients wrap up 2015 marketing and gear up budgets and strategies for the new year.

If I had to focus on one thing to start off 2016 I’d take a long, hard look at my brand story.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that a brand story serves as the basis of all cohesive marketing. Marc and I were talking the other day about how when you pick apart great marketing it is a series of well crafted messages that all tie together to help form and reinforce the way people feel about a brand.

I’m not sure how you do that without a compelling brand story to build from. It seems like writing a novel that has no central plot to which characters can be tied. It’s just random.

The second reason is that brand story plays a huge role in recruiting – especially for those brokers interested in attracting more millennial agents.

What you say matters

Some of our clients have already been diving deep into the millennial demographic with us, looking for clues to help them figure out how to market to this group.

It seems we’ve spent a long time as an industry focusing more on the medium for reaching millennials – Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope – But haven’t given as much thought to the words and sentiment we’re broadcasting through these channels.

In 2016, it’s time to focus less on the medium and more on the message. It’s not enough to simply be there. You need to show up with a cohesive and compelling story about who you are, what you represent, and why anyone should care.

One of the most well known real estate brands that has been doing this strategically for several years is Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. Sherry Chris and her team set out to build a lifestyle brand that would appeal to millennials and they’ve done a great job in converting a lot of progressive, younger brokerage companies throughout the U.S.

It’s a lot easier to recruit and retain when agents understand the larger story of your brand. Agents, like people in general, feel good about being part of something. For BH&G, the “Be Better” campaign stems from their brand story around supporting the real estate brokerage of the future.

That’s something everyone can understand and feel good about.

Agents have dozens of brokers to choose from in any given market. The ones I’ve spoken to lately all say similar things: they chose their brokerage because they liked the leadership, the brand’s reputation in their market and the support staff. These are all aspects of culture and story.

Looking ahead

It looks like we’re headed into another strong housing year in 2016. I see this as a big opportunity to stand up and own what’s solely and irrevocably yours: your story.

[Disclosure: 1000WATT has done work for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.]