Branding

The stairway to real estate brand heaven

Author
Marc Davison
No.
622
Date
08/18/11

Junky Front Lawn

Your website is your digital front lawn. It’s where most people get their first impression of your brokerage.

It’s also their lasting impression.

It’s everything.

But somewhere along the line, the guard dogs you hired to protect your brand lawn have crapped all over it, leaving their messes to dry in the hot digital sun.

Curb appeal is paramount to engagement. Everyone in real estate knows that. This applies to the Web as well.

If your site is littered with bad design, fatuous copy and worthless content it screams: Beware. Don’t trespass. Or worse – that you just don’t care.

These rusted cars, broken appliances and old Huffys don’t inspire interaction. They don’t breed confidence in your marketing prowess. They contradict the claims you make to the world.

Instead, they take the user on a…

Harrowing journey through the center of real estate’s digital hell

When we start working with a brokerage, we run a Google search of homes for sale in their market. We go ten pages deep studying their online competition.

What we find is often frightening.

I compiled this list yesterday after searching for homes in Little Rock, AR:

You be the judge.

Before arriving at sites like this, most users land upon the sites of the big online real estate players. Their lawns are well-manicured. The yards are clean. No empty beer cans, no couches on the front porch.

They set users’ expectations for all the sites that follow.

Your sites.

Harrowing indeed. For consumers, yes, but also for you. Every bad impression is a punch in the gut to your brand. With much of real estate on the ropes, this seems dangerous.

This isn’t unique to Little Rock. It’s everywhere. Just Google any city in America, grab a helmet and dive in.

This is what America sees. A tawdry, downbeat digital presentation from an industry needing love, respect and trust.

You drive the process. You pick your vendors. You approve the color palettes, the stock photos, the words, and the clutter you pile onto your sites.

Stand back and ask the most important question: Is this the very best we can do?

Inspiration

If there is one thing we’ve learned about the Web it’s how freeing it can be for brands willing to go playfully where terrestrial marketing never took them before.

Inspiration is all around us. From Banking to Airtravel, traditional companies are taking giant leaps of faith to present the user with something better. And the results can be gigantic.

Ralph Lauren, the iconic fashion brand, thrived for decades by taking a classic, traditional approach to marketing and branding. But they realized that the fumes of their past wouldn’t fuel their future.

In 2000, Ralph persuaded his son David to join the firm to lead new global digital initiatives. David’s talents didn’t begin and end with a Twitter handle and 10,000 check-ins. A Duke graduate and entrepreneur in his own right, he possessed an accelerated perception of digital marketing. And access to a bank account.

He gambled. But at the core of everything he did was one objective: Delineate Ralph’s vision in a completely new way to a market looking to connect, engage, and interact with brands.

So far, it’s been a success. Ralph Lauren stands out as a leader among its fashion peers. The company’s share price has more than doubled in the past two years.

The stairway to brand heaven

Who at your firm challenges your thinking? Who can execute a visionary plan that will grow your value? Or at the very least, distance you from the scrapple of other brokerages in your market?

Every serious broker in America should present a killer digital experience, built beautiful and built smart. Your future demands it. Your agents require it. Your brand can’t live another ten years without it.

I am forever perplexed by the irony of an industry that thrives on individuality and image yet settles for less then zero when it comes to presenting itself online.

Be inventive. Be original. Clean up the lawn – fast.

It’s the stairway to brand heaven.