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Realtor branding/Logos - How is the public responding?

I have read a few articles that talk about the value of Realtors creating a "Brand Name" through the use of Logos and personal Advertising.

In Favor of creating a "Brand Name" is name recognition, creating a household name that people can remember that will help grow a real estate business.  Promoters also say that any good and successful company establishes a "Brand Name" so what is wrong with Realtors doing it as well?

  

 

In opposition to "Branding" are those that say it promotes the Realtor and takes away from what the client really wants and is looking for.  There has been much written about toyota.com and microsoft.com which are two extremely popular sites. If you go to either site there is nothing about the Toyota Chairman or Bill Gates.  It's all about buying a car and technology. Opponents also argue that "who wants to see a Realtor promoting themselves" when we just want to buy a house?  The other argument in opposition states that when this "Branded Realtor" goes to retire and sell his/her business who will want to pay them for buying their name?

Our local business newspaper ran a "man on the street" type article in which individuals could choose if they would work with a large well known bank or a small local bank.  All but one of the 9 people asked said they would want a small local bank that cared aout them instead of the large bank that only cared about their company name and ego.

What is your opinion...Is "Branding" good or bad for the real estate industry? What do you really think the public wants?

 

Native Idahoan and Boise Idaho Real Estate specialist serving Boise, Meridian Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell and the surrounding Treasure valley area of southwest Idaho. Specializing in residential, investment, land and commercial real estate. Search thousands of MLS listings at Boise Homes for sale and learn all about Idaho by visiting Search Idaho Homes

Comment balloon 37 commentsGeorge Tallabas • December 03 2007 12:28PM

Comments

Hi George!  I am still unsure as I have never had a logo...a slogan or anything else related to ME. I suppose I have a hard time just thinking about promoting the ego thing. Thanks...now I can keep thinking
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 11 years ago
Sally - Thank you very much.  It is a very interesting topic.  Good luck to you.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago
Branding your niche is the idea I am trying to work with. Getting people to remember me because of the promotion. Thanks for the thought.
Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 11 years ago
Terry - Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago
I have had more than one seller make fun of a business card left in their home with an odd logo and picture.  I personally could kill the first agent who put their photo on their card.  I would bet that no CEO or executive in a fortune 500 company has a photo on their buisiness card.  I think it makes our profession look self centered and cheap.  My next set of cards won't have my picture on them.  JMO
Posted by Carol Spengel, Wheaton IL (Prudential Rubloff ) over 11 years ago

George,

I'm trying to find a happy medium between the two. When I first entered this profession it was swinging in favor of personal promotion. So I got on that band wagon, had a logo made and got great feedback. I used it on everything, signs, cards, letterhead and of course all advertising pieces. But when the internet really began to come on strong, I assumed that a domain name and site that wasn't just about me would be the better way to go. Now I'm blending the two because I am working towards establishing a business which could be sold down the road.

Maple Valley RealtorGood post, I'm interested to see what others' experiences have been.

 

Enjoy the Ride!

www.ColleenFish.com   www.MapleValleyRealEstate.com

 

Posted by Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop, A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990! (RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker) over 11 years ago

Sherry - Thanks for sharing!

Colleen - Very interesting.  We shall see what everyone else thinks.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

Definitely a 'double edged sword' but one that could be, with careful manipulation, a complementary relationship.  Branding is not necessarily vanity.  What it does is provide a mind trigger for recall of certain information.

If you were remembered because you had one blue eye and one brown eye would that be branding?  No.  It would be a remarkable feature.  I'm thinking that that is all a brand is - a remarkable feature. 

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) over 11 years ago
Carol - So very true my friend...thank you.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago
I think that our business is unlike any other, certainly unlike Toyota or Microsoft. We are selling ourselves and our service. I think that branding is valuable in the sense that the service you provide and your reputation is your brand, more than your picture or logo. I will probably sell a client list and/or make money off referrals...I guess we all need to think about our exit strategy, don't we? Me, I'm still in my entrance strategy...I have a long way to go! :)
Posted by Kelly Sibilsky (Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD.) over 11 years ago

I was at a seminar somewhere that the speaker said tha when searching for a web site for information on Real Estate, Searching for a home, or asking for a CMA, most people will leave a web site that has the REALTOR's picture on it and go to the next one. 

Posted by Barbara Stafford (Main Street REALTORS) over 11 years ago

Kelly - Nice point you make my friend.  I hope you are well.

Barabara - Very, very interesting.  Thanks so much for your input and have a great evening.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

I have a card with my picture on it, I also have a famous Nashville building and skyline on it. I have a slogan and I market my self to a specific area and clientele. I have switched more to the what I can do for you versus the what have I done in general. It seems to me that every time I turn around the "game" is changing. Well, OK I am up for that. I can keep up and change if it really makes a difference in my business. What I know, myself, is that my reputation with actual clients is what gets me the $$. I have almost 90% referral business and it is always because a former client speaks so highly of me and my skills. Sometimes that is only about how prompt I was or patient or something small. It truly seems to have most to do with my interactions with people(other agents, Title, Inspectors, Lenders too), Integrity is my selling point and the public, who is afraid of "used car salesman" tactics, appreciates an informed, honest no punches pulled agent. Just my measly 2 cents worth.

 

Posted by Vanessa Stalets, REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate (RE/MAX Elite) over 11 years ago
Vanessa - Thanks for sharing your 2 cents! and happy selling to you!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

George...Kelly pretty much covered what I thought as I read your post.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending how you feel, we are "selling" ourselves.  People are not buying the chairman of Toyota or Bill Gates but rather the products they produce.  That is the big difference. 

How we go about marketing ourselves depends on what we are comfortable doing.  I do not mind having my photo on my card.  I have a feeling that many people are like me, more visual.  I wish I had a photo of every one in my database.  It would sure help me sometimes.

I'll be interested in seeing how others respond.

Thanks,

Kathleen

Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 11 years ago
Kathleen - Thank you for sharing.  Did you read Barbara's comment?  I found it very interesting.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

George...I went back to Barbara's comment.  Wish we knew who said that and what it was based on.  I'm a little skeptical but who knows??? 

Perhaps real folk think differently than I do.  When I'm looking to refer to an area where I don't know an agent I look for one where I can find out as much as possible about the agent and I'm sure I take into consideration whether there's a photo of them also.  It just seems to tell me they have gone the extra step to promote themselves.

What if I've been wrong all along?  Do I surrender my picture?  Do I become a balloon head on the RE/MAX roster?  What to do, what to do? 

Kathleen

Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 11 years ago

To me,I think branding is good for the business. A brand of course is a trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer. Branding to me can be a way of using a slogan or logo to establish yourself as a realtor/business and separating yourself from everybody else. How are you going to stand out if you are doing the same thing just about everybody else is doing? But just remember to gear your business towards everybody and not ignore certain people just because of income,status or any other reason. But a lot of companies don't do that and it is not good at all. Ignorant people shouldn't ignore low class/low income people. Why? Low income people today are poised to make $150,000 + in salary in the next five years or so maybe sooner - nobody knows. Whoever thought Sergey Brin and Larry Page ( GOOGLE GUYS ) would be worth like close to or more than a $20 billion a piece in like five years. Are you kidding me? Google is worth like close to a trillion now. Great post.

Posted by Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan, I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES (Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC) over 11 years ago

I agree with many of the thoughts shared and I think it comes down to how we go about  branding ourselves.  Some prefer the gimmicky type and others prefer more traditional branding.  Each attracts a different client, I guess it really boils down to how much this really plays into it all.  

If a client interviews two agents, will the branding matter?  Or will the strength of the agent's presentation and knowledge win the business?  

I think branding is good but should not be overplayed. 

Posted by Ana Connell, Burbank Real Estate Agent (G & C Properties) over 11 years ago

I get name recognition and with my photo attached, I get recognized in public.

Works for me.

But I try to associate myself with my services, more than promote my handsome mug AS the service.

And I will be adding multiple domain names focusing on real estate, with my name included.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 11 years ago
Hi George...we are actually encouraged as agents to "brand" ourselves, rather than the company (Exit Real Estate).  I was quite surprised to hear this coming from my broker, having been in another office that was all about their name.  I think in reality most people will remember a company name or logo but I'm hoping that when they do think of Exit they think of me!  Good topic.
Posted by Joddie Roberts, Your Spokane Realtor - Spokane, WA (Mountain Real Estate and Property Management) over 11 years ago

Branding is good for any business!  The purpose is to leave an "image" or "connection" to your business that people will remember. 

One night several years ago as I had one of those "restless can't get to sleep nights", my mind kept going over umpteen million things.  It was then that a logo and tagline came to me for my business.  I was so excited about it, drew a quick picture of what I wanted and showed it to a graphic artist who produced the logo.  It has proven to bring in repeat business alot, and even new business if the person has SEEN it enough times to remember it.

I am a Mobile Notary, and my logo appears below along with my tagline.  I also have a red feather pen (ballpoint) that I'll use on occasion, just for fun and conversation. 

Barbara Linker

      

       "Your San Diego Notary Link"®

 

Posted by Barbara Linker (Linker Loan Signings) over 11 years ago
Thanks everyone for responding and sharing your opinions. I really appreciate and I wish you all well.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago
Barbabra, I love the pen. I have a purple feather pen I use for signing contracts. Sill huh? Clients love it though!
Posted by Vanessa Stalets, REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate (RE/MAX Elite) over 11 years ago

Hi George..You opened Pandora's Box. it's not a simple answer because we are in the service business, people relate to our service,

 Hence building relationships, a Faceless brand name may give service too, but people still like to say call my Realtor...George. When selling your business time comes around, maybe we should look at a different business model, Take Russell Shaw as an example, he says he has not personally met with a client in years, his team does. This business model could be left in place with the right people in charge, and you could see a endless income well into retirement...now that would also be a valuable business to sell.  Therefore if it's Branding in your personal Name,or a business Brand,like the Russell Shaw Group. It's still how you relate to people in building good relationships. Personal promotion can still work if you're not just talking about yourself, but what's in it for your client.

Cheers, George let me know when you have the answer!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Fred - Thanks for stopping by. I love all the feedback this post has received. Take good care.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

George,

I am one of the few agents that don't post my photo everywhere.  While I probably will put it on AR at some point.  I think that many agents do the glamour shots thing, and then it is weird when you meet them.  I don't have photos on my web site or business cards. I just don't think it is professional.

 Yes we are a service industry, but so are doctors, CPA's, attorneys.  Most MD's promote the group practice in advertising, but people still refer to the individual doctors within a practice. I think real estate agents should strive to create a similar model.  Yes, we are selling our professional services, but if the agents within a group do it right, they are branding the company model at the same time.  There are clinics in town where you can go to see anyone there if your MD can't see you, and you get good care.  Others, you really want to see that one specific doctor.

It really is up to the principal brokers to ensure they have quality people representing their brand name, as what those individual agents do in branding themselves reflects on the company.  I think that most consumers want to look at a website and see if it is a quality company with quality services.  I really don't want to read the sales pitch on some agents web sites.  It's not a practical use of my time as a consumer.

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) over 11 years ago

Hi again George.. I just read Lois Gellers blog post called You are your own special brand, she has some suggestions and ideas for Branding for Realtors.

 Cheers, have a great day!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) over 11 years ago

I like this discussion. I jst did a program at Coldwell Banker and a similar discussion took place, when my slide went up about the power of Brand.

When clients come to our agency to tak about their brand, we always begin by asking them about the essence of their company and what they are willing to do to get and keep customers. They usually bring a huge style manual and put it on our conference tale.

     It is a looseleaf binder with their stationery and advertising campaigns. They rarely talk about their customers and how their customers perceive them, and how they work to communicate their image and personality to their target market.

   We look at the competition. How do they sell real estate? Do they deliver a service that is different than yours? Why would people prefer their company to yours? Are their customers more loyal and give them more referrals?

    Then we look at Positioning. Carefully define your target market and then think about "where you are" compared to your competitors. The way you positio your company is the way your prospects remember what is unique about you. So you can draw up a map (positioning map). Vertical line is high cost and low cost, and then cross that line conservative and trendy on the other end. Put your group, yourself in the area on the map where you belong and add your competitors.

  It begins to give you a unique picture of your real estate service relative to your competitors.

Once you can visualize your positioning you can better see whether your area is crowded and may have an opportunity to find a need in the marketplace that you are uniquely able to fill. 

Then we do a SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses opporutnities and threats...but probably I'm giving you more information than you want.

 Let's face it, competition is fierce in real estate. To survive and thrive to need to make yourself exceptional in the eyes of your customers. Think about how you can do that. Begin with your website, and try it yourself...is it easy to find properties, are you giving them value in free information?

   Begin there before you try to invent the next Google brand in real estate. Then look at my book in the library, Sold! Direct Marketing for the Real Estate Pros...and get more ideas. And begin to provide service unique in your area..."every call, every email, is responded to in 5 minutes, no more. That's a unique selling proposition.  Then deliver on that brand promise. Good Luck!

Posted by Lois K. Geller over 11 years ago

Fred - Thanks again

Lois - Thanks for your insightful and well thought out comment

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

George,

That my friend is the majic question. Which do people want. Small company versus large. I suspect that the only way to determine the true outcome of that question would be to surrvey the clients over a broad spectrum. I will not debate the merits of either one but will ask this question. How many of us have been frustrated when calling that small independant office only to get a voice mail and a follow up call back some 3-5 days later? Of course their are good agents and bad agents everywhere. Calling a large company does not gurantee that the agent you are looking for will call you back either, but at least there was someone there to answer the phone so you know the message was recieved.

Posted by Herb Hamilton, Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland (RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors) over 11 years ago

Herb - Thank you very much my friend.  Great comment.  I hope you are doing well.

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago
Nice post!  It is true that Realtors try to brand themselves instead of branding how and what they do that makes them special.
Posted by David Slavin, CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier (Keller Williams Premier) over 11 years ago
David - Thank you and I appreciate your comment
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) over 11 years ago

Geroge, We have always had a logo and a slogan.  It goes on everything!!  We even have it on a rece car we sponsor and let me tell you we have received a lot of business from it.  we are one of the few in our area who use them and I think when people see it they remember it.

We Do The Work...So You Don't Have To!

Posted by The All Pro Team (EXIT Realty Leaders) over 11 years ago

Hey George, great question!  I think our market has shifted over the past few years & the public wants information and results. I don't think they care as much about WHO provides it.  Print advertising has obviously lost ground & I think that is where the self promotion / branding came into play.

Now that the internet is far outstanding, the public is looking for data.  For me, I think it has become more important to "brand" the web site and continue to keep in touch with my past clients by means of name recognition.

Thanks for the awesome job you do in selling Idaho Real Estate!

Don

www.sellidaho.com

Posted by Don Wixom, "Looking out for your next move..."tm (RE/MAX Advantage Nampa, ID) over 11 years ago

George,

 This is a good question and one I pondered in the past year.  In my almost 20 years in corporate America my job was to build, grow and protect several large brands.  So, when I got into this crazy business I thought long and hard about branding and what I would do as an exit strategy. 

 Rather than brand my name I selected TEAM 1 ONE with my name as a minor part of the brand.  During the next year I will phase out my name and then I will have a good brand and a book of business that can be passed on or sold to another agent at some point in the future.  Attorney's, dentists and CPA's do the same thing all the time.  I will have a database of at least 10,000 met's by the time I would consider doing something with the book of business.

Branding is critical but be careful that you don't become the brand or it will be very difficult to pass it on to another person.  If your exit strategy doesn't matter then brand your name strongly and don't worry about the future.

Posted by Tim Rogers (Coaches Corner Radio...The Real Estate Guy) over 11 years ago

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