As an agent, your brand is everything to your business.
That’s because it’s how you stand out from the crowd, as well as your competition. It’s how you present yourself to the world, and how you market your various services, listings, and more to the general public.
Agents often come to our team and let us know that they don’t need branding because they already have a logo.
That’s fair. When most agents think of their brand, they obviously only think about their logo. But we often tell agents is that your brand is so much more than your logo.
Sure, it’s one piece of the puzzle, but the bigger picture of your brand goes way beyond your logo. In fact, your brand is more of a rulebook, a set of standards, and reveals itself in what call “brand guidelines.”
So, let’s dive into today why you don’t need a logo — you need brand guidelines.
What Is Your Brand Exactly?
If I was going to put it as simply as possible, your brand is best understood as your standard of service.
Your brand is not only the feeling someone gets when they see your logo, but when they see your face, your marketing materials, or even when they meet you in person or speak to you over the phone.
The core tenet of your brand is you or your team. The way you present yourself to the world, and the way you run your business is your brand. It’s how people view you, and how you present yourself to them.
In that sense, your logo is just one articulation of that. While it might be one of the most important, it’s not the key determinant, and it needs context and “rules” to succeed beyond that.
The Rules Behind Your Brand
Whenever we approach branding projects, we always create brand guidelines.
Basically, these are the stylistic rules around your brand. It encompasses things like your:
- Primary Logo
- Secondary Logo
All of these things not only help create clarity around your brand, but it serves as optimal guidance for any future marketing that you make.
More than that, though, your brand guidelines create a level of consistency, quality, and respect around your brand. It’s almost like you’re determining the way your brand should be treated so that it always looks its best.
That’s not only important from an internal perspective but when you are agreeing to have marketing done by a third party. Whether it’s your website, your social media, or a listing presentation or print materials.
Brand guidelines work because they set a standard (the style) while formulating a concept (the logo). It helps add focus to the process, and it ties things up in a nice package for anyone and everyone down the road.
Even if a client never sees your brand guidelines, which they shouldn’t, the impact of having them has far-reaching consequences for pretty much every piece of marketing your craft (including your website).
Your Brand Goes Beyond Your Logo
At the same time, properly formatted brand guidelines may also include additions that help add more and more around your “brand story.” These might include:
- Various Applications – Examples of your brand “out in the wild” (on postcards, billboards, etc.)
- Tone Of Voice – Like a “Brand Promise” or certain words that you wish to own throughout your marketing
- Imagery Selection – The kinds of images that speak to your brand and your messaging moving forward.
While all of these things may fall outside of the scope of traditional brand guidelines, they can help add more and more context to what your brand is trying to do.
Especially for real estate agents who want to specialize in something, like helping first-time homebuyers or downsizers, things like these can add more clarity to the process and the vision for the business.
What If I Already Have A Logo?
Sometimes, when we begin a digital strategy project, agents already come to us with a completed logo.
That’s totally fine. We understand that agents have invested a lot of time, and a lot of equity, into their logo. And, in most cases, they really like what they have and don’t want to change it.
But, whenever that happens, we often highly recommend building brand guidelines around that logo. Not only is this good for our purposes, but it helps build out your brand in the future.
That’s because your logo needs context in order to thrive. It may also need tweaks that help add to it, make it stronger, or make it clearer from a marketing perspective. We can help with all of those things.
Building Out Your Brand
It’s great to have a logo for your brand, but it’s kind of like running before you’ve learned to walk.
Brand guidelines help serve your logo in context and essentially serve as a springboard for all of your future marketing. It helps build a narrative around your brand, from an internal perspective, that creates stronger marketing materials.
After all, after investing all of that time and energy in your business, you don’t want people taking liberties or editorializing what your brand should be or should be doing.
Brand guidelines ensure that there are specific rules put in place to help protect your logo, and your marketing so that you are always showing what you can do for potential clients in a clear, approachable, and friendly way.
With up to date marketing trends relevant to today’s market, our report is a selection of curated content, information, and data that will give you an outline of what’s working right now in real estate marketing.