I was in a meeting with marketing staff at a large corporate real estate broker.

We were discussing business cards.

Our particular brand as a real estate team in PA that we are developing is to be known for our results i.e. sale in 59 days at 100% of listing price – based on our skill at research and internet marketing.

Our business cards needed to reflect a solid, professional image to back up the bold guarantees we were making. But, since I try to follow the advice of people hired by Fortune 500 companies, guerilla marketers, and crazy internet marketing types all who stress the importance of taking every opportunity to get people to take a desired action – I said we should put a “call to action” on the front of the card.

Silly me. Thinking that we should use every possible opportunity to get people to our website so we can communicate with them in multiple ways. Well that was a little too outside the box for the conventional thinkers. (I’ve had this problem before with mid-level marketing professionals at corporations who rarely have any unique talent.)

Stupid me. I then said something about how most agents do not communicate how or why they are better, nor brand themselves for any particular niche market and snorted something about how creating a logo that includes themselves sitting on a tractor if they were selling farm land would be better then the generic crap I usually see.

Well, you would have thought I had two heads.

Now, our team is mucking through the same kinds of issues – which really have to do with a sketchy process forced by lack of resources to hire real talent – and I thought tonight of something I’d read with the first design firm I’d ever worked with on a corporate identity project.

MiresBall design is a nationally known firm that does work for top USA companies…Qualcomm, Pebble Beach Tour, Southern Comfort, etc…

They do it right. Big Picture Thinking. Strategy. Story Telling. These inform design.

Anyway, this is what they wrote about a Brand’s “personality” and what jumped out at me in regards to the Real Estate industry.


Amplify the brand’s personality
A positioning statement (by definition, a single, defendable statement that defines your brand relative to the marketplace) is the keystone of the brand, but don’t underestimate the importance of personality.

A well-defined personality helps communicate your company’s distinct and memorable qualities.

If you’re in a particularly crowded or commoditized space, personality plays an even larger role in differentiating the brand. Start by answering the questions: What are the hallmarks of your corporate culture?

What personality traits are common across employees?

What personality traits do target audiences use to describe the brand?

Once you nail down your organization’s key personality traits, develop a strategy to manifest them in marketing communications and during interaction with the brand.

Now that’s all a little too big for most single real estate agent’s business – but the scoffing at the same meeting about agent’s using “cartoon’ish” versions of themselves, a wrapped Hummer, or some other creative branding technique seems pretty narrow minded to me.

And, I don’t mean narrow minded as in an ability to think outside the box. I mean narrow minded in not thinking clearly about what makes real estate agents memorable, definable, and even likable to a niche market – which is important to earning more money, more easily.