What’s Meant by ‘Building Your Personal Brand’?

There’s a lot of talk in the real estate business about the need to build your ‘personal brand.’ The definitions can get really confusing. For example, the Real Estate Marketing Blog quotes someone as saying “a brand is a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of the prospect.” We get this same sort of hard-to-understand definition in the writing game too. It is, in my opinion, an over-complicated way of saying you become well known.

You are your own brand

A truth is you are your own brand – in real estate, and freelance writing, and in life. I’m not sure where the idea that as individual real estate agents or other professionals we need a brand in the same way that big corporations name their soaps. I don’t think we do need to worry that much about marketing ourselves with the same effectiveness as this say your favorite soft drink. Sure, there are people who are so famous their name functions like a brand. The name of any president probably qualifies as do some politicians, some journalists, gurus, and others. A question to ask yourself this would you buy real estate for any one of those?

Marketing yourself

Back in the day, before branding became the language of choice, we used to talk about the best ways to market ourselves as real estate agents. I prefer that language to trying to adopt the attitude of an ad agency. But that’s just my opinion. What you want is for people in your service area to think of you when they are thinking about real estate. You want to become well-known as the real estate expert in the neighborhoods you work.

Consistency helps

The reason you recognize a particular shampoo, razor blade, or deodorant is because the company’s marketing those products tend to use the same product name and often the same packaging over and over again. The product becomes familiar because you see it so often on television, billboards, magazines. It only makes sense for you to borrow from this principle and be consistent about how you present yourself, particularly on the web and in any advertising.

Know yourself and your style

The first step to developing this consistency is to understand exactly what you’re offering. If you’re a buyers agent your offering your services to buyers and any listings you take, if you take any, are incidental to your specialty. Similarly if you’re a general agent specializing in a particular neighborhood, that defines the services you provided want to market. In terms of style I’m talking more about an attitude that’s internal rather than any outside appearance. Some people are more formal than others, for example. If your casual you probably dress that way as well as choose marketing materials and ways of talking that reflect your relaxed way of being. Those folks (and the word “folks” tells you on casual side rather than formal) who are more formal tend to dress that way, and talk more formally. Both approaches work. If you watch closely you’ll see that formal people attract clients who tend to be more formal, just as clients who tend to be more casual gravitate towards agents that are more like them. In fact it can help to remember that, as a general rule, we prefer to work with and hang out with people who are more like us than not. Knowing your specialty or specialties in real estate and your own style helps you pick and choose your marketing methods. Be careful not to over think this too much. Following your instincts and tracking your results will teach you what you need to know and help you duplicate success over and over again. Let your own personality and who you are signed through come knowing that that’s your personal brand. If you have any questions about personal branding I’d be happy to answer them here. Just ask in comments.
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