The Importance of Branding

The Importance of Branding

By

Shawn Sturges

Infinity Property Ventures, LLC

One area that a company should focus on is branding or “the image” of the company.  The brand is the promise to customers along with being what separates a company from its competitors.  The brand should be established from day one which will immediately begin to build brand recognition with potential customers. The brand of a company is important no matter what industry business is conducted or if the product or services is for the end user or another business.

realestatebranding

One way to begin to develop your company brand is by identifying the customers that will ultimately purchase products or services from your company.  Since we focus on real estate we can first examine if our target market is residential or commercial which in part is determined by the mission statement.  This will then allow us to understand how we need to establish the brand to not only separate us from the competition, but build awareness in the mind of future clients.  The brand should also be uniform across all advertising, social media platforms, the way our employees speak with clients and conduct themselves throughout work functions, etc. because this uniformity will convey the same message no matter when or where your company meets the client.

The foundation of any brand is the logo since this is often the first interaction that a client will have with the company.  The company logo will appear on the website, social media platforms, packaging, marketing materials, uniforms, and any other applicable applications that the logo may be part of while creating the company image.  Colors are very important since various colors invoke different emotions which can affect the way that a client can view the company.  This means perform research on the meanings of colors and understand how they might be perceived by others.

A great brand strategy is created when the how, what, where, when, and to whom you plan on communicating with your brand’s message.  In real estate this can be:

  • How will we reach our target market/ clients to showcase properties?
  • What can we do to separate ourselves from the competition and build awareness in potential client’s minds?
  • Where should we advertise and market in order to reach our desired clientele?
  • To whom is our message intended for so our brand will have an increased ability to attract our target market?

These are just a few questions that can be asked in order to help develop a brand strategy that will effectively communicate to the clientele that we want to conduct business.

The ability to be consistent and provide added value through your company brand can do wonders in providing leverage over the competition.  These two factors will not only keep clients from being confused about who you are, but eventually could allow your company to position itself to capture a large chunk of the market.  This could also lead to attracting investors that wish to enter the real estate business to invest in the growth of your company.  Also, those clients that are in the process of looking for help with the selling of their property could partner with your company since a positive brand image of your company could mean a quicker sale with higher dollar amount received by the sale of the property.

Finally, spend the necessary time researching the market and customers of the sector that your company plans to enter.  This is where it is important to know what the client needs or wants and not what you think they need or want.  As a company you cannot be everything to everyone which is why it is important to research the sector in which you will conduct business in order to know what best practices to gain market share.  The other important research that should be done is on the competitors in the market.  Spend time understanding what makes the great companies successful along with what makes the not so successful companies less successful. Then find a way to disrupt the market through branding which will help you successfully enter the market along with gaining a great starting percentage of the market.

The brand is the visual representation of the company and is what helps to set one company apart from another.  All suggestions mentioned here are quite important but are by no means encompassing everything that should be done in order to establish a brand.  The building of a brand is not an overnight venture, but rather takes years to establish.  Take some of these suggestions and implement them into your branding strategy and the company will be off to a great start with the beginnings of a strong foundation.

 

 

 

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The Customer Experience in Real Estate

The Customer Experience in Real Estate

By

Shawn Sturges

Infinity Property Ventures, LLC

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We all know that the life blood of most companies is the customers that conduct business with us.  One of the most important aspects therefore should be in the customer experience during all points of contact throughout the dealings with that particular customer.  Each company has their own ways in creating the customer experience. Real estate companies are not much different in that mindset when compared to retail establishments.  The customer experience should always be conducted in a similar manner no matter if the client is a onetime buyer, or returns due to superior customer experience.

According to Fast Company there are six parts that tend to make up the customer experience which are: strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.  If these six areas are observed along with the company being able to satisfy the wants and needs of the client then loyalty by the client should ensue.

Strategy

Strategy is important because this will help define how the customer experience will eventually be established.  If a strategy is not clearly stated then we will be unclear of how to go about creating an experience that will in turn lead to customer loyalty.  In real estate the end goal is to connect our client with a property that they absolutely love, so one strategy could be to help develop a vision of the property’s potential that the client could envision then provide opportunities that will help them make that a reality.  Although simplistic, this strategy provides a clear cut method to help move properties to those looking for investments.  Since real estate tends to be a combination of service and offering products, creating a strategy the blends these two areas can help create a great customer experience from the first interaction with the client.

Customer Understanding

The ability to understand the potential customer base for the particular properties within the company portfolio is also quite crucial.  We all know from personal experience that attempting to meet all needs of all clients could lead to disaster.  Start by determining what client base you wish to serve, and take the necessary time to understand their wants and needs for particular property investments.  For example, if the mission of your company is to connect the baby boomer generation with their perfect retirement home then perhaps showing them two story extravagant homes might not be ideal for their needs.  If time is taken to truly understand the client then this will further strengthen the customer experience since property showings will be in the realm of satisfaction.

Design

Design can help increase customer experience if done in tandem with the strategy and customer understanding.  Let’s take our two prior examples of baby boomers as our client and the strategy of creating a vision of what the home could become.  A small to moderate sized property that may have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, living room, porch/patio, and yard could be the perfect retirement home for the client.  The strategy of helping them envision the potential property could be done by an initial walkthrough of the property, and then stage the property to meet their needs.  Take some time first to speak with the client and learn more about their personality, hobbies, likes/ dislikes, etc. then stage the property to reflect their characteristics.  This type of approach will help us to create a design that takes into account the first two areas of the customer experience.

 Measurement

Metrics to a company is like a friend that gives it to you straight.  In order for a company to understand how the customer experience is, they must develop a way of measuring the experience.  These measurements will help determine what areas need to be adjusted in order to improve future customer experiences.  One way of obtaining measurements is to never lose contact with past clients.  The past clients can help provide the necessary data that will be needed, and sometimes data collected over years can provide a much clearer picture.  Real estate properties are often large investments and initial post purchase data might not always provide enough information for improvement; whereas collecting data from clients from five years ago will be more helpful.  If those past clients are still happy with their dream property and continue to thank your company for all of your tremendous help then the customer experience was met.  Measurements can also help to determine what is not working in order for the problem to be identified then worked on to improve the lackluster areas.

Governance

Governance is important in order for what actions and processes will need to be taken in order to create a great customer experience.  One great company action that is almost always performed is training. Training helps employees better understand the culture, operations, and goals of the company.  This simple yet necessary action is needed to align all employees within a company on how to create the experience for the client.  The process that the company utilizes each time should be on a similar track, but allow the flexibility to tailor to the needs of the client when necessary.  These actions should directly reflect the strategy since that is one way that any actions along with process can be developed.

Culture

Every company has a corporate culture which helps define what they are all about.  An example of a corporate culture for a real estate company could be to create a superior customer experience since their main lifeblood is clients purchasing properties from their portfolio.  This would help all employees understand what the culture is along with helping them meet the needs and wants of their clients.  The strategy should also align with the culture so that employees believe in their goal to create the experience that will establish a lifelong loyalty by the client.

Conclusion

The customer experience is an important part of the company to retain clients.  The experience should continue to occur throughout the entire interaction between company and client.  The ability to create a superior customer experience could be what separates your company from the others, and if done in such a way could actually disrupt the market which could really help you surpass the competition.  Real estate companies should understand each potential client’s wants and needs in order to create a strategy that will enthrall the customer. This will not only solidify their experience, but which could turn into referrals by that satisfied client.  The customer experience should become a core competency of the company and if taken into the company’s vision for success could lead to a sustained client base far into the future.

 

 

Retirees in the Market for Real Estate

Retirees in the Market for Real Estate

By Shawn Sturges

Infinity Property Ventures, LLC

The “Golden Years” are a time that most people look forward to as a time to relax and enjoy retirement.  Retirement usually occurs at age 65, but we now see the retirement age being pushed back and even retirees returning to the job market.  Real estate companies can capitalize on this market segment especially since most fall into the baby boomer generation and many have the means to purchase property.

One area that can be capitalized on is the fact that most retirees look to downsize from their current homes.  Their kids no longer live with them and may only have their grandchildren for short periods of time throughout the year. Therefore, the need for large amounts of space is no longer required.  Real Estate companies can be the solution in order to help these buyers find the perfect home in which to enjoy their “Golden Years”.  This could provide the perfect opportunity for smaller properties to be added to the company portfolio so when retirees make the approach a listing of attractive properties can be showcased.

Another aspect that should be considered is the fact that as we get older more areas of life can become increasingly difficult.  An example of this is the classic beautiful two story house in the suburbs that was purchased in order to raise a family.  After the children have grown up and moved out the size of the house does not diminish and that second level may become a pesky area of the home.  The human body tends to decline in health for a majority of the population as age increases, so this can make traversing large amounts of space or going up and down stairs an overwhelmingly difficult task.  This means that properties with only one level would inherently become much more desirable to the retiree population.

We understand that this segment is an attractive addition to the growth of the real estate company, but how can we effectively target the segment?  Social media should not be ruled out completely.  Although some social platforms may not be appropriate to gain the attention from this population Facebook is probably the one social platform that should be utilized.  Over the years Facebook has broadened its reach which eventually attracted many different groups of people.  Moms and dads have profiles so do grandparents mainly to keep in touch with old friends from school along with family members that may live in various parts of the country or world.  This means with the day no longer taken up by hours spent at work that leaves more time for retirees to spend on Facebook.  Now, they will not spend all day everyday on this social tool, but this means that the investment into FB ads could be used to target this segment while they are signed into their account.  As this population also becomes interested in learning how to use other social tools then it may be possible to target them on those platforms as well.

Real Estate companies could also establish small informational presentations to share their expertise with this segment.  One presentation could be on the highlights of several properties within the portfolio that shows the reasons why downsizing may be beneficial.  Another presentation could then be on wise real estate investments of a portion of their nest egg in similar properties which could in turn grow their nest egg.  This is where companies can be creative in targeting a segment that would provide options that would help them enjoy their “Golden Years” instead of having to reenter the job market due to financial needs.

In short, use the growing number of retirees as a competitive advantage and capitalize on the opportunity.  A Real Estate company that is considering the inclusion of this market segment into their long-term growth should spend time analyzing the needs along with wants of this segment.  The real estate company may be looking to disrupt the market with their utilization of social platforms and techniques to set them apart, but do not overlook an area that can generate revenue while helping a large amount of the population enjoy their “Golden Years”.