Personal Branding...does it really matter? (TEST INSIDE)

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor

So...there seems to be a lot of discussion here on the Rain about Personal Branding. Is it necessary...or is it not? Is it too "all about me"...or can it really help grow your business?

Well...as the owner of a national real estate marketing firm...my answer is probably obvious.

But I don't want to push my opinions on you. I'd much rather you decide for yourself. So I created a very simple test. Oh, don't worry...it's an easy one...and I'm sure ALL of you will pass with (excuse the phrase) FLYING COLORS!

So here goes. Ready??

That was easy wasn't it? They're all examples of branding. And pretty good ones too, because ALL OF US probably got the answers right!!

If you're not using Personal Branding in your current real estate marketing...you might be making a huge mistake! Use your imagination for a moment. Imagine you're looking at a bulletin board that's filled with 30 business cards from local Realtors. Most are white...with a rectangular photo in the top left. But there's one or two which stand out from the rest. You know...the ones that get noticed first.

It looks something like this:

I know, I know. I've done this a million times before...and I already know your answers.

It's a little too obvious. Your eyes went to the two black ones first. And out of the two black ones, you first looked at the one with the photo on it.

That's normal.

We ALL of look at the one with the photo first. Human beings will look at another human being before they'll look at anything else...even when it's on a simple thing like a business card.



So what?

There's a fun little test I do at the beginning of each of our seminars (it can even be done over the phone). It's a blast....and teaches you why branding is so important. It involves creating a list of ten items. Arbitrary items, numbered 1-10. Number 1 could be a snowball....number 2 a ballpoint pen, number 3 a baseball bat, etc. It really doesn't matter what the items are. I'll ask you to try and remember those items....in order.

Some people will get one or two correct....and in rare instances, I'll find someone who gets 5 or so correct. BUT with everyone, after 30 seconds of teaching you why branding is so important...you'll suddenly know the list forward and backwards. I can give you a number...and you'll tell me what the item it is. I can give you an item...and you'll tell me what number it is.

The funniest part about it (I'm a bit of a smart-aleck when it comes to stuff like this)....is that a year from now...we'll be on the phone discussing your next marketing project...and I'll say "Hey Sally, what's number 7???"...and you'll instinctively know the answer (immediately!!) Probably forever too! From a list you learned a YEAR ago!!

Here are some examples of personal branding:



If you're ready to take your real estate career to the next and more memorable level, give us a call. We can do the 1-10 test (you'll love it, I promise)...and I'll explain why that test means so much to your real estate business.

Remember how I said you'll immediately learn the list forwards and backwards??? Well, I'll show you how to have your prospects learn THEIR real estate list forward and backwards too. In other words, when they THINK ABOUT REAL ESTATE, we'll program them to SEE your image. And when they SEE YOUR IMAGE...we'll teach them to think about real estate.

It's sooooooo simple! And it will absolutely grow your business!

So pour yourself a cup of coffee...and give me a call. I look forward to meeting you!

Dave 

 
Note: The logos shown above are the copyright and property of their respective owners and are used here for example and learning purposes only.

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Show All Comments
Rainer
118,479
Nannette Turner Saunders
Associate Broker Keller Williams Realty - Virginia Beach, VA
Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach

I've been working on branding for myself this year.  Thanks for the reinforcement!

Aug 17, 2008 07:25 AM #6
Ambassador
394,036
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
Realtor - Charlottesville Virginia Homes and Horse Farms

Your marketing examples are quite impressive.  Very classy.  I will remember your company when I am ready to do some marketing.

Aug 17, 2008 07:30 AM #7
Rainer
32,230
Evelyn Panning
Property Connections Realty Inc. - Alturas, CA

When someone sees my real estate sign -- without even reading it they need to know its mine.  When they see a mailer -- without even reading it, they need to know its mine.  Same with my business card, newspaper advertising, website.  It does make a difference -- the one who is recognized and noticed is the one they tend to call first. ~Evelyn

Aug 17, 2008 07:34 AM #8
Ambassador
1,951,927
Steve Hoffacker
Hoffacker Associates LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
New Home Sales Trainer/Coach, Sales Books Author

David,

Whether it's conscious or not, everyone is creating their brand all the time - sometimes positively, sometimes not.

Steve

Aug 17, 2008 08:11 AM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

David - Branding is immensely important.  We no longer use our face photos as our way of branding.  We use a picture that everyone who sees it remembers it.  They remember our business name and feel good when they see it.  I was looking for something to brand for us and found this one by accident (well, testing really).  It works beautifully and I keep expanding it's reach.

Aug 17, 2008 10:21 AM #10
Ambassador
1,903,449
Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale

David- Very nice post David! As usual your visuals are very impressive. Branding is very important and it is all in how and what methods you use to brand with. Different demographics will accept different forms of branding where Realtors are concerned. I think you really need to know your market first.

Aug 17, 2008 12:50 PM #11
Rainer
38,895
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor - Hemet, CA

Russel,

Thank you so much for your wonderful compliments and for adding us to your Personal Referral list! Given what you do for a living, that means a lot to me!

By the way....LOL...why Hemet?? For those who aren't familiar with Southern California, Hemet is halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. It's a small ex-retirement community, which used to boast the highest bank deposits per capita than anywhere else in the country! I moved here 7 years ago when I bought a duplex as an investment. It needed rehab work (I was selling real estate at the time.) I decided I needed a vacation, since I hadn't taken one in over a million years (yes, you read that correctly!). Anyway, I had just closed 9 transactions the month before, and thought.."I'm gonna take 6 months off...fix up my new toy...and then go back to Riverside to continue my real estate career." Well...I never moved back. I love the relaxed pace and the new emerging personality that Hemet offers...and I'm close enough to everywhere to hop in the car and go (and still come back!!!)

Thanks for commenting Russel. I'm quite certain you and I will be speaking in the future!

Martha,

I wish our website was finished! We began a complete overhaul on it about 5 months ago....and haven't had the time to work on it at all. We've simply been too busy! Isn't that what always happens??? The barber needs a haircut, the dentist has a cavity, etc. You can still download a few of our order forms at the site (our Business Card Order Form is the one that includes the Personal Branding information).

PLUS, we're taking 20% off our pricing for all ActiveRain members for the time being, and including a custom blog header along with 5,000 2-sided full-color high-gloss business cards as part of the branding package too!! You should go have a look!!

Roger,

It's so easy to put marketing on our "Things To Do" list, isn't it??? I mean, haven't we got enough things to do already??? I see agents all across A/R trying to figure out how to do their own flyers, their own websites, their own postcards, etc. Seems to me they're taking valuable time away from their real estate businesses! Our most successful customers are the ones who devote the majority of their time to actually selling real estate! They don't wish to become graphic designers....nor webmasters. They simply want to BE their best....while looking their best...and they partner with us to handle the "looking their best" part!

You should call us. We can probably help...and we're not that expensive at all! I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my post! Thank you!!

Judy,

We'd love to be your marketing partner whenever you're ready!! I already LOVE where you're going with the development of your brand! "Blurbs from the Burbs" and the imaging you're doing with your blog and personal website. Seems it only needs a little tweaking here and there. We can help...and it won't cost you an arm and a leg! I may need to steal a lock of hair...but it'll grow back, I promise! :P

Give me a call sometime! Talking doesn't cost anything! You can always reach me at (951) 652-8365 -PST-.   I think that conversation would be fun! Thanks for commenting!

Dennis,

Excellent suggestion!!!! That's a book that, although NOT real estate related, can definitely help you understand why branding is so important...and how even major corporations get it wrong sometimes.

Example:

Corvette.   

As soon as you read that, you know what it means. You probably even know who makes it. And it completely stands on its own merits. But watch this...

Name 5 other models built by Chevrolet.

Umm...Impala (do they still make those?)....and....um....the uhhh....Monte Carlo? Wait, are those still in production??? We're just not sure anymore, are we? And THAT is killing Chevrolet!

Oh, we all know that Chevrolet is a car company. We just don't know anything about their cars, that's all. And they are HURTING because of it. Probably to the point of not being around much longer!! How sad is that??

It's kinda like Century 21. If you work for one of their offices, that's great. Everyone knows they sell real estate. Problem is....if you haven't begun developing your own personal brand...people may not remember you either! You need to become a Corvette, not just another Chevrolet model!!

Thanks Dennis! Great point!

Nannette,

You're welcome!! Hey, even if you just want to talk about branding, to get some ideas, call me. I love a lot of what you're already doing...and may have some thoughts/ideas/suggestions to incorporate into the existing brand you're building. Let me know if I can help!

Pam,

Thank you soooooo much!! We endeavor to create an impressive and memorable look for all of our customers. Something that stands out from the rest of the crowd...and becomes immediately identifiable when a buyer or seller thinks anything real estate! I'm glad you like our work. We'll be here whenever you're ready!!

Evelyn,

You've hit the nail on the head! PERFECTLY!!! From a mile away, someone should be able to tell it's YOUR billboard (if you did billboards I mean.) I'm not suggesting that by the way....I'm just saying that your point is EXACTLY correct! Every single piece of marketing that you put out....HAS to have the same "look and feel" in order to be effective. Your business cards, flyers, signs, presentation binders, postcards, websites, etc. ALL of it has to match.

McDonalds doesn't use blue arches over here....and golden arches over there. It'd be silly. Oh sure, they can be the same arches...but we've already come to know that they're golden arches...against a red background. To put blue on brown would almost be upsetting in a way!!! YIKES! The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!

Same thing with real estate. I see some agents with well-branded business cards, but no identity whatsoever with their flyers, or their postcards, or especially their signage!! Huge mistakes! But I also know it can be costly to revamp everything at once. So you start out small...and work from there. We're pretty good at that kind of stuff...and can help guide you toward the creation of a total brand (even if it means taking it one step at a time.)

Thank you for reinforcing what this post is all about!!! I really appreciate it!!

Steve,

Naturally, you're correct! I know you're referring to all the little things we do in our business (and personal) roles. But here's an example of something I see a lot.

An agent uses a 15-year old photo in her branding. It's all over town. When you finally MEET her, her hair color isn't the same. It's blonde, not brown. She also now has short hair, not long. She's a bit bustier than her photo implies...and she's not wearing glasses. All the while, you're too busy thinking "Oh...um....YOU'RE Sally??? My goodness, you don't look at ALL like what we were expecting". That kind of stuff can backfire. You almost become slightly suspicious in a weird way.

And make sure if you're at Starbucks taking a break...and talking on your cellphone to your assistant...that you're NOT saying "Yeah, that seller is becoming a real pain in the ***". If you're wearing a name badge...or hop into your car that has magnetic signs announcing to the world who you are...you've just blown it to anyone who was within earshot of your conversation. And they won't mind telling anyone they meet (who even SUGGESTS they're considering choosing you as their Realtor)...what their thoughts are!

Good points Steve (as always).

Christina,

Face photos are important if it's an individual brand you're building. It's interesting to note that my business card does NOT have my photo on it. Instead, it prominently displays the FlyersToYou logo, because THAT'S what I'm selling. My company.

In your situation...it's a TEAM...and what you guys have done is excellent. The sailboat on the lake. Immediately recognizable!

Here's an example of that same concept.

We did a marketing makeover for a hot air balloon company recently. They had no identity. In fact, their marketing was a bit "amateurish", even though they'd paid a designer quite a bit of money to create it. But it evoked no emotion...and certainly didn't seem to warrant choosing this company over any of their competitors. Below is a screenshot showing the before and after.




One gives a more romantic, elegant and professional feel than the other. Erick (the owner of the company) called me shortly after we posted his new website online to tell me that EVERY single one of his callers said they chose HIS COMPANY over the others because of his website. Erick's company is slightly more expensive than others, but right off the bat, you feel like you're getting more for your money. People even said they felt safer with his company because of how professional they appeared to be.

So yes...agents can learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) until they're blue in the face. BUT...if their BRAND is lacking, prospective customers will simply move on to someone they feel more comfortable with. Someone who LOOKS like they can handle the sale of a $500,000 home!!

Thanks for commenting Christina!


Dave




Aug 17, 2008 01:10 PM #12
Rainer
38,895
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor - Hemet, CA

Hi Katerina!!

I was busy typing away at my overly-long responses...when you were typing your comment! I didn't mean to leave you out! LOL!

I know where you're coming from...but I have very mixed emotions about it.

Example:



The above listing brochure would be an incredibly valuable listing tool no matter where it was used. Oregon, California, Texas, Kansas, Massachusetts, Georgia, etc. Sellers unanimously flip when you show them THIS kind of marketing versus a homespun inkjetted flyer.

Oh...I know there are people who look at SOME agent branding with skepticism. They feel it's a tad bit too egotistical. And there are several reasons for that.

Agents who use "foo-foo" shots in their branding come across as, well..."FOO FOO!!!" And if they're holding 9 cats, three dogs and a hamster, people just think it looks silly and unprofessional. Part of that stems from the public's general perception of REALTORS too though, not simply from the fact that an agent has incorporated branding into their marketing.

But this is exactly why we feel that an agent should utilize the skills of a real marketing company. Someone who understands branding...and who's had experience in developing universally accepted materials for agents across the country.

We know that certain fonts evoke certain emotions.


Yet, we see agents fiddling around with Microsoft Publisher and "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" at 'creative' fonts they've never used before.

It's a huge mistake...and definitely doesn't represent professional branding in its best light.

We also see the wrong color schemes being used.



Here are two exact same rectangles with the same lettering and font...but using different colors. One also has no filter effects like embossing, lighting or drop shadows because the agent's software simply doesn't have it. The bottom one is universally more appealing. It wouldn't matter where you're located, or how old you are...or from what economic class you belong. It's simply the one that 99.9% of people would choose.

Thus...I know what you're talking about in terms of some areas having resistance to real estate branding. But it's not the BRANDING they're resistant to. It's how the branding was carried out or implemented that bothers them!

When done right...it absolutely and definitively separates you apart from the competition. When done wrong, you'll lose business because the client simply doesn't want THAT ugly of a sign in their front yard!!!

(Hope you guys are doing great!)

Dve

Aug 17, 2008 01:50 PM #13
Rainer
3,263
John Doe
San Diego, CA

Dave, great post!  I think you know my stance on this...

By the way, I LOVE the business card on the far left that you did!  That's by far one of the best looking I've ever seen! :)

Kevin Wunderly

Aug 17, 2008 02:36 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,108,391
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I'm a driving and walking brand because, with apologies to American Express, I never leave home without my company shirt on in my company automobile with a pocketfull of company business cards. It's minimalist branding, but done persistently and consistently it can be very effective, especially if one lives in the neighborhood that one farms. When your neighbors see you all the time in your company clothes and in your company car at the gas station, the grocery store, the mall, the restaurant, etc., you've created TOMA, or Top Of Mind Awareness, in the neighborhood.

Aug 18, 2008 02:29 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,513,467
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Very interesting and thought-provoking post, Dave! I had read somewhere that most consumers can only name 3-5 brands within a product category, so if we're branding ourselves correctly and effectively that should make it easier for us to get to the #1 position in their minds, correct?

Aug 18, 2008 02:45 AM #16
Rainer
38,895
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor - Hemet, CA

Jim,

Hmmm....there's a GREAT part of your response...and a part that concerns me a little as a marketeer.

The GREAT part is that you totally understand branding and marketing enough to ensure that people get to know you as a Realtor! Your clothes...your car...etc. BUT...the part that concerns me is WHO are you promoting??? If everything you're doing has the ubiquitous Century 21 gold and black, you might be promoting more Century 21 than Jim Frimmer!! That can work well in the short term, but what happens if you ever make an office change?? You have to re-train your customers. If someone ELSE drives the familiar Century 21 car....and wears the familiar Century 21 shirt....they may be able to capitalize on the branding YOU did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Meanwhile...you're stuck with the prospects of re-teaching them that "Silver and Blue" is now what means real estate.

My thoughts are that it might not be a bad idea to introduce a little more Jim Frimmer into the mix. Don't make it drastic. But I would make sure that, no matter WHAT happens in the future....it's JIM FRIMMER they associate with real estate....NOT Century 21!

Thanks for commenting Jim. I love where you're headed...I just think some tweaking might be in order?

John,

You couldn't be more correct!!! Your numbers are exactly correct!! But here's the deal.

Take a look around your particular market area. NO ONE is doing any marketing!! Okay, admittedly, THAT might be an exagerration. But for the most part, you have VERRRRRY little competition out there in the real world. In the last 18 months (here at my own home) I haven't received ONE SINGLE SOLITARY ANYTHING from a real estate agent.

Now, I know there are a billion agents in Las Vegas. BUT...only 100 or so are actually doing any real marketing. You could take a 1,000-home farm...and within 90 days, be known as THE ONLY AGENT TO CALL. It involves a slightly "guerilla" marketing tactic. Other agents don't like it much...LOL....but it works very well! And it's easy to implement. I used it "back in the day" and it was my best lead generator bar none!

You should call and least hear about it. It would most definitely get you to the #1 position in YOUR prospects' minds!!!

Glad you commented! Thanks!

Dave




Aug 18, 2008 03:51 AM #17
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, David.

Jim is one of my Clients. He signed on with Century 21 for several reasons, and it took some doing on my part to convince him that he was the brand, not Century 21. Century 21 was a small part of him. When I pointed out that everything Century 21 says about him states that he is an independent agent, he started seeing the light. That means that he's on his own and is only renting the Century 21 brand for however long he stays at Century 21. As you said, if he changes companies, then he would have to spend a lot of money re-branding himself with his new company. However, he would always be Jim Frimmer, and I knew he liked his name, as most people do, so I was able to convince him that Jim Frimmer, Realtor was the name of his company, albeit simply a d/b/a/.

When I went to create graphics, business cards, postcards, letterhead, etc., for him, his picture, name, and contact information was much more prevalent than the Century 21 logo. After all, if they saw Century 21 instead of him, they just might go to the Century 21 web site and decide to use the first competitor they found since the names are alphabetized, and Frimmer is down in the middle of the pack. I couldn't convince him to change his name to Aaaafrimmer. LOL

It took a lot to get Jim to wear his "Jim Frimmer, Realtor" shirt everywhere because he's done a lot of traveling and has a shirt of some sort from every city, national park, national monument, college, aquarium, zoo, well, you get the message. It was tough for him to give up wearing all those shirts, but they don't have the potential to bring in business for him. He really does want to be more than just successful by his own definition; he wants at least a few others to see him as successful, as well.

I often get a kick out of new Realtors, and really new employees of any company, who advertise their company rather than themselves. If you look at home inspectors, they do the same thing, especially those who are with CREIA, ASHI, and InterNACHI. I did a marketing seminar in May 2007 at the international convention for InterNACHI in Toronto. The founder of InterNACHI was there answering questions when one new home inspector asked, "Can I put 'Why use an InterNACHI inspector?' on my web site?" The founder replied, "Yes, but don't spend too much valuable web page space advertising InterNACHI. I own InterNACHI and adveritising it is my job. Advertise yourself on your web site, of which InterNACHI should only be a small part." Wise words.

Aug 18, 2008 04:06 AM #18
Rainer
274,098
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

DAVID - You clearly do very high quality work, better than most of what I've seen offered.  I'd be interested in taking your test to learn more.  I think that branding is very important, but I would personally rather develop a logo that becomes recognizable, and I'll tell you why.  By making our photo our brand, we are inevitably going to run into a problem.  Either we are going to have to change our brand every five years or so, or we are going to have to brand a lie.  Despite all of our best efforts, aging is inevitable.  Being that you were a REALTOR before, you know that we, as a profession, are notorious for using photos that are well beyond their shelf-life.  What happens when the photo in the brand is not even close to the person that arrives at the doorstep?  Just some food for thought.

Aug 18, 2008 04:13 AM #19
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, Adam.

I teach my Realtor Clients that each time they order new business cards, they should also submit a new photo and update the web site, brochures, and any other marketing materials. One never notices aging in small increments. Of course, doing so means using the Just-In-Time inventory system (JIT), and since most self-employed and small businesses don't have a lot of storage space, JIT is probably the best way to go.

Pricing for people like home inspectors is the same way. Raising prices by a small amount, say $5, monthly, is far more effective than raising prices on January 1 by $60. You'll actually make more money with the monthly increase, as well, and I have the Excel spreadsheet to prove it. I do have to use the spreadsheet with some of my more stubborn Clients. LOL

Aug 18, 2008 04:18 AM #20
Rainer
38,895
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor - Hemet, CA

Kevin,

Sheesh...I passed you up on my previous response. Hey, I'm old. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!! Yeah...the guy on the card to the left up there has a pretty decent new "look and feel" doesn't he?? BUT...dont'cha think the girl to his right is kinda cuter??  ::: smirk :::

Russel,

Whew!!! I felt sooooo much better for Jim after reading your response above! All I could picture was Century 21 plastered all over the place! I feel much better now that I know you taught him to promote JIM FRIMMER instead of Century 21!

It's funny...I know many agents who work for Coldwell Banker. It's a fine company. They use all of CB's marketing materials, meaning that the Coldwell Banker "look and feel" is VERY prominent...and up until recently, also meant that the agent only got to use their very small black and white personal photo somewhere on the back of the postcard. They allow color photos now. Hey, the postcards are cheap...so who cares right??

Then...

They move to RE/MAX. Their whole brand changes. They're now promoting a hot air ballon instead of a dark blue rectangle. People see them at the grocery store, wearing their new blue and red RE/MAX shirt instead of their old white and blue CB shirt...and it's a little confusing. They're not even sure it's the same person. But they stop and say "Didn't you used to be with Coldwell Banker? I remember you used to drive a car that had a Coldwell Banker sign on it?"

"Yes, but I'm now with RE/MAX. I decided a change was in order for the way I do business now."

"Oh, that's nice. What's your name again?"

They could only recognize and/or remember the company he worked for. Heck, if that's what you spend your hard-earned money on teaching them, they'll learn it well. Teach them to remember a blue rectangle...and they will. From your efforts, they'll know to call the blue rectangle whenever they want to list their home. You did a masterful job branding Coldwell Banker (why do you think their postcards are cheaper?)

But what would've happened had you not run into those clients at the grocery store and had the opportunity to introduce them to your new "hot air balloon" office? You'd have likely lost them to your old office. Hmmm, you better hope you've run into ALL of your prospective customers at the grocery store...because you probably already HAVE lost deals to your old office.

----On your newest comment----

I suggest a two-year plan, which often works out to the next time they order business cards anyway! We have a pretty good deal on 5,000 cards....and for many, that means I'll get their reorder about two years from now. And yes...if their look and appearance has changed noticeably....they should update their photo. BUT...it NEVER has to be a professional photo!! Just take 5-10 photos in your living room with your digital camera...and we'll do the rest. The results are amazing.

Thanks for commenting Russel!

Adam,

First of ll, thank you SO much for your compliments!! That means a lot to me!! Secondly, call me anytime...the test is a fun one!!! You'd enjoy it!

Thirdly...I want to do an experiment with you.



I understand where you're coming from with regards to a logo. But the first thing you MUST do is decide what (or who) it is that you want people to remember!! In MY case, it's FlyersToYou, so i do not use my personal photo (I did when I sold real estate though.)

In one of my responses above, I wrote:

An agent uses a 15-year old photo in her branding. It's all over town. When you finally MEET her, her hair color isn't the same. It's blonde, not brown. She also now has short hair, not long. She's a bit bustier than her photo implies...and she's not wearing glasses. All the while, you're too busy thinking "Oh...um....YOU'RE Sally??? My goodness, you don't look at ALL like what we were expecting". That kind of stuff can backfire. You almost become slightly suspicious in a weird way. 

So you're right about that. But here's a flipside to that coin.

In Donald Trump's photo above...you wouldn't be able to tell me whether that photo was taken 5 years ago...10 years ago...or yesterday. He's not one to change his style very often (if EVER). One might consider that to be a bit boring...but it seems to work fairly well for him :: smile ::

Female agents have a tougher time with personal branding than male agents do. They LOVE to experiment with new hair colors, styles, etc. Guys can usually put on a suit and tie...and even though they've got a few more grays..and maybe a little less hair...and possibly even a wrinkle or two...they essentially look the same as their photo taken several years ago.

Aging is inevitable, you're right. But if your STYLE doesn't change...the new photo may not be as necessary as you think. And if you DO change it...you're likely be okay anyway. If you look at Kevin's business card above...you can easily imagine his photo changing....but the card's "look and feel" being the same. That's why personal branding needs to incorporate color schemes, fonts and photo. It would only hurt Kevin if he changed his color scheme to blue and yellow....and his font to some party font. In fact, if he did that...BUT kept the exact same photo as he now has....it would absolutely ruin his branding!!

It's not the photo so much as the totality of all three.

In any case...call me anytime at (951) 652-8365. I think the conversation would be great! I've read your posts here on AR and have wanted to meet you anyway!

Til then,

Dave




 

Aug 18, 2008 11:07 AM #21
Rainer
3,263
John Doe
San Diego, CA

Dave - Yes, Heather Upton is MUCH more attractive than I'll ever be!

Aug 18, 2008 11:07 PM #22
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, Dave.

I learned many years ago not to recommend anything more than a six-month plan when it comes to business cards, brochures, and anything else that has one's phone number on it. The proliferation of cell phones has led to multiple area code changes, and it looks like San Diego's going to get yet one more here momentarily. Couple that with address changes, brokerage changes, etc., and it's just not worth it. A couple of weeks ago I was working with a Realtor and she gave me her business card. On the front was a great big X because her brokerage had moved, this just a couple of months after she had ordered 10,000 business cards. The cost of printing is in the setup charge, so once that's taken care of, there's really no reason to become a storage facility for printed materials.

I was actually burned back in 2001 because I got a bargain on 10,000 pens. The first 5,000 were a mere 19¢ each, and the second 5,000 were free. I use a lot of pens, so I had no problem ordering that many. Unfortunately, the phone company changed my area code three months after the pens arrived. I'm still using the bad-number pens. You want any? LOL

With good-quality printers all over the Internet, I've found that my local printer is only too happy to meet their prices to keep the business at home. Just-in-Time inventory couldn't have a better future.

I suggest a two-year plan, which often works out to the next time they order business cards anyway! We have a pretty good deal on 5,000 cards....and for many, that means I'll get their reorder about two years from now. And yes...if their look and appearance has changed noticeably....they should update their photo. BUT...it NEVER has to be a professional photo!! Just take 5-10 photos in your living room with your digital camera...and we'll do the rest. The results are amazing.

Aug 19, 2008 01:53 AM #23
Rainer
38,895
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor - Hemet, CA

Kevin,

One day you'll be as pretty as she is.

<cough>

Russel,

Uh oh...I found something we disagree on! YIKES!

I understand your point about phone numbers changing...or office changes...BUT...

I've had the same phone number, address, company and cell number for the last 7 years.

I had an interesting discussion with an agent this morning. She's doing a postcard marketing campaign and we were discussing quantities. She could order 1,000 postcards (one month's mailing) and pay $.22 a piece. OR...get a higher quantity and cut the price to less than half. It's the same design...so if she uses all 10,000, she saves over 50%. If she only uses them for 6 months...she still saves money.

The phone company announces area code changes well in advance, giving Realtors the opportunity to guage when they should reorder marketing materials with their new number...and how to buy the right quantities now in anticipation of the change.

Color printing always rewards higher quantities with lower pricing...so even though a 6-month plan offers a bit more security...most people won't need it...especially if it costs them twice as much!

Here's another interesting phenomenon I've noticed...

When agents order the familiar long box of 1,000 business cards, they're a little stingy with them. I don't mean that in a bad way. But if you ask them for a couple extra cards...THAT'S what you'll get!! Two more cards. They watch their supply of cards dwindling, so they're less likely to hand you a stack of 10-15.

Meanwhile, our customers almost invariably are looking for ways to get rid of soooooooooooo many cards. Leave a stack at the dry cleaners, leave a stack at the UPS store...leave a stack at Starbucks, etc. When they get the big brown shipping box with 5,000 cards in it...they almost faint. But they feel more comfortable handing them out by the hundreds...and you know the drill. All it takes is ONE DEAL to more than easily justify the $90.00 more they paid for the extra 4,000 cards!

By the way...can you imagine an agent using a big X on her cards???? If any agents are reading this post...DO NOT DO THAT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All it does is broadcast that you're too cheap to order replacements...and you do NOT want to portray yourself in that light to a prospective buyer or seller. Heck, in that situation...I'd have given the agent a major break...and saved her the embarrassment!

Your marketing and you brand tell people a lot about who you are...both as a real estate agent AND business person. If you can't find it within yourself to ensure that everything that has your name on it is the absolute best...you'll likely be one of the agents on this site adding another "I can't figure out why I lost the listing" posts. Sorry to be that harsh...but...

It's the truth. Period.

Dave

Aug 19, 2008 03:52 AM #24
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, Dave.

Now that I've quit moving (always looking for the most office space for the lowest price) and gone cellular only, I've ahd the same address and phone number for five years. I changed companies July 1, 2007, though, so I had to rework all my information there.

Around here the significant price break is from 1,000 of anything to 5,000 of anything. There's very, very little volume savings after that, but more importantly for start-up and small businesses, as well as the sole proprietor self-employed, storage space is at a premium, and that storage space is usually at home, where leaky roofs, children playing, cats and dogs frolicking, etc., quite often destroy what just arrived a few days ago from the printer. Not worth it, in my opinion.

I always have to make a decision on whether to buy my milk at Ralphs ($4.89 a gallon) or at Costco ($4.89 for two one-gallon containers). By the time I make it to the second Costco container, it's sour, so it's a significant waste of food in a world of six billion people where one billion of them are starving, some right here on the streets of San Diego. Since the mid-1970s, I've always tried to be a conscientious consumer, even in this throw-away society that we live in, so I'll go ahead and buy one gallon at Ralphs rather than waste a gallon at Costo. Same thing with tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, and so much more. More is not necessarily less when all things are taken into consideration. I understand wanting to save money, but at what cost to society as a whole? After educating my Clients, they are then free to choose.

The phone company might announce area code changes well in advance, but that doesn't mean that anyone is paying attention. Seems only the big boys (Wal-Mart, etc.) plan ahead, which could be why I have so much business working with the small potatoes.

I specialize in Guerrilla Marketing, so I'm able to help my Clients get the most out of that smallest advertisement. Have you read "It's in the Cards" by Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI? An excellent, excellent book which tips, tricks, ideas, and suggestions that can be adapted to brochures, flyers, stationery, and more.

Aug 20, 2008 02:30 AM #25
Anonymous
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Rainer
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