How to build a personal brand that connects

While good results and peak performance will no doubt attract clients, what matters more is how you make them feel. That’s according to Area Specialist founder Michael Choi, who says that’s where personal brand comes into play. Here, he shares his secrets to building a personal brand that actually connects.

When it comes to making your mark, keep this in mind; people remember colour, shape, and words – in that order. 

Your name and face are effectively your logo. But your logo is just one element of your personal brand

Your personal brand isn’t just about who you are, it’s about what people think, and more importantly, how they feel, when they see you. 

But it goes beyond that, it’s how they feel when they see your advertisements, your billboards, or your website. 

It’s the automatic reaction they experience when someone mentions your name. 

Essentially, your brand is your promise to the marketplace on what you deliver. An effective personal brand will protect you when the market is down, because your network knows they can trust you.

They have a good feeling about you. 

But you need to be able to walk the talk. Authenticity is key. 

So, you need to be consistent online and offline when it comes to your brand – they need to match.

Tell your story 

A brand is more than an image. It’s a story. Your story.  

I recently purchased some Berluti shoes.

I went into the store and the shop assistant began telling me the history of the brand. It started in 1895, positioning itself as a prestigious leather maker, dedicated to manufacturing items specifically for men. 

It was very niche, and if you were a man that wore leather, this was the place to go. 

She then narrowed down the company niche even further, claiming the brand was particularly renowned for its shoes. 

She said ‘try these on’, and as she was tying my laces, she continued telling me the story of the Berluti brand, proceeding to use a knot known to be used by royalty to tie their shoes. 

They were comfortable and they looked pretty good so I said, “I’ll take them”. 

Now, I knew they were going to be expensive, but I’d assumed they’d be less than $1000. Wrong. The shoes were $1600, and to be honest, they looked like something my grandpa would wear. 

Needless to say I purchased the story, as well as the shoes, and paid the full price. 

In doing so, I also purchased the right to tell this story about my new shoes. Essentially, I paid extra for a story, and the chance to link that story to my own. 

Think about a well known restaurant in your area, chances are it’s known for a particular dish, if you want that dish, this is the restaurant you have to go to.

This is done through branding

If you don’t create a story for yourself then the market place will naturally create one for you.

You can’t please everyone all of the time

Don’t try and please everyone, otherwise you run the risk of being nothing to everybody. 

Seth Godin says, choose your smallest viable market. In other words, be something to somebody. 

Don’t worry about the haters. If 50 per cent of people hate you, then that means 50 per cent love you. That’s better than 100 per cent being neutral.

The first step is to choose your market, understand what their pains are and have a compelling solution to this pain. 

Don’t dilute your brand by going into different markets, especially while you are in the early stages of building your brand.

Don’t be fancy at first, just do simple things really well – like being on time, returning calls promptly, knowing your product, and telling the truth.

Once you have that down pat, then you can add some sparkles, such as changing your voicemail with the new date every day, or dropping off the prelist kit in record time (that happens to be a video folder with a personal message). 

During the appraisal, give the kids a colouring book and before you go, tell them you have a prize for great colouring – parents will love this.

After the listing presentation, have a thank you card that includes doggy treats, telling your client that every family member will be thought of, even the furry kind. 

Basically, you’re looking at every touch point in your business and assessing whether or not it can be upgraded. 

Keep in mind though, that sparkles cost money and time. There’s no point having this amazing brand and customer experience, but a business that isn’t profitable. 

It’s a delicate balance, but a critical one. 

Your brand takes time to build, so be aggressive but patient. 

And remember, it’s a lot easier to destroy your brand, than it is to create it. So take the time to get it right.

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Michael Choi

Michael Choi is the Founder of Area Specialist, a real estate platform that helps top performing agents open up their own business without the cost, time or risk.

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