A company’s brand is key to any successful business. Nigel O’Neil, CEO of hockingstuart, talks about why a strong and established brand is essential in the real estate marketplace.
As Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos once said, “a brand for a company is like a reputation for a person”. The same rings true for us in the real estate industry, whether you’re a principal or agent, establishing a solid brand presence will help you stand out from competitors and excel in your business. When I’m approached by agents looking to open up their own offices, a key reason they give for coming to hockingstuart is their familiarity and assurance in the brand. It is important that they feel comfortable joining a business with a proven track record – after all, opening a new business is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life as well as your career. But how does an established brand help you, as an agent, bring in business?
GETTING ON THE SHORTLIST
We have conducted market research that reveals 93 per cent of prospective vendors shortlist two to three agents, with brand awareness and trust voted as key deciding factors. The research says it all. With a solid brand behind you, the first step is taken and you are already on that all important vendor shortlist.
93 percent of prospective vendors shortlist two to three agents, with brand awareness and trust voted as key deciding factors
We also see this come to fruition when directors open offices in new areas, often prospective buyers and vendors will walk through the doors purely upon seeing the hockingstuart sign go up. However, whilst an established brand gets you a foot in the door, you need to ensure those doors stay open. It is vital that a high quality of customer service is kept consistent across the network so brand reputation is upheld no matter which office a prospect enters.
INCREASING YOUR PROSPECTS
If a brand is trusted throughout the state, or the country, it will also draw in buyers who are looking beyond their current locality. The beauty of an established brand in a large network means agents can also access those buyers outside the local area – offering agents a larger pool of prospects and ultimately, a better price for their properties.
The winning question is then, how do you set up that all important established brand? It’s all about quality and innovation. If you don’t have the marketing basics right, like your website, letterbox drop, and sales board materials – this can do more harm than good to your brand. A professionally produced and printed flyer will no doubt have more impact than one that has been run-off on the office’s black and white copier. This might sound simple, but remember your marketing materials are a reflection on your brand. Once you have these fundamentals down pat, turn your attention to the innovative branding tools that will further build your brand.
INNOVATION IS KEY
If you want to achieve cut through in the marketplace, it is important that your brand shouts innovation, with an original marketing approach to grab the attention of vendors and buyers. What does this look like? At hockingstuart, we’ve worked hard to develop unique tools like our Early Alert system (an email communication of highlight properties sent to our database of approximately 100,000 members) and our industry leading Red magazine which features property listings from across the state and an informative lifestyle section – because when you market a house, you’re also marketing its area as an attractive place to live. So put on your marketing hat, think about your audience and create innovative marketing methods for your business. Once you have these tools in place, these will not only work to draw in buyers and vendors, but they will assist your new recruits. Agents new to your brand will be able to leverage the tools and brand profile that you have developed.
So the verdict is in – building an established brand should not be dismissed as marketing fluff. In fact, it could be the very thing that brings in buyers, vendors, and agents to your business. But first, take a step back, do you truly know how your brand is perceived by prospects? If you don’t, find out the position your brand has in the marketplace, then make it your focus to build and maintain a brand you’re proud of. If you do this, your business – and your career – will excel.