Developing a strategy
There are so many marketing options available today that it can be tempting to try to embrace them all without fully committing to any of them. Agents also may try to include too many different messages in their marketing. Rather than serving to inform their clients, too much information can detract from the message the agent is trying to deliver.
Patla places an emphasis on the need for agents to appear approachable in all aspects of their marketing. They should come across as knowledgeable about their market, but without putting out too many messages.
“This is a business about relationships and you’re working closely together with the client,” Patla says. “Buying and selling a home is one of the most stressful things that people go through, so in the agent being that partner, the marketing and advertising should all reflect those attributes.”
Both @properties and Compass employ a design team that agents can use, and they are encouraged to develop archetypes representing their ideal clientele. Marketing content is then developed that targets those archetypal personas, particularly through digital media.
“We try to have them utilize digital as much as possible because that gives us the ability to analyze the data behind that and ensure that we’re making the best ROI for their budget,” Blough says. “Social media also allows you to push a lot of content to clients that you might not have thought about reaching before. A lot of that is building up the content, helping them build a story for their brand and then aligning different demographics to that.”
McKenna established a branding strategy early on to make sure her marketing efforts would remain consistent.
“There’s repetition in our imagery and in our group photos,” she says. “Ads remain visually consistent. We like to shake up the main message with the headlines to share the latest statistics and successes, but at the end of the day it’s just consistency.”
To keep her brand in line with her own vision, McKenna employs a full-time graphic designer to make sure that the branding remains consistent across all mediums and stays true to Coldwell Banker’s guidelines. She and her team members take a hands-on approach to proofing marketing materials for online and print publication. Her own aesthetics and color scheme were almost exactly those of Coldwell Banker’s Global Luxury branding, so she didn’t have to change much when the company unveiled that program last year.
“We really stick to our brand guidelines,” she says. “We’re tempted to stray, but again you need that consistency. We’ve tried to differentiate our marketing by staying original, rather than blending in with the others. I think it’s that perfect blend that really seals the deal.”
Agents at @properties have access to an internal advertising department that can help them produce high-quality materials that keep them in line with the corporate branding strategy. Agents might get assistance with the visual aspects of an ad, while the content may be limited to keep ads sharp, for example.
“We really support the agent in creating the basic look and feel of all the advertising,” Patla says. “We can help control things so that their look and feel looks great with the @properties brand. We can help them rework a print ad. That same print ad isn’t going to look right on Facebook as is, so we can help guide them there. We want them to still be able to get that same end message out, but we might do it in a slightly different way.”