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RISMEDIA, November 3, 2009—Creating and maintaining a personal brand is crucial to finding success in today’s real estate market. While an elaborate personal logo and a catchy tagline are solid foundations for your personal brand, it is important that every contact you have with a consumer defines and reinforces your personal brand. Here, Robb Murry, Chief Marketing Officer for The Personal Marketing Company discusses the five questions you must ask yourself to make sure your personal brand measures up to today’s standards. 

Robb Murry
Chief Marketing Officer
The Personal Marketing Company 

Building an effective personal brand goes beyond an elaborate personal logo and catchy tagline; it lies within how consumers in your market perceive you. Whether you are managing it, or even aware of it, every contact with a consumer defines and reinforces your personal brand. From your personal website and e-mail marketing, to your Facebook page and the way you answer your phone, all of the marketing communications you distribute work together to define your personal brand. 

Your brand personality is how customers perceive you, for better or worse. Managing that perception across every contact with consumers is critical in today’s market where consumers increasingly perceive all real estate agents to be the same. To set yourself apart, you must differentiate your personal brand from your competitor’s. 

Over the years, many agents have gotten away with selling or providing great service alone without truly managing a personal brand. Changes in the market and how agents are marketing themselves have made it clear that achieving long-term success in real estate requires an effective personal brand. 

How well do you manage your personal brand? Do your customers’ perceptions match the personality you want them to see? How well do you manage these perceptions? Here’s a great way to grade yourself on how well you’re managing your personal brand. 

1. Do you treat clients like real people? Your commission check might come from a company, but people are choosing to work with you. Your marketing should speak directly to the person about things that are important to them. Hint: All good marketing makes an emotional connection with consumers, not a factual one. Make sure your marketing message communicates the answer to the old advertising idiom WIFM (What’s in it for me?) 

2. What’s different? Are you really any different from the other agents in your market? Trying to differentiate on great service is a common mistake. The customer expects it rather than viewing it as an added benefit—every other agent in your market can promise great service. You must find the benefit to the consumer that only you provide. Your “one big thing” must be relevant to your customer as well as to you. 

3. How does your brand make them feel? What’s the emotional takeaway that your clients receive when they do business with your brand? In marketing, it’s called your “higher order” benefit. Do they feel comfort knowing you are minding the details in their best interest? Or maybe they feel empowered because of your strong negotiating skills on their behalf? Make sure you are communicating how they feel when they do business with your brand. 

4. Does every touchpoint build your brand? Make sure that your one-of-a-kind personal brand is reinforced in every exposure people have with you. Your e-mails, direct mail, your personal website, the message on your voicemail, even your latest tweet on Twitter. Your goal is that if your name was covered up on your marketing pieces, someone familiar with your brand would still know it was from you. 

5. Do you deliver your marketing message in a memorable and appealing way? Defining your personal brand in today’s market is not optional, it’s necessary. Your brand should be constantly re-evaluated to make sure the message is consistent and the right message for your audience. Agents who do not maintain the brand experience in today’s competitive market will not survive.

Always remember that your clients are people with real lives, dealing with daily challenges. Your well-rounded brand message should be targeted and communicated across all marketing channels. The key to managing your personal brand is to have a marketing plan in place for your business. 

Define your message and develop an effective plan for getting that message out to consumers in a clear and consistent way. Otherwise, you’re leaving it up to the customer to decide your personal brand…without input from you. It’s then that you find you’re just another real estate agent among thousands of choices.