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What is your brand right now? I’m not speaking hypothetically—I mean really right now. How would people describe your brand? So many things have changed in recent months and the world moving forward will never be the same. But we know as an industry we still have very important work to do. We not only need to help people find and sell the place they call home, but we also are often responsible for providing for those in our own homes. Through the past couple of months, how much has your brand changed? Some of the flaws in our branding have been exposed. Our industry is filled with people who are skilled—dare I say great—at advertising and marketing their business. But unfortunately, there are many less who truly know how to brand themselves well.

I want to share an analogy from my brand presentation at HomeSmart International’s 2020 Growth Summit. Don’t be an airline pilot. Think of your last flight. Where did you go? What airline did you fly on? Now, tell me what was your pilot’s name? An airline pilot has to go through extensive training, certifications, tests and more than 1,500 hours of experience in order to fly a commercial plane. We trust them with our lives, we trust them to get us home. It’s an incredibly important job. But we don’t know who they are or remember them.

I’d argue real estate professionals are often the same. Statistics show that more than 80 percent of people would use their agent again or recommend them to others. But up to 70 percent of people can’t remember their agent’s name after one year. For a job so important, good agents should thrive and change that statistic.

Steve Forbes said, “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” As a real estate professional, you are your brand. So the question is: How are you investing in your brand?

Good brands endure. Good branding is about having a clear identity, telling your story, having and sharing your key values, making a memorable impact, and doing it over and over again. It’s about creating differentiation between yourself and the two million other real estate professionals working in real estate. Here are two things I would be doing right now to build and invest in my brand.

Help people in your community. At the core real estate is about helping people. Good brands help people and make a difference in people’s lives. While real estate may be slower right now, there are even more ways to help others. Help will look different to everyone. A couple of stories to share that illustrate this point:

One of HomeSmart’s top agents, Bobby Lieb, shows what helping his community looks like by raising money to keep local restaurants open. Another group of HomeSmart agents are helping run errands for those who can’t in Coachella Valley.

Good brands don’t step up to support others with the intention of gaining business. They do this to genuinely help people. People see that and, as a result, want to work with that brand. Seventy-nine percent of consumers say that brands have to demonstrate they care about them before they consider purchasing. And they know when it’s not authentic.

Stay connected. Past clients forget our names because we let them forget. What is your follow-up cadence for all of your past clients? Right now, people are at home and you know what, they have time to talk. Shoot them a text or give them a call and just simply say, “Hey, I was just thinking about you guys and I hope you all are staying safe. Let me know if I can be of any help to you.” Remember, you’re offering to help them. Or even simpler, have some safety tips or content that can be helpful. In this time of confusion, providing any kind of education is powerful. If your brand is that of a more social agent and you usually get people together, host a virtual happy hour.

Branding is hard work, but besides helping your business, you are making an impact. And that is what people remember. Don’t be an airline pilot, be the airline. Stay safe, my friends.

Adam Bauer is the vice president of marketing operations at HomeSmart International. Bauer is responsible for maximizing the company’s brand presence and marketing strategies. For more information, please visit HomeSmart.com/join.

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