Active brand positioning lets you stand out from the crowd, increase brand recognition, and encourages brand loyalty. But is it worth your limited time?
If you were to look up brand positioning in a dictionary or marketing book, you’ll probably see it defined as “the place that your brand occupies in the minds of your customers, and how it differentiates itself from the products of your competition.”
And sure, that’s a fine definition. But brand positioning is more than a passive spot in your clients’ minds. It also refers to all the marketing efforts you invest in to make sure your brand appears different (and more desirable) than your competitors.
When you engage in active brand positioning, your ultimate goal is to get your brand firmly established in your target audience’s mind, so that whenever they think of real estate, your own real estate brand is the first thing that comes to mind.
So now that we have a basic idea of brand positioning, is it something worth investing your time in? Let’s take a closer look. But first, let’s take a look at a few examples of good brand positioning.
What Does Good Brand Positioning Look Like In Real Life?
Whenever someone mentions the word “coffee house”, it’s very likely that the first brand that comes to mind is Starbucks.
As we all know, Starbucks is a coffee shop that offers a variety of delicious, sugary, and rich coffee drinks. But the main appeal of Starbucks isn’t its drink menu.
Instead, Starbucks positions itself as a relaxed coffee shop where friends, coworkers, and business partners can come together, hang out, and chat.
While there are many other coffee houses in the market that offer a superior cup of joe for much better prices, Starbucks' unique value doesn’t come from its prices; it comes from the experience it provides.
Sotheby’s International Realty positions itself as a luxury real estate brand, and everything about its choice of imagery, marketing, and presence reflects it. And with Sotheby’s history of dealing in fine and decorative art, jewelry, collectibles, and auctions over its long history, it definitely has the track record to warrant focusing on the luxury market.
Since it caters to a wealthier demographic, Sotheby’s allows its customers to search for homes based on the lifestyle they want to pursue, and doesn’t prominently showcase the property’s prices. In fact, if it were to do so, it would probably harm its brand positioning (after all, if you have to ask for the price of most of its properties, you probably can’t afford it anyway).
As much as we may disagree with many of Zillow’s practices, we have to admit that it’s done an excellent job in brand positioning.
Zillow rise to fame came from its ground-breaking ability to let anyone search for properties anywhere, without needing access to an MLS.
By doing so, it positioned itself as a free supplement/alternative to the services of a real estate agent that anyone can access.
Is Active Brand Positioning A Good Use Of Your Time?
That’s because if you don’t actively engage in brand positioning, the market will position it for you.
The truth is that you’re never in full, direct control of how your brand might be perceived by your target audience. Even if you don’t do anything at all to help steer your brand’s image, it will still gain its own reputation in your prospect’s minds.
But if you don’t take an active part in defining exactly what your brand stands for, and what its place in your local real estate market is, you won’t be able to communicate exactly WHY you’re different than your competitors (in a good way of course).
In simpler terms, if you don’t put in the effort to position your brand, your brand is probably going to get lost in a crowd.
On the other hand, there are massive advantages to actively working towards positioning your brand.
Let’s take a look a just a few of them:
1. It Gives You A Fighting Chance Against Your Competitors
It’s pretty difficult to make ANY kind of marketing stand out, no matter the industry.
Why? Because we are constantly bombarded by advertising. Think about it. How many ads have you seen just today? One hundred? Two hundred?
Every single day, we are bombarded with thousands upon thousands of ads each day. From personalized ads from Amazon, YouTube ads, radio and TV ads, and traditional billboards.
And yet, how many of them can you remember? Two? Three? The simple reality is that we forget the vast majority of them mere seconds after seeing them. Unless one of them caters to our specific needs or wants at that moment, our brains automatically block out most of them
That collective subconscious ad apathy? That’s what your real estate brand is up against.
The good news is that cutting through all that noise isn’t as hard as you think once you know what you’re doing.
If you know WHO your target audience is, WHAT their specific want and needs are, and the value you can offer that audience that your competitors can’t provide, you’ve already won half the battle.
You’ll have a much clearer picture of how to direct your marketing efforts so that it resonates directly with your prospects. Not in a logical, “list of features” kind of way, but in a way that evokes a positive emotional response from them.
And you know what? The majority of real estate agents are doing very little (if not nothing) to position their brands. So even if you were to do the bare minimum active brand positioning, you’d already be ahead of the curve.
2. Brand Positioning Creates Market Differentiation
We all have an intuitive understanding of why it’s so important to be different from your competition, even if you’ve never studied marketing in your life.
But WHY EXACTLY is it so important?
Differentiation lets you compete beyond price - When you can clarify the distinctive value you bring to the market, you’ll no longer be forced to compete in terms of cash.
Think about Starbucks again. Its coffee is NOT cheap. And yet, it continues to dominate the coffee market. Why? Because the value it provides goes beyond price: a familiar, pleasurable, relaxed atmosphere with internet access, and a consistent level of quality across all its locations.
Differentiation improves brand visibility - When you highlight the (good) aspects of your brand that make you different from your competitors, you make it easier for prospects to notice you.
Century 21 and Sotheby’s International are both large real estate franchises. But Sotheby’s stands out due to its exclusive focus on luxury real estate.
It encourages brand loyalty - With a strong brand positioning, whenever a prospective client (or current client) runs into your ads, they’ll know exactly what your brand represents, and will be more likely to choose you over your competitors.
Again, Starbucks comes to mind. There are tons of competitors that emulate the Starbucks experience. But because Starbucks pioneered the “relaxed atmosphere coffee house” model, and continues to stick to that formula, it has gained a significant following of loyal customers.
3. Brand Positioning Provides Direction For Your Marketing Efforts
Once you know how you want to position your brand, and which niche you’re better positioned to dominate in, you’ll find it easier to make marketing and business decisions.
For example, if you decide to position your real estate brand as the premier, go-to golf property expert in your area, most of your marketing decisions will already be made for you.
Since you’re focusing on golf properties, golf courses will feature prominently on your ads. You already know that your target demographic will typically be older, closer to retirement, and more affluent than the average house buyer.
Your choice of advertising channels will be different than, say, if you were focusing on first-time home buyers. You’ll pick traditional ones that your prospects are more comfortable with, such as radio, TV, print, and Facebook.
If instead of a real estate niche you choose to position yourself as the brokerage with the best customer service in town, you’ll reflect that on all of your business decisions.
For instance, you’ll make sure that any new team member joining your team receives proper training in customer service. Your marketing efforts will feature a warm, empathetic messaging with less focus on tech and more on human interaction.
You’ll make it a priority to have a strong presence on social media, and you’ll answer any questions from your prospects and clients right away.
And finally, you would want to be very proactive in your community outreach, and look for opportunities to get your team in front of people in community events.
4. Brand Positioning Helps Eliminate Analysis Paralysis
When we’re shopping for something, we like that say that it’s good to have alternatives. And the more alternatives the better.
But whenever we need to make a final decision, we’re often struck by analysis paralysis. Especially when all options look pretty good, and there isn’t a gigantic difference between them.
The same thing happens to your prospects when comparing real estate agents. They say they like to have options, but in reality, they are BEGGINGfor an option that is both obvious and easy to make.
And it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Buying or selling a home is a HUGE, emotional deal for the average person.
And with so many real estate agents out there, the last thing a home buyer or seller wants is to do is spend countless hours of their limited time researching real estate agents, interviewing each one until they find the one that fits their needs.
With a solid brand positioning, you can help potential clients see you as the obvious choice right away.
Because you’ll be speaking directly to their needs because you’ve put the time and effort to understand them.
For example, if you’re positioning your brand as the experts in downsizing retirees, you know that your audience might have mobility issues, and are in the middle of an extremely emotional move, as they say goodbye to a place where they have made so many memories.
Since you’re keenly aware of their unique needs, you’ll reflect it in your messaging and in your unique services. And when a downsizing retiree runs into your brand, it will be the obvious choice for them.
Brand positioning is a powerful tool that can help you more effectively dominate your niche, foster brand loyalty, and help your brand awareness. And hopefully this article helped you to see why exactly you need to do brand positioning? But WHAT exactly are the steps you need to take to do brand positioning?
We’ll go through those steps in a future article.
In the mean time, why not check out the rest of our articles?
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