Ask an Expert: How REALTORS® Can Build a Personal Brand

Personal branding. If you’ve done research about marketing in the 2020s, that’s a term you’ve likely heard of before. But, how can REALTORS® build a personal brand that serves their needs and grows their business?

We asked seven communications, marketing, and design experts what they would suggest to REALTORS® looking to make a splash online. Here’s what they said.

    Start with consistency

    Leslie Kellestine
    Communications Advisor, CREA

    In the beginning we like to dream big (as we should), but how do we break down big goals to realistic steps? Whether it’s starting a newsletter or social media page, being consistent is a key ingredient.

    If you want to be someone who creates 30 reels a month or has a weekly newsletter, build up to it. Start with a reel a week, or a quarterly/monthly newsletter. As you get comfortable with the tools and platforms, and build habits, you can increase the frequency. A more attainable and realistic approach at the start also allows you to analyze what your audiences want, whether you’re attracting the right people, and how to pivot if needed.

    Stay authentic to your audience

    Matt Day
    Communications Advisor, CREA

    Nobody likes a copycat. At the end of the day, your clients are looking for a REALTOR® they can connect with and feel comfortable knowing their personal real estate guru is genuine, transparent and authentic.

    Let your true self shine and don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you’re looking to build trust, create connections, build your brand and differentiate yourself from the competition, there’s no better way than simply being yourself.

    By consistently sharing your authentic self—whether it’s on social media, advertisements, or in face-to-face interactions—you can attract like-minded people who resonate with you and are more likely to become loyal long-time clients and advocates.

    Don’t forget about proper trademark usage

    Simon Parham
    General Counsel and Corporate Secretary to the Board, CREA

    As REALTORS®, you are licensed to use CREA’s MLS® and REALTOR® trademarks in your communication and other marketing materials.

    Those are great assets and a way to distinguish yourself from real estate representatives who are not REALTORS® are who are therefore not permitted to use CREA’s trademarks. That said, it’s important to ensure that any use of CREA’s trademarks abide by CREA’s trademark policies. For more information on what you can or can’t do with the REALTOR® and MLS® trademarks, check out CREA’s Trademark Manual.

    Make a (design) plan, and stick to it

    Yang Guo
    User Interface Designer, CREA

    Consistency is the cornerstone of building a memorable and enduring brand. Ensure you apply the same brand guidelines across all your channels and assets. Creating a brand guide can help you stay the course.

    If you’re looking for the next step, consider hiring a design professional to create a distinctive personal brand and value proposition that resonates with you, both visually and strategically. Professional designers may think about things you wouldn’t and are skilled at creating visuals that both represent you and appeal to potential clients. Once you know your brand aesthetic through and through, it’s time commit to upholding your brand identity to see full potential results.  

    Know when to go, and when to stop

    Dawn Faithfull
    Communications Advisor, CREA

    As an entrepreneur whose public image is integral to your brand identity, it’s important to understand how your values, purpose, and lifestyle fit within its parameters. Make sure your brand identity is clear enough for your ideal client to understand. It’s easy to want to be all things to all people but when you take that route, you risk not truly resonating with anyone.

    Try working backwards. Decide how you want your brand to be perceived, and who your ideal client is, then start filling in the blanks to develop your brand identity. Keep in mind, your brand identity and your brand strategy are different but should always feel cohesive.

    Before making a strategic move, ask yourself: does this align with my brand identity? Would I associate this action with a brand who makes similar claims to mine, or has an identity I hope to resemble?

    And, don’t forget to answer the (seemingly) obvious questions. What do you wish your audience knew about you? About your industry and where you fit in? About what to expect from working with you? Communicating those answers should be part of your brand strategy and all connect back to your brand identity.

    Make your clients the hero

    Rachel Vandersluis
    Marketing Specialist, CREA

    Branding is all about defining and presenting your unique story, image, and voice—however, it’s also important to keep your audience in mind.

    Along with sharing your story and who you are, ensure potential clients are central to the narrative. The services you offer and the value you bring to a client’s experience are important elements of your brand.

    Identify your key services and offerings and present them in a way that’s consumer centric. Potential clients will resonate with your brand when they can envision themselves as part of the story. How do you elevate your clients’ real estate journeys? How have past clients described their experience working with you? Consider these questions as a guide to help frame your services while keeping clients at the forefront.

    Tell a great story

    Paige Hanson
    Social Media Coordinator, CREA

    Authenticity and storytelling are the secret ingredients that can help transform a listing into a compelling narrative. Share your journey, your passions, and your expertise with your authentic tone and voice. Use your chosen social platforms to showcase glimpses of your day-to-day, share client testimonials, and/or provide insights and tips about your local real estate market.

    Engage with your audience by asking questions, responding to comments, and participating in relevant conversations. Remember, consistency is key. Establish a regular posting schedule and maintain a cohesive brand aesthetic across all your social media channels.

    Looking for more tips and tricks to identifying your own personal brand? Check out Leading and Living With Purpose with Zahra Al-Harazi on CREA’s podcast for REALTORS®, REAL TIME or check out our webinars on the CREA Learning Hub.

    Dianna Hann brings her experience from a variety of marketing and communications roles in government, marketing agencies, and publishing to CREA as a Communications Advisor. She works with the communications team to bring the latest news and helpful information to CREA Café. In her spare time, she loves puzzles and any sport in or on the water.

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