It can be easy to copy another agent/brand whose work you like when you’re looking for that next marketing idea. However, if you want a solid business with long-term growth, you have to be genuine. You need to figure out how you can benefit your clients and your audience – and you can’t do that by copying someone else.
A real-world example
Spoiler alert! This happens in the real estate industry more than we’d like to admit.
Something we’re known for here at Stepps is building real estate websites and managing the digital presence for agents just like you and real estate businesses just like yours – right up to quite large multi-office network projects as well. And one of the things that sometimes happens at the start of a project is our clients will bring us a feature, or some ‘thing’ that they’ve seen on another website, and they ask us to include that ‘thing’, or that feature, on their new website.
It’s important to be looking outside of our own businesses, outside of our own marketplace and even outside of our own industry when it comes to inspiration for our branding and marketing.
But during a recent project, we become aware of a real estate business here in Australia that had completely copied the website of another real estate business that was not theirs. And we’re not just talking about certain features of the website, we’re talking about the whole thing – the colours, branding, fonts and even the format of the logo at the top and the bottom of the screen was exactly the same. 100% plagiarism.
The company who had their website copied (we know for a fact) have invested enormous amounts of time and effort in understanding what makes their brand special – what makes them original.
They’ve interviewed staff, clients, prospects, buyers, renters and investors and they have really dug deep into understanding why people work there and why vendors choose them to sell their property. They’ve invested a huge amount of time to really understand their brand personality and their colours, fonts, logo and website are simply a reflection of those things.
Sadly, the business who copied their website has not invested the time and effort in understanding what makes their brand special and that’s quite evident by the fact they’ve simply copied the website and branding of another business.
Different is better than better
If you’re looking at rebranding your company, updating your marketing or getting a new website, absolutely, look outside of your market and industry for inspiration. But don’t copy word for word, line for line, colours, fonts or a website of another brand – it’s not going to help you stand out.
In fact, once your clients and prospects catch-on to what you’ve done (and they will!), it’s going to have quite the opposite effect and raise questions in the minds of your consumers that didn’t exist before.
Start by understanding what truly makes you unique – what makes you original.
In her popular best-selling book, How The World Sees You, Sally Hogshead says that “To be more successful, you don’t need to change who you are – you need to become more of who you are.”
Start by interviewing your staff and ask them why they work there. Interview your clients and ask them why they selected you. Build your brand as a reflection of those things.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”. – Oscar Wilde
With the rise in agent comparison websites and the like, it’s never been harder to stand out as a real estate professional. You won’t be making it easier for yourself by simply copying what someone else has already done.
Once you know what makes you valuable to others, you’re more authentic and confident, and more able to make a positive impression.