Real estate agents love putting their face on things.
Billboards, signboards, DL cards, the sign at the local footy club.. Marketing and branding in real estate hasn’t changed all that much over the years but here’s the thing, consumers expectations have. A LOT.
“The businesses of the past were built on advertising impressions. Today, they are built on human impressions that help customers believe, belong, and find meaning.”
This is just one of the many truth bombs from the book I’m now re-reading for the 3rd time, titled Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer.
Marketing and personal branding in real estate is often a tale of two agents – those who are part of the fabric of their community and those who are constantly chasing shortcuts to brand awareness. But as this book teaches us, only the most human agent wins at the end of the day. Now more than ever.
In the book, Mark talks about the history of marketing and branding over time and how consumer expectations have fundamentally changed at different times throughout history. And how brands, organisations and marketers have been forced to adapt to those changes in consumer expectations.
In the chapter about where we are right now, there’s a line in the book that resonated strongly with me as someone who works solely in the real estate industry and how I see a lot of real estate agents go about marketing and branding in their communities:
“You can’t be for the city. You have to be of the city.”
In other words, you can’t just sponsor the local football team and expect that to be a shortcut to brand awareness or a flood of leads coming your way. That might have worked in the olden days where businesses were built on advertising impressions. But, as Schaefer writes, brands today are “built on human impressions that help customers believe, belong, and find meaning”.
“We can’t buy our way into these conversations, We have to earn our way in with a new business approach that appeals to constant human truths.”
Put simply, you have to be there physically involved at the local footy club. Not just a face on a billboard at the halfway line.
People want to see you down there on the training nights, physically there at the field. They want to see you at the tuckshop. They want to see you running the oranges at halftime for the local kid’s games. Whatever it takes.
Rather than just putting our faces on billboards and expecting that to change our business overnight. We have to show up, physically as human beings, becoming part of the fabric of the communities in which we serve.
Speaking from a recent personal experience, my wife and I purchased a property in January this year and the local agent who sold the property to us is someone who is genuinely part of the fabric of this community that we live in. He puts on a Halloween night every year that the locals were telling us about before we even moved in. It is famous in our area for bringing all the families together on Halloween and letting the kids go wild in the park where we live while the parents enjoy a drink together.
The agent is not there throwing out business cards like ninja stars, like a lot of real estate agents can do at these events sometimes. He’s genuinely giving back to the community and people look forward to the event each year.
When locals tell other locals about the work you do in the community rather than just the work you do as a real estate agent, those locals are your marketing department. And you can count on a steady stream of referrals for many years to come.