Is Branding BS?
Why does Coke have a $4 gagillion marketing budget? So when you look across the room at a red soda can with a white stripe down the side, you immediately recognize it as a Coke can, regardless of the country you are in. That is the power of branding.
From a few hundred feet away most people cannot tell the difference between a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Lexus 250. Ask someone to identify a Corvette at the same distance and they’ll do it every time… again branding.
So how to do you compete with Coke or Corvette if you don’t have their budget? The good news is that you don’t have to. You just need to be better than your competition… and if you are a Title Company sales rep or Realtor, thankfully, that bar is pretty low.
Do your mail pieces stick out in the mailbox or email inbox? Can you tell the difference between your advertising and your competition? Good sales people will say yes and more importantly, their clients will too.
Branding builds familiarity with your product and in the case of service based products like title insurance or real estate, the product is you or your team. Branding saves the time of reintroducing yourself to a perspective client each time they see your message.
Branding allows you to get a consistent message out and repeat it until it sinks in. Most media experts agree that the brain needs to see something seven times before it can recognize and relate to it. Once they relate to it, trust is established.
Ever wonder why the ONE postcard you sent out didn’t work? If you are sending one postcard you stand less than a one percent chance of your target audience to even considering you as an option.
I couldn’t tell you what an RC Cola can looks like (if they still even make it), after Coke and Pepsi I can’t think of another cola. If I was thirsty for a cola and Coke or Pepsi were not available, I would personally grab water, because that’s what I am familiar with.
Same is true with your clients, if they need your product and aren’t familiar with you; who are the Coke and Pepsi in your Market? You might have a better product, but if they don’t know you, they are not going to take the chance… would you?
In order for Realtors to have direct mail success, they will need to send at least 5 different pieces with similar messages and branding to have success. Same is true for Title Reps advertising to Realtors.
I read a case study where a university marketing department wanted to determine the effectiveness of farming a geographic area with postcards. The research was straightforward; it called for a series of postcards mailed to the same area once per month for six straight months.
The mail piece was generic; it talked about the real estate market, local events, a professional sports calendar… nothing that would stand out as remarkable advertising. The twist was that they invented the real estate agent.
This “agent” was created out of thin air. He never had a real estate license, never closed a deal, never took a listing, nothing.
At the end of the six-months, the research team went door-to-door and asked a simple question. They were looking to move into the neighborhood and wanted to know if they could recommend a real estate agent to work with.
As you would suspect, the fictitious agent was listed in the top 3 agents 80% of the time.
The lesson I pulled away from the case study is that sometimes good is good enough. While I try very hard to create great content, getting any message out is better than having no message at all.
So is branding BS? Not if you are targeting a specific market with a product. I wouldn’t suggest a Realtor brand the entire Phoenix, AZ real estate market. I wouldn’t even try all of Scottsdale. But in an area of 2000 homes, you bet.
If you think in terms of niches, you will have more success in building your brand.