As consultants in personal branding for luxury real estate marketing professionals we are often asked: What do you think of my brand identity, do you like it? Please critique it! Thinking through these kinds of questions has yielded some very important insights that could very well apply to your own luxury real estate marketing practice.
When we owned our commercial real estate firm in West Los Angeles, a major restaurant chain opened within a couple of blocks from our office building. We had never even heard of the chain so we were open-minded about it. If you know LA you understand that not having to get in your car to drive to a restaurant for lunch was a luxury. After several attempts to find something on the menu that suited our palate we were completely unsuccessful.
Our knee-jerk reaction was to criticize the restaurant. But, then it occurred to us that we were completely off base in our criticism. In a flash, we realized that we simply are not the target market for these restaurants. Thousands of people love them or they would not be in business. Why were we wasting our mental energy with criticism? It seems like criticism and witticism were one and same until we realized that criticism is a dead end for yourself as well as the subject of your critique.
When we applied this to the personal branding question we understood what it takes to be objective in our critique:
1. A luxury real estate personal brand identity must communicate the authentic self of the agent.
2. It must embody the essence of one’s personality and values.
3. It must factor in the target market, i.e., to whom are you communicating
If all of these factors are aligned the brand identity does its job. It becomes a silent salesperson on your behalf. Therefore, you must have access to all of this information to determine if someone is on their brand signal or off their signal. That is the only critique necessary. If you are not part of the target market, your personal opinion is irrelevant. The only question is how successful is the brand in being on signal, like dialing into a radio station, it must be static-free to be on signal.
Think about the home sellers who ask you what you think about the aesthetics of their home when you are in a listing presentation. Now, there is no reason to break into a song and dance about it. It is ok to say that you are not the potential buyer for the home. But, you are an expert at targeting those who are.
P.S. That restaurant went out of business within a couple of years after spending a tremendous amount of money on furniture, fixtures and equipment. It evidently was not resonating with others in that marketplace because their brand signal and the market were not a match.
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