Rebranding is something that crosses the path of every real estate agency at some point. It might be an ownership change, expansion, or simply to adjust your presence and position in the local market.
People and their perceptions are at the epicentre of any business brand – before imagery, fonts and tone of voice come into play. You can have the brightest, boldest logo, but if it isn’t authentic to your business and customers and agents don’t buy in, then your brand won’t last.
The entire agency – from principal to receptionist – needs to buy into the need for a rebrand, and how this new identity will look and feel. With everyone on board, an updated identity is something that will ensure an agency stays relevant, providing agents a cohesive strong brand to sell from.
But, how do you ensure your rebrand successfully appeals to everyone?
“With everyone on board, an updated identity is something that will ensure an agency stays relevant, providing agents a cohesive strong brand to sell from.”
Getting customers on board with your rebranding
First and foremost is customer opinion, as the saying goes: “The customer is always right.” Any rebrand needs to be validated and cross-checked with customers and those outside the agency, otherwise your brand will appear one sided.
Before even starting the ball rolling, conduct a comprehensive survey of customers to discover how they perceive the existing brand, what they would change and improve, and which agency values they currently associate with. This feedback can form the basis of the decision-making. If results show that something unexpected is well loved, try not to change it!
It is vital to ensure current customers understand what is going on and are included in the process, explaining why you are rebranding and why it is a good thing. This can be done via email newsletters, social media posts and other real estate marketing channels – both to inform and to build momentum and anticipation.
When it’s almost time to launch, pick a launch date and stick to it. Maybe plan a celebratory launch event to make it a fun, positive and exciting change for everyone, as well as providing a networking excuse for agents and customers.
Managing the management
At the heart of decision making for any rebrand is the business owner and senior management. There are a lot of decisions to be made, so having CEOs on-board and enthusiastic about the rebrand is essential. If the people at the top aren’t behind the project, the rest of the agency won’t be either.
If you are managing up, ask for a sponsor to be appointed at that level, who can make decisions on behalf of the collective executive committee. Ideally this person will have great people skills, as they will need to sell the vision and maintain enthusiasm for the change.
“If the people at the top aren’t behind the project, the rest of the agency won’t be either.”
Onboarding real estate marketing peers
As the people that use the property marketing materials every day, it’s essential that the support staff and real estate marketing team have ample opportunity to highlight any concerns about the mechanics and logistics of the proposed brand. Test run the new identity on past advertising campaigns and communication materials. Giving your team a chance to try it in all manner of usages and situations. This will iron out any problems prior to the launch, and avoid the need for post-launch amendments.
Pleasing the front line
As the people that live and breathe the brand every day, it is critical that the agents and internal team are on board with any brand changes… after all, they are the ones who will deliver the new brand to the customer. The real estate agency’s brand is often also an agent’s ‘personal brand’ so all employees need a chance to voice their opinions.
Electing a key stakeholder from each team can significantly expedite the process – someone who can come to milestone meetings and communicate team concerns, likes and ideas to the branding committee, and also communicate rebranding information back to the team.
“As the people that live and breathe the brand every day, it is critical that the agents and internal team are on board with any brand changes.”.
Beyond the agency
Suppliers and external connections across your real estate marketing chain will also need to be kept in the loop regarding any real estate agency rebrand. As soon as style guides are available, distribute them across the supplier network, even setting up cloud-based storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox, where suppliers can easily access all revised marketing collateral.
Unification is key
Above all, being unified throughout the process is essential, so continually check in with the team to ensure everyone is happy with the progress.
A rebrand is not an easy task, so for those not equipped to go it alone, get the support of a brand agency or marketing system provider that specialises in property. With the right support, and by taking the time to ensure that all stakeholders are happy, a rebrand can be an exciting project with which to be involved.
Want more tips on making your company rebrand as smooth as possible? Download the CAMPAIGNxpress Guide to Rebranding.
Mark Cairns is business development manager at CAMPAIGNxpress. With a career that’s seen him at franchise group marketing level and as an ad agency executive Mark’s worn the t-shirt, so to speak. Consult him for forward-thinking insights on the future of advertising and how best to improve your business’s marketing operations.