If you are already a successful real estate professional in your marketplace and would like to break into the luxury end of the business heed this warning.  Do not fall into the trap of thinking that your current personal or company brand will work to your advantage because it is already well known and well thought of. 

You most likely will need a separate luxury real estate brand because your current brand is identified with a different pricing tier in the minds of your target market.  This is not about snobbery.  It is about one of the most perilous challenges of branding for any type of business large or small: brand extension. 

Here is an example of a brand extension misstep made by one of the biggest brands in the world:  General Electric. 

Recently, we began forwarding our business landline to our iPhone.  For me,  (Ron here), finding the right headset was quite a challenge. I tried the two best blue tooth models on the market. In each case I got feedback from friends and clients who said I sounded like I was in an echo chamber and my voice broke up in far too many calls.  

I went to Staples and tried the leading brands for over the head models with volume control, which worked fine, on my landline, but not with an adaptor for the iPhone.The General Electric model had all of the features that I needed without an adapter. But, I completely dismissed G (general) E as an iPhone headset brand over the leading brands in this category that specialize just in telephony accessories:  Plantronics and Jabra. 

What does GE stand for in your mind: Appliances, Aviation, Consumer Products, Customer Training, Electrical Distribution, Energy, Finance, Healthcare, Lighting Oil & Gas, Rail, or Software & Services? 

Had GE come up with a cool brand name for this category of their business, the brand extension would have been far more successful. I certainly would have discovered it immediately and at least tried it.  It was only after the others did not work for my needs that I finally tried GE, which works just fine.

Like GE you could use your current brand name when you extend your brand into the luxury realm. But, your speed of success will be much slower. You or your company may be the best choice.  But, you will not be readily identified with your new category of business with your current brand name. Think of the pace of brand acceptance that Toyota would have faced if they did not use the brand name Lexus for their luxury model. The same applies to Accura, which is the luxury car brand of Honda.  

Toyota and Honda are both outstanding brands in their price category. But, these brands are very strongly identified with that category.  You just need a new brand name that works for your new business category as a luxury real estate marketing professional. 


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