Developing a personal or company brand for luxury real estate marketing professionals involves the same branding process that is required by any major corporation.  The fundamentals are the same whether you are targeting the upper demographic or Middle America, whether you offer a product or a service, locally, regionally or globally.  The primary goal of branding or rebranding is regaining, obtaining and retaining trust.

Here is an overview of the branding process:

  1. Take the time to understand the most pressing needs of your customers or clients in the context of your capacity to fill that need.
  2. Tune in to your own “DNA” and determine precisely what your unique promise of value is or can be in that context.
  3. Distill that promise of value into a compelling marketing message that can be expressed in just a few words.
  4. Craft a symbol (logo/brand identity) that further accelerates the speed of communication of that promise of value and also the speed of trust
  5. Align all of your marketing efforts (from the first contact with your client to the follow up after the sale) in such a way that you consistently communicate this singular message

Did you happen to see the very funny JC Penny re-branding commercials with Ellen Degeneres?  In a matter of 180 seconds (three 60 second commercials during the Academy Awards) the commercials began to positively turn around the perception of this 100+ year old company and give it new life. Behind this transformation is CEO Ron Johnson, who first worked with Target to pioneer the retailer’s “cheap chic” image.  But, more recently Mr. Johnson was the creative genius behind Apple’s retail stores where he spent a decade changing the way Americans shops for electronic gadgets.

In these brilliant commercials Johnson drives home the singular message that Penny’s is fun, that they have cut out heavy discounting and now provide services not just products. Ellen perfectly conveys the company’s values with great warmth and her down-to-earth attitude.  The message that she conveys through the commercial is their new focus:  “Be in sync with the rhythm of our customer’s lives and operate in a ‘Fair and Square’ manner that is rooted in integrity, simplicity and respect”.

JC Penny’s announced that part of its strategy is getting rid of hundreds of sales it had each year and is now focused on everyday pricing. It will offer discounts on a group of different items each month and have clearance sales on the first and third Friday of the month when many of its customers are paid.  They plan on creating an open area in the center of its stores called ‘Town Square’, similar to Apple’s Genius Bars, that will offer services yet to be announced.

JC Penny’s ‘Fair & Square’ message, intended to regain the trust of its customers and win new ones, comes across loud and clear in the commercials and is also reflected in its new square logo.  The sheer brevity of the messages delivered by America’s favorite talk show host, with humor, demonstrates all of the fundamentals of great branding or rebranding.  Here are the messages from the commercials:

  • No coupons, just great prices
  • Return any item, any time
  • No games just great prices
  • No door-buster sales, just great prices all the time

Notice that the new logo is in red, white and blue, the colors that resonate most with Middle America—JC Penny’s target market.   There is an entire psychology of color involved in the branding process.  It is one more component that needs to be aligned when the intent is to accelerate the speed of trust. 

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, is it time for you to brand or rebrand yourself, your team or your company?  You target market may not be the same demographic as JC Penny’s but the aim and the process is the same. Regaining, obtaining and consistently retaining trust is the name of the branding game.  That is how customer/client loyaly is created over time.


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