There’s a good reason that you don’t wear bell bottoms or tie-dye t-shirts anymore. Fashion changes and you would look really odd walking around contemporary society in something so dated (Disclaimer: tie-dye t-shirts may never have been fashionable). Your brand, like anything that is designed, will also become dated over time. It’s vital to work with a studio and evolve your brand as your audience's expectations change.
Prospective buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords are exposed to many new, old, boutique as well as traditional real estate brands and of course some are more recognisable than others, however real estate brands that have been able to evolve with trends and stay fresh have a distinct advantage over their competition. Remember, the primary ways to differentiate your business are through your brand and service delivery.
All successful brands refresh their branding periodically, in one way or another. It may be through the visual execution of advertising campaigns, a new spin on corporate identity elements and even a logo refresh when needed.
Growing your brand does not mean that you have to scrap your current branding and start anew every year – to effectively evolve your real estate brand, you need to stay true to your unique message, while tweaking and updating specific aspects of your brand’s aesthetic.
Probably the most recent example of this is the new look for the RE/MAX word mark and balloon logo. RE/MAX held onto the logo for 44 years before changing it in August this year. This was a long time to wait between refreshes, but the point is they did it. Love or hate the new brand, it is bolder, brighter and more contemporary with its flat colour aesthetic. Now starts the hard work of rolling out the new brand to thousands of offices across the world. A critical step to its success, as they don’t want two very different looks competing with each other. More on brand consistency later.
How do you re-imagine an established brand?
Let’s look at the Wakefields Estate Agents brand as a case study, which has undergone two “brand refreshes” in the last 5 years.
In 2013, several issues were identified:
- Their corporate identity and logo were dated.
- There was inconsistency and disconnect in the way that the brand was executed.
- There was a lack of brand messaging.
With the goal of turning the Wakefields brand into a cohesive identity – three major objectives were identified:
- Revise the look and feel of the Wakefields brand by updating the logo and crafting a consistent corporate identity.
- Establish a distinct and clear brand message to buyers, sellers and other real estate role players.
- Roll out the updated brand to all offices and digital and traditional media.
A new website, mobile site and integrated Facebook campaign was launched that included:
- A new clean word mark that still had the essence of the old logo.
- A series of brand messages in a consistent style that reinforced the tagline “It’s the #WakefieldsWay”.
Fast forward to 2017 and although the new look was very well received by Wakefields staff and clients, it needed to be updated in order to stay current.
Issues identified were:
- The black and white photography had become limiting and dated.
- The “It’s the #WakefieldsWay” messaging system needed to be communicated in a fresh way.
- A new brighter and bolder visual system needed to be developed.
So far the following solutions have been implemented:
- Black and white imagery has been replaced by vibrant photography and eye-catching graphics.
- A “W” symbol has been incorporated to become a recognisable symbol that can be used in certain applications like social media and sale boards to create maximum impact.
As consistency is key, the process continues to drive the new visual identity into everything that the brand touches. From social media to traditional print marketing, it’s vital for your brand to speak in a single voice.
Just remember, while the foundation of your real estate business’ character may not change – it is important that you work with a design studio to evolve your brand to ensure your relevance in the market place.
Oh, and please get rid off any old tie-dye t-shirts you have.