Building a VINTAGE Brand; 1.1

Building a VINTAGE Brand; 1.1

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Find your brand, develop it and stay on track.

This year’s Super Bowl XLVII delivered a few commercial hits and misses worth poking fun at as examples of brand management…good and bad.

For this consumer, Tide took the prize in which a stain appearing on a football jersey resembled San Fran 49er, Joe Montana. Remember the Jesus and Mary image on a pancake? Same thing. After much celebrating of the miracle stain, it was washed out by the jersey wearer’s wife, a Baltimore Ravens’ fan.  It was timely, connected with the audience and created a need for the product.  Bottom of the list was the Blackberry z10 advert. BB claimed that in 30 seconds, it was easier to show us what BBz10 could not do. Seriously?  I wasn’t sure what the product was and by the end I didn’t care.

Both are great examples of consumer product brand management that illustrate the importance of messaging and connecting with our audience.  When developing our personal brands, one of the most important points is pinpointing our audience. Once we know the demographics and interests of our target group we can begin to construct our message.  Are you an expert? Are you trustworthy? What do you represent? What ideas and notions pop up when someone hears your name? Bottom line – what’s your “thing” and who do you want to know about it?

If you’ve been around for a while, doing whatever it is you do, you’ve probably already developed a personal brand. People recognize your name, what you’re working on, what you offer and what you’re about. What can you say about your own personal brand? Is it strong and clearly identified or weak and disjointed? Just because people recognize your name or your brand does not mean they like it or will follow it.  Most of us like bad boys and naughty girls but we probably wouldn’t hire them.  If you’d like to make your personal brand stronger, keep reading and I will work through a few details of my own branding, outlining the components of a strong personal brand. If you don’t feel like you have a personal brand yet, let’s get this party started.

Your personal brand is your calling card.  Look at is as an investment.  It has the potential to last longer than you. While the projects you’re working on might move forward or get snuffed out, your personal brand will persist and (hopefully) add value to each new project you create. If you consider yourself to be in a particular game for the long-haul, whether it’s an online business, accountant, or selling houses, a good personal brand is an invaluable, evolving investment. People will follow your brand if they feel connected to it. When launching new projects, your personal brand has the potential to guarantee you never have to recreate the wheel.

Me – I am a real estate broker.  I sell houses.  I am honest, friendly, hardworking and ethical. That’s all nice and good but who really cares? Right?  That’s why I focused my personal brand on my passion: marketing and selling historic and vintage homes.   It took me way too long to figure that out but once I did it was full speed ahead.  I will get into some (but not all) the specifics of what to do once you get to that point later.

What are your passions, your strengths, talents and interests?  What lights a fire in you belly?  Whatever it is you do (or want to do), create the niche, find the passion and start to gather the building blocks that will identify and connect with your target audience. Like a strong house needs a solid foundation, the same is true for a strong and true personal brand.

On your mark. Get set. Go!

Next up: Set goals for image and public perception

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Building a VINTAGE Brand; 1.0

Building a VINTAGE Brand; 1.0

Building your vintage brand.

Blackberry just launched an overhauled operating system, the Z10 because of slumping sales and “lack of bling” according to their new spokesperson, Alicia Keys.   PepsiCo has conceded to remove brominated vegetable oil from its sports drink, Gatorade, due to a negative online campaign launched by a 15-year old Mississippi teenager.  With the Super Bowl just days away, the NFL is aggressively cracking down on the sale of counterfeit merchandise.  Speaking of, the going ad rate for Super Bowl XLVI is $3.5 million for 30 seconds and up to $4 million if you want premium placement.  How does any of this relate to historic and vintage homes? Plenty. It all plays into building, managing and maintaining our brands.

I frequently hear from homeowners and real estate brokers they feel that marketing and promoting Chicago’s vintage and Historic homes is, often, fighting an uphill battle.   How we create fresh ideas in communicating what historic and vintage homes, buildings and neighborhoods have to offer is more an opportunity than challenge.  Sounds like a chapter from “The One Minute Manager”, right?  Building a recognizable brand involves creating a relationship or a connection between a  product and the emotional perception of the customer.   In this series I will discuss how we position older housing stock as a brand to be identified, segmented,  managed and promoted.   Branding is about finding and staying consistent to a core philosophy. In the real estate industry, we frequently reference Donald Trump as a go-to icon of business acumen, and strategic thinking.   Like him or not, his brand is all about being No. 1, best of the best. Find your brand, develop it and stay on track.  Otherwise, “you’re fired!”

Branding and image guy, Donny Deutsch of Deutsch, Inc., has built his reputation on thinking outside of the box.  Donny’s leaner, meaner, faster, smarter philosophy helped build Deutsch into a leading marketing-communications company.  Deutsch’s core philosophy is a great formula when it comes to building our vintage brand.

“People think creativity is the best version of the current thing,” Deutsch writes in his 2005 book, Often Wrong, Never in Doubt: Unleash the Business Rebel Within. “I disagree. I’d rather do something fresh and put my client on the line than knowingly do derivative work. I want something with a different flavor to it, the 32nd flavor of Baskin-Robbins, the 58th variety of Heinz. I tell our people, go where tomorrow is. Let everybody else catch up.”

Buying, restoring and selling historic and vintage homes is, to some, a labor of love. Kudos to those of you that do it to quench a preservation passion.   To me, it is a business. No less passionate, more so because the process involves a focused plan of attack, execution and a final result.

Next up: Find your brand, develop it and stay on track.