When I first started out in real estate investing, I was obsessed with building my portfolio. And, of course, that’s not a bad thing for a newbie to be obsessed with, right? You need properties in your portfolio and deals under your belt before you can call yourself an “investor,” after all.
So I started pounding the pavement, finding, funding and flipping deal after deal. My business grew and I was psyched. After a serious dip when the dotcom bubble burst, I felt like I was finally back on track. My business was thriving, I was making money and there was nothing on the horizon but opportunity.
But even though things looked great, I was missing something really important. I was building my portfolio, I was building my reputation, but I wasn’t connecting the dots. In other words, I wasn’t building my brand. And that was a major misstep.
Why Brand Matters MOST
It’s an easy mistake for a first-time real estate investor to make—so, if you fell into the same trap, don’t worry about it. There’s plenty of time to right the course, but you’ve got to start now. Every day you don’t focus on your brand, you’re missing out on optimal opportunities to move the needle—to get more leads, generate more revenue, find better funding sources…the list goes on.
So let’s start with one simple truth: branding matters. When you create a solid brand image and perception, that’s what people wind up remembering. You want a look, feel and message that differentiates you from your competition, and ensures anyone who comes in contact with your brand and brand message gets it—they get who you are, what you do and what your brand stands for.
All of this feeds directly into your reputation—and vice versa. If you’ve started building a good reputation as a real estate investor, that will fuel your brand development initiatives while positioning you as the real deal—you’re a brand, after all, not just a person.
Where To Focus Your Attention
In the beginning, it can be tricky to really nail down your brand. You have a lot to consider, from tone to voice to visuals to overall approach. Not only is it a lot, but this is what positions you favorably or unfavorably in consumers’ and partners’ minds, whether they know it or not. That’s the power of branding—it’s hard at work 24/7, even when you aren’t.
And that means you have to focus on some seemingly insignificant choices. These aren’t throw aways. In fact, it’s the opposite. These choices can really weigh on the impact and effectiveness of your branding efforts. So what are they? For starters:
- BRAND NAME: Will you use your name? Your initials? Something else? Are there any positive or negative connotations associated with the name you choose? Are any other businesses using that name?
- COLOR: Color is a powerful branding tool. Different colors conjure up different emotions in all of us—so choose your colors wisely. Red, for example, is bold, bright and emotional—it can trigger feelings of love or, even, hate. Yellow feels energetic. Green represents wealth and new beginnings. Purple is luxurious. The wrong colors could send leads down the wrong emotional path—and that’s no good.
- YOUR TONE: Is your brand messaging casual and conversational? Bold and brash? Esoteric? Sparse? Dense? It matters—believe me. That tone is how people will perceive you and your brand—so make sure it fits. It’s perfectly fine to take any of these approaches—just make sure it meshes with your target consumer and how they want to engage and interact.
Chances are, these choices won’t happen overnight. You’ll want to sit with different options, different approaches and different visuals until something feels right. And once it does, you want to carry that brand look and feel across everything, from your website to your printed materials to your presentations, packets and business cards. Anything you produce or put into the marketplace should be anchored in YOUR brand and the branding that comes with. When someone picks up a flyer or watches a webinar or flips through your investor pack, they should know it’s YOU—and that it couldn’t be anyone else.
This consistency and cohesiveness matter a lot more than you may think. The stronger your brand name, the better for YOU. You’ll attract better clients, lenders and partners because you’ll have respect and authority on your side. And once that happens, it’s like a ripple effect—when people see your logo or your materials and they’ll react instantly, with all of that respect and authority rushing to the surface, helping you cut through the clutter and close those deals.
What I didn’t understand when I first started out was that everything I did could have and should have fed into my brand. But I didn’t get it. Instead, I saw myself as this entrepreneur who was walking around, flipping properties left and right. People liked and trusted me, so I assumed I was doing everything right. Had I approached these early days with an eye on building a brand and not just a history of deals, I would have been in much better shape. I could have set my stake in the ground earlier on, and started attracting people to my business from day one. That would have given me a serious edge—I’m sure people would have taken me more seriously and seen me as a real authority, and not just some newcomer with real hit-or-miss potential.
Building a brand is a huge piece of the Nick Vertucci Real Estate Academy (NVREA) experience so if you’re struggling or just starting out, get yourself here. We’ll talk brand building and I’ll share my insights and expertise to help you get your business off the ground right. Because if you connect those dots—if you really build a brand—you’ll be well positioned for success, now and in the future. So let’s do this—let’s shift our focus from the individual parts and set our sights on the big picture. It’s unbelievably important, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just dabbling in real estate investing. At the end of the day, all you’ve got is your brand. It’s up to you to make the most of it.