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Branding Blunders - the big 3, and how to avoid them...

I believe there are (at least) three big misconceptions about branding, especially premium branding, in the estate agency industry, and its an easy trap to fall into...
Branding Blunders - the big 3, and how to avoid them...

The first one is to just create a 'wrapper' brand. If I run an estate agency business, lets call it David & Co., and I want to break into the premium market, the temptation is to create a 'wrapper' brand. So this would look like David & Co. Prestige Homes, or David & Co. Signature, or David & Co. Luxe, etc. 

I have been in this market for a long time, and I have yet to see this strategy work. It doesn't work in other industries, so why should ours be different? 

The most relatable example, one I have used before, is cars: Volkswagen Prestige doesn't exist, Audi does. Porsche does. Or even Lamborghini does. They are a differentiated brand, a differentiated service/product, for a differentiated audience, yet all these are still owned by the same company. 

Sellers don't want to feel like they are paying more, for the same estate agency service, branded in a slightly different wrapper. 

They will, however, be pleased to buy a premium brand, for a premium, differentiated service, and pay a premium fee for this service - as is our experience, and as is proven in the Voice of the Agent Survey (see Simon Leadbetter's article this month for more on that!). 

2.Not what it says on the tin

The second trap is calling a premium brand something, dare I say, clichéd in the first place...

Again, looking outside of our industry, the majority of the most successful premium brands do not do what they say on the tin! Virgin, Aston Martin, Kuoni, Marks & Spencers, Rolex and so on are not called Prestige Flights, Luxe Cars, Signature Supermarkets etc., but there is no mistaking what they are, or who they are for. 

(By the way, none of this is meant personally or directed to any one or any business by the way, I'm just using examples of some more generic adjectives I could think of, compared to stand-out and unique brand names.)

3.The 'Dilution' Illusion

The third trap (and is perhaps why the first two exist) is, understandably, many agents tell me they are concerned about 'diluting' their existing brand if they introduce another brand. 

Actually, the opposite is true! If I 'stretch' David & Co. from the residential market to the premium market, I alienate both sets of customers - if the brand appeals to everyone it appeals to no one, and the brand is diluted; its strength weakened.

A separate brand for the residential market, and a separate brand for the premium market, allows both brands to focus on serving and delighting their audience, and there is no customer confusion between which brand is for who. 

'Splitting the difference' when it comes to your brand is a mistake. It might seem the safest choice to just add a word or two on the end of your brand, but what could appear to be the cheapest choice actually could end up costing you the most... 

But what do you think? I am keen to hear if you agree, or disagree, so please find me on socials and let me know your opinion. 

David Lindley.