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Why Many Real Estate Agents Fail At Personal Branding

real estate brandingIt’s a joke. A BIG FAT Giant JOKE. A joke that someone forgot to tell most real estate agents about. I’m talking about personal real estate branding, the way many real estate agents try and brand themselves and why most ultimately FAIL.

Changing Markets

I’ve been in title for 12 years. I tell you this not to pat my self on the back but to show you I have weathered some storms. By “storms” I mean real estate markets. Let’s see… there was the traditional market, where there is an equilibrium between buyers and sellers also known as a “healthy” market. We saw this pre 2001 in Phoenix.

There is the sellers market, where you better come correct or don’t come at all. You know, where the seller dictates the price. Where the seller won’t pay closing costs or any other form of concession, where earnest money is “hard”, we saw this market in 2005 & 2006 in Phoenix.

There is the REO market, where all those investors and mom and pop real estate investors, the ones that cashed in their 401K after investing in a $15,000 real estate course, got their butt’s handed to them. Where it wasn’t the buyer runnin thangs but the seller –  the BANK. We saw this in 2008,2009,2010,2011, and 2012 in Phoenix.

There was the short sale market. Where sellers that found themselves “upside down” or “underwater” because of declining property values, because of all the REO’s in their neighborhoods asked the bank to accept less than was owed. We saw this is 2007,2008,2009,2010, 2011, 2012 in Phoenix.

Yes, I have seen my fair share of markets, and all through them I have heard real estate agents and real estate brokers talk about personal real estate branding.

Personal Real Estate Branding

Over the years, I’ve had real estate agents contact me, asking questions about special business cards, flyers, websites, pictures, logos, shirts, wrapped HUMMERS etc to reinforce their “brand”. I laugh every time I hear it and for a while there the talk of personal brand disappeared, but now that we are again approaching a normal market personal branding has reared it’s ugly head again.

One thing I have noticed when talking to real estate agents about personal branding  is many think they are their own brand. That they are somehow in charge of it, the protector of it and just because they say it or put it out there – it is so. NOthing could be further from the truth. If brand was in the hands of the real estate agent they would all be – “the best”. They would all be “top producers” they would all be “area experts” or “the best negotiators”, they would all be - RICH.

You can say you are this or that. You can have it printed on T-shirts and Polo’s, postcards and flyers, HUMMERS and Mini’s, coffee mugs or shopping carts, you can have it on your CAR and it still means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.


Because brand is in the eyes of the CONSUMER. Not YOU. You have little control over it. In fact, no amount of money will help you establish the brand you desire. Don’t believe me? Ask BP. British Petroleum or “BP” is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve its image after the train wreck that is the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010. They are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on prime TV spots, Radio, Banner Internet Ads, direct mail, public relations, they are using every method available to convince you, the American consumer, that BP cares about the Gulf. They are spending HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS and yet when you heard the initials B and P you immediately thought of – OIL SPILL.

Brand Is Demonstrated

You can’t just say you are the expert at this and that and have it stick. It’s not that simple. Brand is demonstrated not necessarily said. It’s really hard to brand yourself in a space where there are so many competitors, thousands of them,  that all appear to do the same thing. That’s not a brand, that’s a commodity. Most real estate agents fail at personal branding not only because they say the same things as everyone else but they try to serve the same markets as well. You can’t be a jack of all trades and succeed – not in real estate. If you want to build a successful personal brand you need to carve out a niche, in a specific geographic area, and master it. Not condos but condos in Phoenix. Not luxury properties but luxury properties in Arcadia. Not Investors buying in Arizona but Canadian Investors buying in Phoenix.

Real estate agents that want to brand themselves should not only be talking about the brand they want to convey to the consumer, but backing it up with valuable information, stats, facts, images, etc that don’t just support what they are saying but that clearly set them apart as the expert in this area. One of the most effective ways to build a brand in real estate is to use non traditional mediums – like VIDEO. What is different stands out and with less that 2% of real estate agents {nationally} using video in their real estate business, and less than 1% actually doing it right, VIDEO certainly stands out.

When it comes to branding there is another thing real estate agents can do,  it’s one of the easiest and hardest things most will ever do, especially in todays hyper “I’m awesome” “all about me” “immediate gratification”  world we live in. – Be yourself. Demonstrate your expertise, demonstrate your skills – negotiation or otherwise, demonstrate your abilities and the consumer will begin to brand you. Stick out from your competitors. Demonstrate your brand. Stop saying the same things they say “search the MLS like a REALTOR®”, “Call for a FREE CMA” etc.

In the great words of Oscar Wilde,  “Be yourself…everyone else is already taken.”

If you are a real estate professional in Phoenix that would like help building a personal brand please fill out the form below. Giddyup!

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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