As a real estate investor, your brand is essential. It shapes how people see you; it shapes how you run your business and present yourself to motivated sellers, cash buyers, and anyone else you happen to be connecting with. And, your brand will integrate through all aspects of your offline and online marketing, from the name of your business to the logo you have designed to your website’s domain name, and more.
We were asked
“Have you seen more success with investors using the website with more of a professional look as in they are a professional company versus a personal website (perhaps with a unique logo, cartoon logo etc) ie something to make them stand out” Eric F.
So how should you brand your investing business? Should you choose a personal brand (such as your own name) or should you choose a more corporate brand (such as the operating name of your business)?
Check Out The Video, Or Read The Blog Post Below!
If you’re not sure what we mean when we talk about personal versus corporate brands…
… here’s an example to illustrate: Meet John Smith.
He’s a fictional real estate investor who wants to launch his investing business. He’s trying to decide between launching his business as John Smith, Real Estate Investor, or as Big Money Investing, which is the operating name of his company.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type of branding…
With a personal brand, YOU shine through. Your personality and energy are primary components.
The sellers and cash buyers who do deals with you, come to you because of who you are and how you help them. Everyone who works with you feels like they have a personal connection with you or they aspire to be like you.
Your business uses your name, your website’s domain name uses your name, any marketing or blog posts you write talk about you and something you’re up to, and probably have a picture of your face on it. Your Twitter feed is filled with information about real estate investing but also with pictures of what you do on the weekends and what you ate for lunch. You’ll use the word “I” a lot when talking about the investments you do (such as: “I just picked up a great deal!”).
With a corporate brand, YOUR COMPANY shines through. The emphasis of the brand is on the credibility of the organization itself and how it can help sellers and buyers.
You are highlighted as the CEO but your team is also highlighted as key players who are critical.
Your business uses a corporate name, your website’s domain uses the corporate name, and any marketing or blog posts you write talk about the company and what the company is doing. Your Twitter feed is filled with info about the company, including deals that you do and what your team is working on.
You’ll use the word “we” a lot when talking about the investments you do (such as: “we acquired a great deal!”)
NOTE: Some people think that a corporate brand needs to be “wooden” and formal but that’s not the case. A corporate brand can still be fun and edgy (qualities often associated more with personal brands). When we talk about corporate branding, we’re talking about the brand being focused on a company rather than focused on an individual.
Which Is Better? Pros And Cons Of Each Model
There is no definitive answer to the question of which one is better and which one you should pick. In the end, what your #1 goal should be here is to make sure your website is coming across as credible to your prospect and connects with them. Here are the pros and cons of each:
- A personal brand can seem to be more approachable, which is attractive to sellers as well as new investors/buyers who want that personal touch.
- A corporate brand may seem more attractive to buyers, especially buyers with a lot of dollars behind them, because a well-designed corporate brand seems bigger and more stable.
- A personal brand is generally easier to get started with because you’ve already been building your personal brand just by being alive and online! You’ll contribute to it further easily by sharing your everyday experiences online.
- A corporate brand is harder to get going because you have to start from scratch.
- A personal brand can be difficult to scale: You’ll always be the face of the company, which can be challenging if you want to take a vacation, work fewer days of the week, hire employees, or sell the company… sellers and buyers may want to call the phone and talk to YOU because you are the company.
- A corporate brand is much easier to scale because you can add staff easily and those staff members are representatives of the corporate brand, so sellers and buyers will probably be more willing to work with them.
- A personal brand makes you very much like a mini-celebrity. For some people, that’s great! For others who want to avoid the limelight, that’s not so great. It also means that your name and your business are inextricably linked, so anything that happens to you (from a car accident to an arrest to a nasty Amazon review of a book you wrote to an inappropriate Facebook conversation) can all influence how your brand is perceived.
- A corporate brand takes the spotlight off of you, giving you a little more freedom and flexibility to do crazy things without as much repercussions to your business. (Of course you’re not completely insulated but there is some insulation).
The Influence Of The Decision
We’ve devoted this entire blog post to a discussion of a personal versus corporate brand because we believe it’s that important.
Your brand connects closely to your website and to how people find you online:
- If you already have a personal presence online, you might leverage that to drive traffic to your website.
- Your brand will influence the domain name you choose.
- Your brand will influence the content you include on your website and on other aspects of your marketing (such as videos you record or social sites you use).
Your brand – whether personal or corporate – will become one of the ways that people search for you online. So when they search, how will they find you? And, how do you want them to find you?
Of course this branding conversation extends far beyond your website, into other aspects of your business as well: When you introduce yourself to others, will you get more instant credibility if you are John Smith, Real Estate Investor, or if you are John Smith, CEO of Big Money Investing?
And thinking farther down the road, if you ever choose to scale your business, write a book, or become an investing educator, how will your brand influence those endeavors?
Don’t Over Think It!
With all of that said, don’t over think the process.
Heck, some big roadblock some people hit is thinking they have to have a big fancy logo if they decide to go with a company name or brand.
But we’ve found that some of the most successful real estate companies have the simplest logos.
Just decide, get out there and start implementing, and crush it!
If you’re thinking about how to brand your new or existing real estate investing business, give some serious thought to whether or not you’re going to go with a personal or corporate brand.
Each one has advantages and disadvantages and they will shape the course of your future. It’s also worth noting that it’s hard (although not impossible) to pivot later if you want to switch, so investing some time right now to ponder your brand will help you focus on the right things in the future.