Excerpt from “Responsive Branding” by Lynda Decker :
It’s Value, not Lost Opportunity
When I met Klara Madlin, the realtor whose firm bears her name, I knew she knew she was different. New York is a tough market, and there are many real estate firms—and most people (outside of the industry) feel they are interchangeable. Klara said, “We are a small boutique real estate agency that has been in business since 1984. Being a small shop, we had never really ‘branded’ ourselves. We recognized that our website, cards, etc., were tired and dated. We didn’t know how to solve the problem, but realized that we had to work with someone who did.”
For Klara Madlin, the need to differentiate and hit the market with a clear, concise message was immediate. She and her partner wanted to rebrand because she had recently entered into an agreement with a developer to represent eight new residential properties. Crackling with energy, Klara explained her version of personalized service: “We guide our clients, whether they are buying or selling. We help them with paperwork; we prep them for co-op board interviews.” Then she laughed. “And sometimes, I even have to read their minds.”
With that comment, the solution to this branding problem—the firm’s focus—revealed itself.
We built a new Responsive Brand around a conversation with a signature wordmark that aligns with a phrase to open that same conversation. The firm’s business cards say, “Nice to meet you,” “We’ll stress over the details,” “The nice New Yorkers,” and, of course, “ Yes, we read minds.” Additional phrases extend the program. A gift umbrella is emblazoned with “Shelter from the storm,” and the website greets the visitor simply, “Welcome.” The program is agile and responsive; it works equally well in social media, advertising or on the web.
“Real Estate for Real People” became the main tagline—the properties her firm represents fall in the range from $750,000–$1,500,000—the price of middle-class residences in Manhattan. Klara Madlin Real Estate is New York personified: smart, savvy and outgoing.
Dolly Parton once said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Business owners facing commoditization—and there are many—need to take this advice seriously.
Recognize your strengths. Find your focus. Do you excel in a market vertical? Or do you bring a unique perspective? Is it a particular service or a way of delivering that service?
Klara Madlin, while in an industry that is highly commoditized, is a unique personality who delivers service in a way that reflects her unique personality. Her brand, which emphasizes the way she cultivates relationships, resonates authentically with everyone who meets her.