Branding Tips

How often should you update your branding and how do you do it effectively?

Principal Coaching Made Simple

Mentor – Barney McGrath

  • Update every 3-5 years
  • Hyper Local, Hyper Knowledge, Hyper Engagement
  • Accommodate Agent Marketing
  • Create company owned Lead Generation
  • Devil in the Detail


Kevin: Our guest all this week has been Barney McGrath from McGrath Consulting and if you’ve been listening all week you’d know just how skilled he is and up on what’s happening with the property market right around Australia and how real estate agents work, but I guess I first knew of Barney through his branding, particularly focused on that area but he’s now broadened that out a lot.

Kevin: But I want to finish this series, Barney, if I could with your branding tips. What are they?

Barney: Okay so thanks again as always, Kevin, for the opportunity. I guess slightly contentious for a lot of people is I’m gonna say that marketing as we know it actually started in the 50s and it was done by Colgate in US were probably the first ones to get seriously into consumer marketing.

Barney: Through the sort of 60s, 70s, 80s, even 90s, all you ever heard was brand Nazis saying, “Consistency, consistency, consistency.” I’m gonna say something a little different because I believe we have to be clear about the positioning of the business, clear about our competitive position against all of our competitive universe. So how does your business sit against your top five competitors in the market place? And importantly, how does a consumer see your business?

Barney: So I think that’s a constant, but I think you’ve gotta have agile, organic brands today that are able to respond, react, and kind of feel a little more part of the real world. They’re not this lockstep, monolith that doesn’t change. I think branding is a really interesting area that our overall positioning, our overall actual brand mark. So what does our logo look like? What colors and what fonts do we use? Absolutely needs to be pretty consistent.

Barney: How we lay it out on the page, how we execute that in different genres and different medias. Whether it’ll be social media, whether it’ll be website, print, whatever, I think is where you have to continue to invest and be agile.

Barney: The other thing I’d say to you which is probably disconcerting to many, I think you’ve gotta revisit the total structure of your brand every three to five years and that’s an expensive process, but it’s an investment. You know, if you look at a rebrand of your average real estate independent business with one or three offices or whatever, you’re probably talking about an investment of about 150-200 grand every couple of years. By the time you create the brand, modify it, reprint letter heads, brochures, previous kits, change the color of the building, do whatever, but I think it’s something you gotta do ongoing.

Barney: I guess the other thing and we touched on this I think yesterday or the day before about the trend towards hyper-local boutique service oriented businesses and I think everything we do in brand and consumer marketing today has to be that engagement. You know, there’s that great saying ‘Give before you ask.’ I think our job is to put information out there, become the trusted advisor, become the font of knowledge in our local area. Know every property that’s sold, know every school, know every bus route, know everything you can about your total area and be that adviser, I think this is the future of our business.

Kevin: Yeah. When we talked about marketing and communicating with the market place, it’s fairly important that the agency itself takes control of those so that it’s the one image that’s being put out there as opposed to a whole lot of individual images. Would you agree with that?

Barney: Yeah. I absolutely do, but to be able to get away with that as a business, you know, there’s the old carrot and stick routine. If I want members of my team to tow the line from a brand perspective, I have to be able to give them mediums and letter box drops and EDM’s that promote them as well.

Barney: So if I leave a vacuum in my business by not doing great agent marketing tools, agents are gonna go off and do it themselves and I’m gonna get a huge amount of brand drift. So, I hear so many people say, “Oh, you know those bloody agents are always doing this.” Well you know what? As a principle, take responsibility. Give them the tools they need and want and make sure they look and feel like our brand and everybody’s happy.

Kevin: Yeah. Very strong message, mate. Thank you. It’s been a pleasure talking to you this week, Barney. You always make so much sense. Thank you very much for your time. You can always reach Barney through his website, of course. There’ll be a link on every one of this week’s shows.

Kevin: Barney, thanks very much for your time.

Barney: Alright Kevin, lovely opportunity to talk to you and your audience and look forward to seeing you soon.

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