The Chinese proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words” is indisputable in advertising. The visual representation of the brand and the advertising campaigns for its products or services directly affect potential customers’ perception of the company. Properly defined, they generate recognition, positioning and commercialization.
In real estate, companies face an interesting challenge. On one hand, they seek to generate confidence in their target market through the company’s defining characteristics and values, and on the other they need to reflect the advantages, features and differentiating aspects of the properties. In addition to this, the industry in Puerto Vallarta and other tourist destinations that attract a good number of investors takes advantage of images to reflect a specific lifestyle, important to stimulating client expectations, wishes and aspirations.
To offer some recommendations on attaining the benefits of a good brand image, we spoke with Gabriela Escandón (a marketing specialist who has collaborated with leading real estate agencies in Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita) and Erik Velasco (project director for Nivel Creativo, which has developed comprehensive communication strategies for important tourism companies).
Brand image is about the public’s perception of a firm, so it is directly related to brand identity, the set of distinguishing features and values that differentiate it from other companies.
Escandón began with a definitive statement: “A strong brand identity does much more than sell a product; it sells the people behind the product and produces the most valuable asset in this industry: trust.”
Therefore, he stresses the importance of investing to build a brand that stands out from the competition and will be remembered, one that not only expresses your values, but also provides an image of professionalism to your customers. “Today’s sellers and buyers pay close attention to whether real estate companies take their own business seriously. After all, if you do not take your brand seriously, why should someone trust you to market their home? Why should they trust you to invest their money in a property?” Escandón reflects.
Image Corresponding to Personality
Erik Velasco spoke about the impact of design and visual concept in generating a successful brand image, which must correspond to the company’s personality and the type of client they serve. “The value of design in branding goes far beyond graphic design; we have to invest effort to learn about the target market and what motivates them to buy, as well as their preferences.” With that base, they can generate a visual concept that creates consumer identification. “Managers of companies that have taken the time to investigate who they are talking to are those that have done better,” he says.
Considerations for Digital and Traditional Media
For many clients, the first contact with a real estate agency and its products is through a website, so it is important to pay special attention to its appearance and the user experience this platform provides.
Escandón notes that common mistakes include lack of planning, predesigned templates that are incongruent with brand identity and/or are not user friendly, a web page that is not responsive or does not include a clearly visible call to action, lack of a functional search engine and contact data that is not available at a glance. “We have become very impatient,” she says. “If a website does not meet our expectations in five to seven seconds, we abandon it.”
Print media, widely used by real estate agencies to publicize their developments, represent an open line to their target market. Regarding the characteristics a printed advertisement should feature, Escandón emphasizes that the visual aspect is essential to making a strong impact. “Some key components include high-quality photos, a design that corresponds to brand identity, property amenities and contact information.”
Velasco points out that you must always communicate what differentiates the brand and its products, regardless of the budget allocated for advertising or the medium you choose. “Being everywhere does not guarantee that people will pay attention; that will only happen if you make a connection with them,” he emphasizes.
Finally, both stressed that brand image, supported by advertising, should project not only information, but also emotion, especially in the completely emotional real estate market.