If the difference between “brand” and “product” seems unclear, you’re certainly not alone. As a builder, you may only think that your product has value, or that your brand doesn’t even exist — but the truth is that your unique brand (yes, you have a brand!) provides just as much value as your product does.
As your go-to source for all things advertising, our g2 team is here to explain, once and for all, what defines both brand and product. More importantly, we’re here to remind you that you do have an exciting and engaging brand, and it can take your success to new heights with the right guidance.
Definition of Product
Easy enough, your product is what you sell, or your “short-term ROI.” From your homes to your communities to your distinct amenities, your physical offerings are your products. Simple.
Definition of Brand
This one’s a little more complex, while every bit as important. Your brand is your entire promise to your customers. It’s a promise that encompasses everything about you as a company, from the way you answer phones to how you handle a complaint to the look and feel of your marketing. Your brand is what people perceive when they hear your company’s name — it’s everything that they feel about you.
If your product is “short-term ROI,” then your brand is “long-term ROI.” Investing in how your company makes your customers feel is an investment in the long-term. Sure, this may not seem like a valuable use of your time — but when it comes down to you and a competitor who sells similar homes, the stronger, more established brand is ultimately going to win the sale.
Oftentimes, people confuse “brand” with a logo, but a logo is only one of the many things that make up your brand. While important in its own right, a logo alone can never tell your entire story. It’s the amalgamation of everything about you that creates an emotional bond that essentially drives a sale.
Building Your Brand
The key is to uncover what makes you unique and align your team and processes with your core differentiators, mission, and values. This way, you can create a distinct personality, through your marketing to your open house events and everything in between, that customers will begin to recognize and trust.
But you can’t do this without making your values tangible to your team, which can involve simply putting your mission down on paper. With something physical to refer back to, your team will continue to keep your mission in mind, whether they’re creating an ad or answering a phone. Above all else, your brand cannot only live in your head — it must live somewhere that your team can access and reference it, like a brand guidelines document — so it can be reflected outward in everything your team does.
Unlike your products, which can change over time and be reproduced by any other builder (to an extent), your brand should be consistent and entirely unique to who you are. If your brand (which you can also think of as your identity) feels exactly the same at each point in the buying process — and creates the same emotional connection with the buyer — then you know you’ve kept your promise.
But how do you keep your promise? The answer is as simple as ensuring that your brand makes your customers feel a certain way, whether from your marketing or your customer service. You can effectively measure whether your promise is being kept by offering third-party surveys, having management contact customers throughout the process, or even just doing exactly what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it (i.e. calling a buyer at noon).
The Importance of Brand
Without fail, every builder has their own singular brand. No matter how similar you may seem to a competitor, there’s something about you that stands apart and puts you ahead. When it comes to creating a distinct brand, it’s especially important for you to know that you are special, and you have something to offer that other builders in your market don’t.
Pre-selling anything, whether it’s an unfinished community or a home, is significantly more difficult if you don’t have your promise in check. An inconsistency in anything, from marketing to customer service, would only lose the trust of a potential customer looking for unwavering reliability.
This is why your brand is just as important as the product you offer; while shopping for the right builder, potential homeowners won’t choose you over someone else if your brand experience doesn’t cater to their wants, needs, and most importantly, their emotions. Above all else, your brand should evoke a feeling, a sense of comfort, trust, and hope, in those that are looking for the right team to build their home.