Patience: Brand Building’s Cornerstone
About a year ago, our marketing guy started posting goofy stuff on a personal Instagram account on a daily basis. His sources of material were either odd photos he took himself while out and about or something he found while cruising the ‘net. An example of the former would be a photo he took of a gas station sign that reads, “Fried Gizzards/Livers, Non Ethanol (Pump 11).” An example of the latter would be a meme that reads, “Another day has passed, and I have not used algebra once.” Sure, these aren’t the heady stuff being discussed by political think tanks or tested at Cal Tech to disprove String Theory . . . but he found that if he went more than a day without posting something, he was getting short messages from friends and “followers” asking him if he was okay – more importantly, they wanted to know when he was going to post another weird photo or snarky meme. Weird, huh?
So, a few months ago, he decided to try an experiment in the business arena along similar lines: he started creating small “ads” for the company and posting them throughout social media twice/day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon) Monday through Friday. The ads usually consist of a photo, a short headline, and sometimes a little text – and best of all, they don’t cost a dime to produce and post all over social media where the outlets are practically infinite. One of his particular favorites has a photo of two chickens pecking away at the ground with cartoon speech bubbles above their heads to indicate a conversation. The chicken on the left says, “I keep telling Carl to check into his VA eligibility for his mortgage, but he’s too scared to ask. He’s being such a ch. . . .” And the other chicken jumps in to finish his sentence with, “Child. I believe that’s the word you’re searching for. A child!” The headline reads, “You’ve EARNED your VA eligibility. We’ll make sure we look into it.”
After a month of posting these consistently, he would receive messages from different people if he hadn’t posted something by a certain time in the morning or the afternoon. Like his goofy posts on Instagram, he had created an audience and a desire in that audience to see something on a consistent basis. His purpose from the outset wasn’t necessarily to create a “fan base” but to create a presence for the company that made them recognizable and distinct – in other words, he did it strictly for branding. Once he got a sense that his ads were taking hold in the social media world and the Priority brand was established (at no cost), he started reaching out to agents who are a part of his selected audience and asking them for a few minutes of their time – and it’s worked. They’ve already gotten a sense of how different we are among mortgage companies from the messages and tones of the ads, so they’ve been more open to meet and learn what we can do for them. The meetings aren’t a sales pitch – they’re a planning session on how we can help that agent.
So, that begs the question for you as an agent: what are you doing to build YOUR brand? That question leads to a second question: are you doing it consistently? If you change your message and your image as often as a teenager changes clothes, you don’t have a brand – you’re perceived as a fad. Sure, fads make money, but brands make fortunes. Which do you want?