Case Study by Ryan Thompson RGD, Partner, Character Creative
The typical approach to marketing the overly-saturated real estate industry is making everything visually crowded and eye “grabbing”, using the brokerage’s set colour scheme. As a result, branding for real estate agents predominantly looks the same and, frankly, bad. Working with partners of different experience levels - one a seasoned pro and the other relatively new to real estate - Character helped rejuvenate the partnership with a new name, a fresh look and a more modern, functional website.
- Existing clients – reach out to those who have worked with them before and are most likely to do so again
- New clients – promote their quality service to people who have not worked with them before
- Community members – communicate their involvement with the neighbourhoods they serve
- Industry peers - establish recognition within their competitive market
Through a brand audit, Character Creative worked with the client to determine the attributes of the existing branding that weren’t working and identify what should be emphasized with the new look.
We began the process by proposing key elements that would convey sophistication, approachability and a high-energy attitude. From there, the clients provided input on colour and graphic quality, and helped guide the general look and feel of the brand to appeal to their target audience.
In executing the new brand, it was important to the client to establish consistency throughout the materials. They were looking for visuals that would be simple, clean and recognizable across multiple collateral. This input informed Character's choice for the colour scheme, typography, structure and overall tone of the project. Using simple graphic elements, white space as well as black and white photography and modern type, the new branding is all about removing the clutter and focusing on brief, to-the-point messaging.
When it came to the website, the client wanted to avoid a 'cookie-cutter' site, but was also looking for a CMS that would allow for easy updates and maintenance. To help achieve the unique look they wanted, custom compositions were developed for each team member.
The client was very interested in staying 'in the loop' and would often follow up with ideas or further discussion after our meetings. To help them feel more connected to the creative process, Character kept the lines of communication open at all times making sure expectations were clear on both sides. Putting everything on the table reinforces trust; the client appreciated our openness and it kept the process moving smoothly.
The identity was developed and approved within a month. The client felt it presented the modern simplicity they were looking for and differentiated them within the Ottawa real estate market.
The entire project lasted approximately 4 months, during which time the branding was applied across all materials including website, stationery, social media and other promotional sales pieces to create a strong, unified brand that the team and their clients would be proud of.
A social media strategy was developed by Character and the client to be implemented by the client's in-house administration. Social media was an important consideration in developing the new website, which features many opportunities for brand engagement. Content pages on the site link directly to the company's social media platforms, providing users with the opportunity to share featured events, testimonials, listings and recent sales, all of which provides for increased community involvement.
The new branding provides a level of sophistication, approachability and simplicity that meets the client's needs. The toolkit of brand elements developed with consistency across a range of materials communicate the client's credibility in the delivery of results, quality of expertise and attention to professional presentation - key elements that distinguish this real estate partnership from competitors.
“Character did an awesome job! We are super happy with the look, the pictures and the way all of the design elements work together. Really great detail.” - Carlos Fernando
- Keep it simple – Over-complicating the design approach and trying to do too many things can lead to a crowded design.
- Explain the process – Communicate with the client and let them know what to expect at every step in the process. Clients appreciate being kept in the loop and it will keep the process moving smoothly.
- Stick to the plan – Having a strategy in place from the outset will make it easier to move through the steps and make sure all the elements of the design are being addressed. A detailed plan will keep things organized and establish a more efficient workflow.
- Know what you want – Understand what you want to achieve and clearly communicate it to your creative partners. A clear goal will help ensure results meet your needs and expectations.
- Ask the right questions – Make an effort to understand the creative process and and how you can work with it. Identify where your input is most valuable and what the designer needs from you to provide the right solution.
- Research your competition – See what’s out there in your industry, to get a sense of where you don’t want to go. Identifying what you like and what you don't like will allow you to better direct your designer's efforts.
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