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I was looking through some of those real estate little booklets you get for free at the store. As I was leafing through, I couldn’t help but notice that EVERY SINGLE real estate agent had their picture as part of their ad page for their listings.

This has got to be one of the widest scale mistakes in the branding world that I can think of. Without one exception, people had their picture next to their listings.

Colossal waste of space, folks. If you are in a service industry wherein you are the person people deal with like insurance, real estate, law… etc, don’t use your picture in your ads or on your cards or anywhere else. When you do that, it says either;

1) I think I’m really good looking and I want you to see that;
2) I’m actually pretty UGLY so I had to go to Glamour Shots to get this pic, just so I can look half-way decent;
3) I’m nice looking, so natually you’re going to want to buy from me.

Now, despite my pleadings, if you insist on being a knucklehead and putting your picture in your ad, DON’T DO IT IF YOU LOOK GOOFY!!! For God’s sake, put someone else’s picture there if you need to, just don’t use your own.

Okay… why am I adament you NOT use your picture? Because when someone is looking at your listsings, they are trying to buy a house. They’re not looking for a date. The only reason you’d want to put SOMETHING next to the listings is to create brand awareness so they will easily remember who you were so they can look you up on their own, later, without the help of the book that they have most likely have tossed by the time they call you. Your picture is not going to accomplish that task. Believe me. I can’t look up “hot real estate chick with blue eyes and high, goofy looking collar” on google. If something does come up, I can guarantee it won’t be a real estate listing.

You should always be striving to create “top of the mind” awareness in your branding. In particular for those people who provide a service with lots of competition. Case in point… radio advertising. It works very well and obviously, pictures don’t go over very well in that medium. But they do and say things (the good ones anyway) that ensures that you’ll think of them when you do think of that particular industry.

For instance; the Shane Company. They are a HUGE jewelrey outfit. The owner of the company does this really droll dialogue but the hook is how they close their commercial. It’s the same EXACT copy and has been for years and years. Here in the Portland area, I can even quote it for you, it’s so ingrained in my mind.

The Shane Company. Located across the highway from the Washington Square Mall at the corner of 217 and Scholls Ferry Rd. Open Mon through Friday ’till 8. Saturday and Sunday ’till 5. Also available online, at shaneco.com.

Actually, I know it so well, I know they change the hours during the holidays and are open even later. Talk about powerful. Do you think they do bang up business? They sure do. Then I was in California a few years back and heard the same exact commercial, only the last part was specific to that area. I’m sure they’ve been doing the same thing in that market forever as well.

Here’s what I’m getting at. For the 10 seconds I spend on that real estate agent’s page, other than noticing his/her listings, an identifying aspect of their ad should pop out at me and say or portray something so odd, and out of the ordinary, that I remember it when I close that book. It’s wide open, all the ideas you could come up with. Heck, if you had a picture of a big pimply butt in the corner of the page and you named your agency, “Big Pimply Butt” real estate agency, do you think you would stand out and you’d be remembered much more readily over the competition? I think so.

But I think “Big Pimply Butt Real Estate Agency” is already taken. So, you might want to think of something on your own. Just keep your mug out of your ads, unless your mug looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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2 Comments

  1. What’s the only image I see on your blog, Dan?

  2. I knew someone would comment on my picture on my blog after my tyriad on including a picture for branding.

    It’s not the same thing. First, I’m not advertising my services. People aren’t coming to my blog looking to buy a particular thing that I’m selling. Second, people can bookmark a webpage for coming back to it. So there’s no compelling reason to make something so stand out that they will remember your page so they can find it again in the future.

    With that said, though, I SHOULD have a look and feel that catches the eye… in that respect, you’re definitely right. But this isn’t a money maker so I don’t have time to do such things. (I mean a REAL money maker… I do make a little off the blog, but not enough to write home mom about.)

    Bottom line… I’m not selling something. So, it’s different. This is a fun site and after reading all the things I have to say (because it’s written in such a personal way) people may want to put a face to the personality behind the blog. Hence, the picture of my mug.

    There you have it… but I like that you’re at least thinking about my post. 🙂

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