Be Ready When Your Brand Is Ready to Fly

You’ve invested valuable time and money to develop and create your brand message, voice, visual implementation and solidify your “Why.”  And now you’re considering expanding your brand.  But are you ready and how do you make sure your brand stays true to its core values when it “moves away from home?”  Here are four important steps to consider when you’re planning to introduce your brand to new markets.

Stay True

Your brand story is your story; your voice is your voice; and, your purpose is your purpose. When you’re ready to expand – do not waver from the foundation you’ve built. It’s the brand foundation that will provide support, integrity, and guidance in your endeavor to build and replicate your brand successfully without dilution.

Know Where You’re Going

With expansion on the horizon, you must know where you’re going and where you’re growing.  Whether your expansion is geographical, product offering or both, do your research.  What does the market place look like? How does your offering measure-up or fit into the competitive set?  Does the market have a need for your offering or a desire wanting to be met? (There is a difference!) Whatever the research tells you, listen to it and approach your growth with that knowledge in hand and your brand positioning strong.

Talk to Your Audience

Get to know your target market demographically as well as psychographically.  Learn what is important to them socially, culturally and economically.  This deeper understanding of your audience will provide the ability to connect with them in a way that feels familiar.  Your brand position and platform does not change; however, sharing it in a way that resonates with them on an emotional level will provide the opportunity to grow an audience of brand advocates.

Establish Roots

Once your brand expands into its new market place, get involved. Establish and grow relationships with the community, influencers, potential partner brands, and like-minded businesses.  Your new brand location should feel just at home just as much as it does where it was originally established and with the same dedication to brand position, values, and voice.

Some Boomers, Are “Baby” Boomers

A few years ago the NAHB and MetLife Mature Market Institute conducted a comprehensive study dedicated specifically to analyze where 55+ households live, the characteristics of their homes, communities, where they moved to and from, as well as other key demographic information.

The key findings of the study are quite interesting and are reminders that knowing what others, in this case, the 55+/AQ demographic, should not solely be based on historical behavior, if at all.  We are living longer. We are having children later in life. We are getting married more than once and having kids with each.  To put it plainly, the Baby Boomers of today are not like the Age Qualified for our parent’s era nor our grandparents

Did you know?

  • The majority of 55+ households do not live in age-qualified (i.e., age-restricted) or other communities occupied mostly by 55+ households.
  • Senior-related housing accounts for 8% for buyers 53 to 62 years old
  • One in five buyers aged 53 to 62 purchased a multi-generational home.
  • The share of households age 55+ is projected to grow annually, and to account for nearly 45% of all U.S. households by the year 2020.
  • Buyers 53 to 71 (Baby Boomers) made up the second largest generational group of home buyers at 32 percent.
  • The desire to be close to family and friends is often a driver for the 55+ households.
  • The share of 55+ single-family customers who work at home continues to rise and will increase the demand for office space inside the home.
  • Convenience to a job (46 percent), quality of school districts (33 percent), and distance to schools (31 percent) were a few of the most important factors to buyers 38 to 52 years. (Important to know because of the multi-generational living and aging-in-place homeowners)

Links to 55+/Age Qualified resources used:

Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report (NAR)

Housing Trends Update for the 55+ Market

Branding 101

There seems to be some confusion about the topic of branding and how to develop a brand that has enough depth and longevity that it transcends marketing and embodies every touch point and experience a customer with the company. Some of this confusion is due to the way customers get their information. Since most customers do their research about a company and their products online, companies have the idea that as long as they have a website, they’re on social media, and they push out digital content, their brand will be well received by their customers. If only it was that easy, everyone would do it, right?

As marketing professionals for over 25 years, the team at Engage Marketing & Consulting thought we’d do a simple Branding 101 list to show you what you need to consider when you’re putting together your brand platform.

Step 1:  Conduct a Brand Assessment

Take a close look at everything about your company to see how it stacks up to your competition. This includes doing a comprehensive review of your competition to see what their unique selling propositions are, how they are marketing themselves, what their brand position is and how their brand story is being told across all the various digital channels.

After you’re done looking at the competition, turn your attention to your company and do an internal marketing assessment. Take a close look at your website, your marketing materials, your digital content strategy, your customer UX, the way your operations team interacts with customers, and your online reputation. All of these things need to be in alignment with your brand story and should be integrated and seamless across all platforms.

Step 2:  Develop your Brand’s Four P’s

  1. Promise – The brand promise is a one-sentence statement of the largest value proposition the brand can credibly make to its audience. This provides a clear, easy-to-understand message of the overarching benefit the brand delivers and helps to organize and prioritize all other benefits.
  2. Personality – The brand personality is the brand’s personality attributes that will always be delivered through all communications – visually and in written and spoken communications. The brand personality will guide the development of a clear, well-integrated visual and written identity.
  3. Position – This is how your brand is currently positioned within the competitive landscape. The brand position determines how your company compares to other industry leaders and establishes your unique selling propositions and differentiators.
  4. Pyramid – The pyramid contains the core values are important to your brand and shows how those are communicated throughout every part of the company. These values should resonate with your staff as well as your target market. This is a list and description of the beliefs and ideals that guide the behaviors of the company and its employees. It helps to create a strong, cohesive culture, helps stakeholders to “live” the brand, and establish trust in the brand on behalf of customers and business partners.

Step 3:  Create/Update your Brand’s Story, Marketing Messages & Marketing Assets

Now that you’ve established your brand platform, you can develop your brand story. Your brand story integrates all the elements of your brand platform in a narrative story that tells your customers who you are, what you stand for, and how they can expect to be treated when they interact with you. After your story is developed, you will have a clear idea of how your company should be presented across all your marketing channels. The brand story will inspire the development of your creative materials. The images your brand story evoke will be a huge part of how your story will be told across print, digital, and in-person.

Step 4: Develop your Comprehensive Marketing Plan

After your brand platform and marketing assets are developed, it’s now time to develop your comprehensive marketing plan to guide your marketing across all channels. This plan should include an Executive Summary, a SWOT analysis, Strategies, Objectives, Goals, KPIs, and Tactics/Channels you will be using to promote your brand. Of course, no plan can be implemented without a realistic budget, so make sure you have the appropriate budget to be successful.

Step 5:  Implement, Test & Assess

Now, you’re ready to implement, test and assess. It’s important to be open and flexible with your marketing plan and be ready to make changes if a tactic is no delivering results. Of course, every channel needs enough time to work, so make sure you are giving each channel the proper reach and frequency that is appropriate for the channel. A good rule of thumb is to give a channel a minimum of 30 days to deliver results. During that timeframe, make changes to your creative or content through various A/B tests to see which message will best resonate with your audience.

If you need assistance with developing your brand platform and marketing plan, reach out to Our team of professionals is ready to help!

Don’t Prejudge. Listen


By definition, research is “careful or diligent search”; “studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revisions of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws.

Want to know why Millennials are looking for suburb-style living?  Ask and listen.  Want to know why eat-in kitchens, garage storage and smaller homes are on trend? Ask and listen.  Want to know why Baby Boomers & older Gen Xers want more dog parks and organic gardens and less golf and pickleball? Ask and listen.

In the real estate world research is often used as a means of learning what people want or need in a new home and new home community.  It is also a valuable resource for learning how those needs and desires grow and change as life grows and changes.

Two of my all-time favorite research ‘mistakes’ are not doing any and doing it with prejudgment.  Now granted, there are times when primary research may not be practical, however; secondary research is easily done in most cases.  But – when it comes to conducting your own primary research, during which you are gathering data in order to gain honest, first-hand insight and feedback, please don’t go into it with preconceived notions.  The interviews, surveys, observations and ethnographic research should be conducted with the intention of learning something new or specific about the participants or subject matter.  Don’t ask leading questions. Have an open conversation, be transparent about the research and then…just listen.

The idea of asking questions to learn something is quite simple.  The more difficult part of the task is being open to receiving the information without influencing or guiding responses with the goal of proving an assumption.  (We all know what assuming does)

Happy listening and learning!

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”  ~ Albert Einstein


Photo credit Tim Pierce via Flikr