The Advertising Agency
for Today's Serious
Real Estate Professional

The 5 Keys of an Effective Personal Logo

Logos work by triggering people’s memories of previous messages, experiences, and impressions with a company. They leave a greater impact than words alone and serve as the lynch pins that fuse a company’s communications into an integrated whole. Logos dramatically increase awareness and visibility in the marketplace, which in turn leads to more sales.

Personal logos have their roots in ancient Greece. Typically, they consisted of one or more initials of a ruler, important person or place. By the thirteenth century, this simple letter form had evolved into trademarks for merchants. Early examples of logo design were personal symbols or marks for individual masons, goldsmiths and paper makers. By the 1700s, the stamp or logo on an item reflected the quality of its maker, and this quality reflected the maker’s value. The industrial revolution moved the focus of logos and trademarks from reflecting the individual craftsmen to reflecting companies and products. Today, logos are the faces of businesses and a visual representation of a product or company. They form the identity by which a clientele can easily and definitively identify a company or product.

As a real estate professional, your personal logo helps you accomplish the same goal as the master craftsmen of hundreds of years ago. Your logo reflects your reputation and value as an agent and distinguishes you from other agents. In turn, it triggers your target audience to conduct business with you instead of your competitors.

What Makes a Good Logo?
According to designer Paul Rand, “A logo should embody in the simplest form, the essential character of the product or company being advertised.” I absolutely agree. However, most agents forget they are the product being advertised, not the real estate they represent for their client. Knowing this, you can easily understand why your logo should reflect your very personal characteristics and your deeply held personal values and beliefs. Your logo will differentiate you in a very powerful, emotional manner and attract clients who value and respect you as a person.

The worst personal logos do not reflect a real estate agent’s character but are instead a reflection of real estate. Logos with houses, sold signs and other trite real estate symbols are ineffective—they miss the point of having a personal logo. However, when done well, an agent’s personal logo accomplishes four critical aspects. First, the logo identifies and distinguishes an agent’s personal brand. Second, it creates a strong, positive emotional resonance between an agent and his or her clientele. Next, it ties together marketing materials so they work in unison to more effectively build name recognition and brand awareness. Finally, a personal logo creates a professional presence that produces instant credibility in the mind of your prospects.

Five Key Ingredients
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a training session conducted by Hobbs/Herder Advertising Art Director Joe Oesterle. In the session, Joe discussed with his design staff the expertise and finesse of logo design. He emphasized five key ingredients necessary to create an effective logo for real estate agents.

The first key ingredient is immediate impact. A logo must catch the viewer’s eye and hold the viewer’s attention. Consider the logo of Apple Computers: the graphic apple with a stylized bite taken out of it has immediate product and corporate identification with consumers. The Apple logo clearly illustrates that an effective logo must both grab and demand attention.

The second ingredient is creating a positive emotional response in the target market. Branding is the key that differentiates one agent from the hundreds of other agents from which a prospect can choose. Remember, a good logo accurately portrays the agent’s unique personality, values and character. This is exactly why logos with houses and sold signs tend not to work as effectively as personal branding tools. They wrongly evoke images of houses or the real estate industry and neglect the individual agent. To stand out, you must project a more intimate and personal image than the average real estate agent. Your logo needs to project and amplify an emotional resonance to you as an individual.

An effective logo must also have the look and feel of “art.” Art is timeless; a logo, to be true to its very nature and purpose, should also be timeless. Creating an effective logo and using it throughout your career is critically important. In addition, a logo that is artistically designed instantly establishes a higher level of credibility and professionalism for you as an agent. It shows that you care about details and serves as a reflection of your business professionalism.

Next, a great logo must be elegantly simple. Logos that attempt to include too much information and try to represent too many aspects of a business or agent are ineffective. Logos should also avoid fashionable styles and typefaces that will quickly become dated. Today, a logo created in color is essential, but remember that the same design must also look professional in black and white. Your logo reflects who you are and what you represent, so it should be presented in a professional manner at all times.

Finally, your logo must be used every time you market yourself as an agent, not just in your ads and flyers. Your personal logo should be on your business card, letterhead, personal brochure, Web site, print ads, TV ads, house flyers, services materials, folders—on virtually everything that represents you. Many of today’s top agents place their logos on shirts, hats and blouses and ask their staff members to join them in wearing them. This simple step keeps the identity of an agent foremost in the minds of prospective clients.

A word of caution when using a personal logo: once established, your logo sets a standard that must be reflected in all your marketing materials. A good design firm can assist you in creating a professional logo and offer guidance in using complementary colors and graphic elements so all your marketing materials work together to communicate your brand identity.

Personal Logos and Company Logos
Agents often ask how a personal logo works in conjunction with a company logo. First, in all your marketing materials, be sure to follow the laws in your state. For example, seven states require that the company name be as large or larger then the agent’s name. In the other states, agents have to include the company name large enough on marketing materials to be readable. These state laws do not address logos, however. I suggest you include your personal logo prominently in all your materials and include your company name in accordance with your state’s regulations. Remember, placing the focus on your personal logo will help prospective clients understand the value of working with you as opposed to other agents.

Finally, agents often ask me if using a personal logo prominently will create conflict with their company. The answer is definitely not. In fact, a company logo/name and a personal logo can successfully complement each other. A company logo is critically important in building a brand identity for the company. It helps owners recruit and retain their target real estate agent base. Think about it this way—if you work for the strongest real estate company in town, your strongest competitors are sitting in the desks around you. Surrounding yourself with the best agents at a highly successful company creates a win-win situation for everyone—most importantly, for you. Companies like these, enlightened to modern practices and thus far ahead of their competition, also know that personal marketing is essential for agents to become the top producers. More and more of these companies are encouraging agents to use personal logos in all their materials because they understand the win-win result created by the combination of personal and company marketing.