Style guides are exciting, especially when starting a new real estate agency or rebranding. Naturally, people are very visual and style guides show a glimpse into how people will see us and our brand.
However, once the business is up and running the style guide is often forgotten. Copies of the style guide are generally passed on to external contractors offering marketing services and these people will remember to use the basics such as fonts and colours. The style guide has then served its purpose and will sit alone on the server or in a drawer gathering dust. As with most forgotten things, they don’t keep up with the times and this is something that we’re increasingly noticing here at Identity Marketing.
Technology has wildly advanced in the past decade, and considerably so in the last couple of years. Video content has become the new normal on websites and social media but many real estate agencies don’t have style guides that include parameters around how their brand is to look on video and other digital assets – and this is where things get problematic. When real estate branding is left open to interpretation, brand cohesiveness goes out the window and in the past few months we have witnessed content from the same office, and even the same agent that look wildly different because they don’t use digital asset parameters.
This might not seem like the end of the world, and depending on your perspective it might not be, however when your branding is inconsistent that’s when your marketplace starts to make assumptions about the services you provide. You could be a great agent who knows their stuff, but if your brand is all over the place, people will start to assume that you too are ‘all over the place’ and not in the positive sense. Agents often focus on giving their audience every option to use them but forget to think about removing every objection to choosing them and their service.
So it’s time to dig up the style guide and see what’s missing in this new and exciting technological age. But before you do that have a think about the type of digital marketing you do now and what you may be doing in future. For example, you may not be doing a whole heap of video now but what kind of digital marketing will you be doing this time next year?
To get you started, and at the very least your style guide should include the following:
To recap, a lower third is a graphic that is placed in the ‘title-safe’ lower area of the video. Lower thirds are key for introductions such as who is speaking and/or what the video is about. Lower thirds help to save time and allow you to jump right into the thick of your topic without having to worry about verbal introductions.
How text appears on screen
How your text appears on screen details much more than fonts and colours. Your style guide should cover the approved text transitions, whether you will include solid background boxes for visibility and how information of key importance will be highlighted.
Your style guide should cover approved logo placements, size, style and transitions.
Statistics are key in real estate, especially when communicating to the local property market. Your video statistics should have a set style to ensure easy readability between your statistic videos and to create a style that becomes known for valuable knowledge and insight.
Additionally, When creating these guides for our clients, we like to include a segment about song choices as music can determine the tone of your videos. We also recommend presenting your digital style guide elements in video format to ensure there is no room for interpretation, which will keep your brand consistent across all platforms.
If you’re unsure of what your style guide needs to meet today’s standards – contact us to start a conversation.