It can be very tough to stand out as a company, especially if you’re a mortgage lender, given the flood of competition that exists. Unless you’re doing something or offering something truly unique or especially innovative, you’re just one of many doing the same thing and offering the same product choices as many others at nearly the same price point.
Therefore, your goal needs to be to put as much distance as you can between your brand and the masses. This way, you become a member of the upper echelon that provide your product or service so that you become a top contender for business.
In order to break into this upper echelon, your mortgage industry brand should have a story behind it that is evident as opposed to just being another brand that touts product without having a story.
So what is a brand story?
Your brand story consists of messages you tout that you want people to believe about you so that they desire to conduct business with you. These messages originate from the founder and their vision which drove them to start the company. Therefore, your story begins with that initial vision in mind and the problem(s) or challenge(s) you thought you could solve which provided the confidence to take the plunge.
- It clarifies by telling your audience why they should pay attention to you. It shares why your brand matters and what makes you different.
- It tells who you are, what you do and who you do it for.
- It has its own charm and conveys a personality to get your target audience excited about working with you.
- It has a theme…the backdrop for all your activities that guides decisions and how you approach new challenges. This theme could be an analogy, simile or metaphor.
As your mortgage industry brand strategy continues to evolve, so does the narrative. Naturally, your story will have elements of why it’s great to do business with you which come out in your marketing messages. Brands can be classified as “storytellers” or “storydoers.” A storytelling brand shares a story, a great first step, but it’s actions may not be in sync with the story it shares. A brand that’s a storydoer is a top echelon brand that can be counted on to act in a way that is consistent with the story it shares. By becoming a storydoer, not just a storyteller, you establish trust in your brand by fulfilling the messages you’re communicating. Establishing trust is the only way your company will be a top contender for business. If you’re a mortgage company, your audience must trust that you’ll provide the best product for them at the best rate available and that you will close on time with great customer service along the way…all qualities you surely tout among others. If you’re an LOS provider, appraiser or any other type of company in the industry, trust in your service and ability to deliver must exist otherwise your messages will fall on deaf ears. Accordingly, being a storydoer is about combining your story messages in your advertising and other sales materials with clear, consistent action. Being a storydoer creates fiercely loyal customers and brand evangelists. The fact that you have a brand story and are able to articulate it is important. But, whether top-of-mind or not, all brands have a story to tell. It is encouraged that you think through yours and make it known to all who work for you so they understand why you exist in the marketplace and everyone can live up to that story…being actual storydoers, not just storytellers.
How do you know if you’re a storyteller or a storydoer? Here are 12 questions you can ask yourself…
- Do you and your people consistently tell your prospects the truth about who you are and what you will do for them? Or, do you sometimes say one thing and do another for the sole purpose of meeting a quota?
- Does your company have a purpose beyond hitting your monthly production volume goals? If so, what is it and is it evident or just a copy point? What is your memorable quality that clients will take away from doing business with you?
- Does your company have a vision for the future that you are actively working to fulfill? If so, what steps are you currently taking to fulfill it? Or, is this future vision frequently set aside for any number of reasons?
- Does your company have specific values that are not compromised…ever? Or are the values just nice discussion or copy points with little if any attention paid to them?
- Do your people know what standards they should be living up to on a daily basis? If so, do they consistently live up to them in how they present themselves and interact with your prospects, customers, vendors and fellow employees? Or, do they just live up to them on a “good day?”
- What value do you actually deliver as opposed to simply saying you’re going to deliver and only fulfilling in some cases?
- Is your tagline something you live up to? Or is it something that’s just eye candy but doesn’t have any basis in reality?
- Is the content in your sales materials reflective of reality in ways that can be shown or proven?
- Is the overall look and feel of your sales materials reflective of who you really are and the perception you want to give? Keep in mind that there is psychology behind the selection of your colors, fonts and other design elements.
- Is the customer experience in line with the expectations you set? Or, does the customer experience frequently fall short of set expectations?
- Does the price and quality of your product or service match the expectations you set? Or, could it be perceived by others that there’s a bit of a bait and switch mentality that exists at your company to meet a quota?
- Is your reputation consistent with the selling points you tout?
Many of these questions you know the answers to in your heart of hearts if you can truly be honest with yourself. If you’re not sure of some of the answers, conducting a brand audit could be a reasonable consideration to begin the process of setting your brand back on track and become a true storydoer.