The art of branding strategy for brokerage – case study of Fantastic Frank
Branding is about telling a story. Who you are, what sets you apart. Not only with words. And as often undermined, perfectly planned is the ground-breaking for success by the biggest.
When it comes to Fantastic Frank, words like revolutionary, market leader or trend-setter are just about right. In real estate world, they are as Americans say “something else”. It all starts with philosophy that shifts the focus to the lifestyle and design of the place for sale.
Photos of the properties that were in FF inventory have been shared on websites, blogs, in books and magazines. The agency itself spent entire year working extensively on social media.
Sofie Ganeva: Fantastic Frank was founded in 2010 as a real estate agency with passion for fantastic photography and fantastic business. We work with photographers and interior designers with fashion, advertising and architecture background to create the inspiring and beautiful images same as magazines give us. With these images as tools, our skilled brokers build a case for the best possible deal. Today we have three offices in Stockholm and Berlin with 35 employees and plan to open further offices in Sweden and Europe in the near future.
Understated design = true elegance
The branding concept is based on producing (remember that word) magazine look for the properties they help to sell. They apply team approach. That is very different from typical real estate brokerage model. It’s not surprising for them to collaborate with fashion designer to showcase the apartment for sale. Or curate a designers’ exhibition.
Their summery vibe photos, seemingly calm and collected, represent life and personality in a most artistic way. Not just property. They serve double purpose. Not only are they the essence of marketing materials for the listings. They are the illustrations of the brand’s story made to order for the right clientele. A cabbage left on the kitchen counter is a symbol. Understating the landscape. And not a single wide-angle, overly exposed photo. You will find moody rather cheerful. They don’t suck up to the viewer, but keep their integrity. They represent quality, structure, order and process. Their logo and fonts are minimal, which translates to “unfussy”. That speaks to the viewer: we are disciplined, professional and high achiever. We stand out.
SG: We mainly sell city apartments and houses, but also properties on the countryside. Character and location are important factors of course, but our audience and range of apartments are wide. Many of our clients have a great interest for design, architecture and good photography. Our creative team works to visually highlight every object we sell, regardless style and condition.
Produce the vision and make one buyer fall in love
Their smart strategy is not geared towards the masses, but the ultimate one buyer.
Sven Wallén: Focus on the visual marketing and a clearer expression is what distinguishes us. We believe in finding the right buyers for the properties we sell. We regard every property a brand of its own, analyzing its characteristics and potential, visualizing and packaging them to attract the right audience and the final buyer.
Sven Wallén, @fantastic_frank :Our model is based on collaboration between brokers, marketer, interior designer and photographer.
— PGF Staging Studio (@PgfStudio) June 14, 2017
They evaluate the home and create a strategy to convey message both materially and visually. Fantastic Frank is a brokerage firm for a visual age.
Photos are the most important marketing tool in real estate. Very often, photographers try to capture the whole space in a single photo. Theirs – are done like photos for interior design magazines.
Tomas Backman: The interior design magazines are experts at making you drool. They are so good at it! They can even make you pay 10€ for a magazine packed with drool-making images! Our approach is just that. Create that level of attraction!
SG: To collaborate with interior stylists has been common in Stockholm for some years now. We believe in unity, our service offers the customer a skilled interior photographer together with an interior stylist. We put a lot of effort in producing the best images and therefore our team plan the shooting by visiting the location days before and then they spend a day with the production. Most apartments are furnished from beginning, but of course we also work with empty ones.
Position your brand for the right market
So, does property styling/staging really helps and affects the price of the real estate? Does it make sense to do home styling only for high-end properties?
SG: We believe good photography and clever marketing help to sell any property! Scandi style stands for a simple, calm and pure expression, which makes it easy to grasp, very photogenic and likable. It has become a part of our culture, traditions and way of living – clear and natural to us – Scandinavians. It´s a big contrast to what you often see in other parts of Europe and around the world, when interior design often is more explicit and colorful. And foreigners find Scandi style exotic, I guess.
TB: What I always try to get businesses to understand is that they have to position themselves. Dare to stand for something, if you don’t believe in the things you sell that will shine through in your marketing. The use of exclamation points for example is a perfect example of that. Not one buyer in their right mind is going to feel more attracted to a property just because it’s described as amazing!! The same goes for the photos, if you fill the property ad with 30 images of a small apartment the buyer will only conceive it as a nervous repetitive car-sales-man-jargon that wont stop to badger. That surely doesn’t help to sell.
SG: Simple advice when preparing a sale is to neutralize and harmonize colors of fabrics, details and furniture, buy a lot of greens and make your bed look as perfect as in a hotel. And of course, clear away all your personal stuff.
TB: We produced images that they couldn’t keep their hands off from:) Every day we have someone asking permission to use our images in one way or another. And for every person asking permission there are a dozen that does it without asking. Of course, that’s the fabric of the internet – but it’s great. Everyone is friendly enough to link back. It’s important for any brand to have a position. For us it’s about quality business – and to position ourselves among the top interior magazines and books surely reflects good on the entire brand. We have a picky clientele so for us it’s important to have this level of images.
And although production of images requires resources, the results are extraordinary for both the seller and FF brand. Again, smart strategy pays off.
Still unique, it’s becoming natural to co-produce marketing for real estate with lifestyle magazines like Cereal. Not just the trend, but the future of real estate.
Cause let’s be frank. In the digital visual age of social media, if you want to become “most talked about”, you have to be “most looked at” first. Simply fantastic!
All photos by Fantastic Frank Real Estate