Real estate branding ideas can be hard to find. If you haven’t already, take a moment to search “real estate near me.” Or get even more specific and search “apartments near me” or “hotels near me.”
Most of the results look the same. Small brands copy the style and layout of huge ones, hoping to grab their piece of the pie. Online-only matching services look like the 2022 version of a phonebook. And that’s a real shame.
Because real estate branding, when done well, can be very powerful.
Luxury real estate brands can make even an ordinary day feel indulgent and special. Commercial real estate branding can elevate shopping centers or business spaces from something utilitarian to a fun, high-energy experience. And all real estate branding can turn any empty room into a place with memories, emotions, and community.
Today, we’ll be talking about 7 distinct real estate brands. They all serve slightly different needs, but the one thing they all have in common is at least one element of a remarkable brand in a sea of sameness.
1. Tanger Outlets: Shopping center branding with flair
Encountering Tanger Outlets online feels just like the physical experience of walking into a shopping mall. The commercial real estate brand owns more than 2,400 outlet stores across the US and Canada, and their brand perfectly reflects that.
The soft colors and light, clean fonts conjure memories of perfume counters, shopping bags, and that special atmosphere you can only find in outlet stores. When we talk about real estate branding ideas, memories and emotions are key. Tanger Outlets has done a great job capturing the shopping experience, but they’re lacking in a key area.
When you look at their social media, there’s very little in the way of brand marketing.
Differentiating between product marketing vs. brand marketing is a problem that real estate brands in particular might struggle with. In this case, they highlight their outlet partners (here the stores renting spaces are “the product”), but don’t have a distinct Tanger brand that sits over the top of it.
Tanger Outlets could solve this problem with a good commercial real estate branding strategy.
What is a branding strategy – and what would that mean for them? A branding strategy gives some structure to how you put your brand out into the world. It would mean having a uniting theme and feel that transcends the individual brands and products that Tangier promotes.
The bottom line: Tanger Outlets has a fun shopping center feel that could use a clear branding strategy to solidify them as a THE premier outlet shopping experience.
2. The Taft Building: Historic commercial real estate with a modern twist
The Taft Building is another commercial real estate building, but offers office space instead of shopping. And unlike Tanger Outlets, Taft’s brand is inextricably linked to its historic building in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
In its earliest days, The Taft Building was home to the first entertainment lawyers, publicists, agents, and casting companies, including Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
After a renovation and subsequent sale gave the physical building new life, The Taft Building needed a brand to match. The team at Flux was happy to step in and craft a brand for them using our experience in real estate branding. We gave them a compass in order to navigate the growing real estate market in DTLA.
The result was a brand with a unique mix of cool contemporary and heritage aesthetics. A neutral color palette grounds the brand’s visuals. Alongside this, bright pops of coral amidst navy blue filters and fresh modern images communicate the convergence of old and new in this historic location. The typography – a mix of serif and sans serif – continues this through every aspect of the brand’s visuals.
The bottom line: The Taft Building conveys all the convenience of a modern workspace while staying grounded in its historic heritage. It has a personality and identity– it has a brand. This makes it a stand-out option for businesses who want more than your average office space.
3. Sofitel Hotels: Hotel branding with effortless luxury
Luxury real estate brands are both common and rare. Sometimes it seems like there’s an overabundance of brands who claim to be “luxury.” However, few truly communicate it at every point of customer interaction.
Sofitel Hotels is one of the latter.
Though it’s a part of the larger Accor management brand of hotels, Sofitel Hotels has created a unique identity that rests within the managing company’s branding.
It communicates luxury without ever feeling overdone, offering plenty of real estate branding ideas for luxury real estate brands. The French hotel chain has expanded across the globe, and each location gives users “a comforting, yet other-worldly vibe of exactly where you are – but with a little French flair.”
Their simple logos and fonts stand out when placed next to photos of exotic locales. The clean color palette of simple black and white is luxurious without ever feeling gaudy. Even their tagline, “Live the French way,” is beautifully straightforward.
For Sofitel, to “live the French way” is to “enjoy life’s pleasures and not take things too seriously. It’s about embracing spontaneity, indulging, and living in the moment.” In other words, exactly the kinds of things people are looking for in a peaceful, indulgent vacation.
The bottom line: Sofitel Hotels leverages the trust and customer expectations of a large hotel chain (Accor Hotels), while clearly communicating its own luxurious brand using the refined colors, lines, and words.
4. RE/MAX: Well-established real estate agents to welcome you home
Who hasn’t heard of RE/MAX at this point? The real estate giant has an expertly crafted brand that has allowed them to grow internationally, so let’s take a peek under the hood and see what kind of real estate branding ideas can translate to any business.
RE/MAX pairs familiar colors and clean fonts with distinct imagery – like their trademark hot air balloon. The result is a brand that stays distinct while still feeling safe and trustworthy.
Remembering how well-established the brand is will be important here, too. In a press release about their 2017 brand refresh, they shared that nearly 60% of people surveyed connected the red, white, and blue hot air balloon with RE/MAX, even when the brand’s name is removed.
RE/MAX’s brand reputation and omnipresent branding is responsible for that instant connection. Even a quick glance across their reviews shows a few words popping up over and over. “Experts,” “knowledgeable,” “comforting,” “helpful,” and “highly recommend” show up in nearly every review.
These reviews are no doubt the result of excellent service that they’ve been able to maintain with tried-and-tested internal branding documentation. But there’s likely more at play here. Like any smart brand, RE/MAX is sure to have an excellent brand reputation strategy. Part of that includes asking satisfied customers to leave a positive review, and we suspect another part is closely monitoring negative reviews to address issues as quickly as possible.
The bottom line: RE/MAX has crafted a strong brand and maintains its brand reputation with consistent service throughout all locations and a thorough brand reputation strategy that’s adopted by all team members and agents.
5. AVEN: Bringing the ease of athleisure into real estate
Pivoting from homes to apartments, AVEN is located on the South side of Los Angeles. Luxury real estate brands are a dime a dozen in LA, so AVEN needed a way to stand above the crowd.
In terms of real estate branding ideas, few people would think to take inspiration from athleisure brands. However, that’s exactly what AVEN did. They chose to use their brand to lean into the hustle and bustle of urban life, targeting a health-conscious, high-energy corner of the market.
With a sleek, minimalist logo and fonts to match, AVEN mimics popular athleisure brands like Lululemon and Fabletics. Their social media and website are covered in images of people on the go, at parties, jogging, having fun on the beach, and shopping in farmers’ markets.
One of the biggest mistakes real estate developers make is leveraging social media poorly. AVEN doesn’t have this problem. In fact, they’ve mastered using social media to demonstrate the kind of life people in their community live. And the kind of life that future renters want to live. One look at AVEN’s brand and you know exactly what kind of person lives there.
The bottom line: AVEN masterfully uses social media and a unique “thoughtful living” approach to attract renters who need support for a life that has them always on the go.
6. Respara: Communicating quiet relaxation in Los Angeles
Moving to the west side of Los Angeles, we find a totally different luxury real estate brand example.
Unlike AVEN, who chose to lean into the busyness of urban life, Respara wanted to be an oasis. Flux brought real estate branding ideas to help Respara craft the exact brand they were looking for.
The neutral color palette and delicate handwritten script call to mind sunlit spaces, California nature, and attention to fine details – all the things that make Respara stand out. Rather than being a high-energy atmosphere, Respara evokes an almost spa-like tranquility.
Respara’s website and social media feed show off common spaces that look invitingly, blissfully empty, as though they’re waiting just for you.
The bottom line: Respara pairs quiet colors with meticulous design for a brand that warmly welcomes renters to rest and relax.
7. Lark Austin: Student housing with more to offer
Student housing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about commercial real estate branding. Lark Austin, however, definitely makes the grade when it comes to memorable real estate branding ideas.
The complex offers student housing for students attending the University of Texas. That’s straightforward, but they didn’t stop there. Rather than focus on affordability (as so many do), Lark Austin made the strategic choice to extend the college experience from on-campus classes to off-campus living.
The brand tells prospective students that their apartment is their landing pad, a place to grow, shift, evolve, and find their wings. The bright, playful colors and quirky modern design matches their upper-teens/young-twenties audience perfectly.
Lark Austin doesn’t blend in with other student housing options, even though they offer many of the same services. Their carefully constructed brand allows them to showcase the full value of living there – from vibrant communities to on-site amenities. This places them a tier above the standard drab options students face.
The bottom line: Lark Austin avoids the trap of being “just” student housing by boosting the benefits for renters at an important time in their lives.
How to use ideas from the best real estate brands
At the start of this article, we mentioned the problem of copycats in real estate branding. You intuitively know that copying and pasting another brand isn’t going to get anyone very far.
So how do you use real estate branding ideas?
Start by finding the best real estate brands – for apartments, hotels, houses, commercial real estate, office spaces, etc – and bookmarking them. Then, use those as inspiration rather than as a template. And make sure you’re always starting from what makes your place authentically special.
What do you like about them?
What don’t you like?
How will these aspects connect with your offering?
How do they connect with the kinds of people you want your brand to attract?
What’s the reason people should choose your brand over others in a similar vertical or location?
These questions are just the jumping-off point. Branding can be a difficult process for real estate brands – especially those with multiple distinct properties. Bring your ideas to a trusted real estate branding agency like Flux Branding and see the impact we can make.
We take a 360-degree approach to your real estate branding strategy, fine-tuning your brand experience on every level to ensure a cohesive experience for everyone who encounters you.
When you’re ready to see the full potential of your brand, reach out and we can help.